Eastern Thrace Guide 2023: Edirne, Kirklareli, Tekirdag

Thrace guide edirne

Are you ready to discover best spots of Eastern Thrace with Thrace guide? Thrace is a historical region in Turkey that is located on the European side of the country. The region is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in Turkey, including the Istranca (Strandzha) Mountains, Floodplain forest, and the Black Sea coast. You can discover the cities in the Marmara region with this Thrace guide.

There are also many ancient ruins and landmarks in Thrace that are worth exploring. In this Thrace guide, we will provide you with all the information you need to know about visiting Thrace! This Thracian itinerary will show you the way during your travel.

Table of Contents

A Complete Travel Thrace Guide, Turkey: Explore Istranca Mountains, Floodplain Forest, and Historical Landmarks

Short History of Thracians

Thrace is a historical region that was once home to the ancient Thracian people. The Thracians were a group of Indo-European tribes who lived in what is now Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey. They were known for their warrior culture and for their unique art and architecture. The Thracians also had their own language, which was related to Greek.

The Thracians were conquered by the Roman Empire in the first century AD, and Thrace became a Roman province. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Thrace was ruled by the Byzantine Empire. In the 13th century, Thrace was conquered by the Ottoman Turks and became a  part of the Ottoman Empire.

Where was Thrace located?

Thrace was located in a huge area that includes northwest Turkiye, Bulgaria and Macedonia and so on. You will be able to see an East Thrace map below.

History of Thracians
History of Thracians

Thracians Today

Today, Thrace is located in northwestern Turkey. Many people are wondering about what is Thrace called today or what is Thrace called now. In Turkish, they called this region “Trakya.”

Is there Thrace in Turkey?

Yes, there is. Turkey has the eastern part of Thrace. But why is Thrace part of Turkey? Here is the answer: As we mentioned before Ottoman Turks conquered that part. Now eastern part of Thrace is within the boundaries of Turkey. So, what is the biggest city in Thrace? Tekirdag is a crowded city in eastern Thrace. 

Let’s mention the Thrace population. The region is home to a large Turkish minority population as well as a significant Greek minority population. Here is the Thrace ethnic map. Thrace is also home to many historical landmarks and beautiful landscapes. 

There are a number of historical landmarks located in Thrace. We will mention popular ones in this Thrace guide with you. The part of Turkey Thrace has a wilderness natural heritage worth seeing. It is amazing to be a witness of that stunning history and culture. We hope that you will find it useful that Thrace region travels for your next Turkey trip.

Saint Georges Church edirne
Saint Georges Church

The beautiful Black Sea

The Black Sea is located in northeastern Turkey. The sea is known for its beautiful beaches and its clear waters.

Some of the most popular tourist attractions in the Black Sea include the Black Sea National Park, which is home to a number of hiking trails and scenic viewpoints, and the Black Sea Waterfalls, which are located in the northern part of the sea.

How to Get Thrace Cities in Turkey?

Actually, the Thrace Turkey map is a good route to follow because the western part of the Marmara region has stunning greenery behind the Black Sea. Whether you take a public bus or rent a car you will enjoy the journey, this is for sure. 

You can buy a European side of Turkey map to discover the region better. Eastern Thrace Turkey cities Edirne and Kirklareli are next to the border of Bulgaria and Greece. So you may use the land borders from Greece or Bulgaria in order to visit Turkey

If you are gonna take a flight to visit Eastern Thrace, you can check the flights for Tekirdag Corlu Airport (TEQ) or Canakkale Airport(CKZ). Not to be sure about international flights but you can catch the domestic ones if it’s suitable for your schedule. 

Anyways, Istanbul Airport looks like the nicest airport to find more flights. It has many international flights. After Istanbul Airport you can take local buses, Havaist buses, etc. You can rent a car from the airport, too. It is totally up to you. 
If you want to spend some days in Istanbul and after you want to go to eastern Thrace you may think about railways also. We will mention three cities in this Thrace guide. Hope you enjoy reading this post. Let’s start with Edirne city.

Edirne City

Edirne is the largest city in Thrace and it is also the capital of Edirne Province. Edirne population is nearly 200.000 The city is located on the Tunca River, and it is known for its beautiful architecture and historical landmarks. It is also very popular with bridges and causeways.

