|Also known as the Black Sea shore (because of the Black Sea), the Northern side of Turkey is holding Byzantine cultures, amazing geography and beautiful shores. This part of Turkey offers both; a cultural travel with ancient Byzantine structures, and a relaxing vacation with magnificent greeen highlands and sea view.
Black Sea coast of Turkey usually has a very humid climate but differently from the South coast this part is much more cool with high and green forest coast line. The summers will be humid & warm while the winters will be very heavy with rain. The summers and spring time will be quite nice for trekking in highland. Especially for people who prefer cool climates, Black Sea will offer nature and history bundled with a mild climate in summer time.
As most of Turkey, the Black Sea coast also has local buses operating throughout the country. Railways is not very common in this part but there are three different airports you can use; Trabzon Airport, Samsun Airport, Ordu-Giresun Airport. As the busiest and biggest airport in Black Sea region Trabzon Airport, will allow you to fly from big cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir…etc.
Stonepark Travel Agency would gladly arrange your flights suitable with your travel needs.
Black Sea usually has a very humid climate but differently from the South coast this part is much more cool with high and green forest coast line. The summers will be humid & warm while the winters will be very heavy with rain.
Rize: Mostly famous for being the capital of Turkish tea growing region Rize, doesn’t offer very much history other than Rize Castle. But if your way is going through this destination you should definately stop by to drink a tea at the tea gardens while admiring the beautiful and lush green hills of Black Sea.
Ayder Yaylası: There are many highlands in Rize region but Ayder is the most popular and touristic one among them. You can find many natural hotel options in Ayder.
Located 19km southeast of Rize Camlihemsin town, Spring would be the best of time to visit this beautiful lush green highland as there is a traditional Ayder Festival held here. Ayder Highland is also famous with thermal springs which helps you with health problems like skin diseases, erve disease, circulation system problems, digestion and rheumatism. And if Ayder is one of the best places if you’re interested outdoor activities like trekking and rafting.
Uzungöl: Like Ayder highlands Uzungol Plateau attracts many visitors because of its lush, green forrest scenery and its cooler climate. It’s located high in the Kackar Mountains. You can also enjoy popular activities like camping, trekking and fishing in the plateau.
Trabzon: As one of the largest harbour cities in the country Trabzon, was an important center for Romans and Byzantine aswell. Trabzon’s main attraction is the Aya Sofya Museum (Hagia Sophia Church). This church was coverted into a mosque in Ottoman times and now it’a open to visitors as a museum.
Sumela Monastery: Located 70km South of Trabzon this interesting Monastery is famous because of its location nestled in a steep cliff at an altitiude of 1200 metres facing the Altındere Valley. Its history goes back to Byzantine era but it was still working as a monastery since 1923.
Ordu: Ordu is one of the important spots to explore the seaside of Black Sea. It has sandy beaches both on the east and West sides of the town. Ordu also offers old Greek structure examples with timber-frames houses.
Amasya: Amasya is another small and adorable town located at the banks of Yesilirmak (Green River). It’s also at the foothills of sheer rock cliffs rising above the town center. These sheer rock cliffs are also holding the Ancient tombs of the kings of Pontus which is one of the main attractions in Amasya. It is also a pretty town with its beautifully preserved old Ottoman houses.
Samsun: Samsun is the largest city on the Black Sea coast of Turkey. Samsun is more of a modern industry city with production of tobacco, cotton and cereals which are exported from the city’s large port. You can find some interesting mosques and an archaeological museum to visit but you shouldn’t expect many attraction sites in this modern and big city.
Sinop: Sinop is the most northern city in Turkey. Even thought it’s at the top point it’s also one of the best protected harbours in Turkey. The main attractions include the Sinop Castle, Sinop Museum, an the historic Prison and the Icehouse.
Amasra: Amasra is one of the most adorable and beautiful Black Sea Coast towns by far. Amasra's old town is has a block of colourful houses crammed close together along narrow streets that tumble down to the seaside. This town is best with the delicious seafood and many photogenic spots throughout the town. The main touristic site in the town is; The Byzantine Citadel which is located besides the small harbour. This town is also good for sunbathing and swimming.
