Where to go to relax for 3 weeks in Turkey in June - Kackar Mountains, Black Sea coast, or elsewhere?
June 20, 2008 1:46 PM   Subscribe

Where to go to relax for 3 weeks in Turkey in June - Kackar Mountains, Black Sea coast, or elsewhere?

The two of us are travelling in Turkey. We've done the ancient ruins, the Greek islands, Istanbul, and all the zipping around. Now we have about 3 weeks left and it's time to go somewhere quiet and relax. I'm thinking the Kackar Mountains. My boyfriend is intrigued by the Black Sea coast.

Will either be nice this time of year? Can we find a place to stay for 3 weeks?

Things I'd like to avoid are the crowds, noise, fumes (cigarette and vehicle), discos, and mosquitoes. Things he likes to avoid is heat and globalization (i.e. no Starbucks).

What are other suggestions for small seaside or mountain towns far away from traffic and urbanization and crowds? I'd love to find something along the lines of a Greek island, but in Turkey. Perhaps somewhere the Turks go to relax so that there's a good supply of vacation villas to rent?

posted by ebellicosa to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Kackar mountains. Coruh River. Rafting, hiking, and more.

Though you could visit both the mountains and the sea. Go east along the Black Sea coast. If you see something you like, e.g., a nice black sand beach, stay. If not, keep going, then go south over the Kackars.
posted by coffeefilter at 3:09 PM on June 20, 2008

I absolutely adore Istanbul. I've been there three times and am sure I'll go back again. But I respect that you don't like crowds.

But the best experience I had was traveling down the west coast. The Adriatic is gorgeous. Izmir was interesting, but what I enjoyed most were the islands.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 4:13 PM on June 20, 2008

Kurdistan? (fly to Erzerum, west to Dogubeyazit, climb Ararat, down to Van, see ruins at Ani, west to Batman, then Diyarbakir, then home). Totally different from the west of Turkey (in many ways more like Syria or Iran), no western shops for the most part, no tourists. And if you've been staying in Sultanahmet and gotten friendly with any of the hostel staff, they might be able to hook you up with their relatives, being mostly Kurdish themselves.
posted by claudius at 11:08 PM on June 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

The Black Sea coast is spectacular: the people are very aware of their unique local culture and music scene. I went five years ago looking for the local fiddle tradition and was overwhelmed at how the traditional culture has held its own in a fully modernized version. (mentioning the late Kazim Koyuncu's name will get you very far. He's worth an FPP.)

A lot of the Laz people arouynd Rize, Pazar, and Ardesen espouse a very local ecological politics aimed at preserving their forests and rivers. It is covered with verdant green from tea plantations (You Tube to music video). Personally, I love the music, especialy the bagpipes which you can hear in the Hemshin (Muslims of Armenian descent who now speak Turkish) villages of Ayder Yayla and Cemlihemshin. Be aware that east of Trabzon the culture is a bit more conservative muslim: you won't find a single beer in Uzungol, and in Rize we found only a single small smokey bar hidden in an alley. You had better like fried anchovies (hamsi) and cornbread. And hazel nuts. Also, Trabazon has amazing bread.

Most big towns have limited cheap accomodation, compared to Istanbul, due to the influx of Russian prostitution. In Trabzon all the hotels had been contracted out to Russian prostitutes ("Natashas"), and we had to get a local kebab stand owner to negotiate a room for us in a whorehouse/hotel with one wing walled off for "family use." (Ask for an "aile otel" - a "family hotel - and you get the response "Trabzon'da aile otel YOK!" (In Trabzon there are nio family hotels!) In Rize we eventually threw ourselves at the mercy of the police to get a hotel room. It worked. You might want to steer clear of Uzungol: conservative Muslim mountain resort, not a beer in sight. A lot of the muslim villages north of Trabazon still speak Pontic greek - Macka, Of, Surmeme.

The Black sea is really very "beachy" - your best bet is to travel the coast and take trips inland up the valleys to yaylas (summer pastures/ seasonal villages)that specialize in rural ecotourism like Ayder that specialize in accomodating lowlanders getting out of the city. Friendly people with amazing tenacious culture.
posted by zaelic at 6:11 AM on June 21, 2008 [2 favorites]

Sorry, I meant to say the Black Sea coast is NOT very "beachy" - rocky coasts, few sand beaches. Towns west of Trabazon (Samsun, Giresun) are less conservative and have livelier nightlife.
posted by zaelic at 6:14 AM on June 21, 2008

Be aware that if the team wins the Euro 2008 semi final or the final (it's football/soccer thing) there will be massive street demonstrations, people celebrating, etc.

This may not be your definition of "relax"
posted by Baud at 9:07 AM on June 21, 2008

A few years ago I spent some time in Pamukkale, which despite its tourist-y reputation is actually just a small, peaceful village and a great place to explore. I loved it and often wish I could go back. Lots of hiking around the springs and the village itself is lovely.
posted by indienial at 5:28 PM on June 21, 2008

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