There are great routes that can take you away from the rat race and crowds of Istanbul for a day. At most, 3 hours of travel will be enough for these sightseeing routes around Istanbul.
After a 1.5–hour drive, have breakfast at Maşukiye. Visit Acarlar Floodplain Forest, Lake Poyrazlar, and Karasu. Stroll around Sapanca Lake.
Take a 1–hour journey from Pendik to Yalova. After a short tour of the city, take the Çınarcık hill route. Have a picnic by Lake Dipsiz. Then, visit Çifte Waterfall and Erikli Plateau.
You can arrive at Bolu after a 3–hour highway trip. See the Bolu Museum in the city center. Hit the mountains to see Seven Lakes (Yedigöller), Lake Sülüklü, and Lake Abant. In the winter, you can ski in Kartalkaya Ski Center.
After about 1.5 hours of driving, you will reach the Rakoczi Museum in Tekirdağ. Walk along the coast of Şarköy, catch fish in Mürefte, enjoy paragliding in Uçmakdere, and take photos on the beach.
Get to Izmit in 1.5 hours and go to Kandıra, which is a district of Izmit. Take a tour of the city center, then take a boat to the island of Kefken and see the pink rocks. Swim in the village of Kumcağız.
Take a 1.5–hour drive to Izmit and take a 15-minute drive to the town of Yuvacık. Have breakfast by the river in the Yuvacık Dam. Then join the ATV tours, rafting, or trekking.
See the Tomb of Hannibal when you arrive in Gebze after an hour-long drive. Visit the nature park of Ballıkayalar, which is 18 km away.
Polonezköy – Ağva (in Istanbul)
Popular among Istanbul routes! From Kadıköy, take a 90-minute bus journey to Polonezköy. Have breakfast in the village and see the Church of the Virgin Mary. Take a bike tour and visit the zoo. After Polonezköy, you can reach Ağva with a 1.5–hour drive. Visit Kadırga Bay, Kilimli Bay, and the Aşıklar coves. Take a boat trip in Göksu.
Tirilye – Mudanya
Take the Yenikapı-Mudanya ferry to Bursa in 2 hours. Stroll through the Greek Quarter, see the Armistice House, and walk along the beach. Then hit the road for Tirilye. Visit the Stone School. Take a photo of the market and the streets, which are full of authentic houses.
Büyükada (in Istanbul)
You can reach Büyükada, the greatest of the Prince Islands, in an average of 90 minutes by ferry. See Aya Yorgi Church, tour the island with the electric cars, and visit the Prince’s Bay.
Take a 2.5–hour drive to Iznik in Bursa and see the historic ruins from the Roman period. Take a boat trip and walk along the lake.
Garipçe Village (in Istanbul)
From Sarıyer, go to Garipçe Village in 10 minutes. Visit the castle, go fishing, and have dinner at the one of the fish restaurants at the beach.
Take a 2.5–hour drive to the city center of Edirne. Visit the Justice Palace and the Selimiye Mosque, masterpiece of Sinan the Architect. Shop in Selimiye Bazaar. Get some almond sweets and enjoy a cafe near Meriç River.
Reach İğneada in Kırklareli after a 2–hour drive. See Zindandere Waterfall. Go trekking in Longoz Floodplain Forest.