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Home » Eskisehir: A Budget-Friendly and Cooler Alternative to Istanbul and Antalya

Eskisehir: A Budget-Friendly and Cooler Alternative to Istanbul and Antalya

Eskisehir reminds one of a cozy European city with developed infrastructure, transportation, and pedestrian zones. Despite this, the city has retained its Turkish character and traditions, which harmoniously intertwine with modernity.

The city of Eskisehir (900,000 people) is located 230 kilometers from the capital Ankara and 330 kilometers from Istanbul. The name Eskisehir literally translates as “Old City”.

In ancient times, Eskisehir was part of the Phrygian and Hittite kingdoms. During the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, it was an important cultural and trade center. In the 19th and 20th centuries, thanks to the construction of the railway, the city became a significant industrial center, and now it produces trucks, household appliances, railway locomotives, engines for fighters, agricultural equipment, textiles, building materials, chemicals, and mines the mineral sepiolite. The world’s largest sepiolite deposits with thousands of mines are located 30 kilometers from the city.

The modern history began with the active development of education in the city: several universities were founded, leading to a growth in the young population. The city began to progress rapidly in the early 2000s with the arrival of the current mayor, Yilmaz Buyukersen. He initiated the development of the tram network, improved the waterfronts and parks, and built cultural and scientific centers. These efforts have shaped arguably the most convenient city in Turkey for living and leisure. Travelers from all over the country come here for weekends, and a small community of foreigners devoted to the city has already formed.

What to See

Odunpazarı. In 2012, the Turkish government included the city’s historical center in the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In this area, the historical architecture of the Ottoman period and narrow cobblestone streets have been preserved, and people still continue to live here. The houses are built of wood and clay with straw, usually have two or three floors, and a small courtyard, and are distinguished by their wooden balconies, terraces with various carvings, and decorative window frames. This is not a tourist-conserved area with restaurants and souvenir shops.

In 2012, the Turkish government included the historical center of the city in the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites
In 2012, the Turkish government included the historical center of the city in the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The area is small, and, if you don’t look into every courtyard, a couple of hours is enough to walk around it. I advise not to limit yourself to a walk between souvenir shops and museums. Delve deeper into Odunpazarı, where residents calmly sit at their tables and chairs, play backgammon, smoke cigarettes, and sip sweet tea from traditional cups. If you pet every cat you meet, photograph all the beautiful houses, and leisurely sip tea in teahouses, you can spend a whole day here.

In Odunpazarı, the historical architecture of the Ottoman period and narrow cobblestone streets have been preserved, and people still continue to live there
In Odunpazarı, the historical architecture of the Ottoman period and narrow cobblestone streets have been preserved, and people still continue to live there

People also come from all over Turkey to try dishes of the Tatar cuisine. The Tatars in Eskisehir are one of the many ethnic groups living in the city after forced emigration during different historical periods. You can learn more about the history of the Tatars in Eskisehir at the Kazan Cultural Center and the Crimean Tatar Museum, where there are exhibits about the life and resettlement of the Tatars, black and white historical photographs, various documents, handicraft samples, and musical instruments. The staff warmly welcomes each visitor. Admission is free.

The Atlıhan Handicrafts Market (Atlıhan El Sanatları Çarşısı) is a charming two-story courtyard house with many souvenir and jewelry shops.

The Atlıhan Souvenir Market is a charming courtyard-well of a two-story house filled with many souvenir and jewelry shops
The Atlıhan Souvenir Market is a charming courtyard-well of a two-story house filled with many souvenir and jewelry shops

The Kurşunlu Mosque, built during the Ottoman Empire in 1525, is notable for its main feature – a lead dome. The walls and domes of the mosque are adorned with exquisite mosaic and ceramic patterns. Inside the mosque, there is a cozy courtyard with a fountain, surrounded by a colonnade, a well-tended garden, a library, museums, and workshops.

The Kurşunlu Mosque was built during the Ottoman Empire in 1525. Its name indicates its main feature - a lead dome. Photo: Dosseman / Wikimedia.org
The Kurşunlu Mosque was built during the Ottoman Empire in 1525. Its name indicates its main feature – a lead dome. Photo: Dosseman / Wikimedia.org

The Porsuk River Promenade is the city’s main pedestrian area. In the center, the promenade is crowded with establishments, street musicians, and entertainment: all vying for your attention. However, the further away from the center, the more pleasant and peaceful it becomes. Locals start their walks from the pier, where 15-minute circular gondola tours are conducted daily. The boat fits four people, and the ride costs 200 lira (5.69 euros).

