Scuba diving in Turkey is being discovered by divers from all over the world. They come to explore some of the most dramatic underwater terrain and ancient history found anywhere on the planet. What keeps divers coming back year after year to what is fast becoming one of the best dive destinations in the world?The warmth and clarity of the Mediterranean Sea along the southern coast of Turkey meets the expectations of divers of all levels. From resort dives to technical dives, scuba diving Turkey offers great opportunities for all divers.
Beneath the surface of the Turkish waters are the remains of ancient civilizations. On almost every dive you can see pieces of broken amphora. There are many wrecks off the Turkish coast. Many of the older wrecks are protected and off limits to divers. Most of the more recent wrecks from WWI and WWII are open to divers.
Underwater archeologists have mapped over 125 shipwrecks in Turkish waters. Off the coast near Marmaris is the Glass Wreck which dates back to the 11th century. The Bronze Age Wreck, from the 12th century B.C., can be found in the waters near Bodrum. But the most famous ancient shipwreck can be found in the waters east of Kas. The “oldest intact shipwreck ever excavated”, dates back to the 14th century B.C. and was found by sponge divers in 1982 off the Cape of Uluburan.
The excavation of the wreck began in 1984 and continued until 1994. After the ship was excavated, it was taken to the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology to be studied. There was an exact replica built and sunk in the spot where the ship was discovered. Replicas of the stone anchors and amphora were placed where the originals were found. When diving in Turkey, you can dive the spot where they found the worlds oldest shipwreck. This area is now an underwater archaeology park known as the”Arkeopark”.When scuba diving in Turkey you can explore wrecks from more recent times. In the Straits of Dardanelles and off the Gallipoli Peninsula divers can see the final resting place of British and French warships that sank during WWI. During WWII, there were several airplanes shot down over Turkish waters and are now great wreck dives. Probably the most famous airplane wreck to see for those scuba diving Turkey is in the waters just east of Kas. The wreck is an Italian fighter plane that lies at a depth of 175-210 feet (58-70 meters). Because of the depth this is a technical dive.
Because of the great underwater terrain, cave diving in Turkey has become popular. The Tunnel in Kas is just one example. This is a beautiful, half closed cave where many soft corals and small shrimp can be found on the walls and around the bottom edge of the cave. “Asia’s largest cave” was discovered in Turkish waters on a diving expedition by a Turkish/American cave diving team.
A large number of foreign species of fish are finding a home in the Mediterranean waters around the southern coast of Turkey. You will be surprised at how many of these fish are of indo-Pacific origin. There have been around two hundred different species identified in southern Turkish waters. These “lessepsian” species have found their way from the Red Sea, through the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean Sea.
Marine life here follows a seasonal migration. One of the main reasons for these migrations is food resources. Unlike tropical seas where fish are everywhere, in Turkey you have to be in the right place at the right time. The best resource for finding where the fish are hanging out is the local fisherman. The locals say, “The more current there is, the more fish there will be”.When diving in Turkey you can see schools of yellow mouth barracuda, amber jacks, Mediterranean damsel fish, bonito, several varieties of grouper and European parrot fish, just to name a few. If you are real lucky, you might see dolphins, a Mediterranean monk seal, loggerhead turtles, octopus or maybe even a seahorse. Both the monk seal and the loggerhead turtle are protected.
Where and When to Scuba Dive Turkey
Scuba diving in Turkey has flourished as the tourist industry developed. There are many dive sites around Turkey. There are some dive sites in the Black Sea, but the most popular places to dive are on the southern Aegean and Mediterranean coast. Towns like Bodrum, Marmara, Fethiye, Kalkan, Kas and Antalya have major dive resorts. This area of the Turkish coast is considered to be in the top 100 best dive destinations in the world.Because of the warm weather in the south of Turkey, diving can be done year round. The diving season starts in April and runs until October. This is when the water temperature is the warmest. The locals say the best time to dive is after the first rain in the fall (usually between late September and early October). This is when you can see the most fish.
The water temperature on the southern coast normally is 65 F (18 C) in April, 86 F (30 C) in August and 78 F (25 C) in late September and October. A 3mm shorty wetsuit is good for most divers in June, July and August. A 7mm semi-dry suit is recommended for the cooler months.
Antalya & Provınce
This world famous tourist region has the highest number of diving schools in the country, containing many contrasting dive sites. A French military transportation ship at the entrance of Antalya harbour lies at a depth of 20 – 32m. The islands in the open seas around Tekirova has a wonderful array of sea life including huge thornback rays, and is also a good location for cavern diving. During August and September there is a huge amount of tuna fish and seals, and dolphins can be seen throughout the year. Lying 1km from the Antalya Yacht Harbour is the site of a French battleship, San Didier, which sank during the war in 1942. During excavations in 1946 and 1974, a major part of the ship’s cargo was discovered, including ammunition and medical equipment. Although there is little left in the submerged ship, it is still attracting much interest from divers, and permission is required from the Antalya Goverment and Marine Police Department. The area between the beaches of Lara and Konyaalti, are the two biggest in Antalya, has attractive rock formations and sea life between a depth of 14 – 25m. The small island of Sican, a few kilometres from Antalya harbour, is also a popular diving region.