Safranbolu: Safranbolu is lovely a town which is famous with its beautiful Ottoman houses. It’s a typical Ottoman town with 1008 registered historical artifacts. Safranbolu eas added as a Unesco World Heritage in 1994 due to these historical artifacts and well-preserved Ottoman houses.
The city played a key role in the caravan trade over many centuries. Safranbolu was a trading place and a center for growing saffron. This is also where its name came from… The city is still producing one of the most quality saffrons in the World.
There are many centers and seasides in Black Sea region also but it’s important to know your itinerary while you’re travelling in Black Sea region. To visit the highlands and do some trekking, Camlihemşin and Ayder is the best places to stay. There are beautiful wooden Hotels right in the middle of green nature.
Trabzon is a good place to stay as it is close to most of the famous sightseeing places as Sumela Monastery.
Amasra is a lovely small town in seaside if you prefer a seaside vacation in Black Sea.
Safranbolu and Kastamonu are also small towns famous with their Old Ottoman type houses which are preserved perfectly.
It’s possible to find small souvenir shops in touristic parts of Black Sea Turkey, but usually this region is mostly famous with its food. For example you can find very tasty Turkish delights or some sweet treats in Safranbolu and Kastamonu area. If you would like to take a small present for your loved ones back home these are the best places. Other than that Black Sea region won’t offer much for shopping.
As hosted many different cultures through out the history Turkey has a very rich culture and cuisine. In all of this rich culture, Black Sea region is an entirely different story! This part offers very different dishes you won’t be able to find anywhere in Turkey.
Firstly of course as it’s next to Black Sea the fishing is very important. Black Sea people especially enjoy anchovy in their cuisine. This small fish can be found mostly in Black Sea and it’s a very big part of Black Sea people’s lives and culture.
Hamsi can be grilled, fried and can be offered in many ways in Black Sea. You will find them with rice (Hamsili Pilav), even in omlettes (Hamsi Kaygana)
Black Sea is also very famous with their pastry and butter. The bread is delicious and the butter they’re offering is hard to find anywhere else. Corn bread is another delicious treat from Black Sea. You can find corn and hazelnuts a lot in this parts so it’s also a very big part of their cuisine.
Savoy Cabbage is another essential part of Black Sea cuisine you can find many different dishes with savoy cabbage but you should definately try the stuffed savoy cabbage (Karalaha Dolması) while you’re there!
Usually “borek” means a kind of pastry with cheese, meat…etc. That’s why Laz Boregi is mistaken for actual rolls but basically it’s a kind of sweet pastry made with custard. It’s a kind of dessert made like baklava but there is home-made custard as a filling instead of nuts.
But Black Sea region has less popular touristic places than other parts of Turkey so it would be best to carry Turkish Liras with you instead of EUR or USD as you may not always find an exchange center.
You can always use the banks or exchange offices to Exchange currencies but its best to use exchange offices as usually the banks give lower exchange rates. If you can’t find any exchange offices or banks around, you can always try goldsmiths. Try to exchange your currency in the week days or on Saturday as the goldsmiths and exchange offices may be closed on Sundays.
People & Language
It will be best to carry a Turkish Phrase book or Google tranlate to help you communicate with the people at non-touristic parts of Black Sea.
Black Sea people are a little conservative than Western and Mediterranean parts so it’s best to be conservative about your clothing aswell.
Things to be Careful About
Some of the museums you’re not allowed to take photos as the mosaics are very fragile. But mostly, it is allowed to take photos without flash. It is definetely forbidden to take photos of the military bases.
Taking photos of the local people is generally fine but in some countryside some people can be conservative. If you are in an area like that, it’s better to ask their permission before taking the photo. Even if they don’t understand your language they will understand your gestures. As most of the local people are very friendly, they also may come to you to take a photo with you.
As much as Turkish people are friendly and good willed, like in many countries we may have ill-minded people also. Don’t believe everybody or go places with them without searching or asking someone you would trust (your hotel or your travel agency for instance)
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