Best Trails in Turkey

Best Hiking and Trekking Trails in Turkey

Best Trails in Turkey : Planning to go hiking in Turkey? Turkey has the good fortune of being located in a prime part of the world for natural beauty. While some is distinctly Mediterranean, with beautiful oceanic coastlines and rocky cliffs, other areas boast mountains that rival even some of Europe’s most famous peaks. From snow-capped mountains to arid desert and lush olive groves, you can find the hike you’re looking for no matter what your preference. We know it’s hard to choose, especially when this country is still a bit off the beaten track, so we’ve offered some of the best hikes in Turkey to help make your decision easier. Turkey is ideal for those who like hiking and at the same time take in spectacular scenery. You can hike in this largely mountainous country, or trekking in the national parks of Turkey. Serious climbers will probably want to explore Turkey’s rich interior and mountainous east but even by walking a short distance inland from some of the busiest coastal resorts, it can feel as if you are in a different world.

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Alpine Meadows

Turkey is a mountainous country with beautiful scenery and large areas of unspoiled countryside, which are wonderful natural preserves for an extraordinary variety of wildlife, flora and fauna. The mountainous nature of our country has had a strong influence on Turkey’s cultural evolution. For centuries, nomads and semi nomadic peoples have lived here and migrated annually with their livestock to the fresh pastures of the mountains and hills around. These alpine meadows, still represent a firm tie to traditional culture.

Aladağlar

Best Trails in Turkey: Aladaglar, the rusty mountains are spectacular

Aladağlar is the summit of the Taurus Mountain range. Located between the central Anatolian provinces of Kayseri and Niğde and southern Adana province, it is a natural haven for trekkers. Glaciers, caves and canyons crown the scenes of Aladağlar. The valleys of Emli and Parmakkaya and the plateaus of Yedigöller and Sokulupınar also offer unique camping experiences. One of the must-see highlights of the region is surely the Kapuzbaşı Waterfall, at an altitude of 3,756 meters. The summit and the surrounding region offer many trekking paths and mountain-climbing opportunities.

Kaçkar Mountains

Kaçkar is located in Turkey’s beautiful Black Sea region whose natural alpine beauty is often compared to Switzerland. Walk past the wildflowers and sheepherders with their flock, and challenge yourself to reach the peak at around 4000m. The Kaçkar Trail, which runs through the Kaçkar Mountains of northeastern Turkey, is one of the most unique and eye-pleasing trails in the country. Located in the mountainous Black Sea region, it is Turkey’s fourth-highest trekking trail. The trail can take around 30 days to complete if one wishes to explore all the natural beauties that the mountains offer. Several glacial lakes and valleys as well as plateaus are located in the area. The region is also the natural habitat of many species of wildlife, most notably mountain goats.

Distance: 32 trekking routes, ranging from a few hours to several days, totaling some 30 days trekking Difficulty rating: 5/5

Best Trails in Turkey
Best Trails in Turkey: Kackar Mountains

Cappadocia

Cappadocia is a hiking paradise because of its unique landscape and an abundance of historic sights. The most popular trails are in the Pigeon and Love Valleys, the Rose and Red Valleys, and the Zemi Valleys where you’ll come across Cappadocia’s famous Fairy Chimneys, rock churches, and stunning rock formations. Difficulty rating: 5+++/5 (Extreme)

Best Trails in Turkey
Best Trails in Turkey: Ski touring in Cappadocia region

Lycian Trail

One of Turkey’s most famous hiking trails, the Lycian Trail stretches around 509 km from Fethiye to Antalya with amazing views all around and great stops along the way such as Patara Beach, the natural beaches of Kaş, and the historic ruins of Olympos. The Lycian Way, which takes its name from the ancient civilization of Lycia that once ruled the area, is one of the longest and most famous walking trails in the world. It starts in southwestern Muğla province and winds its way into southern Antalya province. The path is 500 kilometers (310 miles) long, 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) of which run along the scenic beach of Patara. It is one of the most suitable trails for trekking in Turkey, offering stunning views of Kaş, Kalkan and Mount Tahtalı (also known as Lycian Olympus). It is also rich in history, as the ruins of ancient Lycian cities dot the trail.

Best Trails in Turkey: Lycian Path trail

Ballıkayalar Trail

Best Trails in Turkey: Ballikayalar is 2 hour from Istanbul

The Ballıkayalar Nature Park just outside of Istanbul in northwestern Kocaeli province is a preferred location for trekking thanks to its many trails, some of which run along a scenic gorge. The park is home to unique bird species, beautiful ponds and lush greenery. Ballıkkayalar Valley within the park also offers impressive rock-climbing opportunities. There are several waterfalls along the valley, with some natural pools even large enough for swimming. The park has many picnic areas and camping locations. It is the ideal destination for light trekking. The waterfall at Ballıkayalar Canyon in northwestern Kocaeli province

Bafa Lake and Latmos Trail

Best Trails in Turkey
Best Trails in Turkey: Bafa Lake, used to be a part of Aegean Sea and turned into a lake as result of the development of Great Menderes Delta. Lake Bafa is still one of the most unspoiled watery areas in Turkey. Although is under threat from various environmental factors The maximum depth of the Bafa Lake reaches only 25 meters and the main water sources of the Lake Bafa are the water floods of Great Menderes (Büyük Menderes) River, and the underground waters coming from the mountains of the surrounding area. The plant cover around the lake mainly consists of tamarisks, pine trees, and olive groves.

