Offbeat places in Turkey are its real travel gems. Turkey is a land with great tourism potential. However, not many travellers are aware of places beyond the cities of Ankara and Istanbul.
I have always been curious to know about the offbeat places in Turkey. Also, to share my experience with other travellers out there looking out to explore Turkey’s hidden places. Hence, I spent close to 8 weeks exploring the unknown places in Turkey that are worth visiting.
After all, travelling is all about finding those things that you never knew you were looking for when you began your journey. With this thought in mind, in the current blog, I will share my stint with Eskisehir – One of the best offbeat places in Turkey.
Offbeat Places in Turkey
Traditional tourist destinations do not interest people enough nowadays. It is the unexplored places that capture their heart. With exactly the same intention, all through my backpacking trip to Turkey, I had this crazy feeling that told me to visit more of the untouched destinations.
Offbeat places in Turkey refer to all the locales and destinations that are mostly unknown to the world at large. It comprises of places that still have a lot of scope for exploration by passionate travellers.
Offbeat places in Turkey are present in plenty. However, the question that boggles people the most is that why should one go out to explore them? Well, I believe that the reasons to do so are numerous.
Here’s why you should most certainly visit the offbeat places in Turkey at least once in your lifetime:
Travel is a big-time investment in itself and is sure to drain out your pockets if not spent wisely. However, when you choose to go offbeat, there is less room for competition as far as hotel and travel bookings are concerned. Sometimes, you might just have to accommodate yourself in a homestay.
You can quench your thirst for wanderlust without pinching your pockets by simply getting more for less. This is exactly what the offbeat places in Turkey do for travellers.
|A great sense of privacy
Offbeat places in Turkey provide you ample time to explore and visit the attractions. You don’t need to worry about the hustle and bustle of the crowd at major tourist spots like the popular destinations.
You can take your own sweet time to stroll around the beach or take pictures at a beautiful picturesque location without having an alarm clock ticking at the back of your head telling you to be quick for your travel bus might leave you behind if you are not on time.
In short, nobody and I mean nobody will disturb you at the hidden places in Turkey.
|Helping you in exploring the unexplored
Travelling to places outside the radar of Turkey’s popular places surely gives you a different perspective of how you see the world. I’m just talking about travel here but also otherwise.
Every time you go out to cover offbeat Turkey, you bring back a piece of experience along with you. Once you return home, you are definitely not the same person as you were when you left. Your own unexplored side comes to the forth.
|Sense of uniqueness
Visiting Turkey’s unexplored places is definitely an experience to behold and cherish for a lifetime. It is different and unique.
It is an achievement in itself to bestow upon the walls of your living room and racks of your bookshelves, the memories captured in pictures and showpieces.
It is like being the first one to take the path less travelled by others and having your own story to tell them.
You are sure not to find luxurious hotel villas with beach views, seven-course meals and high-end brands for shopping when you are on a trip to offbeat Turkey.
In such situations, you learn to live with the basics. You master the art of travelling on a budget. You tend to understand the value of money and things – the vitality of essential belongings. Most importantly you learn the art of appreciating minimalism.
|Journey of introspection
Of all the things you will appreciate about the offbeat places in Turkey, you will remain most grateful for going on an inward journey of introspection.
You will be exposed to parts of you that were buried deep inside that you never knew they even existed. The tranquillity of these places untouched by crowds of people somewhere down the line make you undergo a journey of introspection and reveals your true self.
Who wouldn’t want to meet a better representation of themselves? Right!
|A brand new adventure
While heading out to offbeat Turkey, you will be welcomed by great adventures. These adventures will challenge you during emergency situations and will tell you a lot about how you handle a crisis.
Whether you turn this into a frightful night or a delightful flight is all in your hands. Offbeat Turkey will teach you the art of tackling unforeseen circumstances and make you learn how to deal with problems that might come across your way at any point in time.
Trust me, you will emerge stronger.
|Chalking out your own itinerary and staying flexible with it
One of the most beautiful aspects of travelling to the offbeat places in Turkey is planning your itineraries by yourself. There is no greater amount of satisfaction that you will derive than chalking out the perfect itinerary that suits you.