On the Porsuk River, 15-minute circular gondola tours are offered. The boat accommodates four people, and the ride costs 200 lira
On the Porsuk River, 15-minute circular gondola tours are offered. The boat accommodates four people, and the ride costs 200 lira

Along the waterfront promenade, well-maintained lawns and flower beds have been laid out, trees planted, benches and street tables set up, where locals relax in the shade and socialize. Many bring their own chairs and blankets for picnicking.

“Sazova Park” is a theme park with a fairy-tale “Disney-style” castle, where each tower is a replica of a famous Turkish landmark. Inside, children’s tours are conducted, and souvenirs are sold. The main park area includes an amphitheater, a dinosaur park, and several cafes. There’s a narrow-gauge railway with a colorful steam engine and stations, and a pirate ship on the lake’s shore.

The park also features a well-kept zoo with a Japanese garden and an aquarium, the Museum of Turkish Scientific History, the Museum of Scientific Experiments with a planetarium, and an exhibit “The Turkish World in Miniature”.

"Sazova Park" is a theme park featuring a fairy-tale "Disney-style" castle, where each tower is a replica of a famous Turkish landmark
“Sazova Park” is a theme park featuring a fairy-tale “Disney-style” castle, where each tower is a replica of a famous Turkish landmark

The Reşadiye Mosque (Reşadiye Camii) was rebuilt between 1969 and 1978 and is an example of architectural style that combines elements of Ottoman and Seljuk architecture. The mosque’s interior is richly decorated with frescoes, calligraphy, and mosaics. In the garden, you can sip tea and listen to the conversations of the congregation, with the central market and city park nearby.

Şelale Park is a small park on a hillside with a picturesque panoramic view of the city, a must-visit after a walk through Odunpazarı.

Kent Park is a well-maintained and quiet park opposite the bus station, featuring an artificial lake (home to well-fed carp).

Şelale Park is a small park on a hillside with a picturesque panoramic view of the city
Şelale Park is a small park on a hillside with a picturesque panoramic view of the city

The stadium of the Eskisehirspor football club. Although Eskisehirspor is not part of the Turkish Super League, a fan passport (Fan ID) is not required to attend a match, making visits significantly easier. Tickets can be purchased on the official website or at the Kanatli shopping center. Turkish fans are known for their devotion and passion at football matches, so attending a game is not just about the sport, but also about observing the people and soaking up the atmosphere.

Turkish football fans are known for their devotion and passion at football matches. Therefore, attending a football game is not just about the sport itself, but also about watching the people and immersing oneself in the atmosphere
Turkish football fans are known for their devotion and passion at football matches. Therefore, attending a football game is not just about the sport itself, but also about watching the people and immersing oneself in the atmosphere

Museums

The OMM Museum of Modern Art was designed by the world-renowned Japanese architectural firm KKAA. The building stands out distinctly from the area’s historical architecture, not attempting to mimic it. Yet, at the same time, it harmonizes beautifully with the Ottoman-era houses due to its wooden facade. The exhibitions are regularly updated, and you can keep track of them on their website. Admission is 60 lira (1.71 euros).

The building of the OMM Museum of Modern Art stands out distinctly from the historic architecture of the area, not attempting to mimic it. However, at the same time, thanks to its wooden facade, it harmonizes excellently with the houses of the Ottoman period
The building of the OMM Museum of Modern Art stands out distinctly from the historic architecture of the area, not attempting to mimic it. However, at the same time, thanks to its wooden facade, it harmonizes excellently with the houses of the Ottoman period

The Archaeological Museum is a two-story museum with a small courtyard, featuring a collection of archaeological findings spanning different historical periods. Visitors can see statues, sarcophagi, ceramics, and jewelry. An important part of the exhibition includes archaeological findings related to the early history of Eskisehir, including information about ancient settlements and rituals.

The Archaeological Museum is a two-story museum with a small courtyard, hosting a collection of archaeological findings from various historical periods
The Archaeological Museum is a two-story museum with a small courtyard, hosting a collection of archaeological findings from various historical periods

The Glass Museum (Çağdaş Cam Sanatları Müzesi) features contemporary works by local and international artists. Admission is 13 lira (0.37 euros). Additionally, with the same ticket, you can visit the City Memory Museum on the second floor.

The Glass Museum houses contemporary works by local and international artists
The Glass Museum houses contemporary works by local and international artists

The Wax Figures Museum (Balmumu Müzesi) displays over two hundred wax figures of famous personalities. Admission is 30 lira (0.85 euros).

The Meerschaum Museum (Lületaşı Müzesi) showcases a collection of items made from sepiolite – a soft, porous, white mineral. It is extensively mined in Eskisehir, and nearby shops sell souvenirs and jewelry made from it. Entry is free.

The Museum of the History of the Republic (Cumhuriyet Tarihi Müzesi) is a free museum about the history of Eskisehir and Turkey, featuring personal items of Atatürk and various artifacts from that era.

