Day trip from Istanbul: Edirne
The city of Edirne is only 2,5 hours away from Istanbul, located in the North Western part of Turkey, in the Thrace region. Located near the Greek and Bulgarian borders, is easily one of the best day trips you could do from Istanbul.
The Selimiye Mosque in Edirne is as spectacular as the Blue Mosque of Istanbul. The crowded and colorful bazaar, the buzzing main street and authentic Ottoman cuisine will easily captivate anybody.
Edirne is a historical place once known as Hadrianopolis (Adrianople). Once the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Edirne is a charming city with a beautiful architecture where you can experience the authentic Turkish culture.
It is less crowded than Istanbul, cheaper and with less foreign tourists. I have visited Edirne twice and would go back in a heartbeat (especially for the famous ciğer tava- fried liver).
WHAT TO SEE IN EDIRNE
Selimiye Mosque in Edirne
The Selimiye Mosque is one of the main attractions in Edirne: built between 1569 and 1575, is one of the masterpieces of the Ottoman architecture.
It was the first mosque I have ever been and personally, I find it more spectacular as the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. Yes, I know, nothing beats the Blue Mosque’s view from the Galata Tower in Istanbul, yet it is hard not to be amazed by the beauty of Selimiye Mosque.
It was truly a breathtaking experience being inside the mosque.
Sultan Beyazit II Mosque Complex
From a few minutes away from the Selimiye Mosque, you can find Edirne’s oldest mosque. With authentic domes, twisted towers, and amazing decorations is one of the best places you can visit in Edirne!
Wandering around the complex is a captivating and peaceful experience, I would recommend everybody to visit it.
Bazaar of Edirne
If you want some authentic (and cheap) souvenirs to take home from Edirne this is your place! You can find basically everything here. Shiny souvenirs? Check! Clothing? Check! Fruit-shaped soaps? Check! Fruits, seeds, musical instruments? Check!
The Ali Pasha is a covered bazaar where you can easily spend an hour wandering around and bargaining the items.
Grand Synagogue of Edirne
The Grand Synagogue in Edirne was Europe third largest synagogue and the biggest in Turkey.
The temple was abandoned though as most of the jews left the city because of the antisemitism in the area. The synagogue was restored and reopened to the public as a museum in 2015.
The synagogue is not located in the city center but you can easily reach it if you are walking along the river. The entrance is guarded and is free of charge to visit it.
The main street in Edirne
A good place to get lost 🙂 The main street is full of shops, restaurants and has a unique architecture. It was a great place to observe people, culture and the daily life of Turkey. The little side streets are worth exploring too (as in any city)!
What to eat in Edirne
Edirne is famous for its ciğer tava (fried liver). Like really: the restaurants that offer this delicacy are so crowded, that people wait in lines outside the restaurants just to get a table!
The fried liver is served with several side dishes and it’s been the specialty of Edirne for more than 150 years. You should also ask for Ayran, the salty yogurt with water! 😉
Check another day trip from Istanbul: to ancient Troy!