You will not have the option (and thankfully so) to choose from specially curated travel packages by agents and travel companies that hardly have any places you wish to visit.
|Getting to know a world and culture different than your own
Hidden places in Turkey will help you develop a sense of inquisitiveness. As a traveller, you would remain curious to know about the new places, the land, the culture, people, food, traditions everything.
On journeys like these, you tend to value the friends you make along the way, the memories and deep conversations you have with the local people.
|Fearlessness to get you out of your comfort zone
Travel pushes you out of your mundane routine to witness a totally diverse culture and a different experience altogether. Offbeat places extend these ten steps further.
When you travel to Turkey’s hidden gems, you will have no option but to stay outside your comfort zone. It’ll make you more confident and self-aware as a traveller, a nomad and as a person.
I really hope that the above reasons will convince you enough to travel to the offbeat places in Turkey at least once as a passionate traveller.
Just do it, folks. Do it now.
My Own Journey to Offbeat Turkey
It all started during my summer vacation. All my friends were super excited about going home and meeting their loved ones after a really long time. I, on the other hand, had a really strange feeling evoking me from inside constantly.
I didn’t feel homesick nor did I want to spend my entire summer vacations sitting at home and literally do nothing. I wanted to do something productive instead.
So I began searching for things to do during my vacation. I wanted to pursue something that not only adds to my resume but to my personal growth as well. Finally, one day I stumbled across this organization that goes by the name of AIESEC.
AIESEC is the world’s largest youth-run non-governmental organization present across 128 countries all over the globe. It provides young people with the opportunity to work on leadership development, volunteer exchange programs and cross-cultural internships around the world.
I was fortunate enough to be a part of their ‘Sustainable Development Goals 2018’ wherein I went as a global volunteer to one of the offbeat places in Turkey which was the city of Eskisehir. Never in my life have I seen a destination as offbeat as Eskisehir.
What I learned the most?
Of all the things that I achieved on my volunteer program, the best and the most special one was realizing my love for travel that invoked the latent passion of blogging inside me.
My one sole experience of travelling to the offbeat places in Turkey has turned me into a freelance travel blogger. So here I am writing this article for you all.
My recommendation to fellow travellers
If you are a student tight on budget but loves to travel, look out for volunteering and internships opportunities all over the world on the official website of AIESEC.
Read about my journey with AIESEC in Turkey.
My Stint with Eskisehir – Turkey’s Offbeat Haven
Eskisehir is among one of those offbeat places in Turkey that is completely unexplored. The old city of Eskisehir lies in the northwestern part of Turkey and is the capital of Eskisehir Province.
Eskisehir literally stands for “Eski- old” and “Sehir- city” which means an old city.
Eskisehir is one of the first offbeat places in Turkey that I visited. After visiting this infamous yet beautiful city, I have fallen in love with the concept of offbeat travel.
Before I go into the details of my travels in Eskisehir, here are a few things you need to know about what I believe is one of the most offbeat places in Turkey:
|How to Reach?
Buses or Trains
|Where to Stay?
|Top 5 Food to Try
Mercimekli Kofte- Red lentil koftes mixed together with vegetables
Gozleme- Sweet dish made of rice and milk
Dolma / Sarma- Rolls made up of pickled vine leaves
Lokum- Sweet Turkish delight
Borek – Turkish Cheese Spring Rolls
|Top 5 Places to Visit
Reasons to Visit Eskisehir
Even though my love and connect with Eskisehir might be obvious to anyone reading this blog, I would still like to very methodically point out the reasons to visit offbeat Turkey’s Eskisehir.
|One of the best offbeat places in Turkey|
|Good for budget travellers|
|Provides a great sense of tranquillity|
|Boosts of beautiful parks|
|A perfect blend of traditional and modern|
|Easy to navigate hence accessible|
|Presence of beautiful ottoman houses|
|A paradise for shopaholics|
Let me now dig a tad bit deeper into the above points.
One of the best offbeat places in Turkey
Eskisehir is hands down one of the best offbeat places in Turkey owing to its topography, easy access, lovely people, gorgeous terrain and being a backpacker’s paradise.
If you’re travelling solo to this place, it will turn out to be even more fun.
I believe that “all good things come in small packages.” Eskisehir is one small city that encompasses all things one can imagine.
