The city was once known as Hadrianopolis (Αδριανούπολη), as it was founded and developed by Roman Emperor Hadrian. After spending over a thousand years in the Roman and Byzantine empires, it fell to the Ottoman Empire in 1363 and served as their second capital until 1453. Throughout history, it has been one of the most hotly contested spots on earth.
Edirne makes a wonderful day trip from Istanbul and an even better overnight trip. The city has a lot to offer in the form of Ottoman architecture, specifically mosques. Each mosque has its own unique features and story.
Edirne is about a three hour journey from Istanbul by bus. There are several companies offering several journeys daily. If you go to Istanbul’s main bus terminal, Esenler Otogarı, you can probably be on a bus within 15 minutes. I usually traveled to Edirne with Metro Turizm.
Once in Edirne, if there is no transfer service by your bus company, you might have to take a taxi to get into the city center. The Edirne Otogarı (bus terminal) is on the outskirts of the city.
Getting around in Edirne can be done easily on foot. Most of the tourist sites are located in a very small and compact area. Even the sites outside of the city center, such as Sarayiçi and II. Beyazıt Külliyesi, are reachable on foot in about 15 to 20 minutes.
Edirne is famous for small bits of fried liver called Edirne tava ciğeri, usually served with fresh tomatoes, peppers, and onions. They’re delicious and can be found in several restaurants in town. They go great with a glass of ayran.
For shopping, Edirne is known for fruit scented soaps and badem ezmesi (marzipan). You can find both of them in the bazaars. The fruit soaps come in various shapes and sizes and at various prices.
I stayed at the Saray Hotel. It’s centrally located near the pedestrian street of Saraçlar Caddesi and just a few minutes walk from many of the important mosques. The room was a little disappointing and the staff wasn’t the friendliest, but the breakfast room on the top floor had excellent views. I split the 120TL per night cost for a double room with my friend Aisha.