The coast on the west side is relatively shallow and sandy (maximum 8m) but on the northeast side with rocky seabed descends to 22m, which also has a small cavern. Submerged 200m from the coast near Manavgat, east of Antalya, is a B-24 American war plane named Hadley’s Harem, which came down after leaving its base in Cyprus after bombing over Romania in 1944. The cockpit was removed during studies in 1995, and now lies in a private museum in Istanbul. Diving to this particular site requires special permission. In Gelidonya, at the west of Antalya bay, there are the submerged remains of a cargo ship which sank after crashing on the rocks near to what is now known as Taslik cape. During research performed by divers in 1960 to a depth of 28m, the first completed underwater excavation, it was determined that the ship dates back to the 13th century BC. Research in 1994 revealed its Middle Eastern origins, as deduced from the anchor, and excavated items are exhibited in Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum.
Suluin Cavern, in the region of Kirkgoz, used to be a dry area, which is indicated by the stalactites and stalagmites. This plateau around Antalya is travertine, composed of limestone which has dissolved. During research in 1995, the depth of the cavern reaches 83m, with a huge entrance at 45m covered with stalactites, travertine pools and other formations and many water channels off the cave.
The seas around Kalkan are suited to experienced divers, with species of sea life including sharks, turtles, tuna and thornback rays. Patara has coral and sea sponges, and the Fener waters descend from 11 – 132m, with lively and colourful sights. Oksuz Island is known for its lizard fish, a member of the shark family. 60m off the east coat of Uluburun and 9km southeast of Kas lie the ruins of a cargo ship dating back to the 14th century BC. As a result of dives in 1984 the ship’s cargo, which had slipped to a depth of 61m, was removed and some of it exhibited in the Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum today. Near the Greek island of Meis off the coast of Kas, there are the submerged remains of an Italian plane from World War II. Its first sighting is at a depth of 57m, its tail going as far as 70m, and there is still ammunition within the wreckage.
Gok Cavern near Finike, is one of the deepest in Asia which is accessible to divers. The cavern reaches the seabed and has a wide entrance, and the presence of stalactites indicates that this was once dry.
One of the most popular diving areas in the region is the Three Islands, off Tekirova, which has many diver sites and greater depth than Antalya. The wreckage of a submerged ship lying 2km from Kemer Yacht Harbour at a depth of 25m, belongs to a French cargo ship which sank during World War II. It is estimated to have been built in 1896, and has three decks and two warehouses, of which some is still covered in tiles.
According to rumour, the area around Ayvalik is the location of the lost city of Atlantis – but what is known is the unique diving options especially off Gunes Island, Yuvarlak Island and Kerbela Rocks. The most popular area is the waters off Kiz Island with fascinating underwater fauna from a depth of 19m.
The area around Datca has wonderful diving opportunities with many sharks, dolphins and Mediterranean seals at a depth of between 10-40m, especially around the islands of Kara Incir. There is a good dive point off Esen Island, which is connected to Datca harbour.
There are 52 diving points and a large selection of ancient underwater ruins around the area of Marmaris, including off the coast of Dis (33m), Rodos, Kutuk, Burnu, Cennet Island, Kadirga Feneri and Kargi Island. The steep slope of the seabed off Cennet Island contains especially beautiful plant and animal life.
Bodrum is famous for one of the greatest underwater museums in the world. But it is also known for its great diving opportunities with great depths, colourful sea sponges and caverns. The east wall off Orak Island, exceeding 100m in depth, is a diving haven with beautiful rock formations in the shallow area, which can take easily take a whole day to experience fully. The waters around Kargi and Kocek islands, around 20-30m depth, contain antique ruins, with sea creatures of all sizes and good for macro photography. Catal Island and the coast off Gemitasi are also good dive sites.
Saros is a favourite spot for divers due to its proximity to Istanbul, and is full of submerged ruins like Captain Franco, which lies at the entrance of Canakkale Strait in Saros bay. Underwater fauna includes black fauna.
Gokceada and Bozcaada
Because there are no diving schools in Gokceada, the surrounding towns must be used instead. There are submerged ruins from World War I in Kuzu Harbour, and many huge anchors and wrecks of ships between the Mermer Lighthouse and the Anatolian coast. Around these waters are the islands of Orfoz, Karayer and Essek, which are home to a huge range of sea creatures. Canak harbour, Bakla Tasi, Pinar Dere Mermer Cape, and the south of Tuz cape are good points for diving. There is a diving school in Bozcaada, with good tourist facilities, and its waters have interesting plant life and sea creatures.
The clear waters of Mersin have many interesting dive sites including the sunken cargo ship at the western cape of Dana island. There is a submerged island northwest of Sancak bay, with large ancient oil jars.
