Here is all the Bursa travel advice that you need. We’ve got a list of things to do in Bursa, as well as where to stay in Bursa, Turkey.
Türkiye is much bigger than people think! This isn’t a country that’s only about beach resorts and kebabs; there’s a huge amount to explore, and it’s definitely worthwhile getting off your sun lounger and checking out some other locations!
While the majority of the beach resorts sit on the south coast, most people choose to visit only Istanbul or Izmir if they’re considering a city break. But what about Bursa?
The great thing about Bursa is that it’s only a few hours away from Istanbul, so it’s perfectly doable as a day trip from the city. But Bursa has plenty to offer in its own right, and it will take you more than a day to experience the beauty and traditions this city offers.
If you’re keen to get out and explore a little more, let’s learn about Bursa.
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Things To Do In Bursa & What To See
There is plenty to see and do in and around Bursa, and much of it is historical.
Grand Mosque Of Bursa
This is, without a doubt, a must-visit during your stay in Bursa. The temple was built in 1399 when the Ottoman Sultan wanted to create a mosque commemorating his battle success. This mosque is now on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
The mosque has been renovated a few times throughout its history, mainly due to earthquake damage. However, this is still the center of life in the city, and as it’s located in the Old Town, it’s effortless to visit. The fountain located in the center of the mosque is magnificent, and it’s a very spiritual and beautiful place to explore.
Green Mausoleum – Yesil Turbe
As you approach the Green Mausoleum, its distinctive green tiles instantly catch your eye. This elegant mausoleum is the final resting place of Sultan Mehmed I, a revered Ottoman ruler.
The mausoleum’s exterior is adorned with intricate calligraphy and geometric patterns, while the interior boasts stunning tiles that envelop the visitor in a tranquil ambiance. It’s a testament to Ottoman craftsmanship and a serene place to pay homage to history.
Bursa Citadel And City Walls – Bursa Kalesi
Bursa Citadel and its surrounding city walls are a testament to the city’s rich history. These ancient fortifications have stood the test of time, witnessing centuries of conquests and changes.
The Bursa Citadel, also known as Bursa Castle (Bursa Kalesi), has its origins dating back to the time of the Bythinians. Over the centuries, it underwent modifications and repairs by various civilizations, including the Romans and Byzantines. Its enduring presence is a reflection of Bursa’s strategic importance throughout history.
The citadel boasts impressive architecture, with massive stone walls and towers that once served as defensive structures. Walking along these walls today, you can imagine the city’s past as a vital stronghold. One of the highlights of visiting the Bursa Citadel is the breathtaking panoramic views it offers. From the elevated vantage points on the walls, you can admire the city’s skyline, including its mosques, historic buildings, and the surrounding natural beauty.
Bursa has made significant efforts to preserve the Citadel and its city walls, recognizing their cultural and historical value. These efforts allow modern-day visitors to step back in time and appreciate the city’s heritage.
Green Mosque – Yesil Cami
Adjacent to the Green Mausoleum stands the Green Mosque, an architectural masterpiece. Also known as the Mosque of Mehmed I, it’s an integral part of the larger complex. The mosque’s impressive courtyard invites you in, and upon entering, you’ll be captivated by its grandeur. The interior is adorned with stunning Islamic artwork and intricate detailing, and the natural light filtering through its windows creates a serene atmosphere. It’s a place where spirituality meets artistry.
Both the Green Mausoleum and the Green Mosque are not just historical landmarks but living testaments to Bursa’s rich cultural heritage. Exploring these sites is like stepping back in time and experiencing the magnificence of Ottoman architecture. So, whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply seeking architectural beauty, these two places in Bursa are a must-visit, offering a glimpse into the grandeur of a bygone era.
Bursa Grand Bazaar
If shopping is your thing, be sure to haggle for some bargains inside the Grand Bazaar. This is a bright, colorful, and bustling place, and you’ll undoubtedly find plenty of souvenirs to take home for your loved ones. There are also numerous spots inside to drink a refreshing glass of Turkish tea (cay).
The bazaar was covered and built in 1340, earning its spot on the UNESCO list.
The Bursa Grand Bazaar, also known as Bursa Kapalı Çarşı in Turkish, has been a hub of trade and commerce for centuries, and inside you’ll find a diverse array of goods, from textiles and clothing to jewelry, spices, Turkish sweets, handicrafts, and ceramics. It’s a treasure trove for shopping and souvenir hunting, offering a taste of local culture and craftsmanship.
