If you’re taking a road trip to Türkiye this summer, why not make the journey part of the experience for an adventure you will never forget! We have come up with three different routes to help you make the most of your journey, as you make what European Turks refer to as the “Sila Yolu”, so much more than a road trip, more of a spiritual journey back home to family and roots. It’s up to you whether you stop over for a night in each place or simply spend a few hours exploring. It is sure to enhance your journey, discovering rich culture and even traces of Ottoman heritage en route.

This is our suggested shortest and most direct route starting in Germany and driving through five countries: Czechia (formerly the Czech Republic), Austria, Hungary, Serbia and Bulgaria before reaching Türkiye. Discover the culture and history of some of Europe's most beautiful cities and get an authentic taste of Central and Eastern Europe.

Even if your journey starts elsewhere in Europe, the road trip to Türkiye will most likely pass through part of Germany. This route begins in the Rhine metropolis of Cologne and ends in the historic city of Edirne. If you have more time to explore, check out our scenic route spending more time exploring the Balkans and our more leisurely southern route. Bon voyage!


  1. Cologne → Dresden - 571 km, 6 hrs 15 mins
  2. Dresden → Prague - 149 km, 1 hr 45 mins
  3. Prague → Vienna - 292 km, 3 hrs 30 mins
  4. Vienna → Budapest - 243 km, 2 hrs 30 mins
  5. Budapest → Belgrade - 379 km, 3 hrs 50 mins
  6. Belgrade → Niš - 237 km, 2 hrs 30 mins
  7. Niš → Sofia - 159 km, 2 hrs 20 mins
  8. Sofia → Plovdiv - 145 km - 1 hr 45 min
  9. Plovdiv → Edirne 180 km - 2 hrs 15 mins


Start your road trip in the western city of Cologne. As the largest city in the German state of Rhine-Westphalia, Cologne is well known for its neo-Gothic architecture, which is omnipresent throughout the city. It is also the fourth most populous city in Germany and was one of Europe’s largest during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.


A must-see on your visit is the Cologne Central Mosque, which is the largest mosque in Germany. Opened in 2017, it features a modern and elegant design and can host up to 1,200 worshippers. It is open for prayer and regular events.

Cologne Central Mosque

One of Cologne’s most famous landmarks is the Cologne Cathedral. This Gothic-style cathedral is one of the largest in the world and is known for its stunning architecture and intricate stained glass windows. Visitors can climb to the top of the cathedral for stunning views of the city.

Another popular attraction is the Hohenzollern Bridge. This historic bridge spans the Rhine. For those interested in art and history, the Museum Ludwig is a must. It features an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art, including works by Picasso, Warhol, and Lichtenstein. The Roman-Germanic Museum is another popular museum that shows the history of the city from Roman times to the Middle Ages.

Cologne is also known for its charming old town with narrow streets lined with colourful buildings, cafes and restaurants. The Alter Markt is a popular square in the old town, known for its historic buildings and bustling market.

After leaving Cologne, it's time to drive to the other side of the country, to Dresden, an approximately 571 km journey that takes around 6 hours.


Located in south-eastern Germany, Dresden is a beautiful city known for its stunning architecture, rich history and cultural attractions. Only 30 km from the border with the Czech Republic, the city is home to many fantastic sights, from famous landmarks to beautiful parks. During World War II, Dresden was completely destroyed by Allied bombings where 25,000 were killed in one night, otherwise known as the Feuersturm. Today, Dresden is a thriving city that’s popular with tourists from Germany and around the world. There are several halal restaurants serving Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines, as well as markets that sell halal meat and other foods.


One of Dresden’s landmarks is the Zwinger, a Baroque-style palace built in the 18th century that features beautiful gardens, fountains, and sculptures. Another famous landmark is the Frauenkirche, a beautiful church that was destroyed during World War II and later reconstructed. Now, it is known for its beautiful dome and impressive organ. The Turkish Camber in the Dresden Royal Palace was established in 1614 and is today one of the most significant collections of Ottoman art outside Türkiye. It also houses one of the world's largest collections of artefacts from the Ottoman Empire. For art-lovers, the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister is a must. It houses one of the world's most extensive collections of European art from the 15th to 18th centuries.