Some of the most popular tourist attractions in Edirne include the Selimiye Mosque, which was built by the great Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, and the Edirne Palace, which was once the home of the Ottoman sultan. Edirne is also home to a number of parks and gardens, including the Sultan’s Garden and the Tunca River Park.

If you are interested in learning about the history of Thrace, you should definitely visit the Edirne Archaeological Museum. The museum is located in the city center and it houses a collection of artifacts from the Thracian, Roman, and Byzantine periods.

An Edirne Turkey map for tourists can be good to explore the city.

Edirne City Turkey

How to get Edirne, Turkey?

The best way to get around is to rent a car. Public buses also can be used. You can find a bus from Istanbul to Edirne. If you like railways, note the Istanbul to Edirne train option too.

So, how far is Edirne from Istanbul? It takes two and a half hours from Istanbul by car. So, Istanbul to Edirne day trips can be possible for daily travelers. 

Is Edirne worth visiting? Continue reading and learn about things to do in Edirne. After that, you can answer that question by yourself.

Things to Do in Edirne

You can visit Karaagac Train Station. This is a very popular place in the city. Karaagac district is a stunning location for photographers. After that, you can go to the Meric River Bridge. An amazing landscape will be waiting for you there. 

Things to do in Edirne: Mosques

Here are other things to do in Edirne! You can browse around and go to the 1. Beyazid II Kulliyesi Health Museum a.k.a. Beyazit Medical Complex

Edirne is famous for its mosques. You should visit Selimiye Mosque, Eski Cami (Old Mosque), and Uc Serefeli Camii if you are interested in religious travel. Besides the mosques, you can visit churches and synagogues. The Great Synagogue of Edirne is one of them. This synagogue is also known as the “Grand synagogue of Edirne” and “Adrianople Synagogue.”

If you are wondering about churches, Saint George’s Church in Edirne may be your next stop in Edirne city.

You can visit Uzunkopru if you want to see the longest stone bridge in the world which still exists. It was built in Ottoman times. Edirne was the capital city of the Ottoman empire until 1453. Nowadays it is a modern and culturally rich city in Eastern Thrace that students prefer frequently for their university learning. 

Edirne Archaeology Museum or Edirne Museum is also an ethnographic museum too. If you want to get to know the culture of the district you should add the museum to your bucket list. Interested in the Turkish Islamic Arts Museum? Edirne has a museum about Turkish Islamic arts too. Also, you can visit the Balkan War Museum if you are wondering about it. 

Turkey Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Tournament

The Oil-wrestling Festival is a very unique thing to do. Edirne is famous for its oil-wrestling festival. The Kırkpınar oil wrestling tournament is a national competition every June. They call “pehlivan” to the oil wrestler. If you come across it, see the oil wrestling tournament Kırkpınar 2023.

You will be able to find more cultural and traditional things during the festival in addition to the oil wrestling festival.

Selimiye Mosque
Selimiye Mosque

Shopping in Edirne

The Grand Bazaar of Edirne is a very local option to buy some souvenirs. Pehlivanlar Pasajı can be a good option to see. If you are wondering about shopping malls you can check the Erasta, Margi Outlet, etc.

Best Food in Edirne

Edirne has very unique tastes that you shouldn’t miss any conditions. You should try the delightful “tava ciger (liver fried on the pan)” and “Edirne köfte(Edirne meatballs)” in Edirne traditional cuisine. 

Beyaz Kahve is a place that offers more cuisine from around the world. Especially if you are vegan or vegetarian you may go to that place. 

You can check the Vargo Restaurant menu for romantic dinners. Ponsetya Edirne is the famous one in Edirne restaurants. That rooftop restaurant offers you one of the best lamb chops in town!

tava ciger edirne best food
Ciger Tava

Where to stay in Edirne?

Hotel Edirne Osmanli Evleri is a very unique option to stay in Edirne. If you get bored of the usual ones you can try that boutique hotel option.

The Ottoman Palace Hotel is also a very nice place to stay.

Bonus: Gökçetepe Tabiat Orman Parkı is a nice option near the sea for camp lovers!

