The national parks in Turkey offer many fun activities and stunning landscapes, yet many people don't think about visiting them. Often overlooked by gleaming beaches of the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, the Turkish national parks are another world within themselves. Nature parks provide opportunities to connect with the natural world and experience outdoor beauty and tranquillity. They feature ecosystems and various plant and animal species to observe wildlife in their natural habitats and learn about conservation and biodiversity.
Nature parks in Turkey also offer numerous recreational activities like hiking, biking, mountain climbing, camping, fishing, birdwatching, and more. Some nature parks also have cultural and historical significance, featuring archaeological sites, ancient ruins, or cultural heritage to explore and appreciate. Let's not forget the family and social activities, conservation and environmental awareness. These parks truly reflect authentic escapes from urban life, so let's look at where to go in Turkey and what you should know.
National Parks of Turkey
1: Aladağlar National Park – The Gem of Turkey
Aladağlar National Park, also called Aladağlar Milli Parkı in Turkish, covers 550 square kilometres in the Niğde and Kayseri provinces of Turkey. Renowned for rugged mountain landscapes, diverse flora and fauna, and numerous outdoor recreational opportunities, Aladağlar National Park attracts hikers, climbers, and nature enthusiasts from around Turkey. The central feature is the Aladağlar Massif, a rugged and impressive mountain range characterised by limestone peaks, deep valleys, and steep cliffs. Aladağlar Massif is the highest point, with Demirkazık Peak as the tallest peak at approximately 3,756 metres (12,323 feet).
Aside from meadows and bird species, a vast network of hiking trails varies in difficulty, catering to hikers of all levels. One popular route include the trek to Demirkazık Peak. Aladağlar, a renowned rock-climbing destination in Turkey, attracts climbers of all skill levels, and offers unique opportunities to witness the natural beauty of the anti-Taurus Mountains, whether you're an experienced mountaineer or simply looking to immerse in breathtaking landscapes and rich biodiversity.
2: Beautiful landscapes in Lake Beyşehir National Park
Lake Beyşehir, covering 33,782 hectares and also called Beyşehir Gölü Milli Parkı in Turkish, is in the Konya Province of central Turkey. This national park encompasses Lake Beyşehir, Turkey's third-largest freshwater lake, and surrounding landscapes. Boating on or hiking through nature trails is popular. However, like many other national parks, watch for the wild boar.
The lake, fed by several rivers and streams, including the Kızılırmak River, is essential for birdlife, with various bird species using the lake as a stopover during migrations or as nesting and breeding sites. Vegetation includes reeds, rushes, and aquatic plants, as well as surrounding forests of pine and oak trees. Wildlife includes waterfowl, fish species, and various mammals, like wild boars.
Outdoor activities include birdwatching, boating and fishing, hiking and picnicking, and photography. Lake Beyşehir also has historical significance, with archaeological sites, ancient ruins, and historical artefacts that date back to various civilisations, including Phrygians and Romans.
3: Hiking Trails in Nemrut Dağı National Park
Mount Nemrut, located in southeastern Turkey, is home to remarkable archaeological and historical sites. Known as Nemrut Dağı National Park, stone carvings date from the 1st century BC, during the reign of King Antiochus I of Commagene.
Mount Nemrut is historically significant because of the massive funerary complex by King Antiochus I (69–34 BC). He built this complex to honour himself and the gods by placing colossal statues and reliefs at the summit. The complex blends Greek, Persian, and Armenian influences. Visitors often trek up to the summit of Mount Nemrut to witness the breathtaking sunrise and sunset views. The sun rising or setting behind the statues creates a magical ambience.
In 1987, Nemrut Dağı National Park became Turkey's UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park, in the Adıyaman Province of Turkey, is near Kahta town. Visitors reach the summit via steep and winding roads to the parking area and then climb on foot to reach the statues.
4: Spectacular Landscapes of Goreme National Park
Goreme National Park is one of Turkey's most famous tourist destinations. Located in central Anatolia, the park features incredible fairy chimneys from rock formations dating back millions of years. Enjoy