The Wooden Artifacts Museum (Ahşap Eserler Müzesi) displays wooden sculptures by artists from different countries. Visitors can watch artists at work in an open workshop. Admission is 20 lira (0.57 euros).

In the Wooden Artifacts Museum, visitors can observe artists at work in an open workshop
In the Wooden Artifacts Museum, visitors can observe artists at work in an open workshop

Where to Relax

After a flight, train journey, or long walks around the city, a real treat for oneself is a visit to the best spa complex in the city, Aden Spa & Wellness, located at the Tasigo Hotel. It operates daily from 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM. For 500 lira (14.24 euros) on weekdays and 700 lira (19.93 euros) on weekends, you can access the Turkish bath, thermal baths, thermal jacuzzis, indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, steam bath, relaxation room, and fitness center. If you book a massage (starting from 550 lira (15.66 euros)), the spa visit costs 250 lira (7.12 euros) on weekdays and 350 lira (9.97 euros) on weekends.

At the Aden Spa & Wellness complex at the Tasigo Hotel, you can visit the Turkish bath, thermal baths, thermal jacuzzis, indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, steam bath, relaxation room, and fitness center
At the Aden Spa & Wellness complex at the Tasigo Hotel, you can visit the Turkish bath, thermal baths, thermal jacuzzis, indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, steam bath, relaxation room, and fitness center

Kent Hamamı offers separate entrances for men and women, with a price of 85 lira (2.42 euros). You don’t need to bring anything except shampoo and conditioner. Slippers and a special towel are provided at the entrance if you don’t have swimwear. In addition to the steam room with a large hot water pool, there are a sauna and a massage area. The scrub (kese) and massage (masaj) are paid separately upon exit – about 100 lira (2.85 euros) for each procedure. After the treatments, you will be carefully wrapped in dry towels and offered to try the Atom drink based on ayran, mineral water, lemon juice, and salt.

Kentpark Plajı is a real resort in the city, which lacks a sea. Within the park, a large artificial beach with a pool, changing rooms, umbrellas, and sun loungers has been constructed. The entrance fee is 125 lira (3.56 euros).

Kentpark Plajı is a true resort within the city, which lacks a sea. In the park, a large artificial beach has been constructed with a pool, changing rooms, umbrellas, and sun loungers
Kentpark Plajı is a true resort within the city, which lacks a sea. In the park, a large artificial beach has been constructed with a pool, changing rooms, umbrellas, and sun loungers

Surroundings

The Yazılıkaya Archaeological Complex

70 kilometers from Eskisehir

The complex consists of a standalone rock, where a 17-meter-high gate with richly decorated ornamentation is carved. Visitors can stroll through the stone city and enjoy panoramic views of the valley. Entrance to the area is free. On Sundays, there are municipal buses from Eskisehir to this location.

The Yazılıkaya Archaeological Complex consists of a standalone rock, where a 17-meter-high gate with richly decorated ornamentation is carved
The Yazılıkaya Archaeological Complex consists of a standalone rock, where a 17-meter-high gate with richly decorated ornamentation is carved

Kütahya – The Homeland of Ceramics

80 kilometers from Eskisehir

Kütahya is famous for its production of ceramic goods, particularly tiles, which are used in the restoration of mosques and in interior decorations throughout Turkey. The main attractions of the city include: Kütahya Castle on a hill with panoramic platforms and restaurants; the main mosque (Kütahya Ulu Camii) and the tiled mosque (Çinili Cami); the Archaeology Museum (Kütahya Jeoloji Müzesi); the historic center (Germiyan Konakları) with restored mansions; and the Tile Museum (Çini Müzesi) featuring a collection of ceramics from various periods.

Kütahya is renowned for its production of ceramic products, primarily tiles, which are used in the restoration of mosques and in interior decorations throughout Turkey. Photo: Omerserez / Wikimedia.org
Kütahya is renowned for its production of ceramic products, primarily tiles, which are used in the restoration of mosques and in interior decorations throughout Turkey. Photo: Omerserez / Wikimedia.org

The Ancient City of Aizanoi

130 kilometers from Eskisehir

An ancient city founded in the 3rd century BC, Aizanoi was one of the most important centers of the Roman province of Phrygia. There are many archaeological sites here, including the Temple of Zeus, an amphitheater, baths, agora, and many other artifacts. The most impressive is the Temple of Zeus (2nd century), which is one of the finest examples of Roman architecture in Turkey. The entrance fee is 70 lira (1.99 euros), and the site can only be reached by car.

