Sometimes you just don't want to go on an average holiday: lying on the beach, sunbathing and swimming in summer or taking a ski trip in winter might seem appealing but doesn't provide the rush of adrenalin most of us lack in everyday life.
For a healthy body - and a healthy mind - we all need a little excitement in our lives. Luckily, living in Turkey presents more than one option to bring that rush of adrenalin in our veins with matchless natural beauty and of course, challenges.
Since the dawn of the time, mankind has challenged the limits of his body and the obstacles that nature presents him. The feeling of overcoming the tests that Mother Nature puts in front of us builds up as adrenalin in our blood while giving a pump of ego as well.
Whether you are a summer person or a lover of cold and gloomy weather, here is a list of Turkey's world famous extreme sports locations that are appealing to every taste and personality.
MOUNTAINEERING - CLIMBING
Since we are living the cold mounts of winter, it is a good idea to challenge the mighty mountains of Anatolia. In Turkey, mountains come in all sizes, geomorphological and tectonic structures. In winter, these mountains offer the most challenging conditions and it is the best time to appreciate nature's most beautiful state. So, where to begin? Well, there are a couple of options.
Home of myths and stories from Abrahamic religions, Mt. Ağrı is said to be the mountain where Noah's Arc hit land after the big flood. Donned with this mystical atmosphere, the mountain is veiled by layers of fog during winter, justifying all the myths that have been written by men impressed by its majestic beauty throughout history. Turkey's highest summit, Mt. Ağrı has always been a challenge for mankind. In his recordings, Marco Polo, the famous Italian wanderer, said no man could ever climb the mountain, but he surely underestimated the will of man.
Mt. Ağrı is a volcanic mountain made up of basalt, which changes to andesite lava at around 4,000 meters. At the summit, there is a glacier as well.
Usually experts advise climbing to the summit between June and September but scaling Mt. Ağrı in winter is rewarding for the eyes and the soul. If you are not an experience mountaineer, you can find an expert to guide you to the summit.
Climbing Mt. Nemrut, which is also known as the "Mountain of Gods," does not actually count as mountaineering, but the view and the feeling that brings you closer to the ancients is definitely worth trying. Located in the southeastern province of Adıyaman, Mt. Nemrut is where the tomb of King Antiochus I of Commagene is situated.
The gigantic statues of gods, each weighing 6 tons and measuring 10 meters tall, indicate what kind of superhuman effort was needed to construct the tomb, and it takes only a little effort to climb and see the touch of ancients.
Tagged as one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites, Mt. Nemrut is famous for its sunrise. To see this magical moment, you should pack your bag and hit the slopes as early as possible.
If you are looking for a rock to climb while boosting the adrenalin levels in your bloodstream, you are in good hands in Turkey. Encompassing 847 hectares (2,092 acres) in Kocaeli's Gebze district, Ballıkayalar Canyon and its natural park offer visitors uniquely spectacular scenery and extreme sports opportunities.
Ballıkayalar Canyon is a popular training spot for climbing enthusiasts and amateurs who want to go pro. All of the routes are very easy to navigate, and you may even come across other climbers while trekking, especially on the weekend. The area is suitable for climbing year-round, but the March-June and September-November periods are considered optimal. For those looking to hike for more than one day, camping is also possible.
Man has always dreamed about flying over the clouds, the one skill that he needs extra equipment to do. Well, if you want to feel the rush of flying or floating on the sea with the breeze, Turkey offers many options recognized by the world's adrenalin junkies.
Hailed as one of the world's best paragliding spots, Babadağ in Muğla's holiday town of Fethiye was first discovered by paragliders in the early 1990s.
Babadağ offers its visitors a chance to observe the unique scenery from a bird's-eye view and on land from Belcekız Beach in Ölüdeniz with its four tracks, which are 1,200, 1,700, 1,800 and 1,900 meters high, respectively. Its unique panoramic view and Mount Babadağ's exceptional height makes for the perfect spot to spread your wings among the clouds. During a solo flight,
you can fly over the ridges with a stunning aerial view of the white beach and lagoon. Each flight generally takes between 25 to 45 minutes. The paragliding season starts in mid-April and ends in November.
Hidden between the highest mountains in eastern Anatolia, Lake Van is the largest lake in Turkey and offers the best view to its visitors. However, the real lucky ones who enjoy this spectacular scenery are those opening their parachutes.
Paragliders take up positions on two of the highest hills surrounding the lake. The adrenaline seekers can enjoy beautiful views of Lake Van, St. Thomas Monastery and the surrounding forests.
WINDSURFING - RAFTING - SCUBA DIVING
Turkey is blessed with seas surrounding Anatolian lands on three sides; hence this makes the country a perfect place for water sports.
İzmir's summer resort Alaçatı of Çeşme district is a surfer's paradise. With a constant wind blowing from the north, hitting the shore, Alaçatı offers the perfect conditions to learn how to windsurf and kitesurf. It is said the region is the best location to windsurf, not only in Europe, but in the world. With its 330 strong windy days suitable for windsurfing and excellent Aegean Turkish cuisine, Alaçatı might be the perfect place for extreme sports lovers.
Alaçatı also has many windsurfing schools geared up for different levels, from beginners to professionals. The summer resort also hosts annual windsurfing championships with participants from all over the world.
Çoruh River, Black Sea
Rafting is a popular sporting activity in many locations in Turkey. Featuring rivers with varying degrees of difficulty from 1 to 6, Turkey's rafting courses are perfect for those looking for an adrenalin rush with their friends.
With its majestic backdrop of the Kaçkar Mountains, Çoruh River's pristine clear blue hue is absolutely breathtaking. A perfect site for rafting and kayaking, the 438-kilometer (272-mile) river starts in the Mescit Mountains and flows into the Black Sea in Georgia. With many interesting small towns and villages located along the river, the Çoruh River is famous for its five-day rafting trips.
There is a whole different world under the seas of Turkey. Home to many civilizations and maritime war zones throughout history, Turkey's seas hide a new world waiting to be discovered by divers. Divers can discover underwater caverns, sunken ships and even the remains of ancient cities.
When it comes to scuba diving, there is no other place that can match Kaş, the popular holiday spot in the southern city of Antalya.
Those who dive in Kaş's clear water to discover its underwater wonders often encounter stingrays, sea turtles, rare nudibranchs, lionfish, octopi, Mediterranean moray eels, leerfish, damselfish, saddled seabream and cuttlefish along with the remains of shipwrecks.
There are 42 diving points in the district with 34 spots in Kaş's city center and eight in Kalkan Quarter. There are 17 diving schools in Kaş and 19 in Kalkan. Kaş and Kalkan host a total of nearly 100,000 dives per year.