A COOL ALTERNATIVE TO A HOT VACATION: 4 REGIONS, 4 BIKING DESTINATIONS

IF YOU ARE TIRED OF CROWDED BEACHES AND FAMILIAR VACATION FORMS, BIKING TOURS ARE JUST FOR YOU!

As the beaches are filled with vacationers along with the arrival of summer, if you are looking for an alternative to a hot and crowded resort or if you have a bicycle, which is parked in a corner at home, take a look at what we have to recommend in ‘4 regions 4 biking destinations.’ Bon voyage!

7 wonders of nature: Düzce-Yedigöller-Bolu (76 km)

The apple of photographers’ and nature and hiking lovers’ eye, the Yedigöller (seven lakes) National Park located in the Western Black Sea forests, is a wonder of nature with its vegetation and lakes, which were formed by the valley fronts that were blocked by large masses due to landslides. You can reach the park through the Yeniçağa-Mengen-Yazıcık route from the center of Bolu or by following the alternative routes from Yığılca, a district within Düzce. Your route is an ideal one to ride a bicycle; it goes through the forest, which is full of oxygen. Although, the route welcomes you with delightful colors and landscapes in fall, it is pleasant to use in all seasons. The seven lakes, namely Büyükgöl, Seringöl, Deringöl, Nazlıgöl, Küçükgöl, İncegöl, and Sazlıgöl, are located in two plateaus with 100 meters difference in altitude from each other.

263 plant species
Yedigöller is also home to mixed natural forests and 263 plant species including lily, cyclamen, colchicum, and orchid. It is possible to see beech, hornbeam, oak, alder, maple, elm, poplar, yellow, and black pine, fir, hazel, rowan leaves, goat willow, wild cherry, yew, linden, and ash trees in here. Many wild animals are identified in the national park zone as well as over 100 bird species.

A voyage to natural beauties
Hasanlar Dam, Saklıkent Falls, Sarıkaya and Gökçekaya caves are among the natural wonders of the region beginning from Yığılca, which is 38 km away from Düzce. The upper Melendere basin is surrounded with mountains and the Yığılca exit is located there. You enter the forest zone here and begin climbing slowly as you follow this route. After climbing two ramps, which are approximately 1200 and 1500 meters long, the route brings you to the Yedigöller National Park at 780 meters in altitude. Rainbow and lake trout inhabit the lakes. Amateur hand-line fishing is allowed for a fee between April 1 and October 1 at Büyükgöl and Deringöl. You can climb the last ramp to Kapanyaka Observation Deck to end the track. Bolu welcomes you after 78 km.

Favorite lands of daffodils: Karaburun Peninsula (160 km)

Karaburun, which settles, 100 km west of İzmir, on the rocks that name Karaburun Peninsula that projects into the Aegean Sea, has the clearest waters and the best coves of the region. The first known name of Karaburun, which is located in the southernmost point of the peninsula at the entrance of the İzmir Bay, is Mimas, which means ‘Windy Hills’ and takes place in Homer’s Iliad. It takes the name of ‘Ahırlı’ during the Ottoman period. It is said that it takes its name from the dark color of the soil. Another rumor suggests that the name comes from the word ‘kuzey’ (north) that is used for ‘kara’ (dark) in colloquial language.

A flower of legends
Karaburun doesn’t have much fertile soil because of its rough lands. Mostly, olive, citrus, artichoke, and grape are grown. The peninsula is famous with its unique date olives and artichokes that are favored most recently. Also, it is well known that this place has numerous healing herbs and plants. The major source of income of the people of Karaburun is daffodil that is the subject of many regional legends, along with its smell.

Reach to peaceful coves
Karaburun Peninsula is an ideal route to ride your bicycle along the beach as a two-day route. You can stop at the untouched coves to swim, and reach to peaceful coves and villages to escape the crowded beaches. A quiet ride waits for you after turning west at the southernmost point of the peninsula via the İçmeler-Gülbahçe-Balıklıova-Mordoğan-İnecik-Ambarseki-Saip-Karaburun-Tatil Sitesi-Yeni Liman-Hasseki-Sarpancık-Parlak-Salman-Küçükbahçe-Tuzla Cove-İris Lake-Ildır-Ilıca-Alaçatı route.

