Welcome to Istanbul, a city where cultures intertwine and history is vibrant. But sometimes, amid the hustle and bustle, we long for a brief escape, don’t we? Lucky for you, we have compiled a list of 10 weekend getaways near Istanbul. So, pack your bags, fill up the tank, and get ready to explore the beautiful locales that lay just a short drive from Istanbul!

Istanbul, a city known for its enchanting skyline and a unique blend of Asian and European influences, is indeed a treasure to explore. Yet, we often find ourselves yearning for a getaway, a change of scenery, something different than our daily lives. Let’s embark on an imaginary journey to places close to Istanbul that offer that break from the routine.

1. Sapanca


Picture this: a serene lake surrounded by lush greenery, where you can enjoy peaceful nature walks or adventurous cycling. Sapanca, with its charming lake and mountain views, offers just this! A quick 1.5-hour drive from Istanbul, Sapanca is a perfect weekend retreat.

2. Polonezköy


Looking for an international vibe close to home? Visit Polonezköy, a Polish village just outside Istanbul. With its unique heritage and delicious Polish cuisine, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a different country!

3. Ağva


If the sea and sand are more your style, Ağva is your ideal destination. Nestled between the Göksu and Yeşilçay rivers, this beautiful seaside town is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and canoeing. Don’t forget to check out the Kilimli Bay while you’re there!

4. Şile


Famous for its sandy beaches and quaint lighthouse, Şile is a perfect blend of culture and relaxation. After soaking up the sun, enjoy a stroll through the bustling bazaars and take home a piece of Şile’s famous handmade cloth.

5. Bursa


Take a step back in time by visiting Bursa, the first capital of the Ottoman Empire. Rich in history and tradition, Bursa is renowned for its thermal baths and stunning architecture. While you’re there, indulge in the famous Bursa Iskender Kebab – you won’t regret it!

6. Çatalca


If you love hiking and exploring caves, Çatalca is the spot for you. Take a day to trek through Kuzuyayla Nature Park and explore the Yanıkköy Caves. Don’t forget your camera – the panoramic views are absolutely breathtaking!

7. Abant Lake

Abant Lake

The mirror-like Abant Lake, surrounded by thick forests and a mountainous backdrop, is truly a sight to behold. Whether you want to picnic by the lake, fish, or hike the surrounding trails, Abant offers a rejuvenating escape.

8. Belgrad Forest

Belgrad Forest

A short drive from the city center, you’ll find yourself in the heart of nature at the Belgrad Forest. A favorite among joggers and picnic enthusiasts, this forest offers a refreshing change of scenery within Istanbul’s city limits.

9. Kilyos


The perfect place to soak up the sun, Kilyos is home to some of Istanbul’s best beaches. During the summer months, it’s also a popular spot for music festivals and events. So, why not mix a little partying with your beach time?

10. Kartepe


If you’re into winter sports, Kartepe is the place for you. This popular ski resort offers various winter activities, ensuring fun for everyone. But don’t worry if you’re not a winter person, Kartepe’s green plateaus in summer are equally enchanting.

Istanbul is not just about historic sites and bustling markets. Just a stone’s throw away lie breathtaking locations offering a refreshing change. Whether it’s the serene lakes of Sapanca, the international charm of Polonezköy, or the beach life of Kilyos, there’s a weekend getaway for everyone. So, why wait? Pack your bags and hit the road!


1. How far is Sapanca from Istanbul?

Sapanca is approximately 130 kilometers away from Istanbul, making it a quick 1.5-hour drive.

2. What activities can I do in Ağva?

Ağva offers a wide range of activities including sunbathing, swimming, canoeing, and exploring the scenic beauty of Kilimli Bay.

3. What is unique about Polonezköy?

Polonezköy, originally a Polish village, maintains its unique heritage and is known for its traditional Polish cuisine.

4. Can I swim in Abant Lake?

Swimming is not recommended in Abant Lake. However, there are plenty of other activities like fishing, hiking, and picnicking to enjoy.

5. Is Kartepe suitable for summer visits?

Yes, Kartepe’s green plateaus in summer offer a pleasant retreat from the city’s heat.