EDIRNE

Edirne, in Bulgarian also referred to as Odrin, is a city in Western Turkey. It's essentially on the border with both Bulgaria and Greece. While also close to Istanbul, it will still take several hours to get there. From Sofia, where I lived at the time, it was about five hours by bus including the border crossing. I traveled with Metro Bus, which is one of Turkey's well-known bus companies, with destinations throughout the country and beyond. And so, there's also connections between Sofia and Istanbul. Some of these stop at Edirne as well. It's relatively easy to get a ticket from the bus station or through the Metro Bus website.

The city is quite large and has one of Turkey's biggest bazars. This means that it attracts many shoppers, of which plenty come from Bulgaria and even farther countries. Prices are a bit lower in Turkey and that especially goes through staple items such as washing detergent, which is bought en masse and taken back across the border. The bazar itself is also a journey in and of itself, as you do really pick the vibes of Turkey. Getting some nice clothes and a fresh haircut, with some tea as well and a good lunch, make for a nice day in Turkey. The city has a large historical significance, although it is not on the international radar at all. As it is in the complete west of the country, there's few other travelers who have it on their itinerary. Most people visit for a day or are just passing through. With Istanbul being relatively close, that city picks up the majority of travelers into Turkey, and few venture beyond.

I found the hotels to be plentiful, there's old mansions as well as more modern city hotels. And if you're for some reason not into the bazar or find it too crowded, there's modern shopping malls to cater your needs as well. As the whole of Turkey, Edirne has wonderful food and hospitality as well. Very specific for Edirne is the Ciğer kebabı. This is liver kebab, a common type of skewered meat. Try the ciğer tava for the local variety, which comes with red onion salad. For breakfast next morning, find a little spot to enjoy some menemen. It's served in cute breakfast cafes and is basically a little pan with for example sausage, eggs and tomatoes in it, with a nice blend of herbs to spice it up. The local people will guide you, even if their English is unlikely to reach beyond a 'hello', they'll be very welcoming.

All in all, do venture into the province, there's plenty to discover. And perhaps, exactly because it's not on anybody's radar, that alone makes it worth exploring. Perhaps you'll find some spots or unique sights in this part of Turkey few other people know exist!

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