İpsala (pop. 6,000) lies just east of the main 1 border crossing, bearing the same name with the town, between Turkey and Greece. Most travellers will just pass through while transiting between these two countries. The main livelihood is rice cultivation; the flatlands surrounding the town, irrigated copiously by the Meriç River, produce about half of Turkey's total rice output alone.
In ancient times, the area was the site of Kypselea, named after a tribe of the ancient Thracians, although nothing remains of Kypselea to this day.
The town centre lies 2 km north of the highway D110/E90, the main route between Turkey and Greece.
There are a couple buses daily direct from Istanbul, once in the morning and once in the afternoon (40 TL, 4½ hrs). At other times of the day, getting first to Keşan, the regional hub with more frequent arrivals from a much longer list of destinations, and transferring there to a minibus bound for İpsala (8 TL, half an hour) might be your only option. The local 1 bus station lies on the side of the town square.
The town centre has two main streets, with alternating one-way directions.
Walking will get you just about anywhere in town.
İpsala is a little thin in sightseeing.
- 1 Alaca Mustafa Paşa Mosque (Alaca Mustafa Paşa Camii) (at the town square). A small mosque built of layers of red bricks and white granite, in the fashion of the early Ottoman style, highly influenced by the Byzantine architecture. While exact year is unknown, this single-dome and single-minaret mosque is thought to date back to the 15th century, the era of early Ottoman expansion into the Balkans.
- 2 Clock tower (Saat Kulesi) (at the town square). A tetrapylon reminiscent of some Roman monuments, the clock tower was added to the townscape in 2016.
- 1 Gümülcine Kahvecisi (across the street from the bus station, just next to the Üç Kardeşler Restaurant). Those longing for Greek coffee, but without the papers necessary for border crossing in order may want to check out this store, which offers small packages of coffee (3.50 TL) imported from Komotini (Gümülcine in Turkish), and tobacco for hand rolling.
- 1 Üç Kardeşler, Enez Cd. (on the side of the central square, across the street from the bus station). A small restaurant with a selection of traditional Turkish meals, meatball, and soups (which they are locally famous for).
- Keşan — the regional hub in the east, where highways diverge for elsewhere in Turkey.
- Uzunköprü — a road north from İpsala, through the village of İbriktepe, heads for Uzunköprü, "the long bridge".
- Enez — a road through the rice paddies and past the Lake Gala leads southwards to Enez, which is known for its Byzantine castle and long sandy beaches on the Aegean Sea.
- Greece — just across the border river of Meriç/Evros in the west is the region of Western Thrace; Feres and the seaside town of Alexandroupolis are particularly close. Hitchhikers should note that it is forbidden to cross the (half Turkish, half Greek) bridge over the river on foot, so try to get a lift that goes through the checkpoints on both sides of the river (i.e., not one that would drop you off just before the 2 Turkish border check).
|Routes through İpsala|
|Thessaloniki ← Alexandroupolis ←||W E||→ Keşan → Istanbul|