 

Situated in the vicinity of Beşparmak (Latmos) Mountains in the Aegean Region, Bafa Lake is the most important water source of the area that was home to numerous civilizations over the course of history. Kapıkırı Village on its shores is built upon the ruins of Hereklia, which was the administrative center of the area in ancient times. There are numerous trekking trails around the lake or passing through the ancient sites located in nearby villages. The ancient path used today by villagers of Kapıkırı connects the ancient cities of Myus and Alinda. The ancient paving stones of this road are still intact. There are also numerous trails on the foothills of Latmos Mountain, and experts suggest that the path leading to the Monastery of Yediler is the most scenic and least challenging among these.

Mount Kaz Trail

Best Trails in Turkey: Kazdağı or Mount Ida

The national park of Mount Kaz (known as Mount Ida in ancient times) between northwestern Çanakkale and Balıkesir provinces is one of the most oxygen-rich regions in not just Turkey but the world. Overlooking the Gulf of Edremit, it houses a large forest and many natural wonders, ranging from waterfalls to canyons and creeks. It offers light trekking opportunities as well as more strenuous ones, with several high points like the Sarıkız Hill and a peak from which Zeus is said to have watched the Battle of Troy in the Iliad. The region is also rich in history and has many historical sites to visit. Best Best Trails in Turkey. The pathways of Kazdağları await exploration in northwestern Çanakkale province.

Yenice Forest Trail

One of the lesser-known hiking trails in Turkey, this particular path leads through the natural beauty that calls itself the Yenice Forest. A true discovery for nature lovers, the trails goes past forests and canyons and can also be traversed on bike or horseback. Safranbolu, which is famous for its well-preserved Ottoman era houses, is also nearby and definitely worth a day trip.

Distance: 396km, with 21 alternative routes – some day walks, some two- or three-day hikes  Difficulty rating: 2/5

Best Trails in Turkey: Yenice Forests have a very rich structure in terms of flora. The forests, which consist especially of the types of oak, the trees that add distinction to the region are old beech, hornbeam, yew and sycamore. Yenice is very rich in terms of biodiversity with its pristine forests with needle-leaved and broad-leaved trees. As known, Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) identified 100 most valuable forest lands in terms of biodiversity that urgently need protecting and defined them as “the hot spots of Europe’s Forests”.

Phrygian Way

Best Trails in Turkey
Best Trails in Turkey

The Phrygian Trekking Route is one of the longest hiking trails in Turkey. Planned with great care for the comfort and enjoyment of hikers,  the route passes through the renowned Phrygian Valleys where hikers may visit the ruins of ancient civilisations and enjoy the natural beauty of the region. The Trekking Route is 506 kilometres long, and is marked in accordance with international standards. The Route has three starting points and the trails meet at the Yazilikaya (Inscribed Rock), which was a focal point for the Phrygians. Hikers may start the route at the following points: 1) Gordium (Polatli, Ankara), 2) Seydiler (Afyonkarahisar), and 3) Yenice Farm Ciftligi (Ahmetoglu Village, Kutahya).

Distance: 509km  Difficulty rating: 3/5

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The Hittite Trail

Another important itinerary in Turkey is the Hittite Trail, named after the Hittites who established their state in BCE 1600s and then became the superpower of the era in upper Mesopotamia and Anatolia. Located in Central Anatolia, the Hittite Trail connects millennia-old Hittite cities such as Hattuşaş, Alacahöyük and Şapinuva in Çorum, inviting hikers to travel back in history. The Hittite Trial includes daily itineraries ranging in length from 2 to 18 kilometers, and six longer trekking itineraries between 23 to 87 kilometers, as well as six bicycle routes from 32 to 103 kilometers. The Karakaya- Alacahöyük stage and the 11-kilometer İskilip Elmalı Valley stage running along the Köroğlu Mountains are marked by breathtaking views.

Best Trails in Turkey
Best Trails in Turkey

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St Paul Trail

Best Trails in Turkey

Kate Clow, originator of the Lycian Way, Turkey’s first waymarked long hiking trail, also originated (with Terry Richardson) a trail commemorating the journeys of St Paul in Anatolia. The St Paul Trail starts in Perge, near Antalya on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, and follows St Paul’s routeto Antioch-in-Pisidia (now called Yalvaç), by way of Lake Eğirdir. Some portions of the trail follow the original Roman road (still visible in parts). An alternate and more scenic route begins in Aspendosand ascends to the Anatolian plateau along the Köprülü Kanyon.

Distance: 500km Difficulty rating: 4/5

Evliya Çelebi Way

Best Trails in Turkey

Although as a walking route the EÇW was only established in 2011, the path it follows is based on the 1671 journey of Evliya Çelebi as he completed his hajj from Istanbul to Mecca (on horseback, I might add). Çelebi was a prolific Ottoman traveler and writer who is still very much ingrained in the consciousness of Turks today. UNESCO has declared Evliya a ‘Man of the Year’ for 2011, the 400th anniversary of his birth.

Distance: 1,200km Difficulty rating: 5/5

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