The architectural charm features arched entrances and covered walkways, providing shade and shelter. This design not only adds to its aesthetic appeal but also makes it a comfortable place to explore, especially during hot days.
As you stroll through the bazaar, you can engage with friendly shopkeepers, soak in the local ambiance, and indulge in some delicious Turkish cuisine at nearby restaurants.
Cumalikizik – An Ottoman Village
Nestled in the picturesque landscapes of Bursa, Turkey, Cumalıkızık is a captivating Ottoman village that takes you on a journey back in time. This 700-year-old village, founded during the early years of the Ottoman Empire around 1300, is a living testament to Turkey’s rich historical heritage.
Cumalıkızık is renowned for its well-preserved, centuries-old Ottoman-style houses. These charming wooden houses, with their sloping roofs and traditional architecture, offer visitors a glimpse into the past. Strolling through the narrow cobblestone streets, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a bygone era.
Beyond its historical significance, Cumalıkızık is surrounded by natural beauty. The village is nestled against the backdrop of lush green hills, making it an ideal spot for nature enthusiasts and photographers. The trekking paths in the area provide opportunities for exploring the stunning countryside.
Cumalıkızık is not just about history; it’s also a hub of culture and commerce. The village features museums that showcase its rich heritage, and local markets offer a variety of souvenirs and authentic Turkish products.
Don’t miss the chance to savor traditional Turkish cuisine in Cumalıkızık. Local restaurants serve up delectable dishes, allowing you to indulge in the flavors of the region.
Visiting Cumalıkızık is like stepping into a living museum, where the past and present seamlessly coexist, offering a unique and enriching experience for travelers.
Silk Bazaar – Kapali Carsi
The Silk Bazaar, also known as Kapali Carsi in Turkish, is a historic marketplace located in Bursa. It was built by Sultan Mehmet I in the 15th century and has been an essential part of Bursa’s cultural and commercial heritage for centuries. The bazaar is renowned for its vibrant and bustling atmosphere, making it a must-visit destination for tourists.
Inside the Silk Bazaar, you’ll find a wide range of stalls and shops offering a variety of goods, including traditional Turkish silk products, textiles, clothing, jewelry, spices, and much more. It’s a fantastic place to explore and shop for souvenirs, textiles, and unique Turkish items.
In addition to shopping, visitors can immerse themselves in the rich history and architecture of the Silk Bazaar. The bazaar’s design reflects the Ottoman architectural style, with covered walkways, domed ceilings, and intricate tilework, creating a charming and authentic ambiance.
Overall, the Silk Bazaar in Bursa is not only a shopping destination but also a historical and cultural experience that allows you to connect with Turkey’s heritage and traditions while enjoying the vibrant market atmosphere.
Bursa’s Many Museums
There are many museums to visit in Bursa, which isn’t surprising considering the history of the area.
A few museums to add to your list would be:
- Bursa City Museum: located in the heart of Bursa, this museum showcases the history and culture of the city, including artifacts, documents, and exhibitions related to Bursa’s past
- Bursa Atatürk Museum: dedicated to the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, this museum displays personal belongings, photographs, and memorabilia from his life
- Bursa Archaeological Museum: this museum houses an impressive collection of archaeological finds from the region, spanning from prehistoric times to the Ottoman era
- Bursa Aviation Museum: a fascinating museum for aviation enthusiasts, it features aircraft, models, and exhibits related to the history of aviation in Turkey
- Bursa Karagöz Museum: Focused on the traditional Turkish shadow play character Karagöz, this museum offers insights into this unique form of storytelling
- Bursa Gökçeören Village Life and Ethnography Museum: providing a glimpse into rural life and traditions, this museum showcases ethnographic items from the Gökçeören village
Yeni Kaplica – Bursa’s Best Thermal Bath
If you’re a fan of thermal baths, you’ll find plenty in Bursa, and it’s considered one of the best spots for this healing exercise.
Yeni Kaplica is a must-visit, and it’s been in place since 1522 when Suleyman the Magnificent ordered its construction. There are eight columns inside the building, marble walls, and stunning decorations on the ceilings.
When it comes to Turkish baths in Bursa, Yeni Kaplica is a standout. This centuries-old establishment embodies the essence of traditional Turkish bathing culture. Nestled in the heart of Bursa, it offers a timeless experience that’s both relaxing and culturally enriching. As you step inside, you’ll be greeted by the soothing ambiance of marble-clad rooms and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. The process usually begins with a session in the “sıcaklık,” the hot room, where you’ll work up a sweat before moving on to the invigorating scrub-down by skilled attendants. This is followed by a relaxing foam massage, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Yeni Kaplica is a place where you can unwind, shed the stresses of daily life, and immerse yourself in an age-old tradition. Whether you’re a newcomer or a seasoned bath-goer, a visit here is a must for a truly authentic Turkish bathing experience.
