We visited Edirne from the 24th of November till the 2nd of December, 2022. Here are some things to do in Edirne and our itinerary for the week we stayed there.
- 1 Why Visit Edirne?
- 2 How to Travel to Edirne?
- 3 Things to Do in Edirne
- 4 Map of Landmarks in Edirne and Karaağaç
- 5 Our Edirne Itinerary
- 5.1 Arrival (24th of November)
- 5.2 Selimiye Mosque (25th of November)
- 5.3 Craft Beer (26th of November)
- 5.4 Karaağaç (27th of November)
- 5.5 Complex of Bayezid II Health Museum (28th of November)
- 5.6 Rüstem Pasha Caravanserai (29th of November)
- 5.7 Great Synagogue of Edirne (30th of November)
- 5.8 PCR Test in Edirne (1st of December)
- 5.9 Departure (2nd of December)
- 6 Good info? Buy me a Turkish coffee!
- 7 Wish to share this post? You’re the best.
Why Visit Edirne?
Edirne is an old city in the west of Turkiye, in the ‘European’ part of the country on the Balkan Peninsula. The region is also known as Eastern Thrace. Today, the region of Thrace is subdivided into Northern Thrace in Bulgaria and Western Thrace in Greece. Thrace is an area where many cultures come together, with Muslims and Orthodox Christians sharing this historical land. That’s what also makes the local culture so unique in Turkiye.
The old names of Edirne are Adrianople and Hadrianopolis. It was the capital of the Ottoman Empire before the Ottomans conquered Constantinople (Istanbul). There are two rivers that flow through the city: the Meriç (Maritza) and Tunca (Tundzha). Since the area has been inhabited for so long, there are many old bridges, buildings, and landmarks. Two of them have UNESCO World Heritage Site status: Selimiye Mosque and the social complex of Bayezid II.
Besides old stuff, Edirne is close to the borders of Greece (Schengen) and Bulgaria (not yet Schengen). Many people from those countries visit Edirne for shopping. There’s also a thriving university with many young people, which leads to nice affordable restaurants and even a hip craft beer scene.
How to Travel to Edirne?
I hitchhiked past Edirne twice to/from Bulgaria in 2014 but didn’t get out. Since the city is on a major route into Turkiye from Europe, it’s straightforward to hitchhike into Edirne. If you’re hitchhiking with a truck driver into Turkiye, the border crossing might take a while. In that case, it’s possible to part ways with your driver, cross the border on foot, and then hitchhike to Edirne with new people after the crossing.
To travel to Edirne from Istanbul in 2021, we took the bus. The bus is pretty affordable and doesn’t take that long. Note that the bus station in western Istanbul is located quite far from the city. That’s why we took many forms of public transit to get to the bus station.
There are also buses to Edirne from Bulgaria, Greece, and Istanbul Airport (IST).
Upon arrival at the bus station in Edirne, we took a taxi to get into the city. This wasn’t too expensive, though the Turkish Lira (₺) was going through some rough times during our visit.
Though Edirne has a train station, it seems like it’s not running any trains at the moment. I hope that in the future, Edirne will be connected with a nice international train service to Bulgaria and/or Greece. There’s an old and beautiful train station in nearby Karaağaç, but that one also has no service.
Things to Do in Edirne
- Visit the magnificent Selimiye Mosque
- Drink locally-brewed craft beer at Trokya Craft Beer Taproom
- Visit the Edirne Museum
- Pet the friendly street and museum cats and kittens
- Check the municipal calendar for 2022 and beyond for events in the city and Karaağaç
- Share a gigantic Turkish breakfast with a friend
- Visit the Great Synagogue of Edirne
- If it’s the season, feast on roasted chestnuts
- Go urban exploring in the Macedonian Tower (at your own risk)
- Wander around the historic train station of Karaağaç
- Spend a few hours learning about healthcare from centuries ago at the Complex of Sultan Bayezid II
- Eat a çiğ köfte at one of the man places. It’s vegan!
- Buy something at the Alipasha Bazaar
- Imagine being a weary traveler sleeping at a caravanserai, such as the Rüstem Pasha Caravanserai
- Drink (Velimeşe) Boza
- Watch the oldest continuously-running sporting event in the world: the annual Edirne Kırkpınar oil wresting competition
- Visit the Bulgarian Orthodox Church of Saints Constantine and Helen
- Wander around the ruins of the Edirne Sarayı (Edirne Palace)
- Visit the House of Bahá’u’lláh, which is where the founder of the Baháʼí Faith spent four years under house arrest
- Learn more about Mimar Sinan at Selimiye Foundation Museum and then go shopping at the Selimiye Bazaar
- Find out which hammams are historic (Edirne Beylerbeyi Hamamı) and which are still operating (Edirne Merkez Saray Hamamı) for a nice self-care session
- Visit the Fatih Bridge and the Kasr-ı Adalet (Justice Pavilion)
- Why stop there? Consider an itinerary that goes over all the magnificent Ottoman bridges in Edirne
- When it reopens, ride the train in and out of Edirne across the Balkan borders or to the Bosphorus
- Visit the Treaty of Lausanne monument and museum in Karaağaç
- If you eat meat, try the local specialty Edirne ciğeri or Edirne liver
- Buy some sweet baklava or Turkish delight
- Enjoy the walkable city center of Edirne
Map of Landmarks in Edirne and Karaağaç
Use the menu on the left side to make POIs and routes appear or disappear.
Our Edirne Itinerary
We stayed in the city for a week, which is a lot of time for most travelers. That’s because we also worked from the hotel. You can do all of the things in the list above in way less time if you’re on a tight schedule. We really enjoyed our time in Edirne.
Good info? Buy me a Turkish coffee!
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