Aizanoi – An Ancient City Founded in the 3rd Century BCThere are numerous archaeological sites in Aizanoi, including the Temple of Zeus, an amphitheater, baths, the agora, and many other artifacts. Photo: Yusuf Dündar / Unsplash.com, China_Crisis / Wikimedia.org
Aizanoi – An Ancient City Founded in the 3rd Century BC. There are numerous archaeological sites in Aizanoi, including the Temple of Zeus, an amphitheater, baths, the agora, and many other artifacts. Photo: Yusuf Dündar / Unsplash.com, China_Crisis / Wikimedia.org

Afyonkarahisar – Poppy Blooms and a Modern Archaeological Museum

140 kilometers from Eskisehir

This ancient city is literally translated as “Opium Black Castle.” It hosts the world’s largest center for the production of legal opium for pharmaceutical purposes. In May and June, one can observe the blooming of poppy fields in the surrounding areas. The city is also considered a center for thermal and wellness tourism, featuring many hotels with pools and spas.

The central attraction of the city is the fortress (Afyonkarahisar Kalesi), which is perched on inaccessible volcanic rocks. Climbing it requires stamina, comfortable shoes, and water, but the stunning views are worth the effort. The city also boasts a modern Archaeological Museum (Afyonkarahisar Arkeoloji Müzesi).

The central attraction of Afyonkarahisar is its fortress, which rises on inaccessible volcanic rocks. Photo: Ingeborg Simon / Wikimedia.org
The central attraction of Afyonkarahisar is its fortress, which rises on inaccessible volcanic rocks. Photo: Ingeborg Simon / Wikimedia.org

For barbecue enthusiasts, there are free organized sites near the city in the well-maintained Odunpazarı Botanical Park. Each grill has a gazebo with tables, and nearby you can buy everything needed for a fire.

Eat and Drink

Fast Food

Affordable cafes where you can quickly and deliciously enjoy Turkish cuisine include Marifet Pide & Kebab, Şahin Pide, and Pınar Pide Kebap. Here, at small tables, you can have lunch with pide (also known as “Turkish pizza”) and kebab, washed down with ayran.

Tasty Tatar chebureks and mantı (like Central Asian manty, but 20 times smaller) are prepared in Odunpazarı. Cafes like Öz Kırım Tatar Çibörek ve Mantı Evi and Kırım Tatar Kültür Çi Börek Evi are always bustling. Chebureks are sold not individually, but in portions of five per serving. In the café Yörük Çadırı, women sit and prepare gözleme flatbreads with various fillings. The most common are with minced meat, greens, and cheese. Döner kebabs are sold in hundreds of places in the city, making it difficult to recommend something specific.

Turkish Pizza – Pide with Minced Meat and Cheese
Turkish Pizza – Pide with Minced Meat and Cheese
Chebureks are sold not individually, but in portions, with five pieces per serving
Chebureks are sold not individually, but in portions, with five pieces per serving

Hippo French Tacos is a spacious café where they prepare 15 types of tacos, including interesting options with blue cheese and sweet chili, served with fragrant potatoes and four types of sauces. BSR Coffee & Food is a tranquil café with a diverse menu, but the hearty “Izmir” taco with sausage, egg, and pickles is a must-try.

Burgers are cooked in every third establishment, with the most frequented burger places being neighbors: Goril Burger and 3MonkeyBurger. However, Wopsow Burger stands out for their rich combo meals with various snacks, sauces, and drinks.

Near the railway station is the micro café Onion Cafe & Food with pleasant music, offering traditional and signature sandwiches, including vegan options.

Breakfasts

Doyuran Kahvaltı Salonu is a legendary café for locals, serving breakfast in the most classic way for 40 years. This means bringing a lot of different dishes in small plates, typically including several types of cheese, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, honey, jam, cottage cheese, yogurt, freshly baked flatbreads or baguettes, sausages, fried and boiled eggs. The café opens at six in the morning. Bal Kahvaltı and Hot’nFun Kahvaltı are popular cafés with a pleasant atmosphere and sets for Turkish breakfasts.

A Turkish breakfast consists of a variety of different dishes served in small plates. Typically, this includes several varieties of cheese, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, honey, jam, cottage cheese, yogurt, freshly baked flatbreads or baguettes, sausages, fried and boiled eggs
A Turkish breakfast consists of a variety of different dishes served in small plates. Typically, this includes several varieties of cheese, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, honey, jam, cottage cheese, yogurt, freshly baked flatbreads or baguettes, sausages, fried and boiled eggs

At the tiny tea house Meltem Tost ve Çay Evi, with just four tables, they prepare only three dishes: Turkish scrambled eggs menemen, cooked in a pan with tomatoes, green peppers, and cheese, hot sandwiches, and gözleme with potatoes. While waiting, observe the atmosphere – how Turks play backgammon, watch the news, drink lots of tea, converse loudly, and smile broadly when meeting. The food here is very tasty and affordable.

