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6 best trekking routes in and around Istanbul

We have compiled a list for those of you that want to escape from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul city life and take refuge in nature. Take a look at the list of the best trekking routes to explore in and around Istanbul.

Belgrad Forest

One of the best places to trek on a lovely nature route in Istanbul is Belgrad Forest. Spanning 5 thousand 300 hectares, the Belgrad Forest is filled with a variety of short and long routes. If you want a forested route with a sea view, take a turn off the beaten path from Rumeli Feneri to Kale.

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Polonezköy is a trekking spot in Istanbul that spans 5 km, filled with pine chestnut and oak trees, ideal for a short walk. The best time to visit Polonezköy is between April and September. There are plenty of shops and establishments in the recreational areas for you to explore after your walk.

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Uçmakdere lies within the Tekirdağ, Sarköy district. This Greek town is a great trekking spot for moderate-experience trekkers. Due to the slopes on route this trek can be a bit strenuous, but the incredible views make it worthwhile. Besides the great trekking routes, Uçmakdere, is one of the best spots in Turkey for paragliding. Although there are no accommodation options in the village, you can camp in designated areas. On the way to Uçmakdere, make sure to see the wooden fishing shelters and fishing piers. On your way back, pick up some local delicacies such as homemade erişte (noodles), tarhana, ıhlamur (linden), adaçayı (sage) and üzüm pekmezi (grape molasses).

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Sülüklügöl (Sülüklü Lake)

Sülüklü Lake is situated within the Tavşansuyu village in Bolu, part of the Mudurnu district, approximately 3 hours distance from Istanbul. Start your trekking adventure at the Sülüklü Lake Nature Reserve Park entrance. From there you can take a forested route or the dirt road, which covers 16 km. You can take shelter in the shade of the oak and fir trees on the way. As the name suggests, Sülüklü Lake (Leech Lake), was once a lake full of leeches, but in recent years there are no leeches left due to the increase in trout fish.

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Erikli Yaylası (Erikli Plateau)

Erikli Plateau, approximately 1,5 hours from Istanbul, is located in the district of Çınarcık, Yalova. Erikli Plateau trekking tours usually start off in Teşvikiye Village. Due to the slopes on the footpath trails, this route makes for a moderate trekking level experience. You will come across the natural wonders of Çifte Şelale (Çifte Waterfall), Dipsiz Göl (Dipsiz Lake), Delmece Yaylası (Delmece Plateau) and Erikli Şelalesi (Erikli Waterfall) on your trekking adventure. There are certain campsites where you can set up camp on your trek through Erikli Plateau.

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Ballıkayalar Tabiat Parkı (Ballıkayalar Natural Park)

The Ballıkayalar Tabiat Parkı (Ballıkayalar Natural Park), is located on the border of Tavşanlı Village in Gebze, Kocaeli, approximately 1.5 hours away from Istanbul. It is an ideal trekking spot for those looking for an easy to moderate route. The route itself is within a valley, with a variety of lakes and waterfalls to discover. Ballıkayalar Natural Park is also a popular climbing spot and campsite. We recommend that you take a spare pair of shoes with you, as your feet might get wet on your trek.

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Don’t forget to take a garbage bag with you, in order to throw away any non-biodegradable garbage you may consume on your trek.