The Grüne Gewölbe (Green Vault), one of the richest treasure chambers in Europe, features a collection of stunning treasures and jewellery, including the Procession of Princes, a 102-metre-long mural of a mounted procession of the Margraves, Dukes, Electors, and Kings of the house of Wettin. Originally painted between 1871 and 1876, it was replaced with some 23,000 Meissen porcelain tiles between 1904 and 1907 to weatherproof the work.

Procession of Princes

One of the most important landmarks for Muslim travellers in Dresden is the Fatih Camii Mosque, the city’s first purpose-built mosque. Completed in 2008, it is a beautiful Ottoman style building. The mosque is open to prayers and regularly hosts Islamic events and cultural activities open to all visitors.

Dresden is also home to several beautiful parks, including the Großer Garten, a large park with a beautiful botanical garden and a charming little train that takes visitors on a tour. Another popular park is the Pillnitz Palace and Park, a beautiful garden complex that includes a palace, a Chinese garden and a Japanese garden.

You can complete your Dresden trip with a stroll along Brühl's Terrace, also known as the "Balcony of Europe” along the Elbe river.

Historic architectural ensemble along Brühl's Terrace

After your visit to Dresden, it’s time to leave Germany and head to Prague in Czechia. From there, the journey takes 1 hour and 45 minutes.


Prague is a city with great history and cultural attractions that will surely be one of the highlights of your road trip. There are many sights to discover, from the stunning architecture to the charming old town and vibrant cultural scene.


One of the most famous landmarks in Prague is the Charles Bridge. This historic bridge spanning the Vltava River is known for its stunning city views and its many statues, including the famous statue of Saint John of Nepomuk.

Another landmark is the Prague Castle, a huge complex with several palaces and gardens. The National Museum displays historical, ethnographic and archaeological collections. Exhibits include a real carriage, a finned whale skeleton, and a life-size mammoth model. Children under 15 have free entry. The Museum of Decorative Arts is also a popular museum that shows the history and development of decorative arts in Czechia.

Old town of Prague with the famous Prague castle

Prague is also known for its charming old town, with its colourful baroque buildings, narrow streets lined with colourful buildings, cafes and restaurants. The Old Town Square is Prague's oldest and most important square and is surrounded by historical buildings of different architectural styles such as the Old Town Hall with the world-famous mediaeval astronomical clock and a busy market.

You can also find halal restaurants and cafes throughout the city, many of which serve traditional Czech dishes that have been adapted to halal standards. The Prague Islamic Centre, open for daily prayers, is the city’s largest mosque and offers a range of services to Muslims.

Besides its historical and cultural sights, Prague also offers beautiful parks and gardens such as Kampa Park and Letna Park, which invite you to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the city.

After leaving Prague you will head to Austria's capital, Vienna. The journey is 292 km and takes about 3h30.


Vienna has a rich cultural heritage and offers a variety of attractions of interest to Muslim visitors, including prayer facilities and historical sites.


One of Vienna’s landmarks is the Schönbrunn Palace. This stunning palace was the former summer residence of the Habsburgs and features beautiful gardens and a maze. Visitors can also enjoy halal food at the Palace’s restaurant, Café Residenz.

Schönbrunn Palace

The Belvedere is a historic complex consisting of two Baroque palaces and beautiful gardens. It houses an impressive art collection, including works by Klimt, and offers breathtaking views of the city. The Hofburg is a magnificent palace complex that served as the residence of the Habsburg dynasty. It is now the official residence of the President of Austria and houses several museums, including the Museum of Islamic Art, the Imperial Apartments and the Sisi Museum.

