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I am planning a long and quiet holiday in Turkey, and looking for a cozy city around Istanbul. Since I arrive at Istanbul airport, I wish to find a nice city around Istanbul (less than 200km far) to travel with bus. I prefer European part of Turkey, but I was unable to find a popular destination there.

Do you know a cozy and cheap place around Istanbul? And how can I find an apartment there before arrival (online websites and booking are mainly for major tourist destination like Istanbul and southern cities)?

UPDATE: I do not care about common tourist attractions (like beach, mountain, etc). I just want to have a relaxing holiday while I study and work with my computer, and occasionally walking around. Requirements are only:

  1. Good accessibility from Istanbul airport.

  2. Availability of apartment for short-term rent.

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Do you mean a city or a place in the neighborhood of Istanbul? If the former, "kaysery" is a nice place and not as crowded as Istanbul. –  Gigili Mar 25 '12 at 14:55
    
Not much different, I just want to avoid another long trip from Istanbul. A city, neighborhood, ... I will check kaysery out! Thanks! –  All Mar 25 '12 at 15:47
3  
could you be more specific? Currently within 400km there are still many, many villages, town and cities. What type of destination are you looking for? Should it have a beach? Mountains? Etc. As it stands this question is a bit too vague and is in danger of being closed, so please do update it with some more detail. Thanks! –  Mark Mayo Mar 25 '12 at 21:22
    
@MarkMayo I clarified my requirements! –  All Mar 26 '12 at 2:36
    
@Gigili I checked kaysery, it is in the center of Turkey quite far from Istanbul. I prefer European part at northwest. –  All Mar 26 '12 at 2:41

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

There's a pretty little seaside village not far from Istanbul called Trilye (also known as Zeytinbağı) near the town of Mudanya, on the south shore of the Marmara Sea.

Trilye is easier to get to than Abant or Sapanca if you are starting from Istanbul's Atatürk Airport. If you are flying to Sabiha Gökçen Airport, then the reverse is true. It's a good idea to check which one you are landing at before making plans.

You can reach Mudanya by ferry, from the Yenikapı terminal, which lies due east of Atatürk Airport. I don't know the current schedule, but the Mudanya ferry used to leave İstanbul in the early evening. You can find the latest at the İDO website: İstanbul Deniz Otobüsleri.

From Mudanya, it is only perhaps 5km to Trilye and is served by minibus or taxi. When I went, there were only two hotels in Trilye, but in this season it won't be busy. It is possible to stay in Mudanya itself, which is also quite pleasant. Personally, I found Trilye much nicer than Sapanca.

You might also want to consider İznik, which is also a ferry and bus ride away from Istanbul.

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I found a newspaper article about Istanbul countryside. This is:

Ditching the guidebook to explore the green and pleasant lands around Istanbul.

Excerpts:

... Just two hours away from the former capital of the Roman Empire, serene Lake Sapanca's welcoming 40km shoreline tempts picnicing travellers and boutique spa hotels make for a beautiful overnight stay.

And just west from where the Sakayra river meets the Black Sea is Acarlar Longozu, a 16km stretch of water once dominated by ash trees and now billed as the world’s second-largest underwater forest...

...Perhaps a better-known watery stop-off, is the pristine Lake Abant, which sits 1,328m above sea level and has a positively alpine feel to it. If the locals are to be believed, Prince Charles and Camilla have holidayed here, looking for a little peace and quiet.

I can certainly see why they would. Surrounded by pine trees in the steep hills that border the water’s edge, this is a perfect spot to while away a day when the sun is out. Horse riding is an option, although a leisurely picnic and gentle walk seem to fit with the backdrop of the calm waters...

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very nice suggestion! This is the kind of place I meant! –  All Mar 26 '12 at 7:44

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