A little while ago, I noticed billboards all over town advertising the new Enjoy Bursa app for iPhone/iPad. Released in 2014, this app was developed by the Bursa municipal government (Bursa Büyükşehir Belediyesi) and is available in Apple’s App Store. After reading a review in a local paper touting its usefulness as a Bursa visitor guide, I decided to download the app and give it a try. While I was at it, I noticed a handful of other Bursa travel apps in the App Store. Curious, I downloaded a half-dozen of the most promising apps and took them for a test drive. Here is my brief review of what appears to me to be the three best Bursa tour/guide apps currently available in the Apple App Store. If you’re planning a visit to Bursa and you carry an Apple iGadget of some kind, these apps may be worth a look.
1. Enjoy Bursa, by Bursa Büyükşehir Belediyesi (Bursa Municipality)
Offered in Turkish, English, and Arabic, this app has a sharp look and incorporates some neat bells and whistles. Its apparent aim is to give users an interactive and informative catalog of places to visit in Bursa and to offer a little practical guidance as well. Photos, videos, and descriptions can all be queued on demand, and a map can point you to various locations throughout the city. Content includes information on Bursa’s history, points of interest, and recommendations such as where to stay and where to eat. It even offers a few trip guides to help you organize your time in Bursa (although I would recommend The Best of Bursa’s Day Guides first). I particularly appreciate the history timeline. The app has quite a bit of good information, but it is not comprehensive, sometimes loads slowly, and feels like it could be better organized. Nonetheless, it has good potential and it comes in handy when I want to get a quick couple-sentence description of a point of interest or to discover places I’ve not yet visited. Plus, like I said above, it’s a sharp-looking app that’s fun to fiddle with.
2. Bursa City Guide, by Arı Mobil Cözümler
With translations in Turkish, English, German, French, Russian, and Arabic, this app provides some really good information about Bursa with a fast, glitch-free, easy-to-navigate interface. The app offers a map, basic visitor information, and descriptions of points of interest, food to eat, places to stay, and even a hospital recommendation for healthcare needs. In my opinion, the best part of the app is its “See” category, which covers a good bit of ground and offers interesting information on many of the city’s main attraction points. I learned a few new things while browsing through this app. Unfortunately, though, this app is limited in breadth of content and seems incomplete. For example, the hotel guide lists only three hotels and the restaurant guide lists only two eateries. With more content, I think this app could be very useful. As it is, it’s still worth downloading if you’re looking to have quick access to information on specific points of interest while you’re out and about. Also available for Android in Google Play.
3. Ulu Şehir Bursa 3D, by Emre Erman
Presented in Turkish, English, Arabic, and Russian, and accompanied by some eerie flute music, this app attempts to highlight a number of Bursa’s attractions in a cool 3D format. Users can select local sites from a list or from a map. When a site is called up, users can then read a brief description, see photos of the site, or look at a 360-degree panorama sweep of the site. A neat idea, but the app is sometimes slow-loading and the map does not show exact locations of attractions. But, if you need a quick two-sentence description of an attraction or place of interest, this may be a useful choice. Also available for Android in Google Play.
In general, these apps are not comprehensive. All three contain some good content but do not cover everything that a tourist wandering the streets of Bursa may want to know. This, of course, limits their usefulness. Still, if you want a few Bursa apps to thumb through while you’re sitting in the bus station or waiting in the ferry terminal, these are worth a temporary download. Of course, I would also recommend that you bookmark The Best of Bursa in your browser.
Honorable Mention: Bursa’yı Keşfet
There is one app that I want to mention that didn’t excite me too much but I did find its parent website potentially useful. The Bursa’yı Keşfet (Discover Bursa) app itself appears to simply be a Google Earth map with a few unnamed location pins scattered around Bursa. But when I visited its website, I was pleased to find a trove of information about locations in an around Bursa, with a heavy emphasis on the area’s natural attractions and on outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, rock climbing, and the like. The site isn’t completely user-friendly, but it could be worth a look if you’re hoping to discover Bursa’s great outdoors.