Bandırma is a city in Southern Marmara Region of Turkey. It's a large freight and ferry port, with a population of 149,469 in 2016, and most visitors are just passing through. The main attraction is the bird life on the lake to the south.
Bandırma has a short sea crossing from Istanbul and a low coastline, easy to traverse by road, so it's long been a transit hub. It was founded around the 9th century BC and has been held by the Persians, the Byzantine Romans and the Ottomans, but almost nothing remains of all that. The town was wrecked in the fighting between Greece and Turkey that followed the First World War, so its buildings are modern, though some are in retro-Ottoman style. The closing shots of that conflict rang out here, then an Armistice was signed at Mudanya, followed by the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne.
Bandırma was also the name of the freighter in which Mustafa Kemal sailed to Samsun, under orders to disband the Ottoman army after Turkey's 1918 defeat. Instead he organised the fightback that escalated into the War of Independence, and led to his sobriquet of "Atatürk".
There's no airport nearby. International travellers can fly into Istanbul then take the bus or ferry.
İDO[dead link] ferries sail daily from Istanbul Kadıköy (Asia-side) and Yenikapı (Europe-side, near Sultanahmet) and take 2 hr 30 min, for a single fare of 150 TL. BUDO ferries don't sail this route, but ply from Istanbul to Mudanya near Bursa.
A daily train runs from Izmir Basmane, taking almost six hours via Manisa and Balıkesir. It leaves Izmir around 09:00 and is called 6 Eylül Ekspresi, "6th of September Express", returning south from Bandırma at 16:00 when it's called 17 Eylül Ekspresi.
A high speed line from Ankara and Istanbul has been under construction for years, and its supposed completion date of 2023 looks implausible.
1 Bandırma railway station is by the harbour, within 200 m of the ferry piers.
Buses run hourly from Istanbul Anadolu station, taking 4 hours for a fare of 180 TL. Bus lines competing on this route are Metro Turizm, Pamukkale and Flixbus. From Ankara or Konya it's quickest to take the YHT high speed train to Eskişehir, which connects with a bus to Bursa. Frequent buses between Bursa and Bandırma take two hours for a fare of 60 TL - many of these continue west to Çanakkale, for Troy and Gallipoli.
2 Bandırma bus station is 5 km south of town on D200 the highway from Bursa.
By road from Istanbul follow O7 east to Gebze then O5 across the bridge and west via Bursa onto D200.
A swarm of buses, dolmuşes and taxis run between the main bus station, downtown and the ferry port.
- 1 North breakwater is accessible to the public, a popular spot for fishing.
- 2 Archaeology Museum, Cengiz Karabıyık Cd 5, ☏ . Tu-Su 09:00-17:00. Indoor and outdoor exhibits of finds from around the region. Free.
- 3 Haydar Çavuş Mosque, İnönü Cd 35. Small mosque first built in the early 19th century, and rebuilt after it burned down in 1873.
- 4 Galleri Engin Sanatevi, Kayacık Cd 40, ☏ . M-Sa 10:00-20:00. Small modern art gallery. Much of the work is for sale. Free.
- 5 Bird Paradise National Park (Kuş Cenneti Milli Parkı) is 15 km south of the city, accessed via D565. It's on Lake Kuş ("bird lake"), which floods as the winter snows melt, and is a stop-over and final destination for migratory birds. The time to visit is therefore March-July as they come north and Sept-Oct as they return south. The park is free; there's no food or accommodation here, or public transport.
- 6 Dascylium or Daskyleion was a city inhabited since the Bronze Age. It was forgotten until 1952 and excavation continues. In 2021 a relief was found depicting Greek soldiers trampled by Persian war-horses. Nothing to see for the casual visitor while the work continues.
- 7 Last Bullet Monument (Son Kurşun Anıtı) commemorates the final shots of the Turkish War of Independence at Ayyıldız Hill in 1922.
- See Erdek for the Kapıdağ Peninsula north of the city. You come to the ruins of Cyzicus just north of the isthmus.
- Football: Bandırmaspor play in TFF First League, the country's second tier. Their home ground is 17 Eylül Stadium, capacity 12,725, by the main highway 2 km southeast of city centre.
Bim is by the harbour, open daily 09:00-21:00. Migros Jet is at Atatürk Cd 19/A, open daily 08:30-22:00.
Near the port are Hayyam, Cennet, Karlahan, Riva and İnegöl. They're usually open daily to 21:00.
- Bars around the port are Dostlar, Hayalperst Lounge, Dublin Irish Pub, Chillout Bar, Hasir. Square Beer, Otto Social House, Pukka Lounge and Green Pub.
- Wine is made in the hills to the south towards Balıkesir, for instance at Sen Vineyards.
- The port has a strip of over a dozen places, including Villa Marina, Panderma Port, Eken (two branches), Ture, Sahil, Vera, Bandirma Palas and Grand Serenay. These were decent places in 2018 but the slump in travel since means a lack of more recent customer reviews.
- 1 Grand Asya Hotel, Atatürk Cd 86, ☏ . Probably the best choice in town, clean, spacious and efficient. With restaurant and spa. B&B double 450 TL.
Bandırma and its approach roads have 4G from all Turkish carriers. As of Feb 2022, 5G has not rolled out in Turkey.
- Erdek is the main town on Kapıdağ Peninsula and has ferries to the Marmara islands.
- Gönen is a spa town inland.
- Bursa was the Ottoman's first stronghold and has many historic sights. The mountain resort of Uludağ rises behind it.
- Çanakkale is the way to reach the Gallipoli battle sites, ancient Troy and the islands of Bozcaada and Gökçeada.
- Unmissable Istanbul is only a ferry ride away.
|Routes through Bandırma|
|Keşan ← Gelibolu ← Junction (Lapseki) (W) ←||N E||→ Bursa → Ankara|
|Tekirdağ ← Sea of Marmara ←||N S||→ Balıkesir → Merges with|
|Kapıdağ Peninsula ← Erdek ←||N S||→ Ends at|