We are in Love with Istanbul –and we know you love it too. However, it is undeniable that this fascinating city is tiring the residents and sometimes the tourists alike with its ever-growing crowd, severe traffic, hustle and bustle; in short, all the side effects that being a metropolis brings. Istanbullers turn their eyes to cities that promise a pleasant getaway in the woods, beach, or even better, both. Yet, there is an essential element for them to consider a city as a perfect spot: proximity. Luckily, Sapanca, a district in Sakarya, checks all the boxes.
Sapanca is not a coastal city but has beautiful rivers and the famous 40-square kilometer Sapanca Lake. Surrounded by forests, it hosts many plant and approximately 80 bird species on the lakeside. National and international surfing, sailing, and rowing races are held in the lake, along with paddling activities on ordinary days. The lake lures people who are seeking a tranquil place to enjoy the green and the blue as well as sports lovers who fancy more active leisure. Lakeside biking or walking are also highly popular options.
Maşukiye is another recreation area in Sapaca for people who’d like to hike, fish, or simply listen to the calming splashes of the river blending with the wood notes. The Aygır River in the area provides delicious fish to the restaurants nearby renowned for trout dishes. Maşukiye is also at a walking distance to Kuzu Tableland, a plateau with a unique Sapanca Lake and Gulf of İzmit view. You can hike to Kuzu Tableland to truly unwind and leave every harsh noise of the city behind.
If you’re a fan of skiing, make sure you spend a couple of days in Kartepe during your visit to Sapanca in winter. Kartepe is a popular winter tourism center but is also favorable during spring or summer as it offers hiking, bird watching, paragliding, horse riding, or paintball activities. Yet, wintertime is the main period when tourists flock in to ski between December and March.
Although the main reason that Sapanca is attracting people from all around the world is its charming nature, don’t imagine a remote area away from civilization. There are many hotels in the district, some of them are luxurious with SPA centers and pools and some of them offer a more humble stay. If you fancy comfortable accommodation where you can enjoy some luxury in the splendid nature, you can opt for Sakarya that takes about a 2-hour drive.