Discover 13 Spectacular Destinations Near Istanbul for an Unforgettable City Exploration

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Istanbul is one of the large cities of Turkey and extends across Europe and Asia on the Bosphorus Strait. the city is historically recognized as Byzantium and Constantinople. Istanbul has an extremely wealthy history and culture and various destinations for tourists to explore and witness and because this city is so renowned and filled with things to experience and accomplish, it sometimes overshadows the numerous cities and attractions that are close to the city or surrounding it and this article will enumerate the places in close proximity to Istanbul and the stunning cities in close proximity to Istanbul that you can explore.

Beautiful view of Istanbul

13 Beautiful Places in Close Proximity to Istanbul

If you are planning to travel to Istanbul for a vacation, do not merely restrict yourself to the city. There are many captivating places near and around Istanbul that can enhance your vacation experience. If not all, here are 10 top-notch places near Istanbul that you must explore without delay.

  • Belgrad Forest – Appreciate Natural Beauty
  • Prince Islands – Delight in a Ferry Ride
  • Kilyos – A Resort Town
  • Cappadocia – Delight in a Hot Air Balloon Ride
  • Edirne – Abundant With Culture
  • Blue Mosque – A Historic Site
  • Bursa – Savor Turkish Cuisine
  • Şarköy – Revel Completely
  • Sapanca – With Astonishing Natural Environment
  • Antalya – An Esteemed City
  • Polonezkoy – A Small Town
  • Sile – A Enchanting Place
  • Agva – Be Impressed By The Beauty

Belgrad is one of the best places to visit near Istanbul

1. Belgrad Forest – Appreciate Natural Beauty

Image Credit: User:Yonca for Wikimedia Commons

This is a mixed deciduous forest which is situated adjacent to Istanbul and is a favored destination for tourists who desire to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and appreciate the natural marvels that are preserved in this forest. Tourists can drive to the forest from Enterprise offices and partake in activities such as hiking and trekking through its various trails, going on nature strolls or even having a picnic or a barbecue at some of the specified areas which are a beloved recreation for even the locals during the weekends, this is one of the more picturesque places near Istanbul.

Optimum Time to Visit: Can be explored all year roundLocation: Kemer, 34450 Sarıyer/İstanbul, TürkiyeDistance from Istanbul: 29 Km

Essential Reading: 9 Istanbul Restaurants For That Perfect Turkish Culinary Experience

Prince Islands are among the most relaxing places to visit near Istanbul

2. Prince Islands – Experience A Ferry Journey

Image Credit: Falco by Pixabay

Also known as Prince’s Island, this is a group of nine islands situated off the Asian coast of Istanbul. Visitors can reach these islands by taking a ferry ride from Istanbul. These islands are famous for their prohibition of motorized vehicles, with only horse-drawn carriages allowed. Another remarkable feature of these islands is the architecture and well-preserved forests, which will transport you back in time. It is one of the most peaceful destinations near Istanbul.

Optimal Time to Visit: April-May and September-OctoberLocation: Adalarİstanbul, TürkiyeDistance from Istanbul: 17.6 km

Kilyos Dalia beach is one of the most thrilling places to visit near Istanbul

3. Kilyos – A Resort Village

Image Credit: Ozan Kilic for Wikipedia Commons

Kilyos is a resort town located in the Sariyer district. It is a renowned seaside destination situated on the coasts of the Black Sea. Tourists visit this place for its beautiful beaches and can also enjoy the lively parties organized during weekends. Additionally, visitors can explore the 14th-century Genoese castle located in the village.

Optimal Time to Visit: Can be visited all year roundLocation: Kumköy34450 Sarıyer/İstanbul, TürkiyeDistance from Istanbul:60 km

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The Grand Bazaar has a lot of variety products to offers for all the shoppers.

4. Grand Bazaar- An Esteemed Shopping Destination

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Recognized as the world’s largest enclosed bazaar, The Grand Bazaar is a must-visit destination for tourists looking to explore traditional goods such as fabrics and genuine jewelry, ensuring an incredible shopping experience. Spanning across 30,700 square meters, this extraordinary attraction features 64 shopping streets, over 4,000 stores, as well as cafes, banks, a post office, and a mosque, resembling a small city center. It is the world’s oldest bazaar, preserving various disappearing trades and their unique cultural heritage. This place is a shopaholic’s paradise and a captivating attraction for tourists alike.

