One hour from: Istambul

Mussel kebabs, Polish sausage. That's Turkey
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The Independent Travel

From a futuristic theme park to an old Polish village, the attractions just outside Istanbul can seem a long way from Turkey...

From a futuristic theme park to an old Polish village, the attractions just outside Istanbul can seem a long way from Turkey...

Anadolu Kavagi

This village on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, before it opens into the Black Sea, takes its name from the fortress towering above it. Dating back to Byzantine times, it was rebuilt by the Genoese in the 14th century and then used by the Ottomans. Stop off in the main street, famous for its fish restaurants and food stands, and tuck into the local speciality, midye tava – mussel kebabs.

By boat: boats leave three times a day in summer, at 10.30am, 12.30pm and 2pm, and twice a day in winter, at 10.30am and 1.30pm, from Eminonu Pier 3; journey time approx one hour-plus.


Bring your bucket and spade to this beautiful Black Sea resort with long, golden beaches and busy harbour. Overlooked by a ruined Genoese castle, Sile is popular with Istanbullus escaping the city at weekends, but go during the week and you will have the place to yourself. Sile is also known for its Sile bezi cotton clothing, a sort of hand-embroidered cheesecloth.

By car: cross Fatih Bridge and take the E80; journey time approx one hour. By bus: frequent service from the main square in Uskudar.


When is a Polish village not a Polish village? When it is in Turkey. Polonezkoy – "village of the Poles" – was given by the Sultan as a reward to a Polish nationalist after the Crimean War. The Polish connection remains, although only a few of the older villagers still speak Polish. Walk the forest trails and sample Polish cuisine. Sniff out pork sausages, rare in Turkey, served in speciality restaurants here.

By car: take the E80 to Sile, then follow signs for Polonezkoy; journey time approx 50 mins.


Take the children to this vast entertainment complex cum theme park. In a steel-and-glass vaulted structure, it is choc-a-bloc with roller- coasters and other rides, a labyrinth and restaurants, cafés and shops.

By car: take the E80 to Avczlar, then follow signs to Beylikduzu; journey time approx 40 mins.

Princes' Islands

A peaceful retreat in the Sea of Marmara, just off Istanbul. Popular since the 19th century as a location for summer houses of wealthy Istanbullus, the four principal islands, Buyukada, Heybeliada, Burgaz and Kinali, are relaxed and particularly charming. No cars are allowed, so rent a bike or take a horse-drawn carriage and discover villas with beautiful gardens, idyllic rural scenery and tiny beaches.

By boat: frequent ferries from Eminonu; journey time approx one hour- plus. By hydrofoil: frequent service from Kabatas; journey time approx 30 mins.


Dating back to the 7th century BC, this Istanbul-in-miniature and one-time capital of the Ottoman empire is packed with impressive sights. Clustered in a relatively small area in the centre, making them easy to explore on foot, the key treasures here are the Eski Cami (old mosque) and the Selimiye Camii (Selimiye mosque). In the first week of July you can see the Kirkpinar Greased Wrestling Festival, above.

By car: take the E80 toll expressway (costing around £2) and follow signs; journey time approx one hour-plus. By bus: half-hourly from Esenler bus station; approx one hour-plus.

Anatolian Sky Holidays (0121-325 5500; offers seven nights in Istanbul from £439 per person per week, including return flights, transfers and b&b accommodation. The company can also arrange car hire from £169 per week.