The Vienna State Opera is a world-renowned opera house known for its architecture and exceptional performances, it showcases a wide range of operas and ballets. It has been a cultural hub since its opening in 1869 and continues to be an iconic symbol of Viennese art and culture. The Spanish Riding School is a renowned institution that has preserved the art of classical dressage for over 450 years. Home to the famous Lipizzaner horses, it offers captivating performances showcasing the harmony between rider and horse. Its traditions and horsemanship skills continue to attract audiences from around the world.

The Naschmarkt is another popular destination for Muslim visitors. This vibrant market offers a range of halal foods, including Middle Eastern and Turkish dishes.

Vienna is home to several mosques. The Islamic Centre of Vienna is one of the largest and is open for daily prayers and Friday prayers, also offering Quranic classes. Visit the Islamic Cemetery of Vienna to discover the city’s Islamic heritage.

Islamic Centre of Vienna

Make sure to visit a Viennese cafe and to try the classic Sachertorte, the most famous dessert in Austria made of chocolate sponge, apricot jam and melted chocolate icing served with a Wiener Melange coffee. This type of coffee is an espresso with steamed milk, topped with a little foam. It is similar to a cappuccino but made with milder coffee and more water. As a gift for friends and relatives you can buy Mozartkugeln, which are small, round sugar confections made of pistachio, marzipan, and nougat that are covered with dark chocolate.

Sachertorte with Wiener Melange coffee

After visiting Vienna, it’s only a short drive of 2 hrs 30 mins to Budapest, Hungary.


One of the most beautiful cities worldwide, Hungary’s capital offers a range of activities and attractions including stunning architecture, rich history and thermal baths.


One of Budapest’s most famous landmarks is the Buda Castle. This stunning castle complex is situated on a hill overlooking the Danube River and offers breathtaking views of the city. Visitors can also enjoy halal food at the castle’s restaurant, Café Catamara.

The city is also home to several mosques, including the Dzsami Mosque, which is one of the largest in Budapest. The Islamic Centre of Budapest is another mosque that offers prayer facilities.

For halal food, Budapest has several options. Karavan Street Food is popular for halal food, with a variety of options from kebabs to falafel. The Great Market Hall is also popular for halal food, offering a range of fresh produce, meats and spices.

Great Market Hall of Budapest

Budapest offers several museums and historical sites such as the Terror Háza Museum (House of Terror), which showcases the history of Hungary during the Nazi and Soviet regimes. The Hungarian National Museum offers insight into the country’s rich history.

It's time for our next stop, the Serbian capital of Belgrade, a 3 hour and 51 minute drive.


Belgrade offers a mix of old and new, with a range of sights and experiences, from a multitude of historical sites and diverse culinary scene to its stunning architecture, bustling markets and places of worship.


The Kalemegdan Fortress forms the historical core of the city and serves as a symbol of Belgrade's origins. The name “Kalemegdan” consists of the combination of the Turkish words castle (kale) and square (meydan). This impressive fortress complex with spectacular views of the city is located at the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers. The Ottoman army, which ruled over Belgrade between 1521 and 1867, used this square as a training, inspection and meeting place. Visitors can enjoy halal food at the fortress’s restaurant, Kalemegdanska Terasa. Visit the tomb of the Grand Vizier Damat Ali Pasha in Kalemegdan Park and the 18th-century tomb of the dervish Sejh Mustafa on the corner of Visnjiceva and Brace Jugovica streets.

Kalemegdan Fortress

And do visit the Ram Fortress (Turkish: haram), which was the first artillery fortified fort in the Balkans. Situated on the banks of the Danube River, it was built in 1483 by the order of Sultan Beyazit II and offers beautiful with sunset views over the Danube. It served as a strategic defence point for various kingdoms throughout its existence. The fortress features imposing walls, towers and gates that offer a glimpse into its architectural grandeur. With its picturesque setting and rich history, it attracts visitors who can explore its ramparts, admire the panoramic views and delve into the legends and stories that surround this majestic fortress.

