7 Adventures in Turkey That Will Inspire Your Wanderlust
WWB writer, Maryam shares an exciting article about Turkey. Turkey is one of the most visited countries in the world, and for good reason too! Straddling Asia and Europe, tourists flock to the rich history, culture, and variety of adventures in Turkey.
Apart from the museums, historical ruins, and cultural attractions, Turkey is also an exciting adventure destination for those looking to try something off the beaten path and away from the hordes of tourist traps.
If you have been bitten by the travel bug and are looking to add some adrenaline to your holiday, Turkey is one of the best places you can experience adventure at its finest.
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Why Adventure in Turkey?
Turkey might not be the first country you think of when it comes to adventure. But don’t be fooled!
Blessed with a wealth of natural landscapes from grassy rolling hills, warm azure seas, and rugged snow-capped mountain ranges, there are numerous adventures in Turkey that will inspire your wanderlust and satisfy the adrenaline junkie in you.
Being in the Mediterranean means many of Turkey’s main holiday cities enjoy a temperate climate perfect for almost year-round travels with warm summers and mild winters.
Best Adventures in Turkey:
1. Quad Biking in Istanbul
While quad biking is mostly popular in the otherworldly landscape of Cappadocia, you may be surprised to know that you can also enjoy quad biking around Istanbul!
Explore the lesser-known sides of Istanbul on a rugged ATV/quad bike safari adventure, perfect for those who want to discover the natural forests and seaside but stay close to the historical metropolis of Istanbul.
Alternatively, head out to the Black Sea shores approximately an hour away for a breathtaking ride along the coastal cliffs.
Cost: From USD$100 per person
2.Hiking or Trekking
Turkey has been blessed with numerous mountain ranges offering magnificent opportunities for all age groups and levels of fitness. Hiking and trekking adventures in Turkey are one of the best ways to experience its spectacular landscapes and get a taste of rural life.
For short, easy hikes, Cappadocia is hard to beat. Ranging from 1-3 hours, most of the hikes are gentle. The surreal landscape of the Goreme fairy chimneys, natural karst formations, and sculpted valleys are enough to take your breath away.
Turkey also has several long-distance hikes popular among hard-core adventurers. These hikes take days or weeks to complete, although you can also opt to hike portions of the routes too.
Some of the most popular routes are the Lycian Way and the St Paul’s trail.
- Goreme.com – Cappadocia Heritage hikes
- Middle Earth Travel – Guided and self-guided long hiking tours
3.White Water Rafting
Turkey is one of the premier white water rafting destinations in the world. The network of mountains and springs produce swift icy currents and challenging rapids to tantalize experienced rafters, with placid rivers giving even the most nervous beginners a taste of the sport.
Adrenaline, teamwork, survival, and ultimate triumph make white water rafting one of the best adventures in Turkey for any thrill seeker.
Some of the best places for white water rafting in Turkey are:
This 229km river is fed by natural limestone springs which give the waters an astonishing turquoise colour. One of the main highlights along the river is the Oluk bridge featuring ancient Greek inscriptions.
Depending on the season, the class ratings for the rapids sections change from time to time. Rafting is available year-round.
Passing through the Köprülü Canyon National Park and flowing all the way out to the Mediterranean, this river is a favourite among rafting enthusiasts and hosts over 5 million visitors annually.
The high mountainous terrain is a nature lover’s dream, and while the river passes through sheer rock cliffs, the course is quite calm and tranquil, making it perfect for beginners
Located just 2 hours away from Istanbul, this is a popular choice for daytrippers looking to add a splash of adventure in Turkey to their travels.
The river passes through some lush forests and natural caves. The rapids are family friendly and rafting is available year round.
Cost: Starting from USD 25
Canyoning is an activity that combines trekking, climbing, swimming, and abseiling through gorges, rivers, and waterfalls.
Although it may sound daunting, no experience is needed to try this adrenaline-filled adventure in Turkey. It’s also the perfect way to meet new friends!
Some of the best canyoning locations are:
- Saklikent Gorge: one of the deepest canyons in the world, this gorge is a bit more advanced and challenging
- Köprülü Canyon: Crystal clear springs and also the longest canyon in Turkey.
- Ballıkayalar Canyon: One of the few places you can visit and experience canyoning throughout the year
The best times for canyoning are in the summer between mid-June to late September when the water levels are lower and the temperatures are warmer
Canyoning is usually done in small groups and guided by a qualified and experienced professional canyoning guide. It’s the perfect way to meet new friends while embarking on an unforgettable adventure.
Most canyoning tours take a minimum of one full day to complete, but longer tour packages of 2-3 days are also an option if you are up for it.
Cost: From USD 35
5.Soar Through The Clouds
Hot air ballooning is not the only way to experience Turkey through the skies. Paragliding is an increasingly popular option for thrill-seekers looking to experience a different kind of adventure in Turkey.
Some of the best locations for paragliding are:
- Oludeniz: Launch yourself off the 2000m-high Badabag mountains and soar over the spectacular blue Oludeniz lagoon, landing on the beautiful white sandy beaches.
- Pamukkale: Be mesmerized by the pristine white cotton castle travertine formations, thermal baths, and historic ruins of world heritage site Hierapolis in the valley below.