Guided Edirne Tours

If you are looking for an Edirne day trip from Istanbul, you should check this daily guided Edirne tour out.

Kirklareli City

Kırklareli is a small city located in northern Thrace. The city is known for its beautiful parks and gardens.

Some of the most popular tourist attractions in Kırklareli include the Kirklareli Museum, which houses a collection of artifacts from the Thracian, Roman, and Byzantine periods, and the Kirklareli Castle, which was built by the Ottoman Turks in the 16th century.

More Things to Do in Kirklareli

Visit the lovely towns of Kirklareli: Kırklareli has a town named Vize. Vize town is a very cute, calm town between the Black Sea and the Strandzha Mountains. Going to Vize is one hour from Kirklareli city center, 2.5 hours from Istanbul. 

You should visit Thracian rock tombs which are located in the ancient city of Thrace, Karakocak Tepe. That region used to be consecrated because they had sacred rituals etc.

Dupnisa Cave is still there from 3 million years ago! So it is definitely worth seeing! Getting it is a bit hard but if you have your own vehicle, you are luckier. This cave has an amazing and excellent cave ecosystem inside. It has a very rich underground habitat! Visit that magical and cool place in comfortable clothes. There is also a car park and an information office for you.

Asagı Pınar Open-Air Museum is located in Kirklareli province in Turkey. Asagi Pinar is one of the first settlements in the Eastern Thrace region. You should visit this cultural heritage if you are interested in archaeology. 

Istranca Mountains: The Istranca Mountains (Strandzha Mountains) are located in northwestern Turkey. The mountains are home to a number of hiking trails and scenic viewpoints.

Some of the most popular tourist attractions in the Istranca Mountains include the Istranca National Park, which is home to a number of hiking trails and scenic viewpoints, and the Istranca Waterfalls, which are located in the northern part of the park.

Floodplain Forest: The Floodplain Forest is located in northwestern Turkey. The forest is home to a number of hiking trails and scenic viewpoints. Also known as Igneada Longoz Ormanları Milli Parkı. See the beautiful lagoon Lake Mert (Mert Golu) over there. 

Some of the most popular tourist attractions in the Floodplain Forest include the Floodplain National Park, which is home to a number of hiking trails and scenic viewpoints, and the Floodplain Waterfalls, which are located in the southern part of the park. Visit that stunning place especially if you are in love with nature! You will take amazing photos there.

See Kiyikoy if you have more time to travel around Kirklareli.

Floodplain Forest
Igneada Longoz Ormanları

Shopping in Kirklareli

If you want to buy something from Kirklareli, Minimall Kirklareli, Selale shopping mall. 

What to eat in Kirklareli?

Kirklareli is famous for its “köfte” which is known as meatballs. If you visit there you can order special soups(yöresel çorba) and traditional stew(yahni), especially the lamb stewed with lettuce and fennel. If you love patties you can ask for “sini mantisi” which is a patty kind from the local cuisine.

Where to stay in Kirklareli?

You can find some places to stay in the center for sure. Here is a good option for you 👉🏻

Yalıköy Deniz Otel. You should check out this very unique Kirklareli hotel.

If you want to spend time in Floodplain Forest or Longoz you can stay near İgneada

Kirklareli what to do

Here is an amazing Full-Day Wine Tour from Istanbul to Kirklareli! As you know, this region is also famous with wineyards.

Tekirdağ City (Tekirdag Turkey)

Tekirdağ is a small city located on the Marmara Sea coast. The city is known for its beautiful beaches and its historical landmarks.

Some of the most popular tourist attractions in Tekirdağ include the Tekirdag Archaeological Museum (Tekirdağ Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography), which houses a collection of artifacts from the Thracian, Roman, and Byzantine periods, and the Tekirdağ Castle, which was built by the Ottoman Turks in the 16th century.

If you are interested in learning about the history of Thrace, you should definitely visit the Tekirdag Archaeological Museum.  The museum is located in the city center and it houses a collection of artifacts from the Thracian, Roman, and Byzantine periods.