Turkey’s mountainous terrain combined with sunny, clear skies makes it one of the best spots in world for paragliding in Turkey.
The sport in Turkey, which has evolved steadily since the 1940s, is simple – one attaches a large parachute to their back and jumps off a mountain into the great blue. Controls allow for a freefall descent whilst taking in the beautiful scenery below.
One of the most popular spots for paragliding in Turkey, at least with Britons, is Olu Deniz, which as been described as a “paragliding paradise” due to its proximity to Mediterranean, Aegean and mountains. Yet despite this allure, it is a quiet town lacking the hubbub of the bazaars, which many find allows them to concentrate on the sport in Turkey, though for those looking for morel life it is only half an hour away.
With the best time for the sport occurring between April and November, Olu Deniz, which is located near to Fethiye, attracts scores of thrill-seekers looking to see Turkey in a unique way. One thing that attracts many is that the town has three take-off sites in different compass direction which means that one can soar whatever the wind-direction. One can then soar to the beach or head to the mountains for thermals which give lift like a glider, sending the pilot higher.
Kas is also another popular destination to go paragliding in Turkey. This ancient southern Turkish town, paragliders are sent to the nearby Asaz Mountain to take off and soar. However, it is not just the coastal regions that allow paragliding, a sport which has become more popular in Turkey since the 1990s.
The capital Ankara has a training hill less than 20 miles from it while the city of Bolu has the Abant Mountains which also caters for paragliders, though of course, popular destinations such as Anatalya also have paragliding operators.
Whichever site one chooses, all paragliding facilities will have professional pilots and modern, internationally recognised equipment to ensure that the experience is both fun and safe. The age group allowed to paraglide is between 16 and 55 and weight limits are between 40kg and 130kg and it is not recommended for people with certain heart and breathing conditions.
Neophytes need not be worried either. Tandem flights are given to those new to paragliding in Turkey so that one goes with a professional pilot to ensure that the flight proceeds safely. The pilot can also point out notable features and sites and many people so love the activity that they return again and again, many to take out a professional pilot licence so that they can go it alone. Izmir and other cities have courses one can go on to obtain this licence, which will allow further opportunities to get the most out of this sport. Many do – after all, where else can you engage in an activity that allows you to fly with equipment so small it fits into a backpack?Turkey property owners and visitors can enjoy this exhilarating sport in Turkey.
Paragliding sport is to take off by means of running from a high hill instead of plane with a parachute similar to free style jumping parachute on the first look. Parachute, which is lied on a inclined and high hill, is filled with air with the running of pilot and take off with pilot. Periods of the flights can continue for kilometers / hours in connection with the experience of pilot and performance of the materials used. Although it can be for single person, there is two persons ( tandem ) wings.
Paragliding , whose first trial had been made in 1940s, and numerously modified till today. There were lots of structural improvements which has increased the flight period and security of perform. First paragliding was similar to free style diving parachute. It had turned into an aerophyl structure which has high raising power instead of its pressure enduring characteristic with changing in time. Paragliding parachute wing structure had reached to its appropriate shape for easy to take off, slowly descending ratio and good flying performance, beginning from 1980s.
Paragliding Sport in our country had been recognized with the discover by foreign pilots of Mount Baba in Fethiye, Ölüdeniz (Blue Lagoon) region at the beginning of 1990s, and actively started in university clubs initially. Being the most economical aerial vessel and being inside the natural sports, maintained it to be performed by a massive number of people today. Paragliding Parachute Sport, which does not require a special skill or much effort basically, is very easy and enjoying to do after a standard training. Paragliding training are organized by THK, university clubs and private clubs.
Some of the Flight Zones
ÖLÜDENİZ – BABADAĞ
Location: Mount Baba, which is in the province territory of Fethiye of Muğla city, is 7 km inside from the coastal line. It rises just after the Ölüdeniz (Blue Lagoon) beach and faces just towards to south. You can reach to take off runway via a 45 minutes from Ölüdeniz stabilize but nearly smooth road.
Flight Season: Secure flights can be performed between April and October.
Regional Characteristics: Ölüdeniz, which is the first place where paragliding is performed in Turkey, has a world – wide fame. Its unique nature, sun and sea is enchanting thousands of national and foreign tourists every year, and has a structure appropriate for all kinds of outdoor activity. There is no transportation, accommodation and nutrition problems within the developed touristic center, region. Yacht tours are also drawing attention in the area. Mount Baba is preferred as trekking and camping area during summer and winter.
Take Off Runways: There are total of three runways in Mount Baba. 1700 meters high in south runway is appropriate to take off. 1800 meters high north runway is a little bit small and upright. Take off area of the 1900 meters high north peek runway is very comfortable. As 1700 meters high runway is taking the south wind just from the opposite side during the most part of the day, generally take off is made from here. Approximately 20 wings can be lied on very wide runway at the same time.
Landing Runway: Belcekız beach at the coast of Ölüdeniz, is a long and very comfortable and secure landing runway with its width.