Every place in Eskisehir is next to the other and travelling is inexpensive or even negligible if you wish to walk. Although small yet the city is exactly the opposite in terms of what it has to offer to travellers wishing to go to offbeat places in Turkey.
Good for budget travellers
Having spent the entire 6 weeks in the city, I realized that it is one of the most budget-friendly offbeat places in Turkey as compared to other famous tourist places like Istanbul and Cappadocia.
You will find everything to be three times cheaper than at other places in Turkey. Be it shopping in Eskisehir, travelling or eating outside, everything is much cheaper.
Provides a great sense of tranquillity
Eskisehir is one happy city. If you wish to relax and just spend some time with yourself, Eskisehir is exactly the place you ought to visit.
Unlike the lives of most of the people living in Istanbul, Eskisehir is away from the cacophony and hustle. The city has an extremely serene environment and gives a sense of tranquillity to travellers who can come and enjoy the soothing atmosphere here.
Boosts of beautiful parks
More than anything else, the city of Eskisehir is all about splendid parks. Don’t even get me started over the plethora of parks that are there in Eskisehir.
The parks in Eskisehir are a treat to the eyes and solace to the mind. If you are someone who loves nature, then Eskisehir is surely your kind of place to visit.
A perfect blend of tradition and modern
Traditional Turkish culture and values go hand in hand with modern-day values. The people here have beautifully adapted to the modern-day living keeping the essence of their core Turkish traditions intact. For me, this was fascinating.
Easy to navigate hence accessible
Eskisehir is not really a very huge city in terms of size. Hence travelling within the city is easy and doesn’t take much time.
The city is very well connected with a tram line that runs across Eskisehir to all the main locations. The ticket fare for the same is minimal and will not hurt your pocket.
But I would recommend walking down to all the places rather than travelling and navigating it on your own.
Presence of beautiful ottoman houses
Just like the Buyukada Islands, the Odunpazzari district in Eskisehir Province has gorgeous ottoman houses that are really worth a visit.
The entire area is full of colourful old ottoman style houses with pebbled walking alleys that lead you to the top of the hill. From here, you get a stunning view of the entire city.
A Paradise for shopaholics
This euphoric city is truly a heaven on the face of the Earth for every shopper. You will be amused to know that you can shop for all the local and branded top buying things in Turkey in this city at prices almost three times lower than what you will have to pay for in cities.
Apart from the Turkey top buying things, this city has many other wonderful souvenirs to offer you ranging from miniature painting bookmarks, handmade Baykush gift concept items, Eskisehir glass art showpieces, embroidered accessories, Eskisehir stone items and many more hidden gems. I managed to buy some unique and cheap souvenirs from Eskisehir.
Where to stay in Eskisehir?
There are many accommodation options in Eskisehir including hotels and homestays of all ranges. If you are travelling on a budget, there are some good budget staying options as well. You can choose the best one that suits your price.
I stayed along with a Turkish host family who welcomed me with a warm heart and smiling faces. The kind of love my hosts Merve and YigitEzen gave me makes me remember them with awe and a warm heart. They are like my second family now and I couldn’t have asked for more.
I worked there with a rehabilitation school for kids for a span of 6 weeks in the months of May and June. These six weeks that I spent at the school with the teachers, students, other exchange participants and my host family have truly been a wonderful journey of metamorphosis for me.
Offbeat Travel to Eskisehir: Things to know before you go
Now if you are convinced on adding Eskisehir to your Turkey itinerary, here are a few things that would come in handy on your visit to the city:
How to Reach Eskisehir?
You can take a bus named “Kamil Koc” either from Ankara, Istanbul or Cappadocia to the city of Eskisehir or you can take the train that runs between Ankara and Eskisehir.
The bus tickets would cost you around 60-65 TL from Cappadocia or Istanbul (one way) and it takes about 7 hours to reach the city depending on the amount of traffic.
Where to get money exchanged in Eskisehir?
Getting money exchanged in Eskisehir is pretty simple if you know the right place to go at. You can find all these 4 options to get your money exchanged in the “Carsi” area. So you will not have to hunt for places in Eskisehir to get your money exchanged, just take the tram to Carsi station and your problem will be sorted.
Now there are four ways in which you can get your money exchanged.
