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Getting There

By Ferry -- From Istanbul's Yenikapi docks are two ferry options for excursions to Bursa. The first is IDO's twice-daily service to the Güzelyali port (IDO calls this service the Yenikapi/Bursa service; tel. 0212/444-4436; www.ido.com.tr), currently departing at 7:30am and 5:30pm. The ferry takes 80 minutes and costs 20TL per person. From Güzelyali to Bursa, take the local bus to the metro, which you will take to the last stop, arriving in the city center. Total time (including ferry, bus, and metro) from Istanbul to Bursa is about 2 1/2 hours.

The other option is the 70-minute ferry ride (13TL passengers) to Yalova, north of Bursa. Ferries depart out of Istanbul's Yenikapi docks (the 7:30am boat leaves out of Kabatas; there is a free shuttle from Yenikapi for the early morning departure). From the Yalova ferry landing, hop on one of the many buses lined up outside the gates; the ride to Bursa's otogar (bus station) takes about 50 minutes and costs around 10TL. Bursa's otogar is located more than 10km (6 miles) out of town, so it will be necessary to either get on a municipal bus (no. 38 to Heykel or no. 96 to Çekirge) or take a taxi into town. The bus takes about half an hour and costs 1.50TL. With luggage, this is a major stretch. Instead, a taxi is direct, quick, and cheap (expect to pay around 20TL for the 20-min. ride).

Both the ferry to Yalova and to Güzelyali accept cars, so if you're not overly excited about the hoops you have to jump through to get there, you can shuttle yourself from the ferry docks straight into Bursa. IDO charges 65TL and 80TL respectively for cars plus 15TL and 11TL for each additional passenger in the vehicle.

By Bus -- If you prefer to do the entire journey by land, Nilüfer Turizm (tel. 0224/444-0099), based in Bursa, provides the most comprehensive bus service into Bursa. The 3 1/2-hour trip from Istanbul costs 15TL. Metro (tel. 0212/444-3455) runs buses almost hourly from Istanbul for the same price, as does Kamil Koç (tel. 0224/444-0562). All intercity bus service heads directly to the otogar, about 20 minutes outside of town. If you're headed to Çekirge, hop on local bus no. 96; to get to the city center/Ulu Cami, take bus no. 38. Important: If Bursa is just one of many stops on your chosen bus company's itinerary, you may get left on the road rather than at the station proper. Confirm your drop-off point when purchasing your ticket to ensure you're transported into the Bursa otogar, not just near it.

Visitor Information

The Tourist Information office (tel. 0224/251-1834; fax 0224/220-1848) is hidden underneath Atatürk Caddesi in the center of town. If you're standing with Orhan Camii on your right and the Belediye (Municipal Building) on your left, the office is straight ahead of you at 12 o'clock. The PTT (post office) is located a few blocks west (to the right) down Atatürk Caddesi on the opposite side of the street.

All of the major bus companies have ticket offices around Heykel; tickets can also be purchased through any local travel agent or at the otogar.

Orientation

The concentration of early Selçuk-inspired architecture is clustered in the commercial center of Bursa, in the area better known to the locals as Heykel, after the equestrian statue of Atatürk commanding the plaza just a few blocks to the east (heykel means "statue" in Turkish). Again, using the Tourist Information office for orientation, to the west/right is Tophane Park and the Hisar District, where the conquering Ottoman armies set up their capital in the 15th century. The road leads into the posher Çekirge section, where ambassadors and statesmen flock for the hotels and thermal hot springs. The winter ski resort of Uludag is about 36km (22 miles) to the south of Bursa and reachable via a funicular from the center of town.

Getting Around

In all likelihood, you will spend most of your time between the Heykel and Çekirge neighborhoods. While covering small distances on foot in either neighborhood is possible, the two are just too far apart to think about walking between them. Instead, take advantage of the newish Bursaray, Bursa's two-line metro and growing. The most-helpful station stops are Sehreküstü and Kültürpark, although there will be a (long) couple of blocks walk to/from either stop. The fare for short distances is 1.10TL. A taxi taking the same route will cost under 15TL.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.