If you like secluded miniature cities where life slowly flows in its rhythm, then you should visit Edirne, Turkey. Among the travelers, only a few heard about this town, even less had time to visit its territory. This is probably due to the location of the place remote from the coast, but, nevertheless, in Edirne there are many attractions that deserve the attention of tourists. What is this city, what objects can you see here and how to get here, we describe in detail in our article.
Edirne is the city and administrative center of the province of the same name, spread in the north-west of the European region of Turkey. Its area is 844 km², and the population reaches almost 179 thousand people. Edirne is located near the border with Greece, 20 km from Bulgaria, and 240 km from Istanbul. The Marmara and Black Seas are located at approximately equal distance from the city, amounting to about 170 km.
Once the city served as the capital of the Ottoman Empire, but over the past two centuries it has lost its former meaning. Due to its border position, Edirne more than once became a tidbit for the conquerors and temporarily belonged to other states. He got it either Bulgaria or Greece, but in the end, he always returned to Turkey.
Today, travelers who are tired of the bustling streets of Istanbul are heading here to enjoy the tranquility of a small town. In addition to the peaceful atmosphere, tourists here find many historical sights, some of which are protected by UNESCO. A well-developed infrastructure, offering several convenient hotels and decent restaurants, helps organize a decent vacation for travelers.
Despite its low popularity, Edirne in Turkey is ready to offer its guests a walk through several interesting sites. Among them:
Built in 1574 by the famous architect Sinan, the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne became an outstanding example of Ottoman architecture. Surrounded by a flowering garden, it is located right in the center of the city and includes madrassas, a miniature market and several outbuildings. The mosque is distinguished by a huge dome with a diameter of 31 m, as well as four high minarets 71 m long. The remains of several sultans rest in the walls of the temple. The decoration of the shrine is dominated by skillful mosaics, calligraphic patterns, stained glass and carved marble products.
- Address: Meydan Mahallesi, Mimar Sinan Cd., 22020 Edirne Merkez / Edirne.
- Opening hours: tourists can get to the mosque in between prayers from 08:30 to 17:00.
- Cost of visit: free.
This mosque – the oldest attraction of Edirne, was once part of Selimiye, but was subsequently separated from it by a high stone fence. The structure was built in 1414: during its construction, limestone and stones were used, which were applied in layers to each other. At first glance, an uncomplicated building, with only two minarets, inside surprises with its calligraphic decor, floral ornaments and bright white-orange arches. The interiors of the building are literally saturated with the spirit of antiquity and monumentality. Of course, this temple cannot boast of the greatness of Selimiye, but it is worth a visit to get acquainted with the earlier architecture of Turkey.
- Address: Sabuni Mahallesi, 22100 Edirne Merkez / Edirne.
- Opening hours: You can visit the landmark in between prayers in the morning and afternoon.
- Cost of visit: free.
Among the attractions of Edirne in Turkey, it is worth noting the Medical Museum, which is located in the building of an old complex, built at the end of the 15th century under Sultan Bayazid II. Once there was a hospital, which was considered one of the most advanced medical facilities in the country. Today, the museum presents several collections distributed by field of medicine. Here you can look at medical instruments of different periods and get acquainted with the methods of treating diseases in previous centuries. The museum is located at the Bayazid mosque, so tourists at the same time have the opportunity to look into the walls of religious attractions.
- Address: Yeniimaret Mahallesi, 22000 Merkez / Edirne.
- Opening hours: on weekdays, the facility is open from 09:00 to 17:30, on weekends – from 09:00 to 19:30.
- Cost of visit: 5 TL.
Edirne has a very cozy corner where you can relax after a walk through the sights. This is Karaagac pedestrian street, tiled and surrounded by old wooden two-story houses. There are several cafes and restaurants, as well as shops. The calm and peaceful atmosphere helps to relax and enjoy the local scenery.
A small old bridge with pretty arches stretches across the Merik River. It was built in 1842 and is of historical value to the city. The structure itself is quite ordinary, but very picturesque landscapes open from the river banks, so here you can make beautiful photos of Edirne. Many tourists come to the bridge to stay on the beach, observe nature and find a sense of calm.
Accommodation in Edirne
Edirne does not pamper with a wide choice of accommodation for every taste, but you can still find a hotel here at a very reasonable price. Among the accommodation options you will see hostels, apartments and hotels of the category 2-3 stars. It is curious that there is a five-star establishment in the city, but only in a single copy.
And if you can stay in a budget hostel for 100-150 TL for two in one night, then in 3 * hotels prices are much higher. So, renting a double room in such a hotel will cost about 250-300 TL. The cheapest option we found at a 3 * hotel offers a price of 210 TL per day for two. The plus is that in most of these offers breakfast is included.
But there are plenty of catering establishments in Edirne, as in many small cities in Turkey. Many establishments serve national cuisine, but you can find a couple of restaurants with a European menu. Having lunch together at a mid-level establishment will cost about 50-60 TL. But tourists always have the opportunity to enjoy street food in the form of a dancer or a chi-koft, the final check for which will be no more than 15-25 TL for two.
How to get there
Edirne does not have its own airport, but two airports are relatively close to it. The first, Keşan Havaalanı, is 121 km from the city, the second, Tekirdağ Çorlu Airport, is 150 km away. Both air harbors are intended only for domestic flights, so it’s logical to use them only if you are in Turkey in a remote area from Istanbul. The nearest international airport to Edirne is Istanbul Ataturk, located 231 km from the city. You can get from Istanbul to Edirne either by train or by bus.
To use the railways, you need to get to the Halkalı district of Istanbul, 9 km from Ataturk Airport. The train leaves from the local railway station daily at 18:00. The fare is 24.5 TL. You can leave from Edirne to Istanbul from Kapıkule station at 07:25 at the same price.
To get to the city by bus, first you need to get to the Istanbul bus station Esenler Otogarı, located in the European part of the metropolis. Arriving at the station is quite easy by metro (you need to land at the Otogar İstasyonu station). Buses depart in Edirne from 05:00 to 22:00 at intervals of 30-60 minutes. The ticket costs 50 TL, and the travel time takes from 2.5 to 3 hours.
In addition, you always have the opportunity to leave for Edirne from Istanbul in a rented car. So, the most budget car can be rented for 85 TL per day. It is best to go along the European highway E-80. If you leave the center of the metropolis, the road will take about 3.5 hours.
Every traveler sometimes wants to escape from the hustle and bustle of big cities and get acquainted with some quiet place. If you are overcome by such a desire, then go to Edirne, Turkey. Unspoiled by tourists, the city has retained its authenticity and is ready to open you to hidden corners.