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Southern Marmara (Turkish: Güney Marmara) is the southern part of Marmara Region, Turkey.

Cities and towns[edit]

Map of Southern Marmara
  • 1 Bursa is a big modern city, but as the first Ottoman capital it's full of historic sights.
  • 2 Mudanya is the ferry port linking Bursa to Istanbul.
  • 3 Gemlik is an industrial city at the head of the Gulf of Gemlik.
  • 4 Armutlu is a beach resort north of the Gulf, with geothermal springs.
  • 5 Bandırma is a port with fast ferries from Istanbul.
  • 6 Erdek is a family seaside resort.
  • 7 Gönen is a spa town with hot springs
  • 8 Balıkesir is mostly modern but has several old mosques.
  • 9 Sındırgı is noted for its rugs and kilims.
  • 10 Çanakkale is the regional hub on the bank of the Dardanelles.
  • 11 Geyikli has ferries to Bozcaada. A few km south are the ruins of Alexandria Troas.
  • 12 Bozcaada in legend was where the Greek fleet hid before tricking their way into Troy.

Other destinations[edit]

  • 1 Troy was the target of the legendary Trojan Wars.
  • 2 Marmara Islands are a resort archipelago: Avşa has the most facilities.
  • 3 Bird Paradise National Park (Kuş Cenneti Milli Parkı) is a wildlife reserve south of Bandırma.
  • 4 Gölyazı Gölyazı on Wikipedia is a village on a lake island linked by road. There are Roman and other antiquities and you can hire a rowing boat to plosh around the lake.
  • 5 Mount Uludağ is a national park and wintersports resort.

Understand[edit]

Southern Marmara occupies a long shoreline which is the southern coast of the Sea of Marmara, Marmara Islands off the coast, and some places more inland. It’s bordered by Eastern Marmara to northeast and east, Central Anatolia to southeast, Northern Aegean to south, and Eastern Thrace to northwest and north, across the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelles Strait. In addition to the Marmara coast, the region also has a shore on the Aegean Sea to the west.

In ancient times, eastern two-thirds of Southern Marmara, roughly between Bursa and Balıkesir was known as Mysia, while the western one-third, a peninsula today better known as Biga Yarımadası in Turkish, between Dardanelles, Aegean Sea, and the Gulf of Edremit, was known as Troad, i.e. "the plains behind Troy".

Mount Uludağ, a national park and a wintersports resort, with its summit at about 2,500 mt above the sea level, is the highest mountain in all of northwestern Turkey, and is within this region.

Get in[edit]

Mihrab of the Grand Mosque in Bursa
  • By air: international visitors will find it easiest to fly into one of the Istanbul airports and take the bus or hire a car. Yenişehir (YEI IATA) and Çanakkale (CKZ IATA) have flights from Ankara.
  • By boat: fast ferries (foot passengers only) ply from Istanbul across the Sea of Marmara to Güzelyalı and Mudanya (for Bursa), and to Armutlu and Bandırma. Car ferries ply across the Dardanelles from Gelibolu, Eceabat and Kilitbahir on the European side to Çanakkale on the Asian bank.
  • By road from Istanbul you can go either way around the sea. For western parts, 1915 Çanakkale Bridge and associated motorways opened in March 2022, soaring across the Dardanelles and cutting the 7-hour journey to Çanakkale down to 5 hours. For eastern parts, a motorway heads from Gebze to Bursa and beyond. Highway D550 / E87 follows the coast from Izmir via the Northern Aegean region to Troy and Çanakkale.
  • Buses link all the major cities and Istanbul, and anywhere on the Istanbul-Izmir route has a frequent service, with price competition between operators. From Ankara take the high-speed train to Eskişehir then the connecting bus to Bursa.
  • By train: a daily train trundles from Izmir via Balıkesir to Bandırma. One daytime and one overnight train run from Eskişehir via Kütahya to Balıkesir and Izmir. A high-speed railway is under construction towards Bursa.
  • Two itineraries cross this region, taking in as many historic sites as you've time for:
- Along the Troad Coast from Çanakkale to Assos in the Northern Aegean region.
- Istanbul to Izmir between those major cities, with a leash of possible routes.

Get around[edit]

The indiviual cities can be explored on foot or by local bus (you can even travel from Bursa to Uludağ by cable-car), but you need your own wheels to tour the region.

The principal highway is O-7 / O-5 linking Gemlik, Bursa, and Balıkesir. The tolls are high but you'll save so much time and fuel by avoiding stop-starting through the towns.

E87 / D550 follows the Aegean coast north past Troy to Çanakkale. E90 / D200 heads along the Marmara coast from Çanakkale, with O-6 branching off over the Dardanelles bridge, while D200 continues east to Bandırma, Bursa and eventually Eskişehir.

See[edit]

Trojan Horse at the entrance of Troy
  • Çanakkale defended the Dardanelles and its castle is now a Naval Museum.
  • Bursa was the first city the Ottomans captured, so it was their powerbase until they gained Edirne then Constantinople. They continued to embellish and repair Bursa, so it has a series of fine mosques and noble tombs, and stretches of its city walls still stand.
  • Saraylar on Marmara Island was a marble quarry in Roman times, and is dotted with unfinished sculptures and funerary monuments.
  • Bird Lake (Kuşcenneti) is a wildlife reserve south of Bandırma.
  • Zagnos Pasha Mosque is the best of those in Balıkesir.
  • Troy in legend was the target of the Trojan Wars. The remains are limited - you won't find fluted Grecian columns here - but the museum is impressive.
  • Alexandria Troas near Geyikli may have been even greater than Troy, though the site is overgrown.
  • Bozcaada is an inhabited island with a harbour castle and old Greek villages.

Do[edit]

Museum at Bird Lake
  • Hot springs gush out in many areas, such as Kestanbol near Geyikli and in the Çekirge district of Bursa.
  • Uludağ is a ski resort, with reliable snow cover from Dec to March.
  • Lots of beach resorts on the Marmara coast, including the island of Avşa. There's little on the Aegean coast, which is rugged this far north.
  • Green-Blue Road (Yeşil-Mavi Yol) is a switchback scenic road along the peninsula between Armutlu and Çınarcık near Yalova. Picnic in the woods, or plumb the depths of the two Bottomless Lakes.

Eat[edit]

Drink[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

Go next[edit]

  • Eastern Thrace is the European part of Turkey, linked by bridge and ferry across the Dardanelles. Edirne is the highlight, and Eceabat has the Gallipoli memorials.
  • Eastern Marmara is mostly industrial sprawl, but Iznik, scene of the First Ecumenical Council in 325 AD, has preserved its ancient layout.
  • Northern Aegean region is best known for its beach resorts, but the Graeco-Roman ruins at Bergama are outstanding.
  • Istanbul is unmissable.



This region travel guide to Southern Marmara is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!