This is typically the money exchange centre in the area “Carsi” in Eskisehir. You can ask anyone to guide you for the way to the “Eskisehir Doviz Money Exchange”. People sitting here speak English and are extremely helpful. It hardly took me five minutes to get my dollars exchanged to liras. The exchange rates are better here than at other places.
You can use your forex or traveller’s card at any place you go around in Eskisehir. Although some shops and flea markets will not provide you with the option to do so and would prefer you pay them in cash only. But you can use the forex card while eating at restaurants and shopping at malls in Eskisehir.
You can easily swipe your forex card on the ATMs and withdraw the required amount of currency. Sekker bank ATMs is where I withdrew from. It was super easy, however, they deduct a nominal fee for the same.
Carsi boasts a lot of jewellery shops where you can get your money exchanged. They are very near to the Doviz Burosu money exchange centre. Just give the person at the shop counter dollars or euros and get your money exchanged. I personally did not try this option but my other friends did and they faced no problem in the same.
How to travel in Eskisehir?
Offbeat places in Turkey are many and Eskisehir is one of them. Eskisehir is a small town in Turkey. You can reach anywhere in less than 50 minutes in Eskisehir. Distances aren’t much here and hence people mostly use the trams for commuting in Eskisehir.
The tram lines are the best and the easiest way to travel in Eskisehir. All you need to do is to buy a tram card or ticket from any small grocery shop or departmental store at Eskisehir. Load the card with about 10 liras and you can swipe it at the station to get into the tram.
There are buses and taxis too than one can use to travel in Eskisehir. However, I do not personally recommend commuting via those because the drivers do not speak English at Eskisehir. While you are in the tram you will be able to easily find someone who converses in English and can help you out. Plus the trams are very convenient to use and keep displaying the next station on the monitor boards so you don’t need to worry about getting lost at Eskisehir.
What to wear in Eskisehir?
Although a lesser-known location, Eskisehir is quite forward when it comes to dressing up. was able to wear crop tops and dresses in Eskisehir without any trouble. So, if you are planning to include Eskisehir in your travel itinerary, you can include these outfits in your packing list for Turkey. If you would like to know more about what to wear in different places in Turkey, you should read another of my blogs.
While in Eskisehir, learn the basic words of Turkish Language
It is important to mention here that being one of Turkey’s lesser-known and visited locales, most people do no converse in fluent English. So I suggest you learn some basic words in Turkish.
Eskisehir is a small city yet has so much to offer to anyone visiting it. I have compiled a list of places to visit and things to do in this heavenly city especially for offbeat travel lovers like me.
Budget Shopping in Offbeat Eskisehir
At Eskisehir, you will find almost everything that is available at Istanbul, Ankara or elsewhere. But the difference here lies in the pricing. In Eskisehir, the price is two to three times what is quoted at the famous Grand Bazaar of Istanbul.
Here is a list of some of the best places to shop at Eskisehir with super affordable prices.
|Ataturk Bulvari Market|
|Sazova Tale Castle Stalls|
Where and What to Eat in Eskisehir?
As a traveller, you might often be sceptical about what cuisine you should try and where to taste the best at the offbeat places in Turkey? After all, you might not have much information beforehand.
As long as you are in Eskisehir you do not have to worry about hunting for restaurants and cafes. There are plenty of them in the city that will serve you one of the most delectable Turkish cuisines of all time.
Cafes to Try Out in Eskisehir
To assist all the globe trotters on their journey to offbeat places in Turkey like Eskisehir, here is a list of the best cafes in the town to which I have been personally.
|Ahavi café bistro|
|Sumer park café bistro|
You will find all the authentic Turkish dishes you have been looking for at all of these above-mentioned eateries. Apart from these, there are many other restaurants and food courts in the Espark Mall.
Turkish Delights that you should Try
If you’re travelling to the offbeat places in Turkey, be in Eskisehir or elsewhere, you have got to try all of the following items.
( Bread stuffed with spinach, feta cheese, mushrooms or potatoes)
( Bread coated with sesame seeds)
(Red lentil koftes mixed together with vegetables)
(Sweet Turkish delight)
(Sweet dish made of rice and milk)
(Turkish Cheese Spring Rolls)
|Dolma / Sarma
(Rolls made up of pickled vine leaves)
(Turkish sweet generously garnished with pistachios)
If you are a vegetarian like me, none of the offbeat places in Turkey will disappoint you. If you feel like you can go through my blog on how to travel as a vegetarian in Turkey?
