Istanbul <—> Bursa Excursion

Last Updated on October 2, 2023

You can visit Bursa on a long day-trip from Istanbul. There's a lot to see in Bursa, and you'll see more if you stay overnight, but if you can't, it's still a worthwhile day-excursion.

İznik on the Way & Overnight

If you can stay at least one night in Bursa, consider visiting İznik(Nicaea) along the way to Bursa. I suggest visiting İznik on the way to Bursa rather than on the return from Bursa because for the return you can choose any of three docks and ferry lines to use.

1-Day Istanbul - Bursa Excursion

Here is an example of how you might make an excursion to Bursa in one long day. Note that transport schedules may change from season to season, and there can be traffic and weather-related delays. Check the ferry schedules in advance!) Choose a fair weather day to sail on the ferry—no high wind or bad weather, and try to avoid morning and late afternoon rush road traffic.

I cannot guarantee that you will be able to achieve this schedule, but it gives you an idea of possibilities.

07:00 to 07:30 am — Hotel to Ferry Dock

Go from your hotel to the appropriate Istanbul ferry dock, Eminönü or Yenikapı, depending on the ferry departure you want. You must be present to board 15 to 30 minutes before departure, and you may need some time to buy or print your ticket before boarding. (Don't forget: to print your ticket you must have the same credit card with which you made your reservation!)

I'd suggest that you plan to get to the ferry dock a minimum 45 minutes before departure time.

08:30 am to 010:30 am — Ferry Voyage

If you plan to visit İznik (Nicaea) on your way to Bursa, and stay overnight in Bursa, you will take the Istanbul (Yenikapı) to Yalova ferry, which takes about 1.25 hours. More...

Otherwise, you'll take either the BUDO or İDO ferries to Mudanya or Güzelyalı, a voyage of 2 hours. More...

11:00 am to 12:00 pm— Bus & Bursaray Metro from Ferry Dock to Bursa

After leaving the ferry, board one of the waiting yellow city buses, or a more expensive taxi, and ride along a four-lane road for 20 to 30 minutes to the Emek İstasyonu terminus of the Bursaray(Metro) Line M1. Then take the Bursaray Metro train to the Şehreküstü station for central Bursa. More...

12:00 to 16:30 (4:30 pm) — See the Sights in Bursa

It's not much time, but enough to see most of the major sights. Here they are.

17:00 to 19:00 (5 to 7 pm) — Bursa to Ferry Dock

Make the trip by Bursaray and bus back to your ferry dock, arriving a minimum 30 minutes before departure time. If you're pressed for time, you may decide to take a taxi instead of a bus from the Bursaray Emek station to the ferry dock, but I doubt there would be any advantage in taking a taxi all the way from the center of Bursa. Taxis get stuck in traffic. Bursaray Metro trains do not.

19:30 to 21:30 (7:30 to 9:30 pm) — Ferry to Istanbul

You can rest on the ferry and buy some snacks and soft drinks from the refreshments counter.

21:30 to 22:00 (9:30 to 10 pm) — Ferry Dock to Hotel

Istanbul traffic is not heavy at this time of day, so you should reach your hotel—and bed—in good time.

—by Tom Brosnahan

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