Optimal Period for Visiting: Can be explored throughout the yearSite: Beyazıt, 34126 Fatih/İstanbul, TürkiyeDistance from Istanbul: 3.2 km

Edirne is among the most beautiful cities in Istanbul

5. Edirne – Abundant In Culture

Illustration Credit: Tevfik Teker for Wikipedia Commons

This urban center situated in the East Thrace territory and was the former capital of the Ottoman Empire before Istanbul was conquered, this is one of Istanbul’s neighboring urban areas and is abundant in culture and history and travelers can arrive to observe the incredible architecture, numerous iconic mosques, cathedrals, palaces, and more. Exploring this urban center is a remarkable encounter and a chance to discover its history and culture, and it is among the most splendid urban areas near Istanbul.

Optimal Period for Visiting: Between late June and late AugustSite: 22100 Edirne TürkiyeDistance from Istanbul: 213 km

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Blue Mosque is one of the most popular tourist destination in Turkey

6. Blue Mosque – An Historical Site

Source of Illustration

This mosque is also recognized as Sultan Ahmet Mosque is an historical mosque which is now among popular tourist destinations near the Istanbul airport, the mosque is called blue mosque due to the blue tiles on the interior and the fact that the mosque appears blue during the sunset due to the light. This is a mesmerizing sight, and it continues to function as a place of worship alongside being a well-liked tourist spot.

Optimal Period for Visiting: Can be explored throughout the yearSite: Binbirdirek, At Meydanı Cd No:10, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, TürkiyeDistance from Istanbul: Less than 1 km

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7. Bursa – Experience Turkish Cuisine

Image Credit: Haluk CÖMERTEL for Wikipedia Commons

This is one of the tourist cities neighboring Istanbul with a plethora of attractions and activities in Istanbul as well as renowned for its Turkish cuisine. This industrialized metropolis showcases remarkable architecture, numerous mosques and historical sites, ample parks and botanical gardens, and a stunning mountainous backdrop. Situated in northwest Anatolia, within the Marmara Region, Bursa is an essential city to include in your itinerary alongside Edirne.


Optimal Time to Visit: April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and NovemberLocation: Atatürk Cad. Uçak Sok. No 1 16020 Bursa TürkiyeDistance from Istanbul: 91 km

Bursa is one of the popular tourist cities near Istanbul

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8. Şarköy – Revel in Complete Enjoyment

Image Credit: Nevit Dilmen for Wikipedia Commons

This quaint coastal town, situated in the Tekirdag Province on the northern coast of the Marmara Sea, can be reached via inland routes. Şarköy boasts the longest beach in Turkey, which was once unkempt but has now been cleaned up and awarded a blue flag. Visitors can indulge in fishing, swimming, or even go on motorboat rides to Avsa or Marmara islands. The town offers a plethora of hotels, bars, and clubs for entertainment, as well as wineries that tourists can visit and savor wine tasting experiences, as this region is renowned for its wine production.

Optimal Time to Visit: June, July, August, SeptemberLocation: Altıntepsi, Büyük İstanbul Otogari D:26, 34035 Bayrampaşa/İstanbul, TürkiyeDistance from Istanbul: 13.7 km

Avsa Island is a small seaside town with various tourists attractions.

9. Sapanca – With Astonishing Natural Surroundings

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This is a municipality situated in the Sakarya Province in the Marmara region and has recently gained popularity among tourists due to its breathtaking natural surroundings, the lake, and also its close proximity to the Kartepe ski resort, making it an ideal destination for winter sports enthusiasts. The municipality boasts numerous resorts and hotels, along with vibrant taverns, bars, and clubs that one can relish while visiting. It is among the finest places near Istanbul to explore by car.