Emir Sultan Park
Emir Sultan Park is a beautiful and popular urban park named after Emir Sultan, a prominent religious figure and poet who lived in the 14th century and is buried in a mausoleum nearby. The park is known for its lush greenery, well-maintained gardens, and serene atmosphere, making it a favorite spot for both locals and tourists to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
Within Emir Sultan Park, you can find walking paths, benches, and picnic areas where visitors can take leisurely strolls, have a picnic, or simply sit and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. The park’s central feature is a large pond with fountains, which adds to its charm. It’s a great place for families to spend quality time together, and it’s not uncommon to see children playing and people taking in the scenic beauty.
The park is also home to the Emir Sultan Mosque, a significant religious site in Bursa. This mosque is an architectural marvel and a prominent landmark in the city, often visited by those interested in its historical and cultural significance.
Emir Sultan Park is not only a green oasis in the heart of Bursa but also a place where you can immerse yourself in the city’s history and enjoy a peaceful break from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Whether you’re looking to take a leisurely walk, have a family outing, or explore Bursa’s cultural heritage, this park is worth a visit.
If nature is your thing, Uludag Mountain won’t disappoint. This is a very popular ski resort, but even if you don’t plan to ski, it’s perfect for views and nature, regardless of the season. You can easily take the cable car from Bursa, giving you impressive views.
The cable car is 5.5 miles long, and that station is just outside the city center, around half an hour on foot, although there are buses that go there too. There are three stops on the cable car; the only service back down is from the top.
Once you arrive at Uludag, you’ll find many facilities, including hotels, restaurants, and coffee shops.
Merinos Mosque – Bursa City Center Mosque
The Merinos Mosque, also known as Merinos Camii in Turkish, is a modern and striking mosque located in the Merinos Park area of Bursa. It is known for its contemporary architectural design and grandeur.
The mosque was inaugurated in 2013 and is part of the larger Merinos Cultural Center complex, which includes a convention center, exhibition halls, and other cultural facilities. What sets the Merinos Mosque apart is its unique architectural style, which combines traditional elements of Ottoman architecture with modern and minimalist design. The mosque features a spacious prayer hall, elegant minarets, and a large courtyard.
One of the notable features of the Merinos Mosque is its impressive dome, which is adorned with intricate geometric patterns and calligraphy. Inside, the mosque is beautifully decorated with intricate tilework and fine craftsmanship.
The Merinos Mosque is not only a place of worship but also serves as a cultural and architectural landmark in Bursa. Its location within Merinos Park makes it a peaceful and scenic spot to visit.
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What To Eat In Bursa
When visiting Bursa, you have to try one dish at the very least – Iskender kebab. This dish is famed in the city and is a delicious thing to try.
The Iskender Kebab, a beloved local dish in Bursa, is a delightful meat treat that you simply can’t miss when visiting this charming Turkish city.
Picture this: succulent slices of döner kebab lovingly placed on a bed of thinly sliced pide bread, all topped with a generous drizzle of hot tomato sauce and a dollop of creamy yogurt. It’s a flavor explosion that dances on your taste buds.
The combination of tender meat, crispy bread, and the savory-sweet sauce creates a mouthwatering symphony. This is Bursa’s iconic dish.
While you’re in the city, be sure to check out these spots:
Setbasi Tea Garden
Setbasi Tea Garden, located in the heart of Bursa, offers a serene escape from the bustling city life. This historic tea garden is nestled on Namazgah Street, making it a perfect spot to unwind and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. What sets Setbasi Tea Garden apart is its charming ambiance, where you can relax amidst greenery and take in the tranquil surroundings.
Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or a leisurely afternoon with friends, this tea garden provides a welcoming atmosphere. With its location near attractions like Koza Han, Setbasi Tea Garden offers a delightful blend of history and relaxation, making it a must-visit destination for those exploring Bursa.
Uzan Et Mangal
Located in the city center, this restaurant serves traditional grilled meats and kebabs, including the famous iskender we just talked about. Frequented by locals and visitors alike, you’ll always find many tables full simply because the food is so delicious!
Turkish meatballs are called kofte, and you’ll find many places serving them; however, this spot is considered one of the best. With an extensive menu, you’ll discover servings are large and prices are reasonable.
