Even if we know that we have to go back sooner or later, a short escape from the chaos of crowded cities is still good for our souls.
It is necessary to spend time in nature to take a fresh breath, purify our souls, and refresh our spirits. There is always a way out. Here are a few suggestions to reach nature in the shortest way…
Coast full of history: Beyşehir
Being away from many tourist routes, Turkey’s third-largest lake, Beyşehir always deprived of tourism. Therefore, this most important source of fresh water within the borders of Konya and Isparta could share neither its history nor its sunsets with others. Beyşehir Lake, which is 92 km away from Konya, was declared as a National Park in 1993. Covering an area of 650 square kilometers, this tectonic detritus-lake has 33 islands in all shapes and sizes. As you move along the shore of the lake, the summit of snowy Anamas Mountain and the lake create the most striking view of this geography. The perimeter of the lake is 154 km. It is possible to rent a boat to visit the islands. The most important and beautiful buildings of Beyşehir are on the lakeshore. The Eşrefoğlu Mosque, which was built by Eşrefoğlu Seyfeddin Süleyman Bey in the 13th century, is a work of art. With its tile altar, wooden pulpit made with kundekari technique, magnificent crown gate, wood carvings, pencil work and stone embroidery, the ceiling of the remarkable mosque consists of 480 trees. The trees were cut from Genek Mountain near Beyşehir, soaked in the lake for 3-5 months and then kiln-dried.
Undoubtedly, sunset is a must-see in Beyşehir. You should not miss seeing those hours of the day when the silhouettes of boats and boatmen are dancing over the glowing water. One of the most beautiful stopover places in the center of Beyşehir is the tea house of Beyaz Park Motel. Especially from here, you should watch the Beyşehir Regülatörü Bridge, which turns into a silhouette at sunset. The western shore of the lake is another must-see for landscape enthusiasts. In Gölyaka, one of the villages on this coast, there is the palace of the city of Kubadâbâd (1227), excavations of which have been continuing since 1981.
It is also enjoyable to see the storks in the air and their nests in Yeşildağ town of Beyşehir, which is known as the “Storks Valley”, the home of hundreds of storks.
Keep the past alive: Şirince
There are such places in the richness of Anatolia that they have reached today as the most remarkable examples of keeping them alive by protecting. Şirince village, located half an hour from Kuşadası, is one of the most successful examples in this area, in Turkey. From the streets to houses, from shops to small hotels, the traditional texture is kept alive. It is also an Aegean village where traces of the exchange are felt. Houses built on the slope are very impressive. The village reveals itself when you arrive at the end of an 8 km long road from Selçuk, which has a lot of twists and turns among the greenery and olive groves. Although it does not satisfy our longing for nature and village life as it is now with the effect of tourism, you realize how special this village is when you go up to the hills and get away from souvenirs and get close to the friendly village people, wake up one morning with the crows of roosters and the view of a clear sky. Greeks lived here in the 1790s. The name Kirkince, which is Greek, came to Turkish as Çirkince and after the War of Independence, it became Şirince upon the order of İzmir Governor Kazım Dirik. The people who live there today came from Thessaloniki and Kavala by exchange…
Before you arrive at the square, you will see the Artemis House first. This building, formerly the primary school of the Greeks, has undergone a good restoration. The most beautiful view of Şirince is seen in the garden. Just above the church, whoever you ask, Aunt Pervin has a space where she makes and serves pancakes, ravioli, and homemade baklava. The stuffed zucchini flower is also a treat. If you decide to stay in unique guesthouses instead of a daily Şirince trip, your discovery of the life of this village may be more memorable.
Rehabilitation in green: Maşukiye
Getting away from the cities means seeing greenery. Maşukiye, which is 20 km from Kocaeli-İzmit and 120 km from İstanbul, maybe one of the escapes you will make to see enough green. Maşukiye’s name, which means love, is full of fertile green areas full of fruit trees, which become crowded especially at weekends. Maşukiye offers another very important beauty for nature lovers: Kartepe. Besides the fact that Kartepe, which is the highest point of Samanlı Mountains, has a place in the hearts of ski lovers, one of its important features is that it is a reservoir that provides water for Kocaeli. If you want to take a train trip to watch nature on a snowy day, Ankara-İzmit is about 3 hours by High-Speed Train. It is possible to reach Kartepe in about half an hour by Kartepe buses from İzmit Train Station. The forest road that passes through Maşukiye and continues for 17 km takes you to an atmosphere where nature becomes deepened. The fact that the signs remind you that deer can come out at any time is proof of how untouched is the path you are on… Although the Maşukiye-Kartepe road is short, it is beneficial to take a pleasant break on the way to Alabalık (Trout) Valley. Here you can both rehabilitate to the sounds of birds and waterfalls and taste the traditional flavors of Maşukiye. After getting tired of too much skiing, there are the roasted mushrooms, village cheese casserole, and trout baked in earthenware.