Last stop Alaçatı
As the Mediterranean burns under the heat of the summer sun, the route continues with Ilıca and ends in Alaçatı that relieves the Aegean with its famous wind. Alaçatı is also the most favorite vacation spot in recent years. Don’t miss to see the Sarpancık Guiding Light which is located in a cape near Sarpancık village. Another surprise on the route is the ancient cities of Ildırı and Erythrai. You must climb the hills to reach the ruins to see the ancient theatre, acropolis, the Temple of Athena, and the walls. Watch the sunset from the Agora Café, which was opened by Hüseyin’s son, the late guard of the ancient city.

PHOTO SPOT
It is possible to see Sakız Island, Foça, and Urla from the hills of Karaburun.

Blue voyage through the land: Gökova Bay (295 km)                

The route advances through almost a jungle; curving into the forests as if a canal; passing through coves and villages among the pine forests without getting away from the sea. It offers you the possibility to take the ‘Blue voyage through the land’ and goes around the Gökova Bay from one end to another along the coast. The 3-4 day route stops at the remote coves and the Caria settlements from Halicarnassus to Cnidus.

Camping opportunity
As many natural beaches offer the camping opportunity, you can also find the most impressive accommodations of the Mediterranean between the routes of Mazı-Çökertme, Akbük Cove-Akyaka, Okluk Cove-Bördübet Cove, Hayıtbükü-Palamutbükü. Here is the route: Bodrum-Kızılağaç-Yeniçiftlik- Mazı-Çökertme-Akbük Cove-Akyaka-Gökova-Karacasöğüt- Okluk Cove-Longöz Cove-Yediadalar-Küfre Cove-Bördübet Cove (Amazon)-Balıkaşıran-Datça-Mesudiye-Hayıtbükü-Ovabükü-Palamutbükü-Yazıköy-Cnidus. The old windmills are going to accompany you during your travel in Bodrum and Datça.

Stops not to be missed
You can go back to the beginning point of the route, Bodrum, by the Datça-Bodrum ferries at the end of the route. Here are the stops not to be missed on this route: Azmak in Akyaka; Akbük Cove, which is among the olive and pine trees within the Special Environmental Protection Area; Bördübet Cove, which is also known as the ‘birds’ bed’ and takes place in the area of Datça Peninsula that faces  Gökova Bay; Amazon Cove where you can watch the stars with naked eyes since there is no light pollution; Yedi Adalar (seven islands) which consist of islands in different sizes; the Bodrum Underwater Archeology Museum; what is left of Mausoleion which is settled in Bodrum on one of the most famous cities of the ancient time Halicarnassus, also one of the seven wonders of the world; Keramos in Ören; and the ancient city of Cnidus, located in Datça Peninsula, that is surrounded by the Aegean Sea in the north and the Mediterranean Sea in the south. Be at Cnidus for the sunset.

An oasis in the middle of İstanbul: the Belgrad Forest (20 km)

If you don’t presume that 400 plant, 169 bird, 56 butterfly, hundreds of mushroom, and many mammal and reptilian species can exist in the middle of a city such as İstanbul, a walk or a bicycle tour in the Belgrad Forest might change your mind. Beech, hornbeam, chestnut, alder, aspen, linden, maple, elm, larch, pine, stone pine, shore pine, ash, spruce, cedar, and oak species are into the bargain. The Belgrad Forest, which is rich in the aspects of flora and fauna, is almost like an oasis and İstanbul’s oxygen storage.

Historical importance
The importance of the Belgrad Forest that covers an area of 5500 hectares comes from history. Streams such as Neşet, Topuz, and Aydad creeks used to supply the drinking water needs of the city since the Byzantine and the Ottoman periods until very recently. Having been used as a picnic area since 1956, the Belgrad Forest was an important center of the Kırkmerdiven water supply system. Drinking water had been brought to the city between the 1600s and the 1800s by building seven reservoirs. The Grand Reservoir and the Sultan Mahmut II Reservoir are worth seeing. A special biking trail for 8 km takes place along the longest hiking trail for 6.5 km that is located next to the Grand Reservoir. You can start from the center of Bahçeköy, make a circle in the forest, and return to Bahçeköy. Continue to the right side of the wooded area that begins at the entrance and circle around the Valide Sultan Pond and continue to south on Gümüşdere way, passing next to the Mahmut II Reservoir. Reach to Neşet Water passing by the Kömürcü Reservoir. If you’d like to extend your pleasant ride, you might want to include the walking trail around the Grand Reservoir to your route.