Where History Comes Alive: 7 Best Day Trips From Istanbul, Turkey


Istanbul, historically known as Constantinople and Byzantium, is Turkey’s most populous city and the most diverse in culture. Located on both sides of the Bosphorus, the narrow strait between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea, Istanbul is the base hub for those who want to explore Turkey. As one of the most desirable tourist destinations, Istanbul is full of choices on how you want to explore the city, surrounding area, and Turkey as a country. With its complete transportation infrastructure, you can explore some parts of Turkey with a day trip.

1. Full day Istanbul two continents in one city tour (from USD 97.0)

It’s Istanbul within one day! You will be taken to cross the Bosphorus Bridge from the European side and explore the Asian side of Istanbul with its famous Camlica Hill and Beylerbeyi Palace. You will end your Asian side trip with a visit to the most fragrant and colorful spices market, the Egyptian Spice Bazaar. You will return to the European side with a cruise on the Bosphorus River and great views of Dolmabahce Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, waterfront mansions and the stunning city skyline.

Full Day Istanbul Two Continents in One City Tour

Duration: 8 hours

1 review

2. Gallipoli day trip from Istanbul (from USD 320.0)

Anzac Cove3
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Romtobbi used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Gallipoli peninsula is a protected national park with numerous grave sites and memorials to remember the Battle of Gallipoli, an attempt to capture Constantinople (Istanbul), the Ottoman Empire capital, by the Allied forces and ANZAC troops at the Strait of Dardanelles during World War I. Learn about the bloody battles between the Allied forces and Turkish troops along the beaches of the Gallipoli peninsula and pay your respects at the poignant memorials.

Istanbul to Gallipoli Day Trip with Return Transfer and Lunch

Duration: 18 hours

24 reviews

3. Troy day trip from Istanbul (from USD 128.0)

Troy (and a trojan horse) (8709942456)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jorge Láscar used under CC BY 2.0

As a UNESCO World Heritage, the ancient city of Troy has a rich history and Greek mythology for you to explore during your day trip to this archeological site. The ancient city of Troy existed nearly 4,000 years and it was the first link between Anatolia and the rest of the Mediterranean before becoming a kingdom. Listen to the famous Trojan history and its mythological story about a Trojan prince (Paris), who stole Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta, and caused the 10-year Trojan War. Don’t forget to visit the replica statue of the wooden Trojan Horse, the iconic image of this legendary war.

Day Tour - Troy Tour from Istanbul

Duration: 12 hours

113 reviews

4. Small-group Ephesus and the House of Virgin Mary day trip from Istanbul (from USD 380.0)

Ephesus Celsus Library Façade
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Benh LIEU SONG used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Explore the Asian sides of Turkey with a day trip from Istanbul to the House of Virgin Mary and Ruin of Ephesus. Travel back in time nearly two millennia and discover the Ruin of Ephesus with its famous Celsus Library, the stunning Great Theatre, and the ruins of the Temple of Artemis. Continue to a visit to the House of Virgin Mary, which is believed to be her last resting place and her story.

Ephesus, House of Virgin Mary Small-Group Tour from Istanbul

Duration: 15 hours

88 reviews

5. Prince Islands tour from Istanbul (from USD 40.0)

Adalar 5540
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user User:Darwinek used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Let’s go to the beach and enjoy the Marmara Sea! This island day tour from Istanbul will take you to Prince Islands such as Heybeliada and Buyukada islands at the Marmara Sea, which was once famous as a relaxing place for the princes of the Byzantine Empire.

Soak under the sun and take a dip in the Marmara Sea. And enjoy delicious lunch at a fish restaurant before you go back to relax at the beach. It’s a relaxing trip in between your busy itineraries.

Princes' Islands Tour from Istanbul

Duration: 7 hours

19 reviews

6. Black Sea Sile and Agva full-day tour from Istanbul (from USD 43.69)

Şile 6921
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user User:Darwinek used under CC BY-SA 3.0

You have discovered Bosphorus Strait and the Marmara Sea; it’s time for you to explore the Black Sea. Head northeast of Istanbul on the Anatolian side to Sile, a small Black Sea fishing town. Sile is famous for its sandy beaches and open-weave cotton fabric, as well as the busy fishing harbor for ships sailing east from the Bosphorus. Take a cup of Turkish tea at the hilltop café while you enjoy the scenic panorama of Sile with its iconic lighthouse.

At Agva, you will take a boat ride down to the Goksu River while enjoying the rich green landscapes of Agva. Make sure you have local fish for your lunch. Enjoy the rest of your day by relaxing at Agva’s sandy beach. This tour isn’t available every day, so make sure to check the available dates with your tour agent.

Black Sea Sile and Agva Full-Day Tour from Istanbul

Duration: 10 hour

15 reviews

7. Bursa full-day tour from Istanbul: Green Mosque, Mt. Olympus (from USD 60.0)

Green Mosque in Bursa
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Brücke-Osteuropa used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Bursa was the first capital of Ottoman Empire and famous for its Green Mosque and Mount Olympus as tourist destinations. You can take this full day tour to Bursa by crossing the Marmara Sea. In Bursa, you will get the chance to explore the Green Mosque and historic bazaar and sample some of the local produce of the regions such as chestnuts, honey, olives, Turkish delights, and more. At lunchtime, you will ride a teleferique up to Mount Olympus for a Turkish BBQ lunch and visit the famous teahouse to learn about Bursa’s historic artisans, or you can go further to the ski slopes for a spot of skiing.

Bursa Full-Day Tour From Istanbul

Duration: 15 hours

Where history comes alive

Istanbul is the place where the modern era walks hand in hand with the city and country’s history.

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I’m an Indonesian girl who loves to travel the world. I’ve been to 4 continents, 17 countries, and still counting for more. I’m a Communication Specialist, Marketing Consultant, and Freelance...Read more

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