- Kas: Perfect for beginners, paragliding in Kas starts at a lower altitude of 600-100m with views of the stunning Çukurbağ Peninsula and the vast Mediterranean beyond.
Book your trip early as there are limited slots available for any given day. Be sure to check the weather forecast before booking to plan your adventure because if the weather is unsuitable, you will not be able to fly.
Flight time is usually around 30 minutes per person depending on your package, and the whole activity will take up half a day at most.
Price: from USD 100, with additional charges for photos/videos of your flight
6.Take To The Seas
Surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea, and the Sea of Marmara, you can’t go too far in Turkey without encountering some body of water. Turkey has a number of water based activities that you can immerse yourself in.
Get up close and personal with the warm, azure waters of the Aegean and Mediterranean by peddling in and around the rocky coastline and beautiful coves.
The best location for sea-kayaking is around Kas or Kekova, where you are literally kayaking through, in and over the Lycian ruins of the sunken city. Kayaking usually takes a couple of hours and will require reasonable fitness levels to power through the currents and waves.
Price: from USD 35
Luxury and adventure rolled into one, a Blue Cruise is a term used for recreational voyages along Turkey’s Aegean coast.
Usually lasting 1 week, you will sail aboard gulets (traditional Turkish wooden yachts) to ancient cities, secluded harbors, and intimate beaches scattered throughout the turquoise waters of the Turkish Riviera. The gulets come equipped with a professional crew who will take care of your every need.
Historically, Blue Voyages started in Bodrum and Marmaris, although nowadays they are also available in Fethiye, Oludeniz, and Gocek along the Lycian Coast, and are usually available between May-October, with July-August being peak season.
Price: From USD 400 per person per week, depending on route, gulet type, and season. If you’re on a tight budget, you can try booking a cabin on a shared gulet with a fixed itinerary
7.Explore Sunken Treasures
As a hotbed of civilization, Turkey has seen its fair share of history resulting in a scuba divers dream with ancient ruins and shipwrecks to explore. There are also natural wonders like caves, reefs, and marine wildlife aplenty.
The calm, warm waters make it perfect for dive lessons as well. Do note that foreign visitors are only permitted to dive with government registered dive centers. If diving is not on your radar, you can opt to snorkel in most of the same areas.
Diving and snorkeling are usually available year-round, with peak seasons from May-November.
Popular locations for snorkeling and scuba diving are Kas (diving capital of Turkey with over 30 dive sites), Fethiye, Dalyan, and Bodrum
Price: from USD 30 for snorkeling
Things to Watch Out For When Adventuring in Turkey
Other than the usual precautions you should take whenever traveling, there are a few things you should watch out for specifically during your adventures in Turkey.
Pay attention to your surroundings. Do not accept food or drink from strangers and never leave your belongings, food/drinks unattended. Be wary of over-friendly locals and don’t accept offers from them – whether it is for food, drink, deals, or guidance.
Avoid traveling alone especially after dark, as muggings and assaults are increasingly common in tourist areas.
Do in-depth research on tour packages/operators you are considering. Ask questions regarding their safety measures. Pay attention to cancellation policies.
Be wary of deals or packages that are much cheaper than others. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. Irresponsible tour operators offer lower prices as they are not properly certified/qualified, do not comply with safety standards and procedures, and have inexperienced guides. Avoid these at all costs!
Save money by booking tours from the same tour operator. Many agencies combine several activities in one package. For example, you can combine kayaking, white water rafting, and canyoning.
Dressing and Customs
Although major cities in Turkey are very modern, it is wise to dress modestly especially in the more conservative rural areas. Respect local customs and traditions and follow locals’ leads to acceptable behavior.
Tip– Bring a shawl/scarf to drape over your shoulders when and if you need it 🙂
Best Adventure Sports Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is a must for wherever you are traveling, but if you’re doing activities and adventures in Turkey you will probably have to add on to your existing travel insurance plan to make sure your specific activity is covered.
Protect yourself for any possible outcome and give yourself peace of mind.
Some questions to ask when choosing the right travel insurance are:
- Is my activity covered?
- Will any pre-existing condition affect my policy?
- What am I insured for/what is my coverage?
- Is my destination covered?
- What are exclusions from the policy?
- What is the claim process?
One of the best adventure travel insurance is from World Nomads. Specifically tailored to sports and adventure, World Nomads insurance covers over 200 activities. Most of the activities we listed above are covered available for coverage as optional extras.
Some stand out features of World Nomads:
- 24/7 emergency assistance
- Emergency medical and dental expenses (including accidents that happen while participating in one of their many covered sports and activities)
- Emergency evacuation (medical and non-medical)
- Trip delay, cancellation, or interruption due to an unforeseen event.
- Lost, delayed, damaged, or stolen gear or bags coverage.
- Book and claim travel insurance online, while on the road
Whatever insurance provider/package you choose, make sure you take the time to read the fine print and fully understand your policy.
Turkey is so much more than just museums, historical sites, and colorful culture. Bridging two continents and blending old world charm with new world conveniences means Turkey is well-positioned to offer adventures to suit any kind of traveler – whether you’re traveling solo or in a group, slinging it budget backpack-style or in pampered luxury, there are no shortages of adventures in Turkey to inspire your wanderlust.