February 2021 I was able to visit Bursa as part of my trip to Turkey. After speaking at the Emitt Travel Fair about Influencer marketing we chose to go off the beaten path and travel to Bursa by car from Istanbul. In total I stayed 4 nights in the city and got to know all the best things to do in Bursa. Travel tips, tourists attraction and more ideas for your next trip to Bursa can be found below.
Traveling to Turkey during COVID
In September 2020 and April 2021 I traveled to Turkey and yes this was during the Corona pandemic! Did I encounter a lot of issues? NO not really to be honest! In contrary to what you will read in the news I hardly saw any signs of the Corona Virus, yet I saw how the country suffered under the international restrictions. Where all places open? YES. Do you need to wear a mask? Yes and no, depends where you go.
Read all about all my experiences traveling to Turkey during COVID in my latest Turkey travel blog. Much more info can be found in there, like: face mask rules, domestic flights, safety measures, social distancing, etc.
Now more about Bursa...
What now is the 4th biggest city in Turkey was once the capital city of the Ottoman empire. Traveling in Bursa I found it a pretty conservative city, nothing like Istanbul, but with super friendly locals. Everywhere I visited I was greeted with a big smile and people loved seeing tourists. At first Bursa doesn't seem like that vibrant and interesting but with its rich history there are a lot of tourist attractions and places to visit. Read all about it in this Bursa travel guide.
Bursa is listed among 18 others in my list of the most beautiful places to visit in Turkey. Also read about the Maldives of Turkey, the best ancient Greek cities or the hidden monastery in Trabzon. Including a trip to Bursa as part of a Turkey roadtrip? Then check out my Ultimate Turkey Itinerary blog that takes you in 14 days around the country and visit all the Turkey top sights.
Stay connected on your trip to Turkey and buy a local sim card. Click here for the a prepaid Turkey sim card comparison or read everything you need to know about buying a sim card at Istanbul Airport.
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1. Grand Mosque Bursa
For over 500 years this was the biggest mosque in Turkey. On a Friday prayer there are about 5,000 people praying together and another 2,000 outside. This massive structure was built in 1396 and completed in 1399. Sultan Bayezid promised that he would build 20 mosques if he would win the battle of Nicopolis. Eventually he won the war, returned but instead built the Grand Mosque with 20 domes. The Grand Mosque in Bursa is open to the public and taking photos inside is allowed.
2. Green Mausoleum
The Green Tomb of Bursa is dedicated to the 5th Ottoman Sultan Mehmed I. The blue/green structure stands on a hill not far away from the city center and next to the Green Mosque. The Green Mausoleum is beautifully decorated with colorful tiles from the inside. You will find the tomb of Mehmed I in the middle plus 7 other tombs. The super detailed wooden door to the tomb is still the original door from when it was built in 1421. It is free to visit the Green Mausoleum in Bursa.
Click on the link to see a video of all the places to visit in Bursa on my Instagram stories.
3. Green Mosque
Next to the Green Mausoleum you can find the Green Mosque, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site constructed in 1412 by the same Sultan who is buried in the Green Tomb next door. Way more detailed than the Grand Mosque , this popular place to visit in Bursa is a must see when you travel to Bursa. Sultan Mehmed I constructed the mosque with the help of Persian artists from the East and you can see that clearly in the very detailed tiles and similar colors that you will find in mosques in Central Asia.
4. Cable car up to Uludag Mountain
Fairly close to the city center you can take the Bursa Teleferik up to the top of the Uludag Mountain. The total length of the two connecting gondolas is almost 10 kilometer which makes it one of the longest cable car rides in the world. The Bursa cable car takes you in 40 minutes up to the top of Uludag Mountain, that stands more than 2,500 meter above the city.
People travel to Bursa to go skiing and the Uludag ski resort become a popular tourist destination in Turkey in winter. There are restaurants and bars up on the mountain and this is a spot where you can easily stumble upon Turkey’s most famous artists in winter.
5. Cumalikizik - UNESCO World Heritage Town
One of the most famous Bursa places to visit is the UNESCO World Heritage town of Cumalikizik. This 700 years old village is perched in the hills on the foot of the Uludag Mountain only about 20 minutes from Bursa city center. The cobblestoned narrow streets are lined up with traditional houses that now serve as family owned restaurants, souvenir shops, tea houses, etc.
