The Black Sea region is notoriously cooler in the summer months compared to the southern coast of Turkey, thus making it a wonderful time to travel in the area. Temperatures range from the low to mid 20 degrees Celsius during the day and 10 degrees cooler in the evening. Unlike the Turkish Riviera, however, the focus of traveling to the Black Sea is more to discover the region's spectacular nature and historical sites.
The following are four great destinations in the Black Sea region that should be on everyone's Turkey bucket list:
Trabzon's Sümela Monastery, Uzungöl and Zigana pass
Trabzon is the largest and most quintessential city in the Black Sea region, reigning across the northeast of Turkey's coastline and boasting a history spanning back to 700 B.C. Formerly known as Trebizond, and its routes the highlight of the novel "The Towers of Trebizond," Trabzon and its neighboring Rize are famed for their "yaylas," the Turkish word for plateaus, which are highlands with alpine pastures and cool breezes in the Black Sea region making for the perfect escape to nature to relax in the summer months.
The top sites to see are the magnificent Sümela Monastery in Maçka, the plateaus of Zigana and Uzungöl, a beautiful lakeside town an hour south of Trabzon. Situated in the Pontic Mountains, Sümela Monastery, which dates back 386 years, was reopened to visitors this summer and in fact, on Aug. 15, there will be a special vigil held for the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Turkey's most breathtaking church. In the Pontic Mountains, the Zigana pass is a plateau that was once crossed by traveler Marco Polo and serves as the gateway to the Karaca cave in Gümüşhane, considered one of the most colorful caves in Turkey. Torul Waterfall and Lake Limni are also wonderful stops to make to enjoy the region's lush and abundant nature and Lake Uzungöl, a town spread across a lake, serves as a wonderful base to discover the region with lots of accommodation options. Should you choose to stick near the city center of Trabzon, then I recommend staying in Akçaabat, where the Sera Lake Resort Hotel has lake views or Marbella Beach if you want to actually go swimming in the Black Sea.
Rize's Çamlıhemşin and Fırtına Creek
Rize and especially its Çamlıhemşin region is famous for its lush green nature and grassy plateaus.
Rize and especially its Çamlıhemşin region is famous for its lush green nature and grassy plateaus, the most famous of which is the Ayder Yaylası, an area known for its thermal springs and boasts plenty of accommodation options. At nearly 60 kilometers long, Fırtına Creek serves as a spectacular escape from the summer heat, and there are a variety of rafting and zip line operations along the waterway. Also nearby is Gito Yaylası, which has become an Instagram classic famed for being located above the clouds. The Gito Bungalows are highly recommended if you are seeking solace, while Pilita Bungalows is a nice option on the more crowded Ayder Plateau itself. Plato'da Mola, located on the Pokut Plateau is the go-to restaurant in the region for breathtaking views of Fırtına Creek and the Kaçkar Mountains, known for its rustic charm, and they also offer accommodation.
Bolu's Lake Abant and neighboring Düzce
Due to its proximity to the major metropolises of Istanbul and Ankara, Lake Abant makes for a wonderful getaway with comfortable accommodation options that can also serve as a base to discover the greater region, such as Bolu's Mudurnu and Düzce. This lake formed was by a landslide ions ago and is encircled by forests home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. To stay near the lake, check out Büyük Abant Hotel; while Abant Lotus Hotel is a stylish option located halfway to Düzce, which is a popular area for rafting along Melen Creek. Düzce also has a number of river rafting and outdoor sports-focused accommodation options, such as camping and bungalows, for example. Melen Rafting also offer paintball and bicycle rentals.
Two beloved towns: Amasra and Safranbolu
For many that have visited, the small Black Sea port town of Amasra is their favorite town in Turkey. A town of the Black Sea province of Bartın, Amasra is situated on the peninsula with two bays and an island connected via a Roman bridge. Amasra is admittedly a stunning town and feels isolated from the outside world, making for a wonderful getaway from the city and major holiday destinations. There are beachside hotels, such as the luxurious Northdoor Hotel, or options to stay in a converted townhouse such as the Doğa Butik Hotel. While you can swim and enjoy roaming the town, Amasra serves as an excellent base to discover Karabük's Safranbolu, a picturesque and beloved town in its own right, known for being Turkey's saffron capital and for its unique architecture of timber-framed villas, many of which have also been converted into boutique hotels. The town itself is a UNESCO World Heritage center. Meanwhile, the neighboring Yenice Forest is a wonderful area for hiking.