Earth : Europe : Turkey : Marmara (region) : Eastern Thrace : Corlu
Çorlu (pronounced CHOR-loo) is a rapidly growing industrial city in Eastern Thrace, Turkey with more than 200,000 inhabitants. Administratively, Çorlu is a town (ilçe) under the Tekirdağ province (il), despite having a larger population than Tekirdağ.
Buses from Istanbul. They depart at about any time (except late at night), costing 12 TL. İstanbul Seyahat (tel 444 59 59, dialed without a prefix anywhere in Turkey, except cell phones from which +90 212 444 59 59 should be dialed) is one of the bus companies connecting Corlu with Istanbul.
There are minibuses run by Elbirlik Koop., leaving on fixed hours (about every 15 minutes between 6:30AM and 9PM daily) from nearby coastal city of Tekirdağ, which cost 6 TL pp and take around 30 minutes.
There are also minibus taxis (dolmuş taksi) which start from near the army base in the centre of town. These offer an express service to the surrounding towns, the coastal villages, Tekirdağ, Edirne, and even Istanbul, for not much more than the bus. The downside is that the times tend not to be fixed—the taxi leaves when it is full.
The buses go to the main otogar in Istanbul, although you can specify a through ticket, which will mean (for a small surcharge) you can be dropped on the Asian side, usually in Uskudar or Kadikoy. Small service buses also offer free transfers to main routes from either the bus station or the bus company's office. In terms of time, it takes around 2 hours to the main Istanbul bus station when it is busy, another half hour to either cross Istanbul to the Asian side or to get to Ataturk airport, and perhaps another hour to transfer from there to the new airport, Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (IATA: SAW) , on the Asian side.
Çorlu's tiny bus station/otogar (especially when considering the size of the city it serves) lies at the western edge of the city centre, with very frequent (more than once every minute during daytime) minibuses to downtown departing from or calling at the bus stop on the street next to it. A leisurely stroll takes only about 20 minutes to central square from otogar, though, so that's an option too if you don't have a heavy backpack.
Since the city terminal cannot handle all the bus traffic most buses stop at Orion Mall crossroad. If you need to arrive this (eastern) part of the city, you need not to go to the terminal (otogar).
There are two daily trains from Istanbul’s Sirkeci Station (one departing at 8:30AM and the other at 3:50PM) which call at Çorlu station, which is situated about 5 km west of city (transportation to the city centre is possible by minibuses which depart from right in front of the station; they can be found waiting passengers at every train's arrival time). Corresponding trains from Edirne in the west to Istanbul also call at the station.
A twice-daily service from Tekirdağ started recently as well. While the train ride itself is a bargain (2 TL pp—less than half of what you'd pay to minibus), with the stations at both ends of the line being quite away from respective city centres means that it's not as convenient as intertown minibuses, and when the fares for connecting minibuses to/from the city centres added, it's not particularly cheap, either.
Corlu is conveniently located on highways D100 and O-3/E80 (motorway/toll-road) which link Istanbul with Europe. There are also secondary roads from other directions.
It takes just over an hour to get to Istanbul which is 100 km away, although this can be doubled during busy times.
Cheap minibuses (a.k.a dolmuş) (which costs around 1.50 TL per people from one edge of the city to the other, i.e. a trip of 25–30 minutes) ply the route along the main road in and out of town (Ataturk Boulevard, Atatürk Bulvarı, which skirts the southern edge of city centre). Since 2011, there are also buses on the same routes—run by the Çorlu Municipality (Turkish: Çorlu Belediyesi, which you will see on buses). The fare on the municipality buses are cheaper than minibuses (around 0.90 TL) provided that you have a magnetic bus card. Cash payment option is also possible on the bus, however a bit more expensive (~1.50 TL). Most buses stop running after midnight but minibuses do not have a stable schedule.
The centre is flat, very compact and walkable. Omurtak Caddesi, two blocks north of Atatürk Bulvarı is the main drag of the city centre.
One might be tempted to cycle around the city, since it is flat. However, like the rest of Turkey, motorists do not yield or respect motorcyclists, let alone cyclists. If one really has to cycle around the city or between the surrounding villages then one has to keep on the safety lane (wherever available) with extreme caution and always yield for the motorists. Else there can be dire consequences.
Çorlu has very little in terms of sights to pursue as once-elegant old town landscape of mostly wooden houses were knocked down in favour of soulless concrete blocks due to urbanization pressures.
Wander around the villages north of the D100, as you enter Corlu, by bicycle. There are numerous quiet, shady spots under trees to have picnics, especially behind the Emlak Bank housing estate. Please do note that there are no separate bicycle lanes and the vehicle drivers yield absolutely no priority to the bicycle riders.
Textile fabrics which are produced in factories located around the city. Some factories have a sale shop. There is also an outlet stores complex named Avantaj located about 15 km north of the city (on the highway to Cerkezkoy), which also offers tax-free shopping opportunities.
There is also a large shopping mall named Orion at the eastern end of the city, on the highway to Istanbul. Many minibuses head there from city centre.
There are surely various bars/beer-houses outside of the center with lower prices and special offers. It is best to visit those with a local. Almost all bars close by 1 or 2 A.M.
Northwestern part of the town (off the road to Çerkezköy from city centre) includes a district called Kore Mahallesi which is exclusively inhabited by Roma people. It is often avoided by the locals and travelers are strongly advised not to venture further into this district.
Corlu is a good place to get private medical care. There is a very reasonable, highly professional private hospital on Ataturk Boulevard, on the left as you come from Istanbul. A range of cheap check ups is available (for around 5 euros each), and there is, conveniently, a good-value 3 star hotel next door. Given Corlu's compact size and relative lack of traffic, this is a good place to recuperate after hard travelling around the region, and get minor ailments fixed before moving on.
Tap water is never drinkable, so it is best to buy bottled or demijohn water.
The air (especially in winters) is very polluted. Actually, the air of Çorlu is one of the most polluted in the country.