Istanbul’s hinterland is full of surprises. Edirne has two centuries of stunning Renaissance architecture. Gallipoli is rich in history it would rather not have known. Kırklareli has a terrific weekly market, and you can choose between turbot in Iğneada or sardines in Gelibolu. Exciting new wines have also appeared in recent years. For that, see Cornucopia’s online wine guide.
Turkey in Europe, as defined by the Balkan Wars that began exactly a century ago. Eastern Thrace is all that was left of an empire that had stretched as far as Adriatic. Many of its inhabitants are descendants of the refugees. At first sight, it seems a little featureless as you speed down the motorway to Edirne. But to the north is the beautiful Istranca massif, and to the south, the coast below the Tekir Mountains is very pretty, leading eventually to the Dardanelles and the Gallipoli peninsula, where the sea is crystal clear but icy even in July, and the landscape and climate are more akin to England’s South Downs than the Balkans.
Of course there are buses and dolmuş, but if you don’t have a car, hire one.
Fish, both from the Marmara and the Black Sea, cheese from Saray, and when in Edirne, waterbuffo liver.