Bursa lies in the northwestern part of Turkey near the Sea of Marmara, about 20 km inland.
Bursa was the first major city the Ottomans, who started as a small emirate in the countryside just east of Bursa, had taken control of. As such, it served as the first capital city of the Ottoman Empire, from 1326, when it was captured from the Byzantines, to 1365, when the capital was moved to Edirne in European Turkey, as sultans started to turn their attention to Europe. Most of the historic sights of the city date back to this early period of the Ottomans.
Today, with a population of more than 2,500,000, Bursa is the fourth largest city in Turkey after Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir. It is famous for its peach, chestnut, and silk, although lately, heavy industry located in the outskirts of the city has surpassed these traditional industries.
Furthermore, Uludağ—one of the highest mountains in Turkey—lies very close to Bursa and is the main winter sports center of Turkey.
An airport serving domestic and a couple of international flights can be found in Bursa (Yenişehir Airport, IATA: YEI, ICAO: LTBR). However, in order to get to Bursa from most countries by plane, you will have to take a transit flight via one of Turkey's international airports. Istanbul's Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen are the nearest major international airports, and with a ferry connection, form the most common way of getting to the city.
There are several international and domestic flights to Bursa.
There is no railway in and around Bursa.
However, when coming from Ankara, you can take the high-speed train (YHT) to Eskişehir, which is located about the mid-way, and then transfer to the bus heading for Bursa there, which is provided by Turkish State Railways and departs right in front of the station. This combined trip takes around 4 hours (as opposed to 5 and a half hours by bus only), and there are seven fast train departures daily from Ankara.
Highways that are fairly wide and in good condition connect the city to north (D575/E881, from İzmit, Yalova, and Istanbul, the shortest route from last of which involves taking a ferry to Yalova), west (D200/E90 from Balıkesir with a connection to D565 from Izmir in the southwest), and east (D200/E90 from Eskişehir and Ankara, with a connection to D650 from Antalya in the south).
Buses from Istanbul take at least 3 hours to reach Bursa but the trip can take over 4 depending on the traffic and cost about 20 TL. Note that the main Istabul bus station (Otogar) can be a bit overwhelming with many companies on site and no central office; rather it is easiest if you know which company you want to travel with when you arrive and then find their offices. Many companies have buses leaving every hour or even half hour including Kamil Koc, Pamukkale, and Nilufer.
There are bus services from all major cities to Bursa such as Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Antalya. Prices vary from 10 to 50 Euros based on the distance.
All intercity buses will leave you at the very modern Terminal Bus Station about 10kms outside the city on the Istanbul motorway. Take the very frequent turquoise coloured mini buses marked 'HEYKEL' (1.25 TL) which will let you off right in the centre of Bursa opposite Ulucamii or the Great Mosque (or alternatively you can take the yellow bus 38 from the terminal into downtown - to return to the bus terminal get on the same bus going in the same direction, as #38 goes in a loop between downtown and the bus terminal - 2.50 TL to buy a ticket, available at many kiosks on the street).
This is the fastest option from Istanbul:
Take the Yenikapı-Bursa ferry from Istanbul Yenikapı terminal (in the European part of Istanbul near Sultanahmet) to Güzelyalı (80 minutes - 20 Lira).
Güzelyalı is about 20km from Bursa so buses meet the ferry to take passengers to Organize Sanayi metro station (30mins - 3 Lira) in the outer suburbs of the city.
Take the metro to downtown Bursa - get off at Şehre Küstü station for the old section of the city close to the market area (30mins - 2 Lira). The whole journey from Istanbul to the centre of Bursa will take about 2.5 to 3 hours.
It's also possible to transit through Yalova fast ferry jetty, about an hour bus ride (which costs 9 TL pp) north of Bursa.
The ferries operated by İDO can leave from Yenikapı, kabataş, or kadıköy. Tickets can be booked online.
The ferries operated by "BUDO" run only from kabataş to Mudanya and you can take one of three buses to the metro stations.
The city has a metro line connecting downtown with suburbs in the northwest. There is also an extensive bus and dolmuş network. The dolmuşes in Bursa are more likely to be a normal looking white car with a sign on the roof rather than the yellow minibuses that are common in Istanbul.
The Bursa Metro is called Bursaray - for information in Turkish: Bursaray and a map
Ulucami, (in downtown), . The "great mosque" of Bursa. Built in early Ottoman period, in 1399, it resembles more of earlier Seljuq buildings of inland Anatolia than the typical Ottoman mosques such as Blue Mosque of Istanbul built later. Ulucamii is perhaps most reknown for the striking calligraphic panels that adorn its walls and columns as well as the fountain within the mosque whose trickling sounds contribute to its serene atmosphere. edit
Orhan Camii ve Külliyesi (Orhan Mosque)
Yeşil Camii(Green Mosque)This mosque is in the Yesil or 'green' district of Bursa just left over the bridge. It contains a wonderful Turbe or tomb completely covered by tiles inside and out. The mosque opposite is very unusual in that it has a fountain inside the prayer area - with lots of legends attached to it. It is also built in a cruciform shape. No one knows why. Beside it are tea gardens with spectacular views over the Bursa valley and Uludag mountain.
Yeşil Türbe(Green Tomb) is the tomb of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed I (1412-1420) and is the iconic monument of the city.
Emir Sultan Türbesi
Gazi Timurtaş Paşa Türbesi
Gazi Osman Türbesi is the tomb of the first Ottoman sultan located in the Tophane district
Orhan Gazi Türbesi is the tomb of the second Ottoman sultan, the son of Osman. It's located immediately next to his father's tomb in the Tophane district.
