As part of our trip to Bursa, we took a day trip to the coast to the town of Zeytinbağı, also called Tirilye. “Zeytin” means “olive” in Turkish and “bağı” means “view.” It was about an hour drive from Bursa (or a bit less) and we arrived about noon. Which wasn’t great from a photography standpoint because I had harsh afternoon sun! But it was still a lot of fun and had awesome colors and textures.
In the morning in Bursa we had done a museum (more on that in another post) and stopped for a quick snack/small lunch on the way to Zeytinbağı. The road to Zeytinbağı was pretty easy and simple until we got to Mudanya on the Sea of Marmara. Then it got really twisty. Not hard driving, but I had to take my Bonine to deal with my motion sickness! Curvy roads + Carrie = Not Good! The drive was pretty and high up on a cliff overlooking the sea.
Because of stopping on the way, we weren’t hungry when we arrived. However, we still parked at the restaurant we wanted to eat at later (it was a common parking area) at the top of a big hill. I had picked out Bag Evi as our restaurant–Seafood and Turkish brunch items. Up on the cliff with pretty views.
We parked and then started walking down hill towards the marina. The winding roads and alleys had lots of bright colors, quaint views, and interesting patterns and textures. I could have wandered much longer, but the kids were anxious to get down to the water.
Trilye Sahil is the public beach and had pretty views and the ability to get close enough to the Sea of Marmara to touch it! Pretty windy too, so we were glad we had more layers. From there, we wandered along the water to a playground near the marina. After a quick play break, we wandered to the far end of the road/path, looking at boats and the water.
By now the kids were getting hungry and we had an uphill walk! The playground to Bag Evi is only about .6 miles (900 m), but is very much uphill. Googlemaps lied. They said “mostly flat” when I put in directions when playing the trip. Definitely not mostly flat! Based on elevation websites, the restaurant is about 180 feet above sea level. Which isn’t too high, but it was over a short distance and the kids were hungry!
We got to the restaurant and got a nice table right by the cliff edge overlooking the water. We got kofta (Turkish meatballs), kaşarlı gözleme (gözleme is flaky flat bread with filling. DS prefers kaşarlı which is similar to mozzarella), eggs with sausage (the eggs were overeasy which we weren’t a fan of), and an omelet with cheese. They also do the Turkish breakfast spreads and a variety of fish/seafood. It had a large outside seating area and an inside area. Bathrooms were nice.
After a late lunch, we wandered around the upper half of Zeytinbağı some more so I could take additional photos. Then we went to Çamlı Kahve, a coffee shop/cafe right across the parking lot from Bag Evi and had ice cream and DH had coffee. They also served food as well. Very cute restaurant.
By that point we headed back to Bursa! I had originally wanted to stay in Zeytinbağı for the sunset as it looks out towards the sunset, but the sky was cloudless and the lower area was hazy, so I knew it wouldn’t be worth waiting around several more hours!
Off season (Mid March) it was pretty sleepy with what appeared to be mostly Turks. Of course, by Mid March much of the world was knee-deep in the Coronavirus issues. The weekend we were in Bursa, Turkey only had 6 cases across the country, so weren’t really at risk yet (by the next weekend, cases were much higher. We fit in a last trip by the skin of our teeth). But I think even in general, March is still quiet. Summertime Zeytinbağı sees a lot of day trippers from Istanbul, who take a ferry or drive (2.5 hr drive).
Very cute town and well worth a visit if nearby!
Location: This is the start of town if coming south from Mudanya
Bag Evi Restaurant: It has good parking, but is up on a hill so to go anywhere else in town, you have a steep walk down and back up.
Playground: Not a huge one, but a pretty view of the water and enough to burn off a bit of energy. It is not marked on Google Maps, but is here.
Marina: There was parking at the Marina when were there (not sure how high season would be). This is a good sea-level parking option.
The Fatih Mosque: It was closed to access when we were there, but was pretty from the outside and has some interesting history.
From Bursa it is an easy 1 hour drive, with the last bit fairly winding on a coastal cliff road.