Meteorological Characteristics: During summer season, the weather is stable. Sometimes during morning hours a north wind comes and take off is made from north runways into the valley. The South runway faces a south wind, between 5 – 20 km. during most of the day hours.
Things that should be considered: Especially during the beginning and end of the season, climate change months weather can change rapidly and cloud can cover the take off area. On south runway, during the period till to the midday west wind coming from the west end of the mount, can create a false south wind and mislead.
DENIZLI – PAMUKKALE
Location: Pamukkale is at the feet of Mount Çökelen which is 21 km away from Denizli. As it is a touristik region all kinds of transportation is available to the region.
Flight Season: Flight can be made during all seasons with its warm climate.
Regional advantages: An ancient settlement region, Pamukkale is one of the most important tourism centers of our country where thousands of tourists are coming every year with its ancient ruins and travertine formed with the settlement of lime water.
ANKARA – GÖLBAŞI
Location: Transportation to Gölbaşı region, which is 27 km. away from Ankara city center can be easily maintained from city center.
Regional Characteristics: Due to closeness to Ankara it is possible to benefit from all activities and possibilities within the city. It is the region where aerial clubs of universities in Ankara are training Paragliding . Gölbaşı, is also a promenade place which draw attention of Ankara residents who want get away from city life goes for weekends.
Take Off Runway: Training hill which faces to a wide plain is very appropriate for hillside parachute training due its appropriate altitude and facing wind from all aspects.
BOLU – ABANT
Location: Abant Mountains, is 34 km. in south of the Bolu city center. Asphalt 25 km. long Abant Lake road can be used for reaching. Road transport to Bolu, which is on the Ankara – Istanbul highway passing is very easy. For reaching Abant Lake minibuses departing from city center can be used.
Regional Characteristics: Dense rain forests surrounded Bolu city is appropriate for all kinds of tourism activity. Abant Lake, whose environment has a rich plant cover, is drawing attention as a picnic and resort place during summers and an appropriate place for winter sports during winter. Abant Lake surrounding accommodation and nutrition possibilities can be benefited.
Take Off Runway: Abant Mountains have more than one take off runways appropriate for hillside parachute. Generally it is performed on the hills surrounding Örencik Plateau, near to Abant Lake, wide, plain and fully covered with grass.
Location: There are roads and railway transportation in Eğirdir, which is 60 km. away from Isparta. Local bus firms of Isparta are passing from Egirdir.
Regional Characteristics: Egirdir which is appropriate for various tourism activities with Eğirdir lake and island, has very appropriate hills for paragliding parachute. Süleyman Demirel University Aerial Club is performing training flights on these hills.
Location: Ali Mountain on the territories of city in Kayseri, is 15 min. Away from city center. It can be driven up carefully. Or when you get off the bus at Ali Mountain plate with getting on to a bus, you can reach to the hill within 45 minutes by foot.
Regional Characteristics: World wide famous Cappadocia present, Kayseri is welcoming to thousands of tourists each year. Kayseri is serving possibilities to the other sportive tourism types such as skiing and cycling besides paragliding with its appropriate geography. Civil Aviation VIHE, is organizing training flights to Mount Ali.
Take Off Runway: It has an altitude difference of 600 to 750, and there are two take off runways of which one is appropriate to south winds and other one is north. Steep and smooth inclination of the hill is appropriate for hours of paragliding, but you should be careful in weathers with turbulence.
Landing Runways: There are easily landing areas in front of the hill.
ESKIŞEHIR / İnönü
There are facilities of Turkish Aviation Organization within İnönü Province which is 15 km west of Eskişehir. North facing slopes of the province, are establishing very appropriate flight conditions with especially north winds during summer months. Courses organized by Turkish Aviation Organization are performed here.
ANTALYA / Aksu
Hill in Aksu province of Antalya is used as training hill by Akdeniz University, Avaiation Club. When you turn Perge ruins from Aksu turn of Antalya – Alanya road, and go for a 10 – 15 km. without entering Perge 40 – 50 m. high training hill is reached. Irrigation channel should be considered during flight.
For performing air sports securely appropriate weather conditions are very important. Basic meteorological information is required especially paragliding Movement of the wind and shapes of the clouds are the factors initially signing for flight. Other two factors are turbulence and thermal.
Turbulence They are vertical aerial movements. Turbulences; are faced during 5 km/h exceeding impact movements, specific geographic regions, with a wind backward coming to a steep hill, in thermal entrances and exits and front regions.
Thermal It is formed with the rise of warm air mass. This air mass composes flight hindering clouds with cooling, and this is also causes hard turbulence. Thermal is more formed especially in rocky regions, asphalt areas, forest region, water region (river, lake, sea …) and agricultural areas.
A hot-air balloon flight is unique from all other experiences of flight as there is no sensation of motion. Travelling at heights of up to 1500 feet, the feeling is one of peace and tranquility. The earth slowly descends and rotates below you. Within moments after lifting off you become at ease while you effortlessly drift over the treetops and the spectacular Cappadocian landscape. It is like a dream to gently float over the countryside in complete harmony with your surroundings.