The city is home to several mosques, including the Bajrakli Mosque, one of the oldest in Belgrade. The Islamic Community of Serbia has a mosque that offers prayer facilities.

Belgrade has several options for halal food - the Green Market is a popular destination for fresh produce and halal meats, while Skadarlija Street is known for its diverse culinary scene, including traditional Serbian cuisine and halal options.

Must-visit Belgrade museums include the Nikola Tesla Museum, which showcases the life and work of the famous inventor, and the Museum of Yugoslav History, which offers insight into the history and culture of Yugoslavia.

It’s time to see more of Serbia in the city of Nis, reached by a short 2 hr 30 mins drive.


As one of the oldest cities in Europe, Niš has a rich cultural heritage and is known for its stunning architecture, ancient ruins and natural beauty.


One of the most famous landmarks is the Niš Fortress, an 18th-century Turkish fortress on the banks of the Nišаva River. Visitors can enjoy the breathtaking city and river views while learning about the history of the fortress.

Niš has several mosques, including the Eyüp Sultan Mosque, the largest in the city. The beautifully preserved 16th-century Bali Bey Mosque is a prime example of Ottoman religious architecture, particularly due to its different styles of masonry, all blended into one façade. Following its restoration, the mosque was repurposed as an art gallery for local artists, and although most of its interior was whitewashed, a small portion of the original stonewall remained undyed.

Bali Bey Mosque

In addition, Niš offers several museums and historical sites of interest to Muslim visitors. The National Museum of Niš showcases the city’s history and culture, while the Skull Tower is a unique monument commemorating the victims of a 19th-century battle.

For those looking to explore the natural beauty of the area, Niška Banja Spa is a popular destination. This thermal spa offers a range of treatments and therapies and is known for its healing properties.

There are also several halal restaurants in the area, including the Restaurant Red Pepper, which offers a variety of halal food.

It’s time to head to Sofia in Bulgaria, further into Eastern Europe with a 2 hr 20 mins drive.


Our next stop is the beautiful city of Sofia, known for its marvellous architecture, rich history and beautiful mosques. It’s of particular interest to those interested in Ottoman history, as Sofia came under Ottoman rule in 1382, as it impressed the Ottomans with its beauty. When the Ottoman Empire withdrew from these lands, it left behind a total of 170 founding works, including 32 mosques and 8 madrasahs.


One of the most famous landmarks in Sofia is the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. This beautiful cathedral is the largest in Bulgaria and an important symbol of the country's Orthodox Christian heritage.

The city also has several mosques, including the Kadı Seyfullah Efendi Mosque (or Banya Bashi Mosque) which is not only the oldest mosque but also the only one open for prayers. Next to the mosque are the remains of the bath, which was built in the 16th century. For this reason, the mosque is also known as "Banyabaşı", which means bath. The number of Muslims who come for worship on Fridays reaches 1,000 Muslims. The Sofia Islamic Centre also has a mosque open for daily prayers and offers Quranic classes.

Kadı Seyfullah Efendi Mosque (or Banya Bashi Mosque)

Another Ottoman heritage monument in Sofia, located in the very centre of the city, is the Mahmutpaşa Mosque. The mosque’s construction started under Fatih Sultan Mehmet's grand vizier Mahmut Pasha, who was the governor of Rumelia, and was completed in 1494. Mahmutpaşa, the largest mosque in the Ottoman period, was known as the “Ulu Camii” ("Great Mosque") among the people. The mosque which was built as a complex with a madrasah, water cistern and fountains, operates as a museum today.

Dervish or Sofu Mehmet Pasha Mosque is one of the three mosques that have survived in Sofia after the Ottoman rule for five centuries. The mosque also known as Kara Camii (Black Mosque) was built as a complex with 16 madrasah rooms, was used as an arsenal and a prison. The mosque received its more popular name, the Black Mosque, after the dark granite from which its minaret was made. Since 1903 the Black Mosque has been operating as a church, the Sveti Sedmochislenitsi Church ("The Seven Holy Martyrs").

