If you’re traveling to Bursa from somewhere other than Istanbul and you’re not driving a rented car, the best way to get to Bursa is by bus. (At least until the high-speed railway finds its way to Bursa sometime in the next couple of years.) The bus to Bursa is usually an economical and convenient way to travel and, if you plan it right, it can even be quite comfortable.
The Bursa International and Intercity Bus Terminal (Bursa Uluslararası ve Şehirlerarası Otobüs Terminalı) is a large, modern, busy transportation hub. Buses come and go at all hours of the day and night to and from all points in Turkey. Short routes run between Bursa’s terminal and surrounding towns and villages, while long-haul routes arrive from nearly every major city in Turkey and even a few international destinations.
Dozens of bus companies serve the Bursa terminal. Smaller companies run dedicated local and regional routes, while larger companies have nationwide networks of routes and hubs. If you are not sure which company to choose, we’ve had good experiences with Kamil Koç and Pamukkale and can recommend both companies as a starting point. Pamukkale runs routes primarily in the western half of Turkey, while Kamil Koç boasts an extensive route network throughout the country. As a bonus feature, Kamil Koç’s website is also available in English.
Surprisingly, riding the bus to Bursa can actually be a comfortable experience. I’ve noticed a recent trend among reputable long-route bus companies toward the comfort-enhancing 2+1 seating configuration (3 seats in a row), which means that passengers get considerably more seat room than in the traditional 2+2 arrangement (4 seats in a row). When booking your ticket, you can ask about the 2+1 seating arrangement if this feature is important to you.
It may be important to note that most buses do not have an on-board toilet. However, buses usually make frequent stops at intercity terminals and rest areas. Also, many bus companies offer free snacks and drinks during the voyage.
If you are not traveling during a national or religious holiday, you can usually just show up at a bus terminal and purchase a seat on the next departing bus to your destination. However, I like to plan ahead and almost always purchase my tickets in advance. This can be done at any bus terminal or at a ticket office of your preferred bus company. For some companies, seats can be purchased or reserved online. If you are traveling over a holiday, advanced tickets are an absolute must as holidays are generally very busy travel periods.
The Bursa terminal is located on the north edge of the city, roughly 30 minutes from the city center. When you arrive at the terminal, you can easily grab a taxi to your final destination or you can take a yellow city bus to many of the main points in the city. If you’re heading downtown, bus #38 frequently runs between the terminal and the city center and a bus ride only costs a couple lira. Be sure to buy your city bus ticket at the yellow ticket office just outside the south door of the terminal before you get on the city bus. Or, buy a convenient and reusable BuKart for use on all of Bursa’s public transportation modes.
If you’re traveling to Bursa from Istanbul, you have many bus options available to you. However, there are better ways to get to Bursa from Istanbul. The best option (in terms of cost and time) is the ferry. I’ve written about the Istanbul to Bursa ferry before, and ferry travel between Bursa and Istanbul is generally more cost-effective, convenient, and comfortable than buses. If you’re in a real hurry to get from Istanbul to Bursa and you don’t mind the added cost, you can also take the Istanbul-Gemlik seaplane or the Istanbul-Bursa helicopter.