One of the most exciting cities to visit in Turkey is Bursa. With a colorful history, great food, and interesting architecture, this former capital of the Ottoman Empire has a lot to offer. Most tourists come on a quick day trip from Istanbul, but an overnight is recommended in this UNESCO World Heritage listed city.
There are a couple options for getting to Bursa. First, the bus. It’s not the fastest or the best option because it can take a good four hours or more from Istanbul, depending on traffic. There are several buses and bus companies leaving throughout the day for Bursa.
Once you arrive at the bus terminal in Bursa, you’ll need to take a bus or taxi into the city center. That could be another 30 to 45 minutes. City buses line up just outside the terminal. Don’t forget – you have to buy a ticket (Bukart) from the ticket booth before boarding the bus. To get to the historic city center, take bus 38. It will stop right in front of Ulucami (Great Mosque).
The second, faster option is by a combination of ferry, bus, and metro. The ferry takes you from Istanbul across the Marmara Sea in under two hours. The bus and metro into central Bursa take about an hour. Two companies run ferries between Istanbul and Bursa, İDO and BUDO. It’s better to get to the ferry terminal about an hour early to buy tickets. The cost is about 25TL but can be done for much cheaper if purchased well in advance.
İDO ferries go from Yenikapı, Beşiktaş, or Kadıköy to Güzelyalı. You then get on the 1GY bus directly to the Emek metro station. The metro will take you the rest of the way into Bursa, where you will most likely get off at the Şehreküstü stop nearest the historic part of town.
Getting around Bursa is doable on foot. Most points of interest are generally within walking distance. There’s also a very good metro and bus system, but you probably won’t need it to get to most sites. Visit the Burulaş website for official information on the Bursa public transport system. Taking a taxi to further points of interest, such as Çekirge or the Muradiye complex is reasonably cheap.
On my first trip to Bursa, I stayed at the Central Hotel. It was a little out of the way as far as sightseeing goes, but it was overall a great place to stay, very comfortable, and clean. It cost me 100TL for the night.
On my second trip, I stayed at the Kent Hotel. It has a fantastic location right across the street from Ulucami. The room was clean, service was great, and there was a decent breakfast on the top floor with amazing views. I split it with a friend. Total cost was about 150TL for the night.