There is a super relaxed vibe to this touristy but still traditional village. I visited on a Sunday and it was of course full of tourists, but the higher up you get, the less crowded it is. Enjoy a local traditional Turkish breakfast or lunch here with the snow capped peaks of Uludag mountain looming large over this charming town with friendly villagers.
6. Visit Tophane Park
There are many reasons to visit Tophane Park with amazing views over the city. First of all because you can visit the tombs of Osman and Orhan, the founder of Bursa and its son. Besides that you will stumble upon one of the best places to see in Bursa: the historical clocktower. Unfortunately at the moment the clocktower is under construction, but the views over the city are still phenomenal from one of the terraces.
During Ramadan the old canons are used every day to announce the start and the end of the feasting.
7. Living Museum of Umurbey Silk Production
Not sure if the name of this Silk Museum correlates to the fact that it is an interactive experience, but I can tell you it was one of the coolest things to do in Bursa. Bursa city is famous for its silk trade and visiting a silk museum is a must. The Umurbey Silk will teach you how silk is made from the silkworm till the end product.
Learning about the history and the importance of Bursa city as part of the Silk Route was great and having a sneak peak behind the scenes even more fascinating.
8. Karagoz Museum (Shadow Puppet Museum)
Honestly did not have any expectations, but this is totally worth 20 minutes of your time. Handmade puppets attached to big chopsticks are skilfully moved around on a white screen in front of a bright light. The outcome is amazing. For the latest info and opening times have a look at the Karagoz Museum website.
Although I could obviously not understand anything of the performance it was really cool to see the Puppet Master perform his stand up comedian act on a small cinema screen.
Curious how they do it? Click on the link to watch my Instagram Stories with all the best things to do in Bursa.
9. Irgandi Bridge
Did you know that there are only a handful of bridges in the world that have shops on them. One of them can be found in Bursa and is called the Irgandi Bridge, it can be seen as the little brother of the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. It is a cute little shopping street with local artists showcasing their handicrafts.
10. Get lost in the covered Bursa Bazaar
Basically most of the city center is a covered market where you can find shops of all kinds of things. It is not a super historical old grand bazaar like in Istanbul to be fair, but there are cool places to visit. Try to find the small hidden courtyards. There are a couple older more historical sections, but also some very modern bright spacious sections.
11. Have a drink in Koza Han
The historical entrance of Koza Han is already worth visiting while sightseeing in Bursa, but when you enter this caravanserai you understand that it is totally worth coming here to have a drink on the terrace. One of the best Bursa tourist attraction where you can easily mingle with locals.
12. Zafer Plaza Shopping Mall
If the bazaars are not your thing and you are craving a more modern way of shopping then head to Zafer Plaza. Part of it has the iconic shape of a pyramid. It is a great thing to do in Bursa when it rains as it is a big mall and also houses a cinema.
13. Silk shopping at the Silk House
There is a famous silk shop called Silk House that you can visit next to the Green Mosque and the Green Tomb. This colorful building is a 3 story warehouse with loads of souvenirs, decoration, handicrafts, local art and of course silk in all kinds and colors. A truly iconic store in Bursa.
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14. Stroll through Culture Park
Kültürpark in Bursa is the largest green area in the city. There are several tourist attractions like a big ferris wheel, etc. It is a great thing to do in Bursa with kids and affordable. From the top of the ferris wheel you have great views over the predominantly flat city.
15. Visit the Town Hall
If you have the right connections you can may be get into the Bursa town hall. This historical building dating back to 1879 is beautifully decorated from the inside and is also the place where a famous photo of Ataturk, the founder of Turkey, is taken. It is normally not open to the public, but may if you ask politely and smile you can have a sneak peak inside. The building itself is already one of the best places to visit in Bursa for its unique architecture.
16. Bursa city walls
Being such a historical city Busra still has a decent part of the city walls preserved. From the walls you have great views over the old city of Busra and the Grand Mosque. There are also several tea and coffee places with great views.