Trust me, when it comes to Turkey the culinary scene isn’t bad at all for vegetarians. You get equally delicious vegetarian food in Eskisehir as you might get at any other offbeat places in Turkey.
Places to Visit in Eskisehir
As a traveller who loves to indulge in exploring the unexplored, the following places must be on your list when you plan to explore Eskisehir – one of the best offbeat places in Turkey.
|Eskisehir Zoo and Aquarium|
|Ataturk Bulvari Dam|
|Ismet Inonu Park|
Let me elaborate a little more on each of the above-mentioned places –
Sazova Park is a dream come true locale for all those who have always wished to go to Disneyland but could never afford it.
With alluring sites, lakes and greenery all around stands the Sazova Tale castle straight out of Walt Disney’s movies.
It is a perfect place for photo shoots. In case if you were looking for offbeat places in Turkey to go for pre-wedding photo shoots then Sazova Tale Castle is surely an affordable one to consider.
Kent Park is a famous picnic spot for the locals. It comprises gorgeous lakes and an artificial beach along with many eateries spread across its huge area.
Kent Park is definitely the place you would love to hang out with your friends and family. If you don’t have them in Turkey, make new ones. The Turkish folks are lovely people.
Eskisehir Zoo and Aquarium
This place is surely a treat for kids or for those who have an innocent child within.
A wide variety of animals, birds and aquatic animals await you here. The good part is that you don’t have to go to two different places to visit the zoo and the aquarium as they are right next to each other.
Ataturk Bulvari Dam
An escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, a few minutes walk away from the station Atatürk Bulvari is the Dam that is the epitome of tranquillity for me. Along with Buyukada Island, this has become one of my favourite places in Turkey
You will find this park at the top of the hill in Odunpazzari. If you happen to walk, it would take you approximately 20 minutes to take a hike uphill. However, there are taxis available for all those who are too lazy to tire their legs like me.
The park is not a huge one but surely the view is worth a visit. Perched on the hilltop, it overlooks the entire city. The view from the top of Selale Park is breathtaking.
Apart from the beautiful view, this place also boasts a café which has the best Margarita Pizza I have ever had in a lifetime.
Odunpazzari is all about colourful Ottoman houses. Located in the old part of the city, it consists of tiny stalls selling meerschaum stone artefacts and accessories along with various other things like Turkish ceramics, lamps and jewellery at super affordable prices.
Also known as Esminyaturk, the miniature park is located in Sazova. The park has over 30 miniature models of historic buildings and sights of Turkey. You can spot miniature models of the Taj Mahal from India, the Blue Mosque of Istanbul.
The entry ticket is 3 TL for adults and 1.5 TL for children.
One of the poshest areas of the city of Eskisehir is Carsi. You will find all sorts of branded stores as well as local products being sold at the very same place.
The market here is very well built, with specific lanes for each product. It makes it very easy for any traveller venturing out to get accustomed to the new routes here.
This mosque is in the neighbouring area of Odunpazzari. It is one of the most beautiful pieces of Ottoman-style architecture present at Eskisehir.
The Resadiye Mosque can be easily seen while travelling in the city via the trams.
The enticing city of Eskisehir is situated right on the banks of the Porsuk River. Boat rides are available near Carsi that take you for a tour of the entire city.
Make sure to hop on to a boat and indulge in the experience.
This place is a paradise for all those who are big-time shopaholics like me. Full of fancy stores and designer boutiques, this place is the fashion hub of Eskisehir.
Ismet Inonu boasts of one of the best cafes in the city along with a garden situated right next to the Porsuk River. You can even spot many guitarists and singers playing their instruments and singing near the park during the evenings.
Not a mainstream or conventional place to visit, Eskisehir is one destination that I feel is so underrated and has been left undiscovered. Offbeat places in Turkey like Eskisehir long for being explored by travellers. This is one petite city that has so much to offer explorers who are looking forward to discovering offbeat Turkey.
Eskisehir is one hidden gem of Turkey that definitely demands to be on the top list of all wanderlust lovers.
Happy wayfaring 🙂