Tekirdag Things To Do

Wine tasting: Barbare vineyards is a very famous place for wine tasting. As you know, Tekirdag is known for its grapes. Either wines or raki should taste if you are looking for unique drinks with alcohol. So you should try wine-tasting. If you have time, make a route for wine tasting in different places. Umurbey vineyards is a very famous place. Barrel vineyards too. 

Here is an amazing Daily Tekirdag Wine Tasting Tour from Istanbul. Make sure you’ve checked this delicious opportunity before you plan your whole Turkey vacation on 2023.

Rakoczi Museum: This historical house museum is a symbol of Hungarian – Turkish fellowship. It is very nice to see another museum alongside the Tekirdag Museum.

The Namık Kemal House Museum, and Music museum is very unique museums worth seeing if you have time. 

Visit Mosques: Rustem Pasha Mosque is built by famous architect Mimar Sinan. Orta Camii is another destination for mosque lovers. 

Perinthos Ancient City is very small, ancient ruins remain within the city. 
You can see the Corlu district which has nice castles, parks, gardens, shopping malls, etc. Those are top sights in Corlu.

Rustem Pasha Mosque
Perinthos Ancient City

Shopping in Tekirdag

Tekira Alisveris Merkezi, Orion Shopping mall, and YSK Center shopping mall are famous Tekirdag shopping malls in the town!

What to eat in Tekirdag? Famous Tekirdag Food

Like other eastern Thracian cities, Tekirdag is famous for its “köfte” or meatballs. 

Meshur Kofteci Kardesler is one of the top-rated restaurants in town! You can view their menu from here.

Tekirdag is also famous for its special raki (also a brand name: Tekirdağ Yaş Üzüm Rakısı) which is “wet grape raki.” If you are wondering about raki, you should try that one while you are there.

Thracian Cuisine

The cuisine of Thrace is a blend of Turkish, Greek, and Bulgarian influences. The cuisine is known for its use of fresh ingredients and its healthy recipes.

Some of the most popular dishes in Thrace include İskender kebab, which is a dish made with lamb and yogurt sauce; köfte, which are meatballs made with ground lamb; and börek, which are pastries filled with cheese or spinach.

Local Drinks

There are a number of local drinks that are popular in Thrace. Some of the most popular drinks include boza, which is a fermented drink made from wheat; rakı, which is a distilled spirit made from grapes; and suluk, which is a type of yogurt drink.

Eastern Thrace Turkey Local Drink

Where to stay in Tekirdag?

Ramada by Wyndham Tekirdag is an excellent choice for travelers who are looking for comfortable places to stay. You can find different hotels which cover your expectations in the Tekirdag region. 

Camping at Ucmakdere is a very nice offer for nature lovers.

Other Beautiful Coasts in Turkey

There are a number of other beautiful coasts located in Thrace. Some of the most popular tourist destinations include the İzmit Coast and the Çanakkale Coast. Each of these coasts is home to a number of hiking trails and scenic viewpoints.

Thrace is a region that has something for everyone. Whether you are interested in history, hiking, or simply relaxing on the beach, Thrace has something to offer. Be sure to add Thrace to your list of places to visit in Turkey! 

South East Balkans Tours

Here is another offer you can see many countries in one trip. Multiple countries in one tour. Sounds amazing. This south east Balkans tour includes Albania, North Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Kosova. Get to know Thrace better.

Bonus: Books About Thrace

We hope you enjoy this Thrace guide. Before your Eastern Thrace travel, we suggest you read Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe by Kapka Kassabova. This amazing book really changed my life. Also for who is interested in Ancient Cities of Turkey: From Anatolia to Thrace, you should check this book too.

Frequently Asking Questions About Thrace Guide

Here are the top questions about Thrace guide and eastern Thrace cities of Turkey. If you have more questions, drop them below.

Where is Thrace?

Turkish Thrace is located northeast of Turkiye. Thrace region Turkey consists of Edirne, Kirklareli, Tekirdag, and some parts of Canakkale and Istanbul cities. The borders of Turkey with Bulgaria and Greece are also in this region.

What is the East Thrace population?

The Eastern Thrace population is close to two million. This includes Edirne, Kirklareli, and Tekirdag provinces. But the Eastern Thrace map includes some parts of Canakkale and Istanbul cities as well.

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