The anticipated summer season actually makes some of us concerned.
If you cannot handle summer’s heat well, especially the heat of August, you might be attempting to search for the coolest points in Turkey, as holidaymakers flow towards the coast. We have prepared cool suggestions for August from waterfalls embracing nature to shores cooled by northeaster winds, and from high canyons that do not allow sunlight enter to national parks covered with pine forests.
Ilgaz National Park, Kastamonu
Ilgaz Mountains, the mountain range of the Western Black Sea, which is covered with snow for six months of the year, is a good option for skiing in winter as well as trekking in spring and summer. The peak of the Ilgaz Mountains is 2587 meters. It is not difficult to imagine how cool and pleasant the Ilgaz National Park, spreading over an area of 1088 hectares, covered with oaks, beech trees, spruce, and fir trees, is when the shores are torrid. You can sit under pine trees and read books on Ilgaz Mountains, which has more than its share of the intense pine forest cover of Kastamonu; you can make mountain walks; you can have a different kind of summer holiday with activities such as cycling and photo safari. The national park is located between Çankırı, Çorum, and Kastamonu. Thanks to its rich flora, wild animals such as deer, roe deer, bears, wild boars, wolves, foxes, rabbits, partridges continue to live here despite the excessive hunting. Due to the sport activities that last all year, some facilities are open for 12 months. The region is also a trekking area that will be of interest for all ages with its forest trails.
Saklıkent Canyon, Antalya
A bit wet and adventurous but worth every effort. Saklıkent Canyon, which is narrow and high enough to keep the sunlight out, and its icy cold waters are like a remedy for the sultry weather of the Antalya region. The canyon, which was formed through abrasion of the rocks by flowing waters over thousands of years, is about 18 km in length, with an average height ranging from 200 to 600 meters. At some points, the rock gap narrows down to 2 meters. It’s almost impossible to see the sky. First, the gushing spring under the rocks is reached through climbing the wooden ladder above the Stream of Eşen. Before or after the adventure, which is up to, you can rest on the platforms designed as oriental corners that are built over the waters; you can eat gözleme (a type of pastry) and trout while cooling your feet in ice-cold water. If you are going to take this walk seriously, you’re going to be drenched. The comfort of your shoes is important. The canyon is so high and narrow from time to time, sunlight does not enter. So the water is freezing. The rising and fast-flowing waters in winter created slippery sculptures. It’s almost like you’re moving from the esophagus of a dragon to his heart. At the end of the one-hour journey, rope climbing, the water level that exceeds your height, and the waterfall are important stages of this enjoyable experience. One wall of the canyon is in Muğla and the other wall is in Antalya. Saklıkent Canyon, which is formed by Karaçay, the branch of Eşen Stream, draws this boundary and can be reached by exiting Fethiye-Antalya highway in the direction of Kemer district. There is the ancient city of Tlos 13 km after the exit, and Saklıkent is 21 km after the exit.
If you are looking for the coolest and most untouched corner of the Black Sea, perhaps as well as of Turkey, Macahel is worth considering. With its monumental trees, unspoiled wooden architecture, waterfalls, glacial lakes, colorful, centuries-old, wood engraving mosques, wildlife, and Georgian culture, Macahel is always romantic and pastoral in addition to its literally mountainous and cruel nature. When the 50 km road that connects Borçka to Camili village ascends to the Macahel Pass at 1850 meters, you pass through untouched forests and lands where natural life exists to its fullest extent. When you cross this passage, the summit of which is at 3500, an extension of Karçhal Mountain, and reach the villages in the valley opening to Georgia, Georgian is spoken, Georgian dishes are made, and Georgian songs are sung. Turkey’s first Biosphere Reserve area, Macahel is substantially the focus of scientific research because of its virginity and being one of the four important regions of Turkey ecologically. Old, natural forests (rainforests) of the Eastern Black Sea are one of the few untouched areas. Since the region remained natural and wild, it has extraordinary biodiversity. There are 356 plants, about three of which are endemic, and three endemic insects. In addition, the Pure Caucasian Bee, one of the world’s three important bee breeds, was able to maintain its purity here, as one side of the valley remained as the political and the other as the natural boundary. Stay in the highland houses where Georgian food is cooked, make trips to the village and highland with local guides, watch the natural life, see Karagöl, watch wild goats and the scenery from the Ziyaret Hill at the top of Karçal, taste the Macahel honey…
Altındere Valley, Trabzon
Among the valleys, opening to the south from Trabzon, Altındere Valley National Park is the most remarkable one with its history and nature. Sümela Monastery is undoubtedly the most stunning view of the valley, which is frequented by hundreds of thousands of tourists in spring and summer. Especially when viewed from below, the monastery at an altitude of 1310, built on the façade of a 270 m high cliff, looks like it is in the clouds. Another name of it is Meryemana (Mother Mary). According to a legend, the monks who were named Barnabas and Sophronios founded the monastery in 385 at this point where they found the depiction of the holy Mary, made by Saint Lukas, one of Jesus’ disciples. Sümela was extended, looted, repaired; became a background for coronations; student rooms and libraries were built within; became a place for Christians’ pilgrimage; preserved during the Ottoman period and respected; Yavuz Sultan Selim (Selim the Resolute) was treated here by the priests at one point… Along this road, leading to Altındere National Park and continuing near Meryemana Creek, broad-leaved trees are replaced by coniferous trees. Along the way, trout farms, local restaurants, camping areas, and wood structured accommodation options are lined. The trail to the Sümela Monastery takes 45 minutes to climb. Listen to the sound of Meryemana Creek, chat with cheerful locals of the Black Sea region in the village coffee house, learn how to cook the dishes of the Black Sea cuisine in a local facility, and take horon (a folk dance unique to the region) lessons accompanied with the notes sounding from a kemenche in the evening…
Tortum Falls, Erzurum
In Erzurum, the coldest city in the East, where snowfall lasts for six months, the melting snow waters reveal a magnificent natural beauty: Tortum Falls. This nature of wonder, located at the 110th kilometer of the Erzurum-Artvin highway in Uzundere, which is selected as “Turkey’s 11th Slow City” in 2016 by the International Cittaslow Association, is known as the largest waterfall of Turkey. 21-meter-wide Tortum Falls, which was formed when the large landslide mass separated from Kemerlidağ in the 1700s and covered the Tev Valley, where Tortum Stream flowed, falls from a height of 48 meters and invites visitors to the viewing terraces with its coolness. Especially when it flows gushingly, the rainbow images created by water particles scattered around become the favorite moments of the photographers. There are picnic areas around the waterfall. You can see the giant pool of water formed below the waterfall, which is approximately 1000 m high above the sea level, by climbing down the stairs; you can go back up and enjoy the nature; and if you bring some snacks with you, you can enjoy the picnic areas around it. It should be kept in mind that the special dish of the Tortum area is cağ kebab. If you want to extend your trip a little longer, Orta Mosque, formerly known as İnçer Mosque, dated from 1847, is worth seeing in Uzundere.