In the tiny tea house Meltem Tost ve Çay Evi, with just four tables, they prepare only three dishes: Turkish scrambled eggs menemen, cooked in a pan with tomatoes, green peppers, and cheese, hot sandwiches, and gözleme with potatoes
In the tiny tea house Meltem Tost ve Çay Evi, with just four tables, they prepare only three dishes: Turkish scrambled eggs menemen, cooked in a pan with tomatoes, green peppers, and cheese, hot sandwiches, and gözleme with potatoes

Cafes and Restaurants

Affordable and diverse meals are served in traditional Turkish diners – lokantas.

Değirmencioğlu Lokanta is a perfect example, a spacious establishment with three floors and an elevator. For tasting, ask for a half portion and leave room for a dessert like pumpkin or rice pudding.

Nazar Kebap has been operating since 1967 and specializes in thinly sliced lamb, a dish called iskender. In the evening, all tables are occupied, and the waiting time can be over an hour.

Varuna Gezgin Cafe is a Turkish café chain with an interesting history. Each café is decorated with artifacts from around the world, collected by the staff. International dishes on the menu are learned by the chefs in their countries of origin. The owners pay all travel expenses for the staff and organize tours to the most exotic countries.

Varuna Gezgin Cafe is a Turkish café chain with an interesting history. Each café is decorated with artifacts from around the world, collected by the staff. The international dishes on the menu are learned by the chefs in their countries of origin
Varuna Gezgin Cafe is a Turkish café chain with an interesting history. Each café is decorated with artifacts from around the world, collected by the staff. The international dishes on the menu are learned by the chefs in their countries of origin

OMM Cafe is located right at the exit of the Museum of Modern Art. The menu consists of vegan dishes, coffee, signature lemonades, and brewed tea (not just black).

Fiore is a beautiful café where Neapolitan pizza is made in a wood-fired oven.

Meeple Board Game & Cafe is a café with board games. A wide collection is gathered in one place, with an entrance fee of 30 lira (0.85 euros) without time limits and number of games.

Balaban Adalar is a meat restaurant where, in addition to the ordered dishes, various salads, appetizers, freshly baked flatbread, and tea in a two-tiered Turkish teapot are additionally served.

In Balaban Adalar, in addition to the ordered dishes, various salads, appetizers, freshly baked flatbread, and tea in a two-tiered Turkish teapot are also served
In Balaban Adalar, in addition to the ordered dishes, various salads, appetizers, freshly baked flatbread, and tea in a two-tiered Turkish teapot are also served

Coffee and Desserts

Walker’s Sümer is a cozy coffee shop near the promenade, where you should stop by to try their signature coffee and “San Sebastian” cheesecake or freshly baked cookies.

Monk Coffee & Books is a third-wave coffee shop with various manual brewing methods. They host different events and workshops every week. Students come here to read books and do their homework while enjoying quiet music.

Lenore Patisserie embodies the concept of a French patisserie with elegance and glamour. Desserts and delicious croissants are sold like jewelry.

Lenore Patisserie embodies the concept of a French patisserie with elegance and glamour. Desserts and delicious croissants are sold like jewelry. Photo: Lenore Patisserie
Lenore Patisserie embodies the concept of a French patisserie with elegance and glamour. Desserts and delicious croissants are sold like jewelry. Photo: Lenore Patisserie

Morphée Cafe & Store is a café with aromatic teas. Each teapot is served with special sand timers for proper brewing.

Mazlumlar Muhallebicisi is a cult place for the whole of Turkey, founded in 1927. They prepare desserts from natural ingredients, adhering to traditional recipes. Be sure to try the fried pudding kazandibi and the chicken breast milk pudding tavukgöğsü, which is one of the most unusual desserts in the world.

Bars and Clubs

Vural Street (Vural Sk) is the main bar street in the city.

No46 and Dudes are two bars with a relaxed atmosphere, where you can grab a bite, chat, drink, and listen to live performances.

Beer O’clock is the complete opposite of the previous two bars. Here, in a worn interior, heavy rock, crowded space, and low prices on strong drinks come together.

Dali Cocktail Bar and Apotheke are beautiful cocktail bars with interesting presentations and snacks.

Dali Cocktail Bar and Apotheke are beautiful cocktail bars with interesting presentations and snacks. Photo: Dali Cocktail Bar
Dali Cocktail Bar and Apotheke are beautiful cocktail bars with interesting presentations and snacks. Photo: Dali Cocktail Bar

Hangover Sky is a 24-hour pub on the top floor of a hotel, offering city views.

Club 2020 is a club with techno music and strict security that effectively filters out inappropriate guests.

Fizan Nargile Cafe is a hookah bar with quality ventilation for those who enjoy smoking in a pleasant environment.

