Trekking Routes in and Around Istanbul

Istanbul is recognized for its culture, history, gastronomy and cosmopolitan atmosphere, but it is also rich in natural beauty.

Updated Date : 16.03.2022

Hiking Trails and Places to Visit Near Istanbul

There are plenty of parks and hikes to explore if you prefer the outdoors to the city. So put your hiking boots on and prepare to break a sweat with our list of the best places to visit near Istanbul for Hiking trails and walking trails.

Istanbul is a city that is unlike any other in the world. The Bosphorus separates it, and it borders two distinct oceans, the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea, and two continents, Europe and Asia. Istanbul is one of the most populous cities globally, with a population of over 20 million. Living in Istanbul and being closer to nature might thus be difficult. However, long hiking and trekking routes do have a limited number of options. We'll take you for a hike near Istanbul on four different paths in this article. They're only a two-hour drive away and are ideal for a true hiking adventure.

Belgrad Forest Nature Parks

Belgrad Forest, located on Istanbul's northern European side, is Istanbul's largest forest, covering roughly 5,500 hectares. A wide variety of trees, plants, fungus, birds and other animal species may be found in the woods. There are also nine natural parks with pathways and helpful signage for hiking and trekking. Ayvatbendi Natural Park, Bendler Nature Park, Fatih Cesmesi Nature Park, Irmak Nature Park, Kirazlibent Nature Park, Falih Rifki Atay Nature Park, Komurcubent Nature Park, Mehmet Akif Ersoy Nature Park and Neset Suyu Nature Park are the names of the nature parks found inside the Belgrade Forest.

The Belgrad Forest served as a significant source of water for the city throughout the Ottoman era. Istanbul officials established an irrigation system during the time to meet the needs of the city's residents. You'll likely come across these hundred-year-old systems when hiking in Belgrad Forest. The Belgrade Forest and its nature parks are located in the Sariyer neighborhood of Istanbul, about 30 kilometers from the city core (Taksim or Sultanahmet).

Ballikayalar Nature Park

Ballikayalar Nature Park is like an oasis near Gebze, a few kilometers from Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport. It has a lush canyon, tiny lakes, waterfalls and streams as well as everything else a hiker might want in a path. A walking route runs through the park as well. A perse range of bird species has chosen the park their home, thanks to the numerous lakes. So the park is not only wonderful for hikers, but it has also become a haven for bird watchers.

Ballikayalar Nature Park is a rare green sanctuary adjacent to Turkey's major industrial zones, Gebze Industrial Zone. Ballikayalar Nature Park is just 70 kilometers from Istanbul city center and charges a 10 Turkish Lira admission fee.

Balaban Village and Durusu Lake

Balaban is a hamlet on Durusu Lake (previously Terkos Lake), the province's largest lake, located 70 kilometers northwest of Istanbul's center. Durusu Lake has been Istanbul's primary supply of water for almost a century. The lake's beaches are primarily known for their reed fields, which provide picturesque scenery and a bird sanctuary.

Hiking is highly suggested on the trail from Balaban Village to Karaburun. Begin your stroll with a breathtaking view of Durugol Lake and end it on the sands of Karaburun, a Black Sea town. Between Balaban and Karaburun, the terrain is ideal for climbing and trekking.

Binkilic Village and Yildiz Mountains

Binkilic is a tiny hamlet located 120 kilometers northwest of Istanbul. The hamlet also marks the start of the Yazd Mountain Range (also known as the Strandzha Mountain Range), which extends westward. Starting one kilometer north of the town, at the Binkilic Castle, you may begin your journey. The ruins of this fortification are thought to date from the Byzantine period in the 6th century CE. While the view from the castle is spectacular, the trek through the Yildiz Mountains is much more so, with the scents of pine, alder and oak trees filling the air. It's hard to believe you're still in Istanbul when you see the beauty of Binkilic and its surroundings.