The deep canyons and lush fertile valleys of Cappadocia provide our balloons with an ideal playground for a unique and memorable flight; gentle winds carry us over places that could never be reached except by balloon. http://www.turkeyballoons.com/aboutballoon.html
Flight via balloon sport, whose initial existence in the world reaches to the end of 18th century, is also densely drawing attention in our country. For long years, as well as it is performed with the aim of individual sports, city tours with balloons are also performed during regional activities in touristic regions of our country.
Balloon takes off with heating of liquid propane gas filled into it. You can stay on air for long periods with a calm flight under appropriate wind (under 10 km/h). Directing balloon, whose appropriate flight height is between 500 – 1500 feet, altitude gain and loss, change its speed can be made easily by an experienced pilot easily.
Structure of the Balloon
There are propane gas tubes, altimeter, thermometer, wireless for communication with airport, variometer and fire extinguishers in the basket, manufactured from “vimin”, generally a light and synthetic material, and which carries the passangers of the balloon.
Propane tubes, with approximately 20 kg. weight each within the basket, includes propane gas maintaining the expand of the balloon. Each tube maintains an approximately 40 – 45 minutes of flight possibility to the balloon. Total lifting force of the balloon is around 1.700 pounds.
Taking off of the balloon is maintained with heating of propane gas filled into the balloon via furnaces under it. Furnaces can be 2 or 3 pieces according to the volume of the balloon. Heat within the balloon should never exceed 120 degrees.
For maintaining landing with stopping flight, red rope is pulled within it. In this way, activated falling valve maintains the air within it run out rapidly. In case of insufficiency of emptying speed of the internal air emergency hole at the top of the balloon is opened.
Flight Rules for Foreigners
Prior to the flight via balloon, air vessel to be flight registration sign, flight aim, flight date, flight hour, flight region is informed and applied to Ministry of Communication, Civil Aviation General Directorate.
In case of a flight via balloon exceeding 15 days in our country; licenses of foreign pilots should be validated by Ministry of Communication, Civil Aviation General Directorate.
/ Mountain Climbing
Mountain climbing in Turkey is a relatively new sport, which was started when a few French climbers bolted some routes in the Ala Daglar National Park in 1993. Today there are 13 established rock climbing areas with 1000’s well-protected sport climbing routes. However there is a massive opportunity for establishing new routes in Turkey due to its mountainous nature.
Turkey presents to mountains lovers with an incredible variety of interesting climbing opportunities that are sure to satisfy the most demanding hikers, climbers, and winter sports fans. In Turkey, mountains come in all sizes, geo-morphological and tectonic structures and boast abundant wildlife and forests teeming with diverse flora and fauna. Every year thousands of tourists from all over the world come to Turkey for winter sports (especially skiing), mountains climbing and hiking.
Popular Climbing Sites
Kaçkar Mt. Range (The Black Sea)
Mt. Erciyes (Central Anatolia)
Niğde Aladağlar (Central Anatolia)
Mt. Ararat (Eastern Anatolia)
Mt. Süphan (Eastern Anatolia)
Bolkar Mountains (Mediterranean)
Mercan (Munzur) Mountains (Easter Anatolia)
In Turkey the highland villages are important and people go there for a variety of reasons.
The nomadic clans living in the southeastern and eastern Anatolia rent the highland pastures to graze their flocks and herds.
Herders living in the Mediterranean, Central Anatolia and Black Sea regions use the highlands as pasture, and as haying areas for collection of winter fodder. In the summer they sometimes go up to these pastures to escape the heat.
People living in the Mediterranean and Aegean regions chose the highlands because it allows them to escape the sweltering summer heat, the mosquitoes and other pests. It is also a wonderful natural retreat to a clean healthy environment.
A new movement has sprung up centered around providing lodging and other basic needs for these highland visitors. The chance to experience the traditional highland culture and its pristine environment has drawn many people and new kind of ‘Highland tourism’ has enabled many of them to participate in this fascinating way of life.
The highlands of Turkey and the lifestyle of its people have an important place in the rich cultural landscape of Turkey. The tradition embodied in the lyrics of this ancient folk song, “The people of Avşar picked up and headed for new lands” have still being sung today, is what led to the settlement of hundreds of new areas in Turkey.
In the Chinese Chronicles, Turks are described as people that “lived by following the rains and the pastures with their horses and high-wheeled wagons.” After they came to Anatolia and abandoned their nomadic wanderings for more settled ways, they embarked on a new journey continuing old traditions within the parameters of a new lifestyle.
In this new millennium of the “global village” where cultural differences seem to be disappearing, the highlands of Turkey offer a refreshing authenticity of ancient tradition which is noticed as soon as it is experienced. Compared with our modern way of life, it is a vivacious way of life in harmony with nature, at once both oriental and exotic.
