The city of Istanbul has many ancient and modern attractions to keep visitors busy, but a little exploration outside of the city can reveal some fascinating places. Tuzla is a day trip option from Istanbul and has lots to discover, from beautiful wetlands to Formula One racing.

How to travel from Istanbul to Tuzla

Tuzla is less than 50km from the city of Istanbul and can easily be reached by private or public transport. If you have access to a car, the drive takes about one hour and takes you from the European to the Asian side of the city and further east on the 0-1 road crossing the sea on the Istanbul Inner Beltway. Take the exit for the 0-2 motorway until your merge with the E80 and the 0-4. Take the turn-off onto Mehmet Akif Ersoy Road and follow the signs for Tuzla.

Travel from Istanbul to Tuzla by bus

You can also reach Tuzla by bus in around 3 hours or less. It can be a lengthy trip but is worth it to explore this sleepy coastal region with its own distinct character. Starting from the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Istanbul Tuzla, it is only a few minutes’ walk to the bus stop that takes you over the bridge to the eastern side of the city. Pick up a bus going to Bogazici Koprusu (Uskudar). Once there, change to a 251 and head to Seyh Samil Lisesi (Kadikoy). The last change is to a number 130 that will take you to Tuzla. Locals are quite used to tourists following this route and can help with directions and where to find the next changeover.

What to see and do in Tuzla

Formula One first came to Istanbul in 2005 with the construction of a purpose-built circuit. Since then the track has been a big draw for F1 fans in Turkey on holiday and for those who love to follow the fast-paced motor racing sport around the world. But there is much more to this far eastern suburb of Istanbul than motor racing. It has a long history and heritage which can easily be explored in a day or two.

Don’t miss out on Tuzla seafood

Before the population exchange which took place in the 1920s, when Turkish residents from Thessalonica, Kavala and Drama were shipped in, the people here were Greek in origin. The Greek name for the headland was Akritas and throughout history the people here were fishermen and farmers. Today the city is famous for its coastline and the quality of its many seafood restaurants. Freshly caught fish and Tuzla kofte (grilled meatballs) are a speciality not to be missed. And thanks to its small-town vibe many of Istanbul’s wealthier residents have chosen to buy retirement properties here.

A paradise for twitchers

The natural beauty of the area has been under threat for some years due to increased population in the area, but there is still much to enjoy here. The area is home to Turkey’s second largest forest chain, and preserving this is a high priority for local officials who see it as an investment in the area’s future. The wetlands are also famous for being a bird paradise and have been protected by international law since 1994. Among the many bird species you can see in Tuzla are Greater Flamingos, which flock to the area by the thousand. White Storks, Pelicans and many, many species of duck and water fowl are also plentiful.

Where would you recommend for a day trip from Istanbul?