Even it is a very busy city to live in, Istanbul has a number of refreshing watersports opportunities for all ages. From rowing along the historic Golden Horn to sailing on the Kalamış coast, an exciting array of watersports is available for adventure seekers
As Istanbul is surrounded by the Sea of Marmara and Black Sea and is divided by the Bosporus, the city has a number of options for watersports. The ideal destinations for these activities in Turkey are obviously the resort towns in the Aegean and Mediterranean regions; however, Istanbulites still have the opportunity to get an adrenaline rush by surfing or rowing on the Marmara. For adrenaline junkies or tourists searching for new ways to explore Istanbul, the city's shores are highly recommended for watersports.
Windsurfing & surfing
The shores of the Bosporus may not excite windsurf devotees, but the north of Istanbul, especially the coast of the Black Sea, has Istanbul's best spots for windsurfing and surfing. Spreading across an area of 23,000 square meters, Suma Beach near Kilyos, a popular swimming destination for Istanbulites one-hour from the city center, houses a surfing school for both amateurs and professionals. Surf School Istanbul is the only surf school in the city that offers both kitesurfing and surfing lessons. The school has all the facilities to learn kitesurfing and regular surfing. With its experienced team of surfers, the school supports students during and after the lessons. An experienced and fully equipped rescue team also helps out during the trainings. Another place for windsurfing is a windsurf club in Istanbul's neighborhood of Suadiye, another coastal area between Bostancı and Caddebostan. Suadiye Windsurf Club offers private lessons with experienced instructors that teach how to control and maneuver sailboards and catamarans. Istanbulites that want to spend a weekend day soaking up the sun and the sea should try this watersports facility. Although a bit far away from Istanbul, the water in Kıncıllı village near Kocaeli is ideal for surfing. Danube Surf House in the village offers private and individual surfing courses. The popularity of windsurfing in Turkey is increasing by the day with high quality facilities.
Rowing along the Golden Horn
What would you say about rowing along the Golden Horn while the sun rises over Istanbul? Rowing along the historic Golden Horn is one of the very unique things that can be experienced in the city, for either an experienced or a beginner rower. For years, especially during the Ottoman period, rowboats were a common means of transportation, and rowing competitions took place often. During the early republican era, Turkey's internationally-known sports clubs like Galatasaray, Beşiktaş and Fenerbahçe began to offer rowing tours. Today a number of local rowing clubs organize regular tours and holds classes to enjoy Istanbul on the sea. Istanbul Rowing Club runs from Tuesday and Sunday every week for interested rowers. Istanbul Tour Studio also has rowing classes with a half hour briefing by licensed rowing instructors. Anyone who has never tried rowing and want to learn the basics or experienced rowers or tourists that would like to discover Istanbul from a new angle should try this sport. Among the other places recommended for rowing in Istanbul are Caddebostan Beach and Küçükçekmece Lake.
For kitesurfing, a wind-powered water sport which uses a kite attached to a board to move across the water, the Alaçatı and Urla districts in İzmir and the Gökova district of Muğla are top destinations in Turkey. However, there are still kitesurfing opportunities in Istanbul. Burç Beach, an enterprise of Boğaziçi University in Kilyos, has opened kitesurfing centers with experienced instructors. Kite-Turkey and Kiteboard Istanbul are the two main centers where visitors can sharpen their kitesurfing skills with an advanced class taught by Turkish and foreign instructors. The Kite-Turkey center at Burç Beach is only 15 kilometers from the city and easily accessible by car or shuttle bus from the Boğaziçi University campus. Kilyos' High Beach Club, formerly known as Solar Beach, is an alternative place to ride the breeze, as kiteboarding and windsurfing opportunities are available there.
The history of sailing in Turkey goes back to the 19th century, but with the founding of the Turkish Sailing Federation in 1957, sailing was revived, leading to the world titles that Turkey won in recent years. In Istanbul, the summer sees amateur and professional sailing people flock to the Kalamış coast on the Anatolian side. Operating from Kalamış Marina since 2001, one can find comprehensive, yet at the same time entertaining programs and training in sailing from beginner to advanced levels at Turkey's first professional sailing school, Istanbul Sailing Academy.
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