The highlands have much to offer; the fresh clean air of an undefiled environment, crystal clear streams, a refreshing coolness that is a relief from the sweltering heat during the hottest summer days, views of enchanting beauty, fruit and vegetables grown without hormones and ripen on the vine slowly and naturally, milk and meat products of animals pastured in the most natural environments. The innumerable wild animal and plant species living in their natural habitat rescue us from the virtual world of TV documentaries and enable us to experience real life up close and personal.
The Taurus Highlands
Exposed to the gentle Mediterranean breezes, the snow-covered peaks of the Taurus Mountain Range intermingle with the foothills spread out like a colorful nomadic carpet of flowers dotted with fruit orchards, pine, fir, cedar and juniper trees.
When the crocuses blossom in the spring, the nomads (Yörükler) set off to find pasture for their animals among the highlands covered with the very hues of green. When the Mediterranean summer heat begins to make itself felt in the lowlands and coastal areas, the flight begins to cooler altitudes where the springwater is cold and crystal clear.
Plant Life: The Taurus Mountains have a wide assortment of plant cover and as one ascends and disappears from the coast areas, the diversity of the plant cover varies. Citrus orchards, different types of shrubs, sandalwood, a variety of oaks, sycamore tree, wild olive trees, blackberries, terebinth trees, heath, frankincense, mastic, redbud, strawberry and laurel trees, as well as different types of pine and juniper trees, beech, Taurus fir and cedar trees enhance the natural beauty of this mountain range. A wide variety of flowers during the spring months.Snowdrops, wild cyclamen, narcissus, hyacinth, poppies, oregano, lavender, mint, purslane, tulips and daisies are among the more common types of flora seen in this area.
Wildlife: The wildlife in these mountains presents the same diversity as that of the rich plant cover. Taurus Mountains are home for birds such as pigeons, blackbirds, francolins, partridges, quail, turtledoves, woodcock as well as for eagles, sturnidaes, falcons, chaffinches and orioles. Animals that can be observed here in their natural habitat are deer, fallow deer, bezoar goat, boar, lynx, roe deer, fox, wolf, jackals, martens, rabbits and hyena.
The Taurus highlands are found within the provinces of Gaziantep, Hatay (Antioch), Adana, İçel, Antalya and Muğla.
The Highlands of the Black Sea
With their mountain meadows adorned with colorful wildflowers, the highlands of the Black Sea are characterized by their spruce forests. The verdant appearance and lush green slopes of the Black Sea coasts are due not only to the abundant rainfall but also to the humid and foggy weather. The humidity and the foggy weather gives way to a brilliant sunshine and oxygen-rich fresh mountain air as one ascends from the coastal areas high up to the mountains.
Up here in the Black Sea highlands the mountains are covered with trees like fir, spruce, Scotch pine, cedar, beech, oak, linden, elm, hornbeam, alder and wild hazelnut as well as flowers like snowdrops, wild azalea, forest rose and countless other wildflowers.
The Black Sea highlands are found in the provinces of Sinop, Ordu, Giresun, Trabzon, Rize, Artvin, Gümüşhane and Bayburt.
Turkey, with its rich natural resources and hundreds of rivers, provides great opportunities for water sports like rafting, canoeing and water-skiing, while always respecting the cultural, historical and environmental qualities of the country. The most famous is the River Coruh, renowned internationally as one of the fastest flowing in the world, and venue of the 4th World Watersports Championships in 1993 which saw 300 competitors from 28 countries.
Most Famous Rafting Courses of Turkey
The rafting event to be arranged for the first time on the River Coruh, one of Turkey’s natural beauties, is going to draw attention to the touristic potential of the Black Sea Region, to the Coruh Valley as well as the natural and historical sites in the vicinity. Originating at the Mescit Mountains (3,225 m) and flowing 466 km before reaching the Black Sea in Georgia, Coruh River is one of the fastest flowing rivers in the world. The small towns and villages located along the river are impressively authentic and interesting historically. The area as a whole represents the synthesis of the cultures of Eastern Anatolia and the Black Sea.
Altıparmak (Barhal) River
Altiparmak (Barhal) river, located in the province of Artvin, emerges from the southern side of the Kackar Mountains and runs about 40 km to join the Coruh river 2 km south of Yusufeli. The Altiparmak flows through a strikingly beautiful valley enveloped by high mountains. Recommended for canoeing and rafting, the river has a high flow-rate year round because of the run-off of melting snow. The valley is rich in wildlife. Proximity to the Kackar Mountains, one of the best areas in Turkey for trekking, makes the Altiparmak a favorite of sportsmen.
Firtina River is interesting not only for the arched bridges spanning it and the tea plantations that line its banks but also for the traditional costumes of the local population. Formed by a number of streams on the Black Sea side of Kackar Mountains, the Firtina runs 57 km long through verdant countryside until it flows into the Black Sea about 2 km west of Ardesen, Rize. The arched stone bridges crossing the water add to the beauty of the Firtina, which is recommended for river sports along the following course.The town of Camlihemsin is located 22 km to the south of the Rize-Ardesen road. The Course begins approximately 1 km to the south of Camlihemsin (0 km). Paddlers should be cantious of boulders at 5 km and dangerous passages at 7 km, 8 km and 9 km. The Duygulu Falls located on the western slope at 12 km are lovely. The course finishes at any convenient point before the Firtina reaches the Black Sea. The 23 km long course is very rocky, rating a hardship degree of 3-4-5 in places depending on the speed of the water. Extra caution is required during heavy rains. The Firtina is recommended for river sports all year round.
