Next to its rich historical heritage, vibrant culture & arts scene, and delicious cuisine, İstanbul and its surroundings offer trekking routes with stunning scenery in the autumn months. These routes, located within or near the city centre, provide many opportunities for nature-loving travellers who want to discover the colours of İstanbul and around in the fall. During your vacation, you can follow these trekking routes to find landscapes full of unique flora and animals and the forests around the city. We have compiled a list of the top trekking routes in Istanbul and its surroundings for you to enjoy a unique escape to nature.

From the heart of the city into the arms of the nature

With an area of 5,300 hectares, Belgrad Forest is one of the best spots to enjoy nature and outdoor activities in İstanbul. The six-kilometre-long-running path in Belgrad Forest starts at the park’s entrance and passes from beautiful nature scenes and architectural marvels of ancient İstanbul. You can picnic, bring your tent, or ride your bike in the Belgrad Forest to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. 

Polonezköy is another popular escape for nature lovers due to its close location to İstanbul. With its picnic and camping areas, forest hiking trails, and over 3,000 hectares of land, Polonezköy also houses a Nature Park where red deer, roe deer, squirrels, partridges, and magpies await visitors. Şile, Sarıyer and Arnavutköy districts, located in the north of İstanbul, also host small forests that you can explore by trekking and hiking.

İstanbul Belgrad Forest

Green Adventures is just a step ahead of the city 

The Ballıkayalar Nature Park, only a 1.5-hour drive from İstanbul, is ideal for easy and challenging hikes. The park, designated as a “Nature Park and Natural Protected Area’, stands out as a true paradise for outdoor activities. In the park, located west of Kocaeli, you can see forest animals such as the tawny crow, mole, nightingale, roe deer, and squirrel in their habitats. In addition to trekking, you may join in camping, rock climbing and canyoning activities. Ballıkayalar Nature Park, which offers visitors observation terraces on valleys, lakes, waterfalls and streams, is one of the must-see locations for a diverse nature experience.  

Kocaeli Ballıkayalar Canyon 

Uçmakdere, an old village in Tekirdağ’s Şarköy district, is also another alternative for nature lovers. In addition to being one of the trekking areas close to İstanbul, the town also provides enjoyable paragliding and camping opportunities.

Tekirdağ Uçmakdere

The Erikli Plateau, a natural wonder located in the Çınarcık district of Yalova and approximately 1.5 hours by car from İstanbul, beckons nature enthusiasts. The plateau, where you can walk under the shadows of chestnut, elm, apple, fir and linden trees, offers an ‘unforgettable escape’ in the arms of tranquil nature. Unexpectedly, the hiking routes of the Erikli Plateau take visitors to waterfalls. You can enjoy the picturesque vistas of Çifte Waterfall, Dipsiz Lake, Delmece Plateau, and Erikli Waterfall while hiking and cooling yourself in the little lakes formed by the waterfalls.

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