Best Places For Hiking in Istanbul

Evliya Celebi Way

This 600-kilometer walk from Istanbul to Hersek is not for day hikers (though you're not obligated to complete it all at once). However, it is for people who wish to see as much of Turkey's beauty and history as possible. The trek follows the same path that Evliya Celebi, a famous Ottoman writer and explorer, did in the 17th century, passing through various cities and natural wonders, providing a genuine Turkish experience that you won't get at the resorts. Of course, you may travel the journey on horseback if you want to ride rather than trek.

Princes' Islands

Take the short boat journey from Istanbul to the Princes' Islands, and you'll be in a spot so beautiful you'll never want to leave. Princes' Islands, which are made up of nine islands in total, four of them is open to public for visit. While the towns' architecture is beautiful, the islands' true worth is shown in the acres of unspoiled forest. So pack your hiking boots, leave your worries at home, and be ready to be amazed by some of Turkey's most stunning landscapes.

Sultan's Trail

Sultan's Trail, which runs between Eyup Sultan and Suleymaniye, is a beautiful route to see medieval Istanbul. It should take more than 4 hours to complete for most hikers, making it suitable for various activities. Although the route is relatively short (at least the section in Istanbul—the trail itself goes all the way to Vienna), there are plenty of attractions along the way. The old city wall, Kariye Yavuz Mosque, Jerrahi Sufi Shrine and Fatih Mosque should all be on your itinerary.

Best Places for Trekking in Istanbul

Polonezkoy Nature Park

Polonezkoy Nature Park is Istanbul's very first biggest nature park, with a total area of 7,420 acres. Whatever type of outdoor pleasure you're looking for, you won't be bored. Camping, trekking, orienteering and (due to its good range of eateries and numerous picnic sites) dining are all available in the park.

Kilimli Track

Kilimli Parkuru has thousands of supporters on TripAdvisor. It's easy to see why based on some of the reviews. "It's a little slice of heaven. It is well worth the 3-hour journey from Istanbul. This is something I would suggest to hikers. One writes, "Safe and well-marked trail," while another adds, "Easy walk with stunning views." Kilimli is only a short drive away from Agva. Park in the restaurant parking lot, and the stroll begins only a few meters away. On a well-marked trail with no difficult parts, the walk to the lighthouse and back is around 6 kilometers. The views of the cliffs and bays are breathtaking. It is also possible to take the small boat over to the stairs near the lighthouse, although this service is not always available."

IBB Halic Nedim Park

IBB Halic Nedim Park is one of Istanbul's most popular parks, with its stunning sea vistas, acres of beautiful parkland, and various recreational options. The hiking routes are suitable for people of all ages and abilities but bring sunscreen.

The Final Word

Istanbul is recognized for its culture, history, gastronomy and cosmopolitan atmosphere, but it is also rich in natural beauty. There are plenty of parks and paths to explore if you prefer the outdoors to the city. So put your hiking boots on and prepare to break a sweat with the mentioned list of the finest trekking spots in Istanbul.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you walk along the Bosphorus?

    Istanbul is connected to the European and Asian sides of the Turkish city via one of the three suspension bridges built across the Bosphorus Strait. Initially, one could walk the whole length of the bridge, but today only vehicles are allowed to cross the Bosphorus.

  • Is it safe to walk around Istanbul?

    Yes, it is safe to walk about Istanbul's streets. You are unlikely to walk into any dangerous places as a guest, except some of the streets heading out from Istiklal Street late at night.

  • How do you move around in Istanbul?

    The public transit system in Istanbul is extensive. Because the Bosphorus splits the city into two halves, ferries and sea buses become an important mode of travel.

  • Where can I walk around Istanbul?

    There are a lot of parks and areas where you can walk around in Istanbul. These places include Belgrad Forest Nature Parks, Ballıkayalar Nature Park, Evliya Celebi Way, and Polonezkoy Nature Park.

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