If you are wondering if Bursa is worth visiting, the answer from us is yes, without a doubt. As Turkey’s rising star both on the tourism and foreign house sales scenes, it has attracted much fame and attention in recent years. Sitting at the bottom of the Uludag mountain range, it offers something for everyone regardless of your age or personal interests, from delicious food to iconic historical sites and stunning landscape scenery.
The name Bursa refers to the city centre and larger province containing smaller towns and villages. Turks hold the area in high regard. As a former trading post on the old silk road, it was the Ottoman empire’s former ruling capital, hence has a rich cultural heritage, locals are proud of. Also, speak to any Turk about the folklore puppets called Karagoz and Hacivat. These two beloved characters were invented here.
Why Bursa is Worth Visiting
1: Food, Glorious Food!
Did you know Iskender kebab was invented in Bursa? This delectable dish features grilled sliced doner meat, covered over pita bread with lashings of tomato sauce, hot butter and yoghurt. Turks all over the country love eating it. For foodie fans, try other local delights including Candid chestnuts and peaches.
2: Hot Springs and Turkish Baths
As if Bursa didn’t have enough claims to fame, its renowned hot springs attract Turks from all over the country for the health and skin benefits, caused by the high sulphur content. Most 5-star hotels have spa centres incorporating their use, but the Cekirge district is the most visited. If the hot springs don’t interest you, take time out to visit an authentic local hammam for a soothing Turkish bath.
3: Shopping Choices and souvenirs
For shopping choices, Bursa delivers in abundance. Modern shopping malls like Zafer Plaza provide children’s entertainment, shops, cinema, and food refreshments all under one roof but seek the traditional shopping experience in the old bazaar. It is a great chance to practise the Turkish art of haggling, and you can pick up souvenirs like handwoven items and silk that Bursa is known for. Also visit the Koza Han, another authentic shopping delight and a chance to witness one of Bursa’s most iconic buildings.
4: Uludag National Park
Uludag, the jewel in the crown is a top skiing centre of Turkey. Sitting 40 kilometres from Bursa city, most people travel there in the cable car that has undergone extensive renovation to increase capacity and speed. Once there, people enjoy the delights of skiing, from the beginner, runs to more experienced pistes. Don’t think Uludag is confined to winter months though. Outdoor activities all year round make it an excellent destination for those who like to explore from spring to autumn.
5: Mudanya for the Coastal Lifestyle
When the name Bursa springs to mind, many people think of the main city, yet Turks and foreign house buyers are flocking to Mudanya seaside town. Famous for its nightclubs and fish restaurants, the laid-back coastal atmosphere provides the perfect setting for a relaxing getaway. The city centre is just ten minutes’ drive away, and such is the popularity, real estate investors looking for tourism income, buy in this area. Aside from that, another seaside worth visiting is Gemlik, known for its olive oil.
6: Traditional Turkish Village Life
You would be forgiven for thinking in Bursa’s endeavour to maximise its real estate and tourism scenes that it is out with the old, but this isn’t the case, and you can experience a traditional Turkish lifestyle, in Cumalikizik, where locals flock to at weekends for a sumptuous village breakfast. It is on the Turkey UNESCO World Heritage Site list because of old Ottoman houses lining the narrow-cobbled streets, hence is a must-visit destination.
7: More UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Speaking of UNESCO sites, tour the main city centre to see places like the Ulu Grand Mosque. This impressive mosque displays a unique style of Islamic architecture with 20 domes on the roof. The interior also maximises the use of natural light to give worshippers a sense of being at one with God. Five sites to visit include ancient kulliyes that were multi-functioning buildings with kitchens, baths, schools, prayer centres and medical help for the poor. The other popular UNESCO sites include the Osman Gazi tomb.
8: Other Interesting Places to Visit
Given the vast amount of attractions and places to visit, you could spend every day for two weeks just visiting them all. Bursa’s famous 15th-century Yesil Turbe was built during the reign of the fifth Ottoman sultan. It draws admiration thanks to its green tiles. The oldest city part, is the boundary walls, although just a small section which has undergone renovation exists. To see artisans and craftsmen at work, also visit Irgandi bridge, known for its yellow appearance and location on top of an old bridge. Otherwise, the zoo and nearby botanical gardens are a great family day out.
9: Green Bursa
Ask any Turk what Bursa’s nickname is, and they will always reply Green Bursa. While other destinations in Turkey have fallen foul of becoming concrete jungles, Bursa strived to prevent this by installing a high number of gardens, parks, and cultural grounds for families. Also, get out of the city centre, and you will arrive at popular nature spots like Saitabat to enjoy caught trout.
10: Holiday Homes
If you are one of many foreigners looking to get their feet on the Turkish housing ladder and enjoy holidays in Turkey, at the same time, then Bursa is worth visiting. Affordable prices, a variety of locations and new development with stylish architecture have pushed it to the forefront, and it is now in the list of Turkey’s top five property buying destinations for foreigners. See our portfolio of apartments and villas here.
Also of Interest
Unexplored Places in Turkey: If getting around to explore off the beaten track is your idea of fun, this list of places from the east to west will be of interest. Including iconic towns, mountain ranges and historical attractions rarely talked about in the travel books; it is for the curious traveller.
Iconic Cities in Turkey: So, we have established Bursa is worth visiting, but what other cities in Turkey stands up to the podium as must-visit destinations. Well, Istanbul, will always be on this list, but we have included eight other metropolises, everyone should visit at least once in a lifetime.
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