Although it is addictive sitting by the fireplace at the facilities in Geyikalan Hill, which is reached by the chairlift from nature, there are plenty of places to visit for those with energy; Maşukiye Aygır Stream between forests and waterfalls, Soguksu Picnic Area accompanied by bay views, Uzuntarla on the shores of Sapanca Lake, which is famous for horse breeding, Sarımeşe Forests, the favorite of the campers Kuzu Highland Nature Park, Ormanya which has made its name heard through the slogan “Europe’s largest natural life park”, where the children will enjoy the most…
An escape from İstanbul: Ağva
One of the most popular destinations to go to escape from İstanbul is Ağva, which is 110 km away from İstanbul, in the district of Şile. Ağva first became famous as a place to rest and renew with its boutique hotels on the Göksu River and fresh seafood restaurants on its shore. With its geography suitable for trekking, it became one of the favorites of nature tourism in a short time. As with the tours of the hotels, you can also set your own walking route and discover the magnificent nature of Ağva and its surroundings. Ağva, which means “the village established between two streams” in Latin and located in the delta between Göksu and Yeşilçay, promises both a green nature and the calm of the water. It is known that its history dates back to the Neolithic ages, and it was a settlement for Venetians and Genovese for a while.
Ağva’s rivers, Kurfallı Forests, and Kilimli Bay are the most remarkable features of this nature. Do not leave without getting a boat tour. At the port where Yeşilçay River meets the sea, jump on one of the fishing boats and sail to the Black Sea towards Kilimli Bay. You can see the small hotels and village houses lined up along the river accompanied by the tweets of birds. Those who take a ride around your boat by pedalo, canoe, or a rowboat will be plenty. There is a history worth seeing around Ağva; Hacılı village waterfall and the Gürlek Cave, which is estimated to belong to the 3rd or 4th century, the church ruins and tombstones of the Romans in Kalem village, the historical mountain mill in the Sungurlu neighborhood, the ruins of the fortress in Hisartepe… Layered limestone rocks are also a natural wonder. Whether you enjoy sunbathing or picnicking on the rocks, this hidden bay is worth seeing.
National parks, thermals, fossils: Kızılcahamam
Kızılcahamam, one of the greenest regions of Ankara, 81 km from the capital, between Bolu and Çankırı provinces, is one of the most important areas in which the Capital can breathe, from its virgin nature covered with lush pine forests to its potential in health tourism. Campers, mountaineers, hiking enthusiasts, seekers of healing in the thermal can take a real break away from the city here. Kızılcahamam has preserved its importance throughout history with its healing waters since ancient times. Besides having useful hot spring waters, the biggest advantage of Kızılcahamam is that it is covered with forest on three sides and its fresh air. Kızılcahamam, which has been popular for many civilizations from the Hittites to the Lydians, also has places to visit. Turkey’s first geopark Kızılcahamam-Çamlıdere Geopark is indeed remarkable for its variety of unusual formations; Çamlıdere fossil tree forest, Mahkeme Ağcin Cultural Geosite, Sey Bath, Güvem basalt columns, Beşkonak fish-leaf fossils, abrasion-formed Gelin (Bride) Rock and Kaplumbağa (Turtle) Brothers, Alicin Monastery, Sinap Tepe mammal fossil bed, Işıkdağı, Karagöl… Abacı Fairy Chimneys, which are spread over an area approximately 5 thousand square meters and estimated to date from 1700 BC, are also here. You can experience this extraordinary geography in the viewing terraces and recreation areas. Alicin Monastery, which is located at a height of 70 m from the base on a slope of the valley, and was built during the Roman Empire and used as a shelter, appeals to people with mountaineering experience. You can have a picnic in Soğuksu National Park, go around with your mountain bike and observe 160 different bird species. In Çamlıdere Aluçdağı Nature Park, there are different activities to do such as paintball, horse riding, and archery.