Emerging from the Toros (Taurus) Mountains and running through a number of amazing canyons, Köprücay flows into the Mediterranean Sea to the south of Serik. Fed by underground springs in gorges that cut through steep, impassable canyons, the Köprücay constitutes one of Turkey’s most beautiful natural recreation areas. The numerous archaeological sites in the area, especially the ancient city of Selge (Zerk), the fortresses on the banks of the river, arched Roman bridges and historic roads add to the significance of the Köprülü Canyon. Köprücay is reached from Antalya via Serik, Tasagìl and Beskonak. Those coming from Manavgat can reach Beskonak via Tasagìl. The asphalt road to Beskonak follows the Köprücay in places. Köprülü Canyon National Park covers 36,000 hectares, including part of Köprücay and the ancient city of Selge. Approximately 100 m before the Oluk Bridge, the water is still and the river forms a pool. This is a good spot to start your trip and gives unexperienced crew time to get used to the rowing technique. The bridge is reached by paddling against the current. Less experienced groups usually enter the canyon from the Oluk Bridge, while professionals may do so either from the falls near the start or from the Oluk Bridge, turning around further ahead to start the trip. The course continues after passing the falls and leaving behind places with class 2-3. The falls along the river add to the beauty of the landscape. After each waterfall the Köprücay slows down, giving time to enjoy the majestic setting. A concrete bridge appears 10 km down the river.
Manavgat River flows 90 km from the eastern slopes of the western Toros (Taurus) mountains, passes over hard conglomerated strata, forms the Manavgat Falls and then enters the coastal plain to empty into the Mediterranean Sea. In the spring, the waters of the Manavgat run full and clear, augmented by underground springs in the canyons it passes through, until the river’s force is interrupted by the Oymapinar Dam.The upper reaches of the Manavgat can be reached by taking the Manavgat-Alanya highway to the east and turning north towards Akseki 10 km after passing the town of Manavgat. Four kms before Akseki, turn off towards Ibradi to reach the Sahap bridge, the starting point for river sports. The selection of a starting point in Manavgat River is determined by the level and velocity of the water. Under favorable conditions, the start can be made near Sahap bridge in the vicinity of Ibradi. River sports on the Manavgat are dangerous for novices. Groups should be accompanied by professionals and a local guide. The best place for rafting and canoeing on the Manavgat is the 19 km stretch between Sahap bridge and the village of Sevinc, where the river cuts steep, sometimes impenetrable gorges through the canyons.
Anamur (Dragon) River
Anamur (Dragon) River originates as an underground river from the Catalyatak, Yellice and Kizcagiz hills on the slopes of the Toros (Taurus) mountains. The underground spring erupts in several geysers close to the village of Sugözü, spraying water hundreds of meters high. The water level of the river is highest in spring, falling in summer. North of its source, enclosed basins and chasms can be seen. The 35 km long Anamur river is joined by the Kas, Masat and Gökce streams before flowing into the Mediterranean Sea through a deep river bed.
The Göksu is the most important river in the province of Icel, originating in two branches from the Central Toros (Taurus) mountain range. The southern branch starts at Geyik Mountains, and the other branch at Haydar Mountains. These two branches unite to the south of Mut to form the Göksu river. The 260 km long river forms a delta between Tasucu and Silifke as it flows into the Mediterranean. The river forms lagoons at Akgöl and Paradeniz on the coast between Silifke and Tasucu. The Göksu Delta is regarded by the International Council for Bird Protection (ICBP) as a major bird refuge in Europe and the Middle East. More than 300 bird species inhabit the Göksu Delta.
The azure waters of the Mediterranean, the Aegean, and the Black Sea, as well as the Sea of Marmara, surround Turkey to the south, west and north.With over 8,333 kilometers of coastline along the four seas, Turkey is a treasure chest of coves, inlets, bays and beaches at which yachtsmen can choose a different and private anchorage each night.
The sailing paradise of Turkey is also home to the Blue Voyage. This idyllic cruise means sailing with the winds, into coves and over the seas and becoming one with nature. It is also an experience of the history of man from the perspective of the sea rather than from the land, a journey which carries you to the private beach of Cleopatra, the eternal fires of remains of ancient civilizations. For lovers of the active life, sailing in clear waters provides great opportunities for swimming, fishing, skiing, surfing and diving.Sailing in Turkey also allows you to experience a truly enriching cultural exchange with the hospitable and gracious people of the coastal villages and towns. The tempered winds which generally blow from the west and northwest make the long summers ideal for yachting, and seem to encourage an appreciation of nature. From some of the turquoise coast’s unspoilt and sheltered bays you can see mountain peaks rising to almost 3,000 meters above sea level.
