The Best Hikes in Turkey 

Written by Wendy Tucker

Turkey is blessed with incredible landscapes, from snow-capped mountains to lush olive groves and arid deserts. If you’re someone who loves hiking, Turkey would be a fantastic destination to visit. But with so many great hiking trails around the country, it can be hard to choose where to hike, especially if you’re someone who prefers to venture off the beaten track. To help you with this, here are some of the best hikes in Turkey.

Taurus Mountains


The Taurus Mountains are one of Turkey’s most significant mountain ranges. Surrounded by sheer cliffs, deep canyons, stunning alpine pastures, and crystal-clear lakes, hiking the Taurus Mountains is an incredible experience!

The most popular sections to hike in the mountain are the western and central regions, where you’ll pass through the ancient city of Termessos and the stunning Karagöl Lake. Most treks begin at the heart of the Aladaglar Mountains, a mountain range surrounded by deep valleys and alpine lakes, before walking over remote passes and into the breathtaking Yedigoller Plateau.

Trekking the Taurus Mountains is also a fantastic opportunity to meet the nomadic Turkish shepherds and get a peek into their way of living. You will visit a local village and drink tea with the locals. The trek will include ascending Mount Emler and other beautiful mountains within the Taurus Mountain range. There are various trails within the Taurus Mountains, and it’s worth hiring a local guide since navigating the mountain range can be tricky, especially for first timers.

Yenice Forest Trail


One of Turkey’s most popular hiking trails is the Yenice Forest Trail, popular among cyclists and those into horseback riding. A haven for nature lovers, the trail takes you through a lush forest with several trees growing from undulating landscapes surrounded by stunning valleys. It is easily accessible from Ankara or Istanbul and close to the town of Safranbolu, famous for its beautifully preserved, red-roofed Ottoman houses.

At an altitude of more than 1,300 meters, the Yenice Forests are some of the world’s most beautiful forests, with a surreal ambience and shrouded with fogs, especially in the morning. Due to the steams, the forest has a microclimate that enables various trees and plant species to thrive. The area’s most significant section is the Arboretum Area, where you will find many historical trees.

As you walk along the forest’s southern slopes, you’ll find it dominated by pine trees and sandalwood. Meanwhile, yellow-white linden trees dominate the northern slopes. You will love hiking through the Yenice Forests, an open-air museum of unique trees, including the Turkish hazelnut, Istranca oaks, and giant maple trees with a height of 30 metres and a circumference of about 7 metres.

Via Egnatia


If you’re looking to conquer long-distance hikes with trails taking you through some of Turkey’s most beautiful historical sites, consider hiking Via Egnatia. It takes you through deep valleys, lush mountains, and along rivers and lakes, past charming seaside villages. Built by the Romans around 120 BC, the ancient route goes 1,000 km east towards Istanbul. There are also some stunning luxury tailor made holidays in Turkey, providing the perfect ways to explore all the sights.

There are various trails you can take when hiking the Via Egnatia. The first part of the trail is about 500 km long. It begins in the port city of Durrës in Albania, taking you through Greece via Thessaloniki. The final part of the journey will take you to Istanbul. It enters the Turkish territory via the İpsala Border Gate and goes through the cities of Edirne and Tekirdağ before arriving in İstanbul. During ancient times, the road was part of the Silk Road, taking traders to İstanbul, and was a significant trading route between East and West.

The Via Egnatia trail is ideal for hikers who can walk longer routes and want to venture untrodden paths. It’s most suitable for adventurous backpackers with sleeping bags and tents who prefer to spend the nights in the forest than in proper beds.

Kackar Mountains


Situated in the north-eastern region of Turkey, the Kaçkar Mountains are some of the best mountains to climb in Turkey, ideal for avid mountaineers. Hiking the mountains is an incredible experience, taking you through rural mountain villages home to nomadic herders whose ancestors were from nearby countries of Georgia, Armenia, Greece, and even Uzbekistan. They make a living herding sheep and cows.

What’s great about hiking in the Kaçkar Mountains is that it’s not entirely wild, so it’s safe even if you’re doing it on your own. During the high trekking season, you’ll see many trekkers along the trails, although you can find many secluded trails if you want to enjoy the mountains in solitude. The scenery is stunningly beautiful, even at lower elevations, with a vast landscape of deep green pastures, lush rainforests and colourful wildflowers.

One of the most popular hiking routes in the Kackar Mountains starts in the village of Çamlıhemşim, with the final destination being the town of Pazar. The route is not very strenuous, which explains its popularity. The only downside is it can get crowded during the trekking season.

St Paul Trail


The Saint Paul Trail is named as such because it’s where St. Paul, the patron saint, travelled during his first missionary journey to spread Christianity. The trail stretches towards the Taurus Mountain Range, between Antalya and Isparta along the Mediterranean Coast. It’s a marked path about 500 km long that could take up to 27 days to conquer the entirety of the trail.

The trail takes you through Roman roads, passing along narrow footpaths and lush forests. It also has an alternate route, which begins in Köprülü Canyon National Park, about 80 km from Antalya. Some areas of the Saint Paul Trail are also suitable for mountain biking, starting at sea level before climbing up to about 2,200 metres.

The St. Paul Path is a scenic walking route featuring extraordinary natural landscapes, stretching from the Mediterranean Coast to Anatolia via the Taurus Mountain Range, with plenty of historical and religious sites along the way. The best time to hike this trail is during the spring season.


Wendy Tucker


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