Whitewater rafting adventures
When discussing the rivers of Turkey, many say “flowing waters do not stop, even to babble”. Offering some of the most exciting whitewater rafting around, Turkey’s Çoruh River – one of the Black Sea region’s swiftest rivers – was even the site of the World Rafting Championship. Known as the pride of Artvin, the Çoruh is also popular for canoeing. Other rapid rivers in the area are the Fırtına Creek in Rize and the Melen Stream in Düzce: when it comes to nature sports, the Black Sea region delivers. The Aegean region doesn’t disappoint either, offering the Dalaman River; while Antalya is considered the rafting capital of the Mediterranean, with Köprülü Canyon, the Manavgat Stream and the Dim Stream drawing visitors from throughout the world.
Trekking in the most scenic environments
If whitewater rafting is not your thing, trekking on solid ground is an excellent alternative for immersing yourself in Turkey’s spectacular nature. The Lycian Way, the most renowned route in Turkey, runs from Fethiye to Antalya, and features stunning sea and mountain views. Between Nevşehir and Aksaray lies the Ihlara Valley, a 14km-long gorge along the Melendi River dotted with ancient rock-cut churches. And there are the Kaçkar Mountains, standing side by side from Artvin to Rize. It is no coincidence that hiking is so common in Turkey; incredible tracks abound throughout the country. Aladağlar Mountain, set within the borders of Kayseri province; Bafa Lake, which lies in both Aydın and Muğla; and the Kaz Mountains, shared by Çanakkale and Balıkesir, are just a few among many. Most of these trails feature campsite areas.
A bird’s eye view of nature while paragliding
Imagine strolling on air while looking down at a deep blue sea or a lush green forest. Paragliding is a unique way to see Turkey from above. Tekirdağ has Uçmakdere, the most popular paragliding point in the country, along with Mount Ganos. Babadağ, another prominent paragliding mountain, is set in the Fethiye district of Muğla; paragliding over azure Ölüdeniz is a must for thrill-seekers. And if you have a chance, head to the Munzur Mountains. Even Mount Nemrut, chiefly known for its ancient statues, is a platform for paragliding enthusiasts. Kaş, a favorite paragliding destination near Antalya, has Asas Hill. There’s also Dinamit Hill in Denizli, Bozdağ in İzmir, Mount Ali in Kayseri – and many more, all calling out to you.
Dive into a fascinating underwater world
Turkey is also renowned for diving. Starting in the Mediterranean Sea, the Samandağ coast, outside Hatay, offers abundant sea life, with schools of fish migrating towards the Suez Canal and many varieties of skates. Beautiful seaside Kaş presents the Flying Fish, a dive site named for a fighter jet that crashed into the sea during World War II. Afkule, in Fethiye, is located at the intersection of the Mediterranean and the Aegean Seas, and features caves and colorful corals. Moving into the clear waters of the Aegean, divers will find Karaburun, a pristine coastline near İzmir, and in Bodrum, the Great Reef. In the Marmara Sea, Çanakkale’s Saros includes 33 underwater ships, sunk in the Dardanelles Strait during World War I.
Skiing adventures on snowcapped peaks
With so many mountains, Turkey offers an abundance of ski resorts. The ski resorts closest to Istanbul – Bursa, Uludağ and Kocaeli, and Kartepe – are especially popular among city residents for a weekend break; the Uludağ cable car has been hoisting skiers since 1933. Erciyes, just outside of Kayseri and visible across the Anatolian plains, features peaks that are covered with snow well into the spring months. Near Erzurum, the Palandöken, with the highest peak in the country, is well-known for its prolific snowfall, which can reach 2-3 meters per season. And Kars, the final destination on the Eastern Express overnight train from Ankara, hosts skiers at the Sarıkamış ski resort, one of the world’s most prominent skiing centers due to its crystal snow believed to have one of the longest tracks in the world.