Didem Doğan

Abant and Golcuk: a green paradise

For foreign tourists the northern part of Turkey including the region of the Black Sea is somewhat less known and less visited places. Ancient Greek cities such as Ephesus or the first Christian churches of Cappadocia are among the first places to travel. The natural beauty of the Black Sea Region is incomparable to rest of the country, though. You may think that one would only find forests and lakes but once you are there you will appreciate the natural beauty of this region.

Located about 280 kms from Istanbul, it will take you about three to four hours to reach Bolu, the nearby city. Once you reach one of the greenest places in Turkey, you have several places to visit: The national parks of Abant, Golcuk, the lake district of Yedigoller. Abant and Golcuk are located about fifty kilometres from one another and can be visited in one day, but we are on a slow travel mood and want to give the right attention to appreciate truly these places. A modest entry fee is required to enter these national parks. The bigger one, Abant lake, is a crater lake located on the mountains of Abant. The lake is surrounded by the hills - of 1400 to 1700 metres- that are made of forests; black pines, yellow pines, firs, beeches, hornbeams, valonia oaks, a rich flora and fauna is the characteristic of this place. One can hardly describe the beauty of it, the smell of the forest, the sound of nature and the mountain air create a wonderful sensation. Another national park, Golcuk, has a smaller lake, with the red house in the middle, it feels like you are inside a postcard. Smaller than Abant you can quickly walk around it, you will find wooden banks to sit and enjoy this magical place. Both national parks are worth a visit not only for themselves also for the joy of driving there, the curving roads lines with forests, the cloudy mountains, the journey itself is a delight. Bolu, the city known with its master chefs, is also famous for its gastronomy and you will find many many restaurants along the roads.

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