Groceries

Small chain stores with affordable products – A101, BIM, Şok – are located throughout the city, but their range is not very large. Migros, Carrefour, and Çağdaş offer a much wider selection of products. They are located in shopping centers and on main streets.

Farmers’ produce is sold on market streets, which appear for a whole day in different districts of the city. Hotel workers or rental apartment hosts usually know the days when the nearest markets to their homes are open. The atmosphere at farmers’ markets is friendly and authentic. Loud and smiling vendors offer fruits, vegetables, honey, nuts, olives, and spices. There are also stalls with fresh fish, meat, flatbreads, and cheeses. In the neighboring alleys, household goods and knitted products are sold. Markets typically operate all day, and prices for many items are significantly reduced by the evening.

Markets usually operate all day, and by the evening, prices for many items are significantly reduced
Markets usually operate all day, and by the evening, prices for many items are significantly reduced

Fresh bread is sold in small unnamed bakeries throughout the city. They are easy to find if you pay attention to the display windows, queues, and piles of wood on the sidewalk. Local Turkish sweets are purchased by the box in confectioneries with the sign “Baklavaci.”

Tanınmış Helvacı has been producing halva since 1875. Every day, there are queues outside the store stretching to the next street. To avoid waiting, you can buy halva in the neighboring store, where it is equally delicious. I also recommend trying boza at Karakedi Bozacısı. Boza is a traditional Turkish drink made from wheat, corn, or millet, containing about 1% alcohol. It has a thick consistency and a gentle sweet taste, often consumed in cold weather to boost immunity. A glass of the drink costs 12.5 lira (0.36 euros).

Boza is a traditional Turkish drink made from wheat, corn, or millet, containing about 1% alcohol. It has a thick consistency and a gentle sweet taste
Boza is a traditional Turkish drink made from wheat, corn, or millet, containing about 1% alcohol. It has a thick consistency and a gentle sweet taste

Shopping Centers

The large shopping complex Espark is located in the city center. It offers a vast selection of international and Turkish clothing brands, footwear, cosmetics, and electronics. It’s the best shopping center in the city, but it can be overly crowded on weekends and in the evenings. There are food courts and a cinema on the upper floors, showing movies in both dubbed versions and original languages with Turkish subtitles.

For those who prefer shopping in a more relaxed environment, there is the Vega Outlet shopping complex. Located away from the city center but near a tram stop, it offers lower prices than Espark, though with a smaller selection.

For an authentic Turkish shopping experience in Eskisehir, visitors are recommended to explore the bazaar area Çarşı. It’s hard to define its exact boundaries. The variety is so extensive that it takes time to find the right alleys and items. Enjoy the process itself and try to negotiate with sellers to buy good items at low prices.

Coworking Spaces

Opus Kütüphane Cafe is popular among students, especially during exam periods. There are two zones: an isolated, quiet area for studying where everyone tries not to disturb each other, and an open cafe area where people socialize, play board games, and drink coffee. Time is unlimited, and the price depends only on the drinks, ranging from 45 lira (1.28 euros) for unlimited tea to 85 lira (2.42 euros) for unlimited filter coffee.

In Opus Kütüphane Cafe, there are two zones: an isolated, quiet one for studying, where everyone tries not to disturb each other, and an open cafe area where people socialize, play board games, and drink coffee. Photo: Opus Kütüphane Cafe
In Opus Kütüphane Cafe, there are two zones: an isolated, quiet one for studying, where everyone tries not to disturb each other, and an open cafe area where people socialize, play board games, and drink coffee. Photo: Opus Kütüphane Cafe

UnitOfis offers a complete office environment with appropriate furnishings and equipment. One day of office life costs 300 lira (8.54 euros), and a week is 750 lira (21.36 euros).

Dentistry

Turkey has become a popular destination for medical tourism, including for dental treatments, in addition to hair transplants and plastic surgeries. Turkish dentists are educated and trained abroad, clinics meet international standards, and there is investment in modern equipment and materials. Due to high competition among clinics, patients receive increased attention and quality treatment. On İsmet İnönü Boulevard alone, maps show 16 different clinics. In the city, there are also large chain clinics such as İpek and Serdent. In Oldcitydent and Klas Diş you can undergo an examination and see a doctor without an appointment on the day of visit.

Where to Stay

Most hotels and apartments are located in the two central districts of the city, where all activities take place.

Tasigo Eskisehir is a five-star hotel that has won numerous awards. The hotel features a spa complex and a Turkish cuisine restaurant with a great panoramic view. Prices for a double room start from 150 euros.

