Best time to visit Turkey

Trekking & Hiking in Turkey 2024

From the Black Sea coast up and across Taurus mountains, then down through to Anatolian plateau and again up to Kaçkar range, and down to the Mediterranean coast—Turkey is a great area for hiking

Best time: April–June | October

Trekking & Hiking
Trekking & Hiking
Trekking & Hiking
Trekking & Hiking

Is there a better way to explore a country and feel its soul than hike it through the most remote and pristine gateways, spotted with small but indigenous settlements rather than multicultural cities? So check out the network of trails available, take your GPS, hiking equipment, some proviant, and a handful of adventurous enthusiasm, and you're ready to hit the road. Don't worry, when you need some help, you can always rely on friendly locals.

Turkey features a good deal of short- and long-distance routes. The most popular ones that usually appear in the top hiking trails lists include Lycian Way, Independence Trail, St Paul Trail, the Kaçkar Trails, Yenice Forest Trail, and Evliya Çelebi Way.

Lycian Way is the favourite of many hikers. It stretches for 509 kilometres along the southern coast of Turkey starting from Fethiye to Antalya and involves trekking along the most scenic beaches of the Mediterranean, as well as climbing Mt Olympos, and some ancient sites, in particular, the ruins of hidden Lycian cities.

Independence Trail or Istiklal in Turkish winds on the opposite side of the country—along the Black Sea beach. In 1919 during Turkey's War of Independence, its relatively short route from Inebolu to Kastamonu was trekked by liberating army,–hence comes the name.

St Paul Trail is a difficult one, stretching for 500 kilometres from Aspendos or Perge to Yalvaç across the remote Taurus Mountains and Yazili Canyon Nature Park. 32 of Kaçkar Trails are naturally found in the Kaçkar Mountains and are even more challenging than St Paul Trail. Along with high mountains reaching almost 4,000, the trail is famous for tenth-century Georgian churches, and rich wildlife encounters, so don't panic if you spot a bear, an ibex, or a wolf.

Evliya Çelebi Way is the oldest and longest route stretching for 1200 kilometres from Istanbul to the historic city of Kütahya, and Yenice Forest Trail—on the contrary, the latest and shortest wandering for only 396 kilometres that might be covered in 21 alternative routes. Its main highlight is the historic town of Safranbolu, named so for being the centre of the saffron crocus harvesting.

Generally, the best season for hiking in Turkey is spring, and autumn, for summer is often uncomfortably hot. The best months are April to June, and also October. However, every trail has slightly different recommended season. According to guidebooks, Independence Trail is best to trek in March through October, and so is Yenice Forest Trail. Whereas the best season for hiking St Paul Trail is April to July and September to November, and July through September is indicated to be the best time for the Kaçkar Trails.

Practical info

What are some of the trails that offer great views in Turkey?

Turkey boasts a plethora of hiking trails of varying distances. However, among the best and most popular are the Yenice Forest Trail, Kaçkar Trails, Lycian Way, Independence Trail, St Paul Trail, and Evliya Çelebi Way. These trails offer memorable and vibrant views of Turkey's beautiful landscapes, from the rugged Taurus Mountains to the sands of the southern beaches. Trekkers also get to enjoy unique experiences that range from exploring ancient ruins to appreciating Turkey's rich cultural heritage. Show more

Why is Lycian Way the trail of choice for most hikers in Turkey?

Most hikers prefer the Lycian Way trail when visiting Turkey as it stretches more than 500 km along the southern coast, offering amazing views of Turkey's breathtaking beaches and other beautiful landscapes. It features ancient Roman roads and mosques, hidden Lycian cities' ruins, and a trek up Mount Olympos for mountain climbing enthusiasts. Thanks to numerous entry points, hikers can undertake the whole trail or selected parts. Ultimately, the Lycian Way trail is a unique fusion of historical ruins and the beautiful Turkish sceneries. Show more

What is the optimal time to go on a hiking trip to Turkey?

While it is possible to hike most trails throughout the year, spring and autumn are the optimal seasons. The months from April to June and from October offer hikers the best weather. However, each trail has slightly different recommended seasons. For instance, the Yenice Forest Trail and Independence Trail are best to trek from March to October, while St Paul Trail is best hiked from April through July and then again between September and November. It is best to trek the Kaçkar Trails from July to September. Show more

What are the dangerous animals hikers may encounter while hiking in Turkey?

While hiking in Turkey, hikers should take necessary precautions against certain animals found in remote regions, such as ibexes, wolves, and bears. Nevertheless, animals are seldom seen on the main trails. To avoid confrontation with wild animals, hiking in groups is usually recommended. Hikers should also take additional precautions on less frequented routes. Sticking to wider trails and conducting careful research should help visitors avoid danger when exploring Turkey's wild areas. Show more

What are some of the unique cultural or historical attractions hikers can see in Turkey?

While hiking in Turkey, visitors have the chance to experience numerous historical and cultural highlights that reflect Turkey's rich heritage. For example, the Lycian Way and St Paul Trail offer exploration of hidden ancient Lycian cities’ ruins, while the Kaçkar Trails boast Georgian churches dating back to the tenth century. Independence Trail follows an essential Turkish War of Independence route, while the Evliya Çelebi Way offers opportunities to explore the ancient city of Byzantine and Ottoman ruins. Hikers can also visit the charming historic town of Safranbolu or the ancient stone bridge in Kütahya. Show more

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Authors: Olha Savych