Sofia has several options for halal food: The Konyushnite Restaurant is popular for halal food, with a variety of traditional Bulgarian dishes and international cuisine. The Central Market Hall is also popular for halal food, offering a range of fresh produce, meats and spices.

The National Museum of History showcases Bulgaria’s history and culture, while the Boyana Church is a UNESCO World Heritage site with stunning medieval frescoes.

After visiting Sofia, it’s time to head to Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second largest city which will take 1 hour and 45 mins.


Our penultimate stop on this journey, Plovdiv is Europe’s oldest inhabited city. It is best known for its romantic old town, which is full of colourful and creaky 19th-century mansions that are now house-museums, galleries and guesthouses. Visitors can enjoy halal food at the nearby Balkan Bites restaurant.


A particular must-see is Dzhumaya Mosque, which is located in the centre of Plovdiv and was built in 1363–1364 after the conquest of Plovdiv by the Ottoman army on the site of the Sveta Petka Tarnovska Cathedral Church. During the reign of Sultan Murad I in the 15th century, the old building was demolished and replaced with the modern mosque. It was called Ulu Dzhumaya Mosque or Main Friday Mosque. Also visit the 15th-century Imaret Mosque and the Taskopru Mosque, built in 1860.

The Roman Theatre of Philippopolis is an ancient theatre from the 1st century AD, while the Ancient Stadium is a well-preserved 2nd-century artefact.

Roman Theatre of Philippopolis

Plovdiv has several halal food options. The Shtastlivetsa Restaurant is popular for halal food, offering a range of traditional Bulgarian dishes and international cuisine. The Central Market Hall is also popular for halal food, with a range of fresh produce, meats and spices.

After your visit to Plovdiv, it’s time for the final leg of your road trip, which takes you to the Turkish city of Edirne with a 2 hr 15 mins drive, where you will complete your Sila Yolu, embracing familiar sights and sounds as you reconnect with Türkiye.


Edirne, the terminus of your epic journey, is a historic Turkish city and the second capital of the Ottoman Empire before the conquest of Istanbul. It has a number of attractions and is known for its fantastic architecture, rich history and beautiful mosques.


One of Edirne’s most famous landmarks is the Selimiye Mosque, a beautiful 16th-century mosque that is considered one of the finest examples of Ottoman architecture. Sultan Selim II commissioned the construction and it was built by the imperial chief architect Mimar Sinan between 1568 and 1575 when he was 80 years old. Selimiye was considered by Sinan to be “my masterpiece” (“ustalık eserim”) and is one of the highest achievements of Islamic architecture as a whole and Ottoman architecture in particular.

Selimiye Mosque

The city also boasts several other mosques, including the 14th-century Eski Cami (Old Mosque), known for its intricate tile work. The Üç Şerefeli Mosque is another popular site with its impressive three minarets and beautiful courtyard.

For history-lovers, there are several museums and historical sites in Edirne. The Edirne Palace is a well-preserved Ottoman-era palace complex. The Balkan Wars Museum showcases the history of the Balkan Wars in the early 20th century, while the Museum of Turkish Islamic Art displays a collection of Islamic art and artefacts.

In addition, Edirne is famous for its traditional Turkish baths (hamams). The Üç Şerefeli Hamamı is a fine example of Ottoman-era bathhouses and offers a range of treatments and therapies.

Edirne is famous for its Edirne-style ciğer (fried lamb's liver) with red onion salad. Visitors can enjoy halal food at nearby restaurants such as Cigerci Niyazi Usta or Lahmacun & Pidecisi.

Edirne-style ciğer

We have created two additional different, longer itineraries for those who wish to spend more time exploring as they travel across Europe from Germany to Türkiye on their spiritual Sila Yolu: the scenic Balkans route or the leisurely southern route.

For more inspiring road trips or if you’re looking for other travel options and ideas, visit our blog homepage.

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