Turkey’s most established marinas lie on the southern Aegean and Mediterranean coasts at Izmir, Cesme, Kusadasi, Bodrum, Ayvalik, Mersin, Datca, Bozburun, Marmaris, Gocek, Fethiye, Kalkan, Kas, Finike, Kemer and Antalya. These well-equipped harbours contain all the services and provisions any yacht would require. Antalya, Bodrum Dalaman, Izmir and Istanbul airports provide quick links to all marinas in Turkey, ensuring departure by yacht within a day of landing.
The singular design of the gulette, Turkey’s indigenous sea-going vessel, blends practicality and tradition in a relaxed style that embodies the Blue Voyage. Over the years gulettes have evolved from traditional fishing and cargo vessels into their present profile of a broad beam and wide deck.
Constructed mainly in the shipyards of Bodrum, Bozburun, Marmaris and Istanbul, and along the Black Sea Coast, these boats are equipped with motors as well as fully functional rigging. The number of passengers a gulette carries depends on the boat’s size, although most of them accommodate between eight and twelve people. These vessels have speparate accommodation for passengers, and chartering one will also include services and entertainment. Modern gulettes are comfortably equipped with most home comforts, and encourages a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere for all the passengers with a friendly relationship with the crew.
Travel agencies can arrange charters and fixed tours for a specific group or individually. Unlike cruises on large ocean liners, a gulette can explore the secluded and often deserted bays and coves of the coastline. The small harbours and settlements offer an intimate view of coastal life which large ships simply cannot. In many ways a gulette is like a full-service hotel where every room has a sea view and the scenery changes constantly.
In recent years, as golf courses with international standards have opened up, Turkey has become an elite golfing centre where players from around the world can meet in an environment of quality and prestige. Especially the area of Belek, 30km east of Antalya, where, there is a potential for golf tourism with the unique bonus of the cultural, historical and natural sightseeing of the region. Top-class courses are also being planned for Istanbul, Ankara and Mugla.In Turkey, most courses are in the vicinity of tourist resorts, around the coastal regions which have the necessary facilities like accommodation, restaurants and entertainment. The Ministry of Tourism plans to establish another 11 golf courses in these tourist areas. stage.
Golfers, swimmers and sun-worshippers do not want to miss this modern holiday center and golf paradise, 30 km from Antalya. The National Golf Club located in Belek features a wide variety of water sports as well as a championship 18-hole golf course and 9-hole academy course.
Belek is Turkey’s premier golf resort, but don’t let that put you off as it also has plenty to attract the non-golfer too. The setting is spectacular with long, golden sandy beaches, and a backdrop of mountains. Belek has won awards for environmentally friendly development and there are many rare species of plant and wildlife indigenous to the area.
There are 5 facilities having Administration Certificate of Ministry of Culture and Tourism:
Gloria Golf Resort
Nobilis Golf Otel
Klassis Golf and Counrty
Kemer Golf Country Club
Nasional Golf Club
Hunting (Safari )
Geographic structure of Turkey, is appropriate for development of hunt tourism in connection with its plant cover and wild life. Hunting grounds, which will be opened to hunting tourism with considering the hunting animals potential of our country, are determined and announced by Ministry of Environment and Forests (National Parks, Hunting and Wild Life General Directorate). Foreign tourist hunters, can hunt with Hunting Tousim Permission Certificate, issued to A Class Tourism Agencies by Ministry of Forest. Also, foreign tourist hunters can only hunt species, breed and set free here within private hunting grounds approved by Ministry of Forest, National Parks and Hunt – wild Life General Directorate.Foreign tourist hunters, who can hunt by means of Tourism Agencies, according to the related decision of MAK (Central Hunt Commission) and regulation related with the application of 6136 Numbered Law, can bring their hunting guns and accessories together with them.
In Hunting Permission Certificates; name, surname, nationality of the hunter who will participate hunting party, dates and customs offices, when and where he will enter and exit our country, hunting grounds, dates of hunt and hunting animal species and numbers that he can hunt, are mentioned.
Wild animals allowed for hunting in Turkey are determined each year according to their species and hunting periods. These changes are determined by the decesions of the Central Hunting Commision which has been organized each year.Bear, hook horned mountain goat (şamua), wild goat (Bezoar), wild boar, lynx, wolf, jackal, fox, from big hunting animals, are served against its value to usage of national and foreign hunters under hunting tourism title.Hunting of hunting animals except these can only be possible within special hunting grounds. Foreign hunters can not hunt hunting animals except above mentioned animals outside special grounds.
Contact Address and Links
Ministry of Forest, National Parks and Hunt – Wild Life General Directorate
Address: Ministry of Forest, Gazi Facilities 11 Nolu Bina Gazi/ANKARA
Telephone: (+90-312) 221 08 79
(+90-312) 221 21 70
(+90-312) 221 17 69
Fax: (+90-312) 222 51 40