10 Fantastic Things to Do in Bursa, Turkey

Compared to Istanbul, Bursa might not be as popular on the list of must-visit places in Turkey (officially recognized as Türkiye), but I can vouch for the city to be one of the places in Turkey that's worth visiting – whether you love nature or history. 

After visiting Bursa three times, twice as a solo traveler and once with my boyfriend, I can assure you that Bursa is one of the most underrated destinations in Turkey.

There are so many fantastic things to do in Bursa, and the city offers so many good things – from top-notch hospitality to fascinating history!

In this post, I'm going to share some of the best places to visit in Bursa, and list the most fantastic things to do in the city so you can choose which one is the best to go – especially if you have limited time to stroll around this historical city in Turkey.

Not sure what to do in Bursa, Turkey? Let's dive in!

Are you traveling to Bursa soon?

Book the best tours available in Bursa now to ease your travel!

Participate in the best walking tour in Bursa to visit the most charming spots in the city. 
Complete your Bursa trip by visiting some of the most prominent spots for inns and Turkish baths in Bursa
Book a day trip from Istanbul to explore Bursa and Uludag Mountain, including a scenic ride on the Bursa Teleferik!

Going to Turkiye for a honeymoon? Book a romantic tour in Bursa to find the hidden gem for instagrammable pics and hear some historical love stories in the city!
Explore Bursa's UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Cumalikizik village, and stop by Saitabat Waterfall to enjoy the beautiful nature that Bursa has to offer. 

Looking for the best way to get around Bursa? Use BlaBlaCar to book your trip around the town!
Need to store your luggage before hitting the road in Bursa? Check Radical Storage to find the nearest luggage storage in your area!
If you're traveling to Bursa from other cities in Turkey, you can also book your bus ticket from and to Bursa via BusBud. If you prefer traveling by ferry, you can also check the ticket on DirectFerries website.

How to Travel to Bursa from Istanbul, Turkey

places to visit in bursa, turkey
The city view of Bursa, Turkey.

It's totally doable to make a day trip to Bursa from Istanbul, but I'm pretty biased to say that I won't recommend it as Bursa has plenty of things to cover that you won't regret if you decide to extend your trip and stay in the city for a few days. 

My first trip to Bursa was for my birthday trip as I visited Bursa from Yalova, and I only had two days there to explore some of the places around Bursa Old Town. 

That's also the reason why I decided to go on my second trip, and also the third when traveling with my boyfriend – because I personally enjoy the city's vibes, and the city is big enough to explore if you want to make the most of your stay in Bursa!

If you're planning to visit Bursa from Istanbul, here are some easy ways to get there!

Traveling from Istanbul to Bursa by Bus

I'm not sure if there's a train service available from Istanbul to Bursa, but one of the easiest ways to travel inter-city from Istanbul is by taking the bus from the nearest bus station. 

Depending on which part of Istanbul you're departing from, you can check the nearest otogar to get the bus ticket from Istanbul to Bursa. 

Since I usually stay on the European side of Istanbul, I usually travel from Alibeykoy otogar in Istanbul since the location is quite strategic—only 15-20 minute drive from Beyoglu, so it's suitable as a departure point if you book your stay at hotels like Miapera or Liva Suite Hotel in the area. 

You can book your bus ticket online through local platforms like Obilet or Biletall, although based on my personal experience none of these platforms don't accept my international bank cards—not even my Wise card

The best platform to book a bus ticket online in Turkey for international travelers is through BusBud, where you can purchase an Istanbul-Bursa bus ticket starting at $12 USD for a one-way ticket, depending on the bus operator. 

Alternatively, you can travel directly to Bursa from all Istanbul airports by purchasing a bus ticket at the same bus stop where you take the bus from the airport to the city center. The journey will take approximately three hours from Istanbul to Bursa, but it may take longer depending on the traffic. 

Traveling from Istanbul to Bursa by Ferry

Another option if you want to go to Bursa from Istanbul is by ferry, as there are a few ferry operators that provide the Istanbul-Bursa route that departs daily in between the cities. 