Golyazi Gonul Sofrasi
If you’re after a beautiful spot for a traditional Turkish breakfast, this is the place to go. With a fantastic view, and an outdoor seating area for the warmer days, you’ll be able to fill up for the rest of the day, and you’ll probably still be full at dinnertime!
Where To Stay In Bursa
There are countless places to stay in Bursa, and there are also many hotels at the top of Uludag too. However, these three picks are ideal for those who want to stay in luxury, those who want to stay somewhere moderate, and those who are on a tighter budget.
Luxury Pick – Crowne Plaza Bursa Convention Centre & Thermal Spa
If you want to stay somewhere a little special, this hotel is the one. Located in the Nilufer district in central Bursa, this hotel is a 5-star choice and boasts a spa and a full-sized convention center.
This hotel has won awards in the past, and it’s no surprise when you see the interior. Rooms are enormous and beautifully decorated, including tea and coffee-making facilities, free wifi, flat-screen TVs, and air conditioning. Some rooms also have a sauna and jacuzzi, as well as an in-room kitchenette and dining area. There is a large restaurant on the 19th floor that has fantastic views, and there is also an a la carte service. The on-site thermal space is huge and features massages, swimming pools, and a fitness center.
Mid-Range Budget – Hampton by Hilton Bursa
Just 2.5 miles away from the city center, this hotel is a terrific choice for those who want something in-between luxury and budget. Rooms are large and have flat-screen TVs, free wifi, private bathrooms, a seating area, and a mini fridge. There is a large restaurant on site, which also has an a la carte service. The bar is also open until late for refreshments, and a fitness center is on site.
Budget Choice – B Loft Hotel
Located in the central Osmangazi region, the B Loft Hotel is a great budget choice. Rooms are large and comfortable, and there are family rooms available. All rooms have air conditioning, kettle, minibar, flat screen TV, and private bathrooms. Breakfast is included in the price and is served in continental or budget style in the on-site restaurant.
Where is Bursa
Bursa is located in the northwest of the country and is the fourth most populated city in Turkey. It is a large university city, but it is also where most of Türkiye’s automobile production happens, and a very industrial place.
Bursa was the first major capital of the Ottoman Empire between 1335 and 1363, and its original name, Hudavendigar, means “God’s Gift” in the original language. However, it was sometimes different from this. These days, you’ll hear Bursa called “Yesil Bursa,” which means ‘green Bursa.’ This is because the landscape in and around the city is surprisingly green and lush for such a large city, and it’s overlooked by the huge Uludag mountain range – a very popular ski area for locals and international visitors alike.
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A Little History About Bursa
We already know that Bursa was the main capital of the Ottoman Empire, but what else? There was much more going on before that time, as Bursa’s history dates back to around 5200 BC. Cius, the ancient Greek city, also stood on modern-day Bursa, which then passed to the Romans, who renamed it Prusa, which remained until 74 BC.
Like most cities in the region, Prusa moved to Byzantine rule and became a bustling city famed for its silk production. Once the Ottomans captured the city in 1326, it was renamed Bursa, and the population and industrial business grew. This is also the site of the first Ottoman mint.
The Ottoman capital moved to Edirne in 1363, but Bursa remained extremely important to the empire, and you can see this even today in many of the structures that still remain.
How To Get To Bursa
While Bursa does have an airport (Bursa-Yenişehir airport), this is a domestic airport that only receives flights from other Turkish cities. Unless you’re flying to Bursa from perhaps Ankara, Antalya, or Izmir, you should look at road options instead. However, if you are connecting from one of those cities, you’ll find domestic flights at reasonable prices throughout the year.
The most likely scenario is that you’re traveling from Istanbul, and in that case, there are a couple of options.
Bus From Istanbul To Bursa
The bus from Istanbul takes around 3.5 hours, although this does depend on traffic in and around Istanbul, which can be extremely heavy. The main bus networks operate between the two cities, including Pamukkale and Kamil Koc.
Drive From Istanbul To Bursa
You can also choose to drive yourself if you have your own car with you or if you’re hiring a car. Be aware that there are road tolls between the two cities, which you can pay by card. However, the journey time by car is only around 2 hours, so it’s certainly the fastest route.
Ferry & Bus From Istanbul To Bursa
The other option is to take the ferry and bus. The ferry leaves from Yenikapi in Istanbul and travels to Yalova. You will then connect by bus to Bursa. This will take around 3 hours and 20 minutes and is undoubtedly a scenic journey.