The Muradiye Complex surrounding the Muradiye Mosque is a small necropolis filled with tombs of illustrious Ottoman figures such as Murat II; Prince Mustafa, son of Suleiman the Great; Gülbahar Hanım, midwife of Mehmet the Conqueror and various wives of sultans.
Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, (Part of Yeşil Camii complex). Jewelry boxes, vases and pottery, belts an, accessories and clothes, tools, manuscripts, and more. Small, but free museum is worth seeing if you are already at at Yeşil Camii and Yeşil Türbe.Free. edit
İnkaya — a huge centuries-old (well, approximately 600 years, to be precisely) plane (Platanus orientalis) tree with an open-air café sheltered by its deep shadow, on the foothills of (and just off the road to) Uludağ.
Darüzziyafe. A poorhouse during the Ottoman period, this building now serves as a family restaurant (with no alcohol service).It is a stunningly restored building in the Muradiye district of Bursa. The garden has wonderful views of Bursa. The cuisine is pure Ottoman and difficult to find in a modern Turkish city.
Sarı Konak In Tophane.
Irgandı Köprüsü (Bridge)in Setbasi.Its an old version of shopping malls.There are small shops on bridge.
Yeni Kaplica (Termal Hotel and Baths), Kukurtlu Mh. Cekirge Cadd (Immediately down from the Celik Palais Hotel), ☎ 0224 2366968, . An experience not to be missed while visiting Bursa for anyone interested in a relaxing thermal bath. The mineral water boils up from below the extensive baths built in 1555 and flows into a large central pool from a lion's head fixed into the wall. The baths are anything but touristy but the staff are used to tourists. Not a word of Turkish is necessary! The building remains unchanged since it was built by the Vizer 'Kara Mustafa' or 'Black Mustafa'. It is a large multi roomed building with a wonderful sense of space and proportion. it is modeled on the Roman Baths rather than a hamam as pools - or non-flowing water were never permitted under Islam. This is the exception. A good rubdown (kese) and a massage are essential. Afterwards just go for a nap in one of the beds provided wrapped in towels. Bliss.12 tl. edit
Try the İskender kebap, a dish originated from Bursa. İskender consists of roasted, sliced lamb spread atop diced bread pieces, topped with tomato sauce, served with yoghurt. A similar dish, meatballs instead of sliced lamb only, would be Pideli Köfte which is definitely cheaper and perhaps more delicious. Go to Kayhan Carsisi, very close to Heykel, for best options. Candied Chestnut is the best choice for dessert but sadly you cannot get it from a restaurant.
İskender, Ünlü Cadde (near Heykel), . Restaurant is named after the dish since the owners are descendants of the person who "invented" the dish.edit
Pidecioğlu, Bozkurt Caddesi (just off Altiparmak Caddesi, near the Bursaspor stadium). Another good İskender kebab restaurant.edit
Çiçek Izgara, Belediye Caddesi 15, Heykel. A meat ball restaurant referred to by many Turkish novelists.edit
Hacı Dayı is a kebab restaurant in the Tophane district with tasty dishes and large portion sizes for a decent price. Look for it right behind the tombs of Osman and Orhan.
Biricik Bistro Cafe & Restaurant, Okul sokak no: 2 A Mustafakemalpasa BURSA (Mustafakemalpasa center, 20 meters away from the Kipa supermarket just across the 14 Eylul ilkogretimokulu), ☎ 90 224 6136170, . 6 am to midnight. Biricik Bistro Cafe & Restaurant is a great place to taste the delicious Turkish cuisine including Central Asian dishes with a good price where you can have the great service and first quality drinks and many traditional tastes such as the Kemalpasa desert (Kemalpasa tatlisi) or Kunefe (Traditional Turkish Cheese desert). Salads, Kebabs, Soups, Mezes, Fishes, Grills, Deserts etc. Any pick from the rich menu will please you and comes with many free side dishes (Mezes). Breakfast is also available and is surprisingly good . You can feel and live the real Turkish soul in this lovely garden with a very decent price. They also have a very efficient heating system on the garden which makes it a good choice for winter time too. Free fast WiFi available for customers. edit
Açelya Hotel, İnönü Caddesi 73 (city center; from the main bus terminal take bus 38, get off a few stops after the Grand Mosque), ☎ +90 224 223-01-66 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +90 224 221-42-75). Clean and small hotel in the city center. Homely atmosphere. You can walk to Bazaar and historical places from the Hotel easily.edit
Çeşmeli Hotel, Gümüşçeken Cad. 6, ☎ +90 224 224 15 11 - 12. right in the heart of Bursa in Heykel this hotel is unusual in that it is owned by two sisters and all the employees are women. The Hotel gets it's name "with drinking fountain" from the fountain in the wall of the hotel - much appreciated by locals in the summer. I've updated the price so that you have the most current information. single 70 TL. edit
Safran Otel, Ortapazar Cadessi, Arka Sok, 4 (just inside Sultanat Kapi (old city wall gates)), ☎ 224-7216 (email@example.com). Very nice small hotel in a recently renovated old house close to the centre of town. Staff are very friendly and helpful. Rooms on the ground floor tend to be a little noisy. Note that Googlemaps has this hotel listed twice with one incorrect location. The correct location is just inside the city gate closest to the covered markets.140TL double with breakfast. edit
Hampton Inn, Yeni Yalova Caddesi No 347 (Just North of Avrupa Konseyi Blvd), ☎ 90-224-400 0404, . Sleek, modern, tower with 10 stories of occupancy. Fitness center, conference room. Very good breakfast buffet too! Also available for 7500 HHonors points.69 Euro double or family room (queen bed + queen sofa bed) with breakfast. edit
The best budget hotel you can stay is "Hotel Gonluferah", around EUR 70 per night, but having rooms with great views of the city as the hotel is located on the way to the Uludag mountain.