In fact, traveling by ferry from Istanbul to Bursa (or vice versa) is actually the best option if you plan to visit Bursa on a day trip from Istanbul as it's relatively faster (and more often than not, cheaper!) than if you take the bus. 

Since I used to travel frequently from Istanbul to Yalova by ferry boats, I knew that IDO has a ferry boat service daily from Istanbul to Bursa. But I never tried it until I went back to Bursa with my boyfriend last year. 

When I stayed in Yalova for a month, I never had a problem booking the ferry ticket online in Turkey if it was directly through the IDO website since they usually accept my Indonesian bank card.

But for some reason, there was a glitch on the website when I tried to book my trip from Istanbul to Bursa the last time that I had to ask my friend to book it for me through Obilet. Alternatively, you can also book a ferry ticket in Turkey online via .

There are several departure points in Istanbul, including  Yenikapi, Kadikoy, and Kabatas. However, if you want to depart from Eminonu (which is closer if you stay around Sultanahmet area in Istanbul), you may want to consider booking your trip to Bursa with BUDO instead. 

My boyfriend and I took a ferry from Kabatas, because it was the closest departure point to our hotel in Beyoglu. Kabatas seems to be the first departure point from Istanbul, as we stopped at Kadikoy and Yenikapi before heading to Bursa with our ferry boat at the time. 

We bought the ticket for 200 TL at the time, but when I checked the average price for a ferry from Istanbul to Bursa, the price seems to be increasing as of 2014 as it's now around 350 TL (around $10 USD) for a one-way ticket for the Istanbul-Bursa route. 

While the option to take a ferry from Bursa to Istanbul (or vice versa) is relatively faster and cheaper, the downside of traveling by ferry between these cities is probably the departure and arrival point in Bursa since it's located in Mudanya – which is quite far from Bursa city center. 

From Mudanya to Bursa city center, we took a taxi and it was almost an hour drive to get to our Airbnb in Osmangazi area. 

The Necessary Turkiye Itinerary

Pay as you like, and immerse yourself in a week-long journey through Istanbul's vibrant bazaars, Cappadocia's surreal landscapes, and hidden gems only locals know. This digital guide is your passport to convenience, featuring a detailed travel guide, culinary delights, and necessary spots to visit in Turkiye!

The Necessary Turkiye Itinerary

Why You Should Visit Bursa, Turkey

If you're a traveler trying to visit the UNESCO Heritage Sites in Turkey, then Bursa should be on the list.

Bursa and the nearby village Cumalıkızık have been listed as one of the UNESCO Heritage Sites in the Marmara region, as the region is known as the birthplace of the Ottoman Empire.

In case you didn't know yet, Bursa was the first capital city of the Ottoman Empire before Edirne and then later transferred to Istanbul after the empire took over Constantinople from Byzantium.

If you can see the historical path of the Ottoman Empire in its glory in Istanbul, you can trace the beginning story of the empire here in Bursa.

If that isn't enough to convince you to visit Bursa, the city is also home to Mount Uludag, the highest mountain in the Marmara region. So whether you are into history or more of a nature lover, there's always something for everyone visiting Bursa in Turkey!

Best Things to Do in Bursa, Turkey

If you plan to stay in Bursa for a couple of days, I'd strongly recommend finding accommodation around Bursa Old Town like Kule Hotel. The area is quite strategic, and it's within walking distance to some of the must-visit places in Bursa, Turkey. 

When I traveled to Bursa with my boyfriend, we stayed in Osmangazi – which is considered to be in the city center of Bursa, but I wouldn't recommend staying there if you want to save money on transport to travel around the best spots of Bursa. 

3 or 4 days should be enough to visit all the best places to visit in Bursa, and if you stay around the Old Town you can walk to most of these places.

So, here are the best things to do in Bursa, Turkey if it's your first time traveling to the city!

