Edirne is a historical city along the borders of Greece and Bulgaria, 235 km west of Istanbul making it a feasible destination for a day trip. It is historically known as Adrianople and was the second capital of the Ottoman Empire after Bursa.
I spent a couple of days in the city after crossing into Turkey from Bulgaria and explored the city. In my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful cities in Turkey which you shouldn't miss. It is not very touristy and you can experience a different side of Turkey which you won't see in more touristy cities like Istanbul, Izmir and Antalya etc.
Edirne is well connected to major cities throughout Turkey and into Europe by a network of highways so it's going to be an easy drive. The city is on the main highways linking Istanbul and Europe. A drive won't take more than two and a half hours from Istanbul to Edirne if you travel on the motorway.
The easiest and cheapest way to reach Edirne is by bus from Istanbul. There are many departures at various times. It takes 2 hours 45 min approx. The Bus station (Otogar) of Edirne is located outside of the city but minibuses will take you to the city centre and stop right in front of the Selimiye Mosque which is the final stop. A local bus (1A or 3B) will take you back to the Bus station (Otogar).
You can also take a bus from Sofia or Plovdiv (Bulgaria) to Edirne. Have a look at the website of Metro Torizm for actual time table and fares.
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Selimiye Mosque is a 16th-century architectural masterpiece designed by the most famous architect of Ottoman Empire, Sinan, who considered it as his best work. Selimiye Mosque was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage site in 2011. It is one of the most beautiful mosques I visited during my travel in Turkey. The dome of the building had the largest diameter (31.28 m) of all domes in the world for many centuries and its minarets are among the highest minarets (70.89 m) in the world. The mosque has 999 windows in total, which according to Mimar Sinan, symbolize the perfectness of God. The dome and interior walls are decorated with calligraphy. So, if you have admired the Blue mosque of Istanbul, you are sure to adore this one as well!
In front of Selimiye Mosque is the statue of Sinan, the Chief architect of the Ottoman Empire. He designed more than 300 major structures around the world and his legacy was carried on by his apprentices who designed numerous monuments of great historical importance such the bridge of Mostar in Bosnia and the Taj Mahal in India.
The Bazaar is located next to the Selimiye Mosque and was designed by none other than Mimar Sinan. You can enter the Bazaar after visiting the Mosque. The Bazaar is fully covered and you can buy some typical Turkish souvenirs and delights especially Almond paste. It is much smaller in comparison to the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul.
Inside the Sultan Beyazıt II Mosque Complex is the museum of health. It was a hospital under the Ottoman Empire and now a museum. Here you can see the history of Islamic medicine and the story of innovative treatments during the Ottoman era.
There were around 20,000 Sephardic Jews in Edirne. This synagogue was built in 1906 and opened to public after restoration work in 2015.
The tower of Macedonia is known as the watchtower, named as such perhaps because it roughly watches the direction of Macedonia. A round and robust tower you should visit while visiting Ali pasha Bazar because it is 10 min walk on the opposite side of the road. It's possible to enter the tower itself, but impossible to climb upstairs.
Just outside of the city centre are two historical old bridges. It's a very nice place to visit especially around sunset time. There are a number of options available to you if you are interested in having a meal there. Try Villa restaurants. There are also cafes on both corners of the bridge.
It is prepared in a unique way with flour which is then deep-fried inside boiling vegetable oil and served with crunchy pepper. If you are one of those who don't like the smell of liver then you should be pretty sure that you won't sense it in Edirne liver.
Another local food spot is Kofteci Osman which is great in Turkish flavours. Their specialities are Turkish locals such as meatballs and fried liver. It's situated next to the old mosque and I'm sure it's gonna give you a Turkish dining experience.
There are plenty of options to stay overnight in Edirne. I stayed just outside of city centre in Alan Suites. I paid only 20€ and their breakfast was probably among the best I had in Turkey (Highly recommended).