17. Sip tea with a view over the city
On the south side of the city you will see roads winding higher up towards houses perched into the hills. The views over Bursa city are incredible from here and most probably the best instagram spots in Bursa. Follow the Uludag Cd. towards the higher situated little cafes along this road to sip tea with the best views over the city.
18. Inkaya - Biggest Tree in Turkey
While exploring the higher roads on the footsteps of Uludag Mountain you have to pass by the biggest tree in Turkey. This historical Plane Tree is estimated to be more than 600 years old. At first I was not impressed by this Busra tourist attraction, but when I saw this tree with my own eyes I was amazed. It can easily be found on Google Maps by the name of: Inkaya Historical Plane Tree.
19. Watch a Bursaspor match
Being the 4th biggest city in Turkey, it is understandable that Bursa has a big football club. Unfortunately Bursaspor, which is in the hearts of all the people of Bursa relegated in 2019 to the second league, only 9 years after they became the second ever champion of Turkey outside the traditional top 3 clubs from Istanbul.
Visiting a Bursaspor match in the new and modern Timsah Arena is one of the things to do in Bursa that is on my list for my next trip. It has a capacity of almost 45,000 and is nicknamed the Crocodile stadium because of its shape and color.
For the latest match fixtures and home games schedule check the Bursaspor website.
I got gifted an official Bursaspor shirt which made me really happy.
20. Take a photo with the Bursa sign
Everywhere around Bursa city you will find the Bursa signs. Big colorful letters that are popular to take a photo with and post on social media to show where you are.
21. Tarihi Keceli Kadinlar Turkish Hammam
On a trip to Turkey one should experience a Turkish Hammam. One of the oldest Hammams in Bursa is the Tarihi Keceli Kadinlar, recommended by locals. This is Tarihi Keçeli Kadınlar Hamamı Facebook Page in case you want to make a reservation.
22. Kayhan Koftecisi - best restaurant in Bursa
Absolutely delicious local food can be found at Kayhan Koftecisi. This is definitely one of my best Busra travel tips as this was more than just a restaurant. We were able to watch the food getting prepared on the table next to us. Amazing hospitality and everything we tried was absolutely delicious for a fair price.
23. Podyum Park for a late night drink
If you are looking for the best nightlife in Bursa then there is only one place to visit: PodyumPark. Here you will find a modern open air park with loads of bars, coffee places, English Pubs and restaurants lined up. There is also a cinema. When craving a beer or wine this is where you can get it!
24. Day trip to Trilye
Although Bursa is not located on the water, the sea is not far away! About an hour west of the city you will find the lovely sleepy coastal town of Trilye. Winding ocean roads with gorgeous views and roads through olive plantation will lead you to this charming fishing village. Wander around and have lunch or breakfast with sea views and let the friendly locals make you smile.
25. Gölyazi Peninsula
Combine your visit to Trilye with a visit to Gölyazi. End your day trip from Bursa at this perfectly shaped peninsula. Come here to watch the sunset it is magical. Basically Gölyazi is an island in Lake Uluabat that is connected by bridge to the mainland. You can wander around and sip some tea with locals. This is definitely an off the beaten path tourist destination in Turkey, but worth adding to your Turkey itinerary.
I hope all the above Bursa travel tips were helpful for your next trip to Bursa. May you have any more questions go to the Traveltomtom Instagram profile and please send me a direct message.
This is also where you will find all the videos/Instagram stories about Bursa Tourism and sightseeing. From the bazaar to the mountain and the tombs to the museums and of course amazing Turkish food.
How to get to Bursa?
Bursa is not far from Istanbul and there are actually even ferries that connect Istanbul and Bursa. Getting to Bursa by ferry is already a pretty cool adventure and that is what makes a day trip from Istanbul to Bursa so interesting. There are of course also busses that connect Bursa with Istanbul. I included the city of Bursa in my ultimate Turkey itinerary as it is a perfect stop between Istanbul and Izmir or Canakkale.
I recommend using the search engine of 12Go Asia for busses, ferries and domestic flights in Turkey. They find you the best way to get there, the shortest, the cheapest and they compare busses, trains, ferries and domestic flights in one overview. Try it out yourself below.
Enjoy your trip to Bursa!