1. Visiting Tophane Park

Visiting Bursa isn't complete without paying respect to the founding father of the Ottoman Empire, Osman Gazi. Tophane Park is where you can visit the tomb of the first Ottoman sultan and his son who later became his successor after his death, Orhan Gazi.

It was believed that upon the early start of the empire, Osman I told his son to bury him beneath the silver dome of Bursa, a former Byzantine chapel in the city.

Following his will after the Ottoman conquest of Bursa under Orhan, his body was transferred to the place that was once the silver dome: the current Tophane Park.

Tophane Park is a public place that you can visit for free around the Old Town of Bursa. You can visit the tomb of Osman and Orhan Gazi separately as they're located in two different buildings around the park with different entrances.

The tomb of Osman Gazi is bigger for the obvious reason, and you can see the guards in Ottoman soldier costumes around the tombs.

At the entrance, female visitors will be asked to cover up so you can take one for free to pay respect to the founding fathers of the Ottoman Empire in their mausoleum. 

You will hear some Koran recitals in the area as well, and when I went there, the tomb was quite crowded with visitors.

What's interesting is that I found another tomb around Tophane park just outside the mausoleum of Osman and Orhan Gazi, and I'm not sure whose tomb that is. I asked a local nearby, but I'm not sure if I got lost in translation when I asked him.

From what I understood based on what he said, it was the tomb of a Pakistani Islamic scholar or something who died in Bursa.

Again, I could be lost in translation since my Turkish isn't that fantastic, but then again I couldn't find any further information about this separate tomb outside Tophane Park for details.

Apart from the tomb, Tophane Park itself is worth visiting as it's a great spot to enjoy the city view of Bursa from above.

You can also find some popular landmarks in the city, including the Bursa clock tower and the historical cannon lined up around the park.

When I visited Bursa again with my boyfriend, we went there during sunset and the view was gorgeous – though the park was super crowded, especially as we went there during the Eid holiday. 

So, whether you want to go there for a picnic, or just stroll around while immersing yourself in the beautiful city view of Bursa, Tophane Park is a place to go!

2. Learning about the History at Panorama 1326 Bursa Conquest Museum

A modern panorama museum in Bursa, Panorama 1326 Bursa Conquest Museum exhibits the history of the rise of the Ottoman Empire in the 14th century. It's a sweet spot that blends the past of Bursa with some futuristic touch.

I went to Panorama 1326 Bursa Conquest Museum with a friend I met through Couchsurfing, Yasin, and we only paid 5 TL (around $0.2 USD) per person for the entrance ticket. To be fair, I might have missed this museum if it wasn't because of Yasin so I'm really grateful for that.

Panorama 1326 Bursa Conquest Museum is a brand new museum that opened to the public in 2018.

The building has a large dome, home to the 360° murals picturing the era when Ottomans seized the Roman city of Prusa in 1326.

Outside the museum, you can see the statues of the first few sultans of the Ottoman Empire, from the founding father Osman Gazi to Mehmet Celebi (Mehmet I).

The museum is huge, and it's split into several sections, including the amphitheater, where you can watch the movie about the rise of the Ottoman Empire.

Not so far from the amphitheater, you can see the exhibition hall that showcases the beginning of the Ottoman Empire in the form of paintings.

If I have to put a summary of my visit to Panorama 1326 Bursa Conquest Museum, I think I will go with “the melting pot of the arts and history in Bursa.”

The pinnacle of the visit is absolutely the 360° murals of Bursa during the rise of the Ottomans.

It's a majestic mural portraying the city and its culture when the Ottomans conquered it in 1326. You can also observe the imitative pillars and sarcophagi surrounding the murals.

Hands down, it's really a fun way to learn the history of Bursa as the first capital city of the Ottoman Empire!

After checking out the murals, there's also another exhibition hall that showcases the traditional clothes of the Ottomans, following the hall where they exhibit paintings about the early rise of the Ottoman Empire. It's almost like a 3D comic all about the Ottoman Empire in the 14th century!

3. Shopping at Koza Han

Visiting Turkey isn't complete without shopping at the Grand Bazaar, and Bursa is a great place to be for this!