Tasigo Eskisehir is a five-star hotel that has won numerous awards. The hotel features a spa complex and a Turkish cuisine restaurant with an excellent panoramic view. Photo: Tasigo Eskisehir
Tasigo Eskisehir is a five-star hotel that has won numerous awards. The hotel features a spa complex and a Turkish cuisine restaurant with an excellent panoramic view. Photo: Tasigo Eskisehir

Omm Inn, like the OMM Museum of Modern Art, was designed by the renowned Japanese architectural firm KKAA. The interior of the rooms combines concrete walls with elements and furniture made of natural wood, paying homage to the modernist architect Louis Kahn. Prices start from 120 euros per night, including vegan breakfasts made from organic products.

For 40 euros per night, you can stay in the historical district of Odunpazarı in recently restored Ottoman-style mansions built in the 1800s. Yuva Butik and Arasta Konak Otel offer attractive rooms with wooden ceilings and plenty of windows. Guests praise them for their hearty traditional breakfasts.

For 1200 lira per night, you can stay in the historical district of Odunpazarı in recently restored Ottoman-style mansions. Photo: Arasta Konak Otel
For 1200 lira per night, you can stay in the historical district of Odunpazarı in recently restored Ottoman-style mansions. Photo: Arasta Konak Otel

Grande Artel and Grande Stellal are located on the busy streets of the Tepebaşı district, but they are within walking distance to all entertainment, the Espark shopping center, trams, and the Porsuk River promenade. Prices per night start from 63 euros.

There are also chain hotels in the city for those who collect loyalty points – Hilton Garden Inn, Ramada Plaza by Wyndham, Park Dedeman. However, they are located far from the center, and, according to reviews, the Turkish staff doesn’t always meet international standards. The advantage is that these hotels are surrounded by new buildings, large parking lots, and good restaurants with diverse cuisine.

Airbnb apartments with fresh renovations can be twice as cheap as a budget hotel room. You can write directly to the host and ask for cash payment – many are willing to agree and even offer a discount. Pay attention to the reviews. There is no soundproofing in the apartments, so it’s better to choose accommodation away from main roads, bar streets, and the Hatboyu Yürüyüş Yolu boulevard, over which military planes fly almost every day.

The city has major issues with noise pollution. In addition to the piercing roar of military aircraft and the specific driving culture with constant honking, every day water trucks with annoying melodies drive through the streets, and collectors of broken appliances roam around with carts. While one can get used to the five-times-daily calls to prayer, as they create a special atmosphere, it’s harder to get used to the night drummers during festive days. Protect your nerves – choose accommodation with windows facing the courtyard.

Transportation in the City

Public Transport: Travel on trams and buses is paid for with the Eskart travel card. The card is sold and recharged at green kiosks near main stops and private stores (usually marked with an Eskart sign). The fare is 13 lira (0.37 euros). Additionally, turnstiles and terminals accept bank cards, but the price is slightly higher at 15 lira (0.43 euros). For each transfer, the full fare is charged, whereas with Eskart, it costs six lira (0.17 euros).

Google Maps does not provide public transportation routes, so it’s advisable to download the Moovit app. It knows the tram and bus schedules and creates routes with transfers, offering various options.

Trams are the pride of the city. They are a convenient means of transportation, traveling on dedicated lanes, avoiding traffic jams, and connecting different districts with train stations, universities, and parks.

Trams – the Pride of Eskisehir: Trams are a convenient mode of transportation in Eskisehir. They run on dedicated lanes, avoiding traffic jams, and connect different districts with train stations, universities, and parks
Trams – the Pride of Eskisehir: Trams are a convenient mode of transportation in Eskisehir. They run on dedicated lanes, avoiding traffic jams, and connect different districts with train stations, universities, and parks

Taxis are the most expensive mode of transportation. It’s not possible to call a taxi through an app; you need to go out to the street and look for special boxes with buttons, which are distributed throughout the city. Taxis arrive quickly and use meters. The starting fare is 25 lira (0.71 euros), and even for short distances, the ride will cost no less than 100 lira (2.85 euros). It’s better to check the route on a navigation app – drivers may take scenic routes through unknown streets to increase the fare.

Connectivity

SIM cards are issued based on a foreign passport and special tariffs for tourists, which are higher than for Turkish citizens.

The “big three” of Turkish mobile operators are Vodafone, Turkcell, and Turk Telekom. 20 gigabytes of internet from Turkcell costs from 590 lira (16.80 euros). Calls need to be purchased for an additional 100 lira (2.85 euros). Renewal for the next month is 295 lira (8.40 euros). Turk Telekom offers 20 gigabytes for 600 lira (17.08 euros). Vodafone offers 20 gigabytes for two months at 550 lira (15.66 euros). There’s another operator, Ptt Cell, from Turkish post, which operates on the Turk Telekom network. Their cheapest tourist tariff is 385 lira (10.96 euros), including 25 gigabytes of internet, 750 minutes, and 750 SMS for a month.

