By Justin Mays:
For those who love road trips and are itching to get out of the metropolis of Istanbul, look no further than the Thrace region. Road trips to Thrace from Istanbul offer a convenient alternative to taking a flight and offer wonderful countryside experiences. Moving west from Istanbul to Thrace offers up lovely seaside vistas, rambling rural roads through farms, fields of sunflowers, and underrated roadside stops in mere hours from Istanbul. Whether you choose a day trip from Istanbul or a long weekend visit, a road trip to the Thrace region is a lovely way to leave the business of the city behind for a moment.
Thrace is a large region spanning three countries in southeastern Europe. The eastern Thrace region is also known as Trakya in northwestern Turkey and the Marmara Region. It spans Northwest Turkey from the Bosphorus along the Black Sea to the borders of Greece and Bulgaria all the way down to the Dardanelles and the Aegean Sea.
Leaving Istanbul, you can stop at the newer suburbs of Buyukcekmece and Beylikduzu for a pitstop. Both areas have new waterside entertainment areas like Westside Marina with restaurants, rowing clubs, parks, and cafes.
If you’re hungry, carry on to Tekirdag, most famous for its meatballs (kofte in Turkish). Don’t miss out on the opportunity to dine in an airplane aptly named Kofte Ucak (Kofte Airlines).
Wine Lovers Road Trip to Thrace
Wine aficionados should carry on to the numerous boutique vineyards in the region. Some vineyards like Arcadia, Vino Dessera, Porto Caelli, and Barbare have hotels and restaurants on-site so those who linger after a wine tasting can enjoy a meal or relax alongside green rolling vineyards. The Thracian wine route is the oldest in Turkey and is divided into multiple regions: Tekirdag, Kirkareli, Sarkoy, and Gelibolu maps of the Thrace wine route can be found online.
Architecture Lovers Road Trip to Thrace
UNESCO has recognized multiple architectural treasures in Edirne attracting visitors from around the world. The Selimiye Mosque, built between 1569-1575, by Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, is a masterpiece. Also do not miss the Uzunkopru bridge and Sultan Bayezid II Complex after visiting the mosque.
If you are lucky enough to be visiting in June, go watch the Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Festival, one of the oldest sporting events in Turkey.
History Lovers Road trip to Thrace
World War I history buffs should not miss the somber battlefields of the Gallipoli Peninsula. Not much further along via a ferry or the new 1915 Cannakkale bridge history lovers should carry on to the famed site of Troy.
Nature Lovers Road Trip to Thrace
Igneada Longoz Ormanlari Park is a forested area with sandy Black Sea beaches close to the border of Bulgaria with salt lakes, dunes, and forests. This area has fun glamping, trekking, bird watching, and kayaking opportunities.
Thrace is not as well-known as other parts of Turkey but offers up so much. Extremely accessible from Istanbul and the perfect weekend escape-enjoy winding through the sunflower fields and along the coast of the Marmara and Black Seas as you delight in your road trip adventure to Thrace!