Unlike the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Bursa Grand Bazaar is less intense, making it more relaxing to shop here than the more famous Istanbul Grand Bazaar.

On top of that, Bursa is also heaven for anything handmade. Whether you want to buy some pottery products or carpets, you will never run out of options in Bursa. And sometimes, they sell it more affordable than in Istanbul too!

I'm not usually into shopping, but I got a chance to explore the Grand Bazaar in Bursa and Koza Han a couple of times. Once when my mom asked me to buy a lot of scarves for the whole family, another time to just explore the food stalls around the bazaar with my boyfriend. 

Bursa as a city used to have a significant role in the Silk Road, as it was the center of silk production in Turkey – with most products getting imported to destinations like Persia and China. 

Bursa Grand Bazaar.
Bursa Grand Bazaar.

4. Stopping by the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts

Bursa Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art is located in the Green Mosque complex, and the first impression when I entered the museum was that it reminded me of the Sultan Bayezid II Health Museum complex in Edirne.

The entrance fee was 12.5 TL (around $0.7 USD), it was located in the former Ottoman medrese (school) building. 

Unlike the brand new Panorama 1326 Bursa Conquest Museum, the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art in Bursa is the oldest one in the city.

Opened in 1902, the museum exhibits various ethnographic and archaeological artifacts notable in Turkish culture. From tiles and ceramics to some introductions about Turkish hamam, you can find information about them here.

Apart from the exhibition halls around the museum complex, there's also a cemetery behind the museum.

I'm not sure who got buried there, but the cemetery looks pretty ancient. I could only assume that maybe some teachers or principals from back when it was a medrese, but I could be wrong. 

5. Visiting the Green Mosque Complex

There are at least two prominent touristic attractions around the Green Mosque complex in Bursa: the Green Mosque itself and the Green Tomb in front of it.

Designed by Haci Ivan Pasha, the Green Mosque complex is seen as the peak of the early Ottoman architecture style.

Sultan Mehmet I started building the Green Mosque in 1412, but his son and successor, Murad II, commissioned the construction of the Green Tomb as a final resting place for his late father.

The Bursa earthquake in 1855 damaged the original construction, leading to the recent restoration of the Green Mosque.

I visited the Green Mosque complex on Friday but due to the Friday prayers, I didn't get a chance to enter the mosque.

Nevertheless, I didn't really regret it because I felt quite satisfied with my previous visits to various mosques in Edirne and Ankara.

6. Buying souvenirs at Anadolu Treasures Bursa

If you're looking for a place to buy some authentic Turkish souvenirs in Bursa, Anadolu Treasures Bursa is the place to go. 

I found the place by accident when I came across Yunus, the owner, after visiting the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in Bursa. It happened on my first trip to Bursa on my birthday, and I ended up having a small celebration in his store. 

Anadolu Treasures Bursa is a quaint shop located not too far from the Green Mosque, so if you're planning to make a stop there – you won't miss it. 

It's only around a 5-minute walk from the mosque with a strategic location between the Green Mosque and the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts. 

You can purchase various collections of souvenirs – from the cheap to the premium ones.

Yunus mentioned that he also supplies carpets to some museums in New York, so he can guarantee the quality of the products he sell – making it a perfect place to hunt for souvenirs for your loved ones!

7. Indulging in the famous İskender Kebap

Trying the famous iskender kebap when you're in Bursa is a must.

İskender kebap to Bursa is like çömlek kebap (pottery kebab) to Cappadocia, it's a must-try when you visit the origin of the signature dish! 

If you're not sure where to go and try the authentic iskender kebap in Bursa, one of the hacks is to find a place that adds the title “tarihi” to their brand, as it means that it's a legendary restaurant that's worth exploring. 

I tried two restaurants in Bursa with the title; the first was at İskender Tarihi Ahşap Dükkan near Koza Han with my old friend, and the other one at Tophane Kebapçısı near Tophane Park with my boyfriend. Both have claimed to be “tarihi,” so here's my personal take.

