14 September 2021
Get Away From The Pace Of City Life
For many of us, our return to the city coincides with the falling leaves. We’re now readjusting to the busy, fast-paced rhythm of the city while cherishing weekend holidays during which we discover scenic routes embellished with the thousand shades of fall colors.
Although Istanbul is a unique global city in a perfect location with a rich history, gastronomic stops, art and culture activities, and more, the challenges of living and working in a dense population can stifle and exhaust us now and again. Nearby routes are the go-to options when we need to get away from Istanbul to rejuvenate after a busy week, to escape the chaos of city life, to be one with the nature, to breathe, to relax, and to revive. We’ve gathered a list of year-long travel routes involving forests, lakes, rivers, SPA hotels hidden deep in nature, and all sorts of natural sceneries with a particular focus on must-see fall beauties.
Just two hours from Istanbul, Sapanca is one of the closest routes to the city. The enchanting scenery surrounds Lake Sapanca, which hosts various water sports. You can bike around the shore, take a boat trip on the lake, trek through the woods, drive around on an ATV, or breathe in the refreshing mountain air over breakfast at Maşukiye. The magnificent getaway also includes the Kartepe ski resort, a favorite of winter-sports lovers.
Sapanca promises a relaxing weekend as you bask in the scenic natural beauty and hues of fall colors. Soak in the tinges of blue and green, discover yourself with the forest and lake at your feet, and savor different massages and treatments at Europe’s best-equipped Spa Center as part of the unique holiday experience at Richmond Nua Wellness-Spa, located by Lake Sapanca. Conclude your day of relaxing massages with a delicious dinner at the Aqua Restaurant to rejuvenate and mentally and physically prepare for the week ahead.
Leaving Sakarya, we head west towards Iğneada, the pearl of Thrace. Located in the Kırklareli province, this beautiful town is a secluded haven by the Black Sea with infinite forests, streams, and lakes. Although it is approximately two and a half hours from Istanbul, we suggest taking a two-day trip to Iğneada rather than a daily trip. The world-renowned Floodplain Forests, the gigantic show cave Dupnisa with stalactites and stalagmites, and the enchanting lighthouse that has guided sailors for 150 years are among the many must-see attractions in Iğneada. Take a canoe ride up the streams hidden within the forest, trek through the Floodplain Forests, or camp overnight by Mert and Erikli Lakes. If you’re visiting Iğneada in fall, remember to take your rubber boots and your raincoat with you.
Did you know that Edirne has a coast on the Aegean Sea? Located at the furthest end of the Gulf of Saros, a rare naturally self-cleaning sea, Enez is a small district by the Greek border inhabited by only 3,500 people. This popular getaway route around Istanbul is particularly preferred in fall and summer. Almost a typical Aegean town engulfed by a magnificent sea and nature (actually, it is technically an Aegean townJ), Enez is bejeweled by a long coastline with fine sands that meet the clean and fresh waters of the Gulf of Saros. Contemplate the remains of the castle and caravanserai, admire the view of the Greek coast, visit the port that houses mom-and-pop fish restaurants, or swim in or just admire the virgin seas of numerous coves along the coastline between Enez and Sultaniçe Village. Enez offers one of the most beautiful sunset views. Sit back and enjoy the view as you’re serenaded by dragonflies at sundown.
Approximately two hours from Istanbul, Tirilye is an adorable seaside town in Bursa. The many Greek houses, each more beautiful than the last, will feel like an Aegean town. Immerse yourself in history as you walk the narrow and historical streets of Tirilye, taste the many delights at the fish restaurants, and visit the historical Panagia Pantobasilissa Church, Hagios Ioannes Greek Church, Stone School, Fatih Mosque, Medikion Monastery, Hagios Ioannes Theologos Pelekete (Aya Yani) Monastery and Batheos Rhyakos (Aya Sotiri) Monastery. We strongly recommend making town for a massage and scrub at the historical Ottoman Bath and tasting the world-renowned Tirilye olives. While you’re visiting Tirilye, you can also make a detour towards Gölyazı Village by the Ulubat Lake and enjoy the lake view as you sip your delicious Turkish coffee.
If you cannot escape the city for long, Şile is a popular summer destination at which to enjoy the sun and sea. Yet there is a whole different beauty in Şile in fall! Şile is home to the second-biggest lighthouse in the world as well as two historically significant places — the Ottoman Bath and Church Remains. You will be fascinated by the Weeping Rock, a natural formation, and gaze into the marvelous sceneries along the trekking route through Yeniköy forests. Ground yourself on the fine sands of Kumbaba Hill and breathe in the fresh air of Hidden Lake to relax. You can then conclude your trip by purchasing local Şile fabrics as a souvenir to yourself or a gift to your loved ones.
Located between the Göksu and Yeşilçay rivers, Ağva is only an hour from Istanbul, making it perfect for daily or weekend getaways. The destination is enchanting throughout the year, though it is particularly romantic in fall. We assure you that this is the place to rejuvenate after a long, stressful week with its lovely attractions hidden within the deep greens of nature. Those who prefer camping can opt for the camp sites in the Kadırga and Kilimli coves. If you’re an explorer at heart or simply wish to enjoy the fresh air and weather, we suggest discovering the nearby Hidden Lake, Kilimli Cove, and Bride’s Rock (Gelin Kayası).
Beloved by weekend hikers looking for a forest and nature trek, Polonezköy is painted in all hues of yellow and red in fall. You will be bewildered by the beauty of nature and the many local species of mushrooms. On your way to Polonezköy for a relaxing escape from the city, we recommend stopping by Cumhuriyet Village, known for its popular sucuk (Turkish sausage) and tasty village bread from the renowned bakery located at the village center.
You can enjoy the long walking trail, horse riding, or a relaxing bike ride along the lush green track. We also suggest visiting the magnificent yard of the Mother Mary Church in Polonezköy.