Using a Turkish SIM Card in a Foreign Phone: After 120 days of using a Turkish SIM card in a foreign phone, the phone’s IMEI gets blocked, not the SIM card itself. You can try switching the SIM card to another slot. As of July 8, 2023, registering a foreign smartphone costs an incredible 20,000 lira (569.50 euros) per SIM slot. This can only be done by those who have a residence permit in Turkey. It’s simpler to buy an inexpensive smartphone in Turkey or a Wi-Fi router.

Some expatriates in Turkey write that it’s possible to unlock a phone at the post office (PTT) even without a residence permit (ikamet). You need to go to a branch and say “E-devlet,” then hand over the locked phone with the Turkish SIM card to the staff. If it doesn’t work in one branch, try another.

How to Get There

Airplane: The city has its own airport, but all international flights were suspended during the COVID years, and in April 2022, it was decided to route domestic flights through Zafer Airport, 120 kilometers from Eskisehir. Planes fly from Istanbul four times a week and from Dusseldorf twice a week.

You can fly to Ankara or Istanbul and then continue by land transport. Bus shuttles from Havaist company operate round the clock to the railway and bus stations.

Train: The most budget-friendly way to travel is by high-speed trains. It’s best to buy tickets in advance on the official carrier’s website or at departure platforms. Convenient platforms in Istanbul are located in the Kadıköy (Söğütlüçeşme) and Pendik districts, especially if you’re arriving at Sabiha Gökçen Airport. The train reaches speeds of up to 250 kilometers per hour and takes three hours to reach the central station of Eskisehir, with trains departing every hour.

From Ankara, the train reaches Eskisehir in an hour and a half. A ticket costs 145 lira (4.13 euros). You can also travel by train from Izmir and Denizli, which takes 9-11 hours.

The most budget-friendly way to reach Eskisehir is by high-speed trains. The train reaches speeds of up to 250 kilometers per hour, and for example, it takes only three hours from Istanbul
The most budget-friendly way to reach Eskisehir is by high-speed trains. The train reaches speeds of up to 250 kilometers per hour, and for example, it takes only three hours from Istanbul

Bus: You can reach Eskisehir directly by bus from any major city in Turkey. It’s convenient to search for tickets through the unified service Obilet or buy them directly from carriers in city offices and at bus stations. The bus ride from Antalya takes six hours, and from Bodrum, it’s 11 hours.

Car: The roads in Turkey are generally good. High-speed highways lead to Eskisehir from major cities, with many gas stations and cafes along the way.

Transfers can be ordered via “GetTransfer”. A car from Istanbul will cost between 130 and 180 euros.

You can rent a car directly at the airports in Ankara or Istanbul and drive to Eskisehir without entering the city. The most convenient way to rent is through the service Localrent with local rental companies. The service allows you to pay the deposit with a Russian bank card, and the rental companies accept cash payments for the rental and deposit. The price depends on the season and the city.

When to Go

Eskisehir has a continental climate with distinct seasons, and the temperature can differ by 10-15 degrees between night and day. From November until the end of March, the city is generally rainy and relatively cold, ranging from minus five to plus ten degrees Celsius. Snow falls in winter and stays for a couple of weeks, and all main roads and sidewalks are treated with sand and salt. This time of year offers the lowest rental prices, empty museums, and available tables in restaurants, cafes, and bars. Everything operates year-round, unlike in resort cities.

In winter, Eskisehir experiences snowfall that lasts for a couple of weeks, and all major roads and sidewalks are treated with sand and salt
In winter, Eskisehir experiences snowfall that lasts for a couple of weeks, and all major roads and sidewalks are treated with sand and salt

Spring arrives slowly in the city, with cold nights lasting until June, but by April the city comes to life. Various fruit trees, flowers, and shrubs bloom throughout the city. This is a good time for long, peaceful walks and sightseeing. There are still few people on weekdays, but on weekends, locals fill all the promenades and parks, and many newlyweds choose spring for their ceremonies to take advantage of the blooming backdrop for their photo sessions.

July and August are the hottest and driest months of the year. Temperatures rise above 30 degrees Celsius, but at night they drop to a comfortable 15-20 degrees. Thanks to this, many residents manage without air conditioning. Even on Airbnb, apartments with air conditioning are a rarity. During the midday heat, locals prefer to rest in cool shopping centers and establishments, in the shade of trees in city parks, or on the lawns by the water along the Porsuk River promenade.

Spring is an excellent time for long, peaceful walks and sightseeing
Spring is an excellent time for long, peaceful walks and sightseeing

In autumn, the daytime temperature stays within a comfortable range of 15-25 degrees Celsius. The city enters a charming period when trees change their leaf colors from green to various autumn shades. Particularly in sunny weather, the dense avenues and parks, painted in bright colors, become the main places for walks.

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