İskender Tarihi Ahşap Dükkan has been in the business far longer than the latter – as the restaurant has been around since the 1930s. Situated in the heart of Bursa Old Town, it serves fine dining with iskender kebap as their specialty. 

Meanwhile, Tophane Kebapçısı also has a strategic location, except it's located exactly next to Tophane Park. You can also expect fine dining style here – except the ambience around the restaurant feels a bit less authentic than İskender Tarihi Ahşap Dükkan

I personally like the taste of iskender kebap at Tophane Kebapcisi than Ahsap Dukkan. However, when it comes to service then nothing beats Ahsap Dukkan since the ambience and the way the waiters serve the guests were top-notch. 

When my boyfriend and I went for dinner after visiting Tophane Park around the sunset, Tophane Kebapcisi got busy to the point that we had to wait for around 2 hours until our dinners were served. From the price point, Tophane Kebapcisi was also more expensive!

8. Enjoying the beauty of nature at Mount Uludag

Mount Uludag is a must-visit place in Bursa, as it offers so many things to do for nature lovers. The highest peak in the Marmara region, riding a cable car to the summit is one of the things you shouldn't miss when visiting Bursa in Turkey!

Bursa Teleferik connects the city to Uludag with a 9 kilometer cable car, making it the longest cable car in Turkey.

While the mountain is well-known as one of the best ski resorts in Turkey during the winter, you can visit Uludag all year round to enjoy the beauty of nature surrounding Bursa.

Your journey with the cable car starts from the teleferik station in Bursa, where you can purchase the go-show ticket on the day. When I went to Uludga, I paid 250 TL (around $13 USD in 2022) for a round ticket.

At first, I was a bit nervous about getting stuck with some strangers in the cable car for 20 minutes. But then I ended up having the cable car for myself on the way to the summit. It was sublime!

For the journey from Bursa to Uludag, there are 4 stations in total starting from the teleferik station in Bursa, and then we'll pass Kadiayla.

The cable car didn't stop there, but I imagine it could be a transit place should there be any technical problems with the cars.

The next stop was Sarialan.

Most activities in Uludag start from here; the area is a campground during the summer and it's quite lively still with some winter sports in the winter.

They also have all the public facilities like toilets, shops, and restaurants.

The last stop is Kurbagakaya, which appears to be the mountain's summit. Compared to Sarialan, it gives off a little bit of posh vibes with the restaurants and semi-mall at the station.

And since I visited it in the winter, the area seems to be quiet compared to Sarialan. Apparently, this one is more popular for intermediate to advanced skiers.

It's also where most of the high-end hotels are located, so it's understandable that it's less crowded than Sarialan.

9. Visiting Cumalıkızık Village

Situated in Yildirim district of Bursa, Cumalikizik is a bit far from the city center.

If you plan to visit Cumalikizik from the city center by public transport, you will have to use a combination of metro, tram, and dolmus to get there.

Getting a taxi is probably the easiest way to visit Cumalikizik, but you need to spare around 30-45 minutes as the journey may take longer depending on the traffic. 

Cumalikizik is a historical neighborhood in Bursa that's believed to preserve architecture dating back to the early Ottoman Empire period. 

Visiting Cumalikizik reminds me a bit of Sirince near Ephesus in Selcuk, as the architecture looks quite similar—probably because both neighborhoods are supposed to portray the ancient architecture in the region. 

However, I don't know if it has to do with the period when I was traveling there, but I definitely prefer the vibes at Sirince to Cumalikizik. 

I went to Cumalikizik just a few days before the Eid holiday, and a lot of places there were closed except for some cafes and shops around the entrance.

10. Exploring the Muradiye Complex

The Muradiye Complex isn't typically on the list of the must-visit places in Bursa, but it's worth visiting if you want to go to some of the off-the-beaten-path spots around the city. 

