Quick guide to attractions in Bursa, Turkey
This city was such a surprise to me! I seriously did not expect it to be so charming.
We took a road trip from Istanbul to Cappadocia and stopped in Bursa for one night. After we quickly checked in to the hotel, asked for a map and started wandering around the streets.
The hotel owner printed us a cute little map of the city center and even draw little instructions about the attractions in Bursa. According to him, everything is “only 5 minutes” away- and it really was. We managed to walk a few hours around the city, breathing in the wonders of this city.
Bursa was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire from 1326 (the second one was the beautiful Edirne city, the third and last one was Istanbul).
Attractions in Bursa
Although it is the 4th largest city in Turkey with more than 2.5 million inhabitants, it didn’t seem a crowded or a “touristy” place at all. Well, maybe it is during the winter because Bursa transforms into a winter wonderland during the winter.
The city is lying at the feet of one of the highest mountains in Turkey, Mount Uludağ (2543 m), and it is surrounded by amazing vivid green forests.
Here are a few attractions in Bursa that are worth visiting:
The bazaar in Bursa
I am officially in love with every bazaar in Turkey. Seriously, not only you can find anything (and I mean it) in a bazaar, but it is also a great place to get to know the Turkish culture, sip a Turkish tea and interact with locals.
Bursa (like every major city in Turkey) has a huge covered bazaar, taking up several streets. The best place to start your visit in Bursa! It is a colorful, vibrant place and I love getting lost among the fruit stands, or watching beautiful handmade Turkish souvenirs, as well as looking at the old vendors who are trying to sell the most colorful items that you can find.
For many centuries Bursa was the center of silk manufacture (the first silk cocoons were brought here by caravans using the Silk Road), and you can still find some great silk scarves among the bazaar.
Great Mosque of Bursa (Ulu Camii)
“Only five minutes away” from the bazaar, after a few small alleys, you can find yourself gazing at the beautiful Great Mosque of Bursa. We ventured there at sunset and got to enjoy the perfect view of the mosque bathing in the last rays of the sun and the magical illumination of the building. It was also the call for prayer, which I always find like an eerie, especially if I am near a mosque.
The more than 600-year-old mosque has a simple architecture with many domes and a peaceful ambiance.
Citadel of Bursa (Hisar Bursa)
One of my favorite attractions in Bursa: the citadel. The walls of the citadel are 2km long, and inside the citadel, you can find a few mausoleums and small mosques. The citadel also offers a beautiful view of the city from above. It was the first time this year when I felt the breeze of a summer night. The walls were full of lilies which gave the whole area an unforgettable scent: the scent of a perfect summer evening.
Did I mention I am afraid of heights? Terrified, actually. Yet, somehow, I always end up somewhere where I can’t avoid the altitude.
Was going up the Uludağ mountain with the Teleferik in Bursa a good idea? Yes, totally! Was the view worth it? Totally! Did I know that the whole journey would last 2 hours with two cable car changes? Nope. Were we the only passengers at 8 AM on the whole cable cabin? Yes. Did it stop for a few minutes in the middle of nowhere? YES! Was I terrified? Yes! (Yes, of course, it was mentioned that you shouldn’t feel panicked, as it is totally normal to stop for a few minutes- yeah, tell this to someone who is afraid of heights and is hanging in the middle of the nowhere in a cabin, great idea 🙂 ).
All in all, it was THE highlight of the trip: I did NOT expect it to be such an amazing experience! The cable car ride in Bursa is a MUST DO! The Bursa Teleferik takes you up at an altitude of 1810 m and it is more than 8 km’s long. Though you wouldn’t see me taking the ride again, that’s for sure 😀
How to get to Bursa:
By car: 3-hour ride from Istanbul
By train: There is no railway in and around Bursa.
By plane: Bursa Yenisehir Airport is 60 kilometers far from Bursa
By bus: There are several buses from Istanbul to Bursa- the ride is about 3-4 hours long.
Where to stay in Bursa:
We stayed at the modest Onuncukoy Hotel in Bursa for a night, which is perfect if you are planning to get around the town, as it is close to the city center (everything is “only five minutes away” 🙂 ).