Finding a quiet place in Turkey’s most populated city, Istanbul can be challenging sometimes. The fast rhythm of the megapolis, endless traffic and noise make nature parks a sacred place for millions of people aiming to spend some time in nature, far away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Istanbul has a few nature parks worthy of your attention if you are looking for a green paradise in a concrete jungle. Let’s take a look at some of them as this is the perfect time to dive into nature with autumn colors beginning to peak.
Polonezköy (meaning Polish village in Turkish) is a renowned getaway spot near Istanbul. Also known as Adampol due to its founder Polish statesperson Adam Jerzy Czartoryski, the village was founded by Polish settlers in 1842 who immigrated to the Ottoman Empire following the uprising of 1830-31. The Poles have since left the village, but there are several Central European-style wooden houses remaining, in addition to villas mostly serving as pensions (lodges), restaurants or breakfast cafes.
If you head to Polonezköy with a large family or friends, group sports like volleyball or football are available at the park to burn off the calories that you eat. Trekking and cycling routes as well as the village's cultural center, historic church and memorial house will make your short trip more exciting.
Polonezköy lies within a vast green area, which was designated as Istanbul's first national park spanning an area of 3,000 hectares (7,143 acres) surrounded by streams and wooden bridges. Among the tree species, the nature park houses hornbeam, elm, alder, chestnut and lemon trees. The wildlife in the park mainly includes birds, especially storks and birds of prey that migrate here in the fall.
Covering about a 150-acre (61-hectare) area the Fatih Forest offers a wide range of facilities. Located in Sarıyer the forest has a large playground for children, making it ideal for families. If you want to have a picnic, grab some blankets and children's toys and just select the perfect spot.
For those who do not feel like having a picnic over the weekend, a brunch is available every Saturday serving a traditional breakfast ranging from village cheese to homemade jams and fresh butter. After a lovely picnic in Fatih Forest, it is nice to just walk around and take in the glorious surroundings. You're bound to feel relaxed among the beautiful fall colors that brighten up the park during autumn.
Located on the Asian side of Istanbul in the Beykoz district Mihrabat Nature Park covers an area of around 50 acres.
Established in 2011, the nature park offers outdoor recreational activities such as hiking and cycling for its visitors. There are open-air basketball courts, a football field and picnic areas. The park has an open-air restaurant and a snack bar. It also has a venue for weddings, meetings and music concerts.
Located on a hill overlooking the Bosporus in the Kanlıca neighborhood, Mihrabat Nature Park has rich flora and fauna. It offers many opportunities to those hoping to go on quiet nature walks while enjoying the beauty of the forest.
Irmak Nature Park is one of the nine parks located in Belgrad Forest in Sarıyer district. The area was declared a nature park by the Ministry of Environment and Forest in 2011.
The park, which is named after the creek running through the protected area, covers an area of about 25 acres.
The nature park offers outdoor recreation activities such as hiking and cycling for visitors. It also has areas for picnics, where you can enjoy sunny weather with your family or friends. There are also playgrounds for children. For sports lovers, the park has a 6-kilometer (3.73-mile) running and walking track.
Located on Büyükada Island, Dilburnu Nature Park is a hidden gem for nature lovers. The park covers an area of almost 17 acres and has an amazing terrace where you can enjoy the sea view. There are suitable spots for picnics in the area that is covered with pine trees. The park also has a playground for kids and a restaurant.