Optimum Time to Visit: Late June to Early SeptemberLocation: Rüstempaşa, Petek Sk. No:3, 54600 Sapanca/Sakarya, TürkiyeDistance from Istanbul: 116 km

Sapanca is one of the most famous tourists destinations with amazing natural environment

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10. Rumeli Fortress – A Renowned Historical Site

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Rumeli Fortress, also recognized as Rumeli Hisarı, is a magnificent historical treasure nestled on the European side of Istanbul, Turkey. With a historical background tracing back to the 15th century, this impressive structure stands as evidence of the city’s wealthy heritage. Commissioned by Sultan Mehmed II in 1452, its primary objective was to secure control of the Bosporus Strait during the renowned Ottoman siege of Constantinople. Showcasing strategic positioning and resilient defensive walls, the fortress exhibits an extraordinary representation of military architecture from that era. Today, tourists flock to this UNESCO World Heritage site, astounded by its magnificence and reveling in the awe-inspiring views of the Bosporus.

Rumeli Fortress is one of the best places to visit near Istanbul that offers exceptional example of military architecture from the era.

Optimum Time to Visit: April to mid-June (Spring) and September to mid-October (Autumn)Location: Rumeli Hisarı, Yahya Kemal Cd., 34470 Sarıyer/İstanbul, TurkeyDistance from Istanbul: 22.7 km

11. Polonezkoy – A Petite Village

Image Credit: Nevit Dilmen for Wikimedia Commons



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      “Polonezkoy is a petite town situated on the Asian side of Istanbul approximately 30 kilometers away. It is abundant in natural beauty and one of the finest places to explore close to Istanbul. Because of its historical background, you can still come across a small Polish settlement in the village. The location has managed to preserve a superb village ambiance reminiscent of central European charm, which is highly suitable for outings, picnics, and leisurely strolls, particularly if you are accompanied by a loved one. Relish some delectable Turkish cuisines that are truly traditional in nature. The town has maintained an extensive area dedicated to verdant green forests, contributing to its rich environment. Some notable attractions worth visiting include Polonezköy Nature Park, İstanbul Butterfly Farm, and Nehir Park.

      Optimal Period of Visit: May, September, and OctoberLocation: Polonez34829 Beykoz/İstanbul, TürkiyeDistance from Istanbul: 40 km

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      12. Sile – An Enchanting Place

      Image Credit: Fatih Ahıskalı for Wikimedia Commons

      Sile is one of the most captivating destinations near Istanbul, adorned with numerous sandy beaches along its coastline. The sea conditions mirror those of the Black Sea, with frequent undertows. If you are planning to spend your summer in Turkey, Sile should be at the top of your list due to its ever-blowing winds, climate, and its status as an idyllic resort town. The fishermen’s harbor is another well-liked spot in Sile, where you can relish freshly caught fish at nearby restaurants. Some other popular attractions include Şile Aqua Beach, Şile Lighthouse, Ağlayan Kayalar Şile, and more.

      Optimal Period of Visit: July, August, and MayLocation: Şile İstanbul, TürkiyDistance from Istanbul: 83 km

      13. Agva – Be Astonished By The Magnificence

      Image Credit: orhanyunus18 for Pixabay

      Agva is another renowned resort town and one of the finest places to explore near Istanbul, if not the very best. The entire town is nestled between the tranquil waters of the Goksu and Agva rivers. You can revel in vast natural beauty and an expansive beach area surrounding Agva. The special allure of this place has made it a popular location for many Turkish films. Some marvelous spots to visit in Agva include Kilimli Dark Trekking Trails, Ağva Feneri, Ağva Plajı, Green Park, Bozgoca Köyü Cami, and Tatooine Beach.

      Optimal Time to Visit: May and AugustLocation: Ağva MerkezŞile/İstanbul, TürkiyeDistance from Istanbul: 109 km

      Further Read: 10 Routes For Hiking In Turkey For Both Novices And Advanced Trekkers

      These are some of the top spots near Istanbul for you to explore. Istanbul itself is a remarkable city with countless attractions and a vibrant culture, but if you have a spirit of adventure, then you should definitely check out these destinations and more as there is a multitude of places to discover nearby Istanbul. So, plan a trip to Istanbul right away and delve into the city inside and out.

