Surrounded by tranquil coastal villages, Turkey's eastern Black Sea coast and its rich water resources are increasingly better explored by tourists due to its relaxing atmosphere
Extending from the east of Istanbul to the frontier with Georgia, the Black Sea region promises to erase any preconceived stereotypes you may have about Turkey with its natural wonders. In Turkey, the Eastern Anatolian region, the Mediterranean region north of the Taurus Mountains - also known as the "Lakes Region" - and the Black Sea region offer beautiful natural resources for backpackers and families to enjoy. Whether you prefer to relax in a local fishing village or journey inland to the higher elevations where beautiful mountain pastures lie, the spectacular coastline makes for a scenic route across Turkey to other parts of Anatolia. Here is a detailed guide for the popular and lesser-known natural heritage of the eastern Black Sea region.
When speaking about the natural beauties of Trabzon, the most talked-about lake is Uzungöl. Home to highlands in different sizes, the Uzungöl Lake sits at an altitude of more than 1,000 meters and is nearly 100 kilometers away from the city center. Many tourists are amazed by the region's high hills, refreshing flora and clean air. Covered by spruce trees, the area is ideal for trekking, bird-watching and botanical tours. Highland tours to the areas of Şekersu, Demirkapı and Yaylaönü are also available. If you intend to spend a few nights in the Uzungöl Highlands to enjoy the atmosphere of the Black Sea, small hotels are good options.
After Uzungöl, the Sera Lake, 10 kilometers from the city center, is the second most popular one. The lake was formed after a heavy precipitation in 1950 when big rock fragments fell and filled certain parts of the valley bottom. A natural park is also located near the lake with a diverse range of animals, making the area a true nature world.
Lying in the eastern Black Sea Region, the city of Ordu is home to green valleys, hazelnut fields and steep hills, as well as natural lakes, which are among the city's main touristic attractions. Surrounded by a natural park, the Ulugöl (Grand Lake) in the Gölköy district is a popular photography spot for couples, where visitors like to take their wedding photos. Ulugöl and Gaga Lake are much like the Abant Lake in Bolu. Ulugöl Natural Park is very popular in autumn, when its natural foliage changes colors.
With more and more tourists preferring tourism in nature, Ulugöl is a place where visitors can spend a short weekend holiday in a bungalow house. Social facilities are also expanding in the region, drawing more tourists to the Black Sea coast. Other popular sites in Ordu include Ohtamış and the Çağlayan Waterfalls in the Çaybaşı area. Camping accommodations, botanical gardens, hiking and bird-watching tours are also available for nature lovers visiting the area.
The province of Giresun in the eastern Black Sea region is generally described by locals as the place where green meets blue. A former ancient Roman city, this local area is home to numerous historic sites sure to marvel guests. Lying within the Yeşilpınar village, the Gölyanı Highland where a lake is also situated offers an authentic view with wooden houses. Sitting at an altitude of 1,530 meters, the lake is surrounded by flowers in yellow and purple colors in summer; as well as rhodies. On the other side, the crater lakes Karagöl (Dark Lake), Sağrak and Aygır are surrounded by snow nearly year-round and work is ongoing to open the lakes to the tourism sector.. Situated on a dense forest surrounded by hazelnut gardens, Giresun lies on a peninsula between the Aksu and Batlama Valleys and is crowned with a ruined Byzantine fortress.
Trekking buffs have the opportunity to walk along the Verçenik Highland with surrounding lakes in Rize's Çamlıhemşin district. Similarly, the highlands and lakes in the Kaçkar Mountains are becoming increasingly popular. A number of lakes are located on the Verçenik Mountain and aside from this, Buzlu Göl (Icy Lake), Adalı Göl (Lake with an Island), Karagöller (Dark Lakes), Kapılıgöller, Atmeydanı, Tatos, Sarinçof and Çermeşk Lakes are among the most well-known natural wonders here. More than 100 waterfalls and lakes lie in Rize, of which the ice lakes located at an altitude of 3,000 meters draw great interest.
Artvin is another natural haven of the Black Sea region and the Karagöl (Black Lake) has already attracting visitors in all seasons. With its rich flora and wildlife, the Karagöl area drew 50,000 tourists last year. The lake is known to have formed by the blockage of a river as a result of landslide early in the 19th century. The lake has rich flora in terms of endemic species. Although the area is small, it is worth visiting if a enduring walking is what you are looking for. The area is protected and fishing is forbidden.