Although there is easily enough in Istanbul to occupy the visitor for several weeks you may wish to take a trip to one of the nearby attractions for a day or two.
With this in mind the city of Bursa makes for an interesting stopover. The city is beautifully located against a mountainous backdrop and offers skiing during winter months. There is a thriving bazaar and several lovely examples of Ottoman-built mosques such as Yesil Cami.
To reach Bursa take the regular catamaran from Yenikapi to Yalova (badly hit by the 1999 earthquake) on the southern shore of the Sea of Marmara, then catch a bus from outside the ferry terminal for the hour-long drive to Bursa’s otogar.
A feasible daytrip from Istanbul is to the historic town of Edirne about 3 hours north-west of Istanbul close to the borders with Greece and Bulgaria. Catch one of the frequent bus services from Esenler. Arriving in Edirne may feel as though you’ve returned to Europe but there are some interesting Ottoman monuments to be seen here including the beautiful Selimiye Camii mosque.
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