City escapes: explore the surroundings of Istanbul

City escapes: explore the surroundings of Istanbul

When visiting a place with an atmosphere as dynamic as Istanbul’s, sometimes it’s necessary to take a short break from the hustle and bustle of the city and retreat into the countryside –even if it’s only for a day or two. Enrich your Istanbul experience with an excursion outside the city. Check out some of these trips from the city centre and consider exploring the surroundings of Istanbul before or after the EAIE’s 25th Annual Conference.

Princes’ Islands

Formerly a place of exile during the Byzantine era, these islands have grown into a popular destination for a day’s escape from the city. A chain of nine islands off the coast of Istanbul in the Sea of Marmara, four of these islands are accessible by ferry: Kinaliada, Burgazada, Heybeliada and the largest and most popular, Büyükada. Enjoy the pleasant change of pace and feel as though you’ve been transported to the 19th century where transport is by horse-drawn carriage, bicycle and foot –no cars!


A small beach town by the Black Sea, Sile is famous for its distinct black-and-white striped lighthouse that was built in the Ottoman era, as well as for its production of Sile bezi (cotton). Located about an hour from Istanbul without any traffic, you certainly don’t have to stay overnight, but the beautiful waterfront may make you want to.


As the first capital of the Ottoman Empire (and essentially the birthplace of modern Turkish culture), Bursa is a thriving cosmopolitan centre famous for its fine silk, cotton textiles and hot mineral springs. Easily reached from Istanbul by ferry over the Sea of Marmara, venturing to Bursa is a reasonable day trip, but may be more realistic as an overnight excursion if you want to truly enjoy all the legacies of early Ottoman art and architecture.


Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this sleepy lakeside town near Bursa. Not only is Iznik one of the most significant cities in the history of Christianity, it became famous during the height of the Ottoman Empire for the exquisite colourful tiles produced there. It’s still well-known for its Ottoman ceramic art as well as the ancient walls that surround the city.

Are there other places you’re interested in going, but you think they’re too far? Don’t rule out the idea of flying somewhere near Istanbul just for the day, as airfare within Turkey is amazingly inexpensive and Istanbul is within an hour or two of almost everywhere in the country.

Want some more ideas for trips and tours? Boyut Group, our official Istanbul Hotel Agency, offers a variety of sight-seeing tours, giving you the ideal opportunity to visit some of the most spectacular attractions that Istanbul and Turkey have to offer. Choose from full-day, half-day or multi-day tours to discover more of Istanbul and its surroundings at EAIE Istanbul 2013.