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      Frequently Asked Questions About Spots Near Istanbul

      Which city is near Istanbul?

      Istanbul. For all cities with a population greater than five hundred thousand, Istanbul is nearest to Bursa and farthest from Auckland. The nearest foreign city is Bucharest and the furthest domestic city is Diyarbakir.

      What country is in proximity to Istanbul?

      Turkey is the closest country, the city is situated in the northwest of the country at the Bosporus (or Istanbul) strait, which connects the Black Sea with the Marmara Sea.

      What is adjacent to Turkey?

      Turkey shares its land boundary with eight countries: Iraq, Bulgaria, Georgia, Iraq, Greece, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Syria. The Turkey-Syria border is the longest, stretching a total of 511 miles, while the Turkey-Azerbaijan border is the shortest, at 6 miles in length.

      Which is the finest locality to stay in Istanbul?

      Sultanahmet. On the other part of the European side is Sultanahmet, which is the #1 area for tourism in Istanbul as it houses the Hagia Sofia, Blue Mosque, Topkapı Palace, and the movie-famous Basilica Cistern. You can stay here, but it’s slightly pricier in this area for shopping and food.

      What should I avoid in Istanbul?

      10 Things You Should Refrain From Doing in Istanbul:

      1. Don’t reside near the attractions.

      2. Don’t take the tram on Istiklal.

      3. Don’t shop on Istiklal.

      4. Don’t purchase apple tea.

      5. Don’t purchase everything you see on the bazaars.

      6. Don’t buy on bazaars without negotiating.

      7. Don’t hesitate to try street food.

      8. Don’t eat near touristic places.

      Which is the most exquisite city in Turkey?

      Istanbul. The nation’s biggest and most renowned city, Istanbul is the residence of some of the most exquisite structures and landscapes in the entirety of Turkey.

      What should I purchase in Istanbul?

      1. Turkish Tea (Chai) Extended as a gesture of hospitality to visitors in every household, Turkish black tea must be consumed plain without any dairy.
      2. Turkish Delight (Lokum)
      3. Evil Eye (Nazar)
      4. Glass Lamps.
      5. Turkish Towels (Peshtemal)
      6. Soap.
      7. Coffee Pot.
      8. Carpets & Rugs.

      Is it secure to travel to Istanbul?

      The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised that Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, and Ankara, its capital, are predominantly safe. Nevertheless, it cautions that, akin to other major cities, precautionary measures must be taken to evade the likelihood of getting involved in civil unrest or a terrorist attack.

      Which city is near Istanbul?

      The closest city to Istanbul in Turkey is Bursa, which is located approximately 150 kilometers away. If you plan on exploring Turkey, don’t miss out on nearby places like Prince Islands and Cappadocia.

      What country is near Istanbul?

      Istanbul is within Turkey, and the nation shares borders with eight other countries, namely Georgia, Greece, Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Syria, and Armenia. Istanbul is closest to Bulgaria, as it is situated at a distance of 417 kilometers.

      Is it secure to travel to Istanbul?

      Istanbul and Ankara are the two cities that have been declared safe for travel in Turkey. However, one must remain vigilant in a new city or country to avoid any unfortunate incidents.

      Can you consume tap water in Turkey?

      In general, it is not advisable to drink tap water in Turkey, as it is not treated like in many other countries. It is better to purchase bottled water for drinking and washing food items.

      How far is Istanbul from Santorini?

      The distance between Istanbul and Santorini is approximately 595 kilometers, which can be covered using various means of transportation according to your preference.

      How far is Bursa from Istanbul?

      The driving distance between Istanbul and Bursa is 250 kilometers, which can be traversed in a single day.

      Is there a ferry from Santorini to Istanbul?

      Unfortunately, there are no direct ferries from Santorini to Istanbul. Ferries are available from Santorini to Rhodes. The best way to reach Istanbul is by flying from Santorini to Athens and then to Istanbul.

      Is Turkey expensive to visit?

      Turkey is not a costly destination for tourists who are mindful of genuine prices. A well-planned itinerary and several affordable accommodation options make it an economical place to visit.

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