For an easygoing weekend on the Black Sea coast, Kıyıköy – with old stone houses and colorful fishing boats – is a charming option. Set in Vize, a district of Kırklareli Province, Kıyıköy is just 160 kilometers from Istanbul, making it a favorite destination for Istanbulites looking for a short getaway.
Kıyıköy’s Thracian landscape includes magnificent forests, a tranquil beach and plenty of campsites, both around Pabuç Creek, which divides the village, and relatively less known camping areas in the immediate vicinity.
If you are looking for a different kind of autumn holiday, definitely consider Kıyıköy. For other autumn destinations, please see An invitation to tranquility: Autumn holidays in Turkey or take a look at this month’s autumn blog series.
How to get to Kıyıköy
A quiet fishing village on the Black Sea coast, in Vize, Kırklareli, Kıyıköy is easily accessible from Istanbul – just 160 kilometers. It’s 95 kilometers from Kırklareli and about 35 kilometers from Vize. Local tourists visit throughout the year
The driving route from Istanbul to Kıyıköy takes around 90 minutes, passing through Çerkezköy, Tekirdağ and Saray. From Saray, it is 30 kilometers to this hidden paradise on the Black Sea coast.
If you are using public transportation, there are buses from Esenler Bus Terminal to Kıyıköy. You can also find vehicles going to Kıyıköy from the Vize district bus terminals in Saray and Kırklareli in Tekirdağ. As well, you can enjoy the scenery at a more leisurely pace by renting a car.
Places to visit in Kıyıköy
Set on the Black Sea coast, Kıyıköy is surrounded by woodland and floodplain forests; the only larch forest in Thrace is in this region. The oak forests of Kıyıköy include Hungarian oak, sessile oak and haired oak. In addition, beech, eastern hornbeam, carrageenan, ash, linden, maple and alder are common tree species in the region.
While the beaches are lovely, the season is shorter than that of the Aegean and the Mediterranean. If you visit in autumn, the water will most likely be chilly and a bit rough.
In picturesque Kıyıköy, old wooden and stone houses reflect the village’s Greek heritage, while colorful fishing boats dot the small harbor. Just a few minutes’ walk from the center is St. Nicholas Monastery. Carved from solid stone in the 6th century, the monastery is one of the finest examples of the rock-carved structures of its period.
Also dating from the 6th century is Kıyıköy Fortress, built from cut stones, bricks and rubble. Although the castle was reinforced in the 9th and 10th centuries, the two entrance gates and some walls from the original structure are still intact.
In the center of the village is Kıyıköy Mosque. Originally a church, this airy mosque surrounded by a garden features a wooden ceiling. Located 2 kilometers south of Kıyıköy is the 365-meter-long Kıyıköy Cave.
Çamlıköy Nature Park is around 15 kilometers from Kıyıköy and the unique İğneada Floodplain Forests National Park is about 50 kilometers from the village. These gorgeous parks offer perfect photo opportunities, especially the surreal landscape of the floodplain forest.
With a tranquil beach and a campsite, Panayır Pier Bay – about 25 kilometers from Kıyıköy – is a perfect vantage point for sunrise watching.
Dining in Kıyıköy
Hungry visitors will find plenty to eat in Kıyıköy – and, of course, plenty of fish. Turbot is a common sight, as well as mullet and red mullet, whiting, horse mackerel, bluefish and bonito. There’s also shrimp. Mushrooms are abundant in Kıyıköy’s oak forests, with porcini and sultan growing during the autumn season. And, in neighboring Bahçeköy, yoghurt made from water buffalo milk is a local specialty!
A short retreat from Istanbul: Camping at Kıyıköy
Surrounded by woodland and set along the Black Sea coast, Kıyıköy is a camper’s paradise. Its proximity to Istanbul makes it a terrific option for an easy weekend getaway.
The camping areas closest to Kıyıköy are by the Pabuç Creek. In addition to enjoying beautiful views, visitors can rent boats, canoes or pedalos – or even go fishing! There are gray mullet and carp in the Creek. But do be careful as the water is cold in the autumn
Another camping facility with magnificent views is in the Çamlıköy Nature Park near Kıyıköy. The campsite is near the Kastro Stream, which flows into the Black Sea.
Panayır Pier Bay is renowned for its sunrise views and peaceful beach. Be aware that the road to Panayır Pier Bay involves some rough driving!
Also accessible via an older road is Poliçe Bay, which is connected to Kışlacık Village and about 20 kilometers from Kıyıköy. Poliçe Bay offers a quiet camping experience, with forest hiking trails and a spring with ice-cold water on the beach. There are no nearby facilities, so campers should take their own food.
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