One of the reasons I went to the complex of Sultan Murat II was because I wanted to visit the tomb of Mahidevran Hatun

If you watch the Turkish drama series “The Magnificent Century,” you may be familiar with the character of Mahidevran –  Suleiman the Magnificent's concubine who produced his first heir, Mustafa. 

Well, if you have the same passion for history as I do, then you probably know that it didn't end well, as the prince got executed in his 30s. 

Apart from the tomb of Sultan Murat II, the Muradiye Complex is also where you can visit the tombs of Sehzade Mustafa and his mother, Mahidevran. 

The compound is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Turkey, so it can be a great addition to your Bursa itinerary. 

FAQ about Visiting Bursa in Turkey

Now that you know where to go in Bursa, Turkey, it's time to plan a trip to this historical city. So I've listed some frequently asked questions about traveling to Bursa to summarize some essential things you need to know before visiting Bursa in Turkey!

What is the best way to travel from Istanbul to Bursa?

You can travel from Istanbul to Bursa by either a bus or a ferry boat. If you're confident driving on the right, I also recommend renting a car since it will make it easier for you to get around the city as well.
 
If your only option is to travel between the cities by public transport, I would say the best way to travel from Bursa to Istanbul (and vice versa) will depend on the amount of time you have for the journey. 

Traveling from Istanbul to Bursa tends to take longer by bus because of the traffic. It can take around 3-4 hours in total, making it an exhausting day trip for some. 

While the trip from Bursa to Istanbul can be faster (and often cheaper) if you travel by ferry, the arrival point in Mudanya is a bit far from the city center in Bursa so you may have to take a longer trip within the city there. 

Is Bursa worth visiting?

Yes! Bursa has a combination of history and beautiful nature that offers so many things for everyone.

If you're into history, Bursa is worth visiting as it's the pivotal place for the rise of the Ottoman Empire.
The first Ottoman sultan, Osman Gazi, was buried there and his tomb at Tophane Park is one of the must-visit places in Bursa, Turkey.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Bursa is also home to the highest mountain in the Marmara region, Mount Uludag.

It's a great place to visit all year round, as you can go camping or hiking during the summer while it's also a popular spot to go skiing or snowboarding in the winter. 

How many days would be enough for Bursa?

While a day trip from Istanbul is quite popular, especially for travelers who arrange their trip through travel agents, I would recommend staying around 3-4 days for a better experience.

Four days in Bursa will give you chance to explore the city beyond the Old Town, so you can visit places like Cumalikizik – which is located around 15 kilometers from the center. 

Conclusion

From tracing down the history of Ottoman Empire to skiing at Mount Uludag, you'll never run out of things to do in Bursa, Turkey!

You can easily add Bursa on the list of destinations to visit in Turkey, even if you only plan to visit on a day trip from Istanbul. 

If you have limited time to travel to Turkey, I recommend booking a day trip to Bursa from Istanbul since there are several tour operators that arrange this trip to the highlights of Bursa. 

However, if you prefer slow travel, I definitely recommend staying a few days in Bursa so you can explore all the best places to visit in the city – including the off-the-beaten-path spots like the Muradiye Complex or iskender kebap restaurants in Bursa!


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Marya The BeauTraveler

I am the founder and main editor at The BeauTraveler. I spent 4 years working in the aviation industry but ironically got to travel more right after quitting the industry in 2015. Born and raised in Indonesia, I started working remotely in 2017, and while I stay at home most of the time, I also regularly spend 2-3 months living a semi-digital nomad life elsewhere every year.


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3 thoughts on “10 Fantastic Things to Do in Bursa, Turkey”

    1. Hi there, the Green Mosque is around 2-3 kilometers from Tophane Park (the burial site of Osman and Orhan Gazi). You can take a tram or bus between the sites, but you can also explore Bursa by walking as the bazaar is pretty much in between both sites.

  1. I wasn’t aware that there is so much history associated with Bursa. I guess Istanbul pretty much overshadows lots of destinations in Turkiye. Thanks for sharing.

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7 Best Things to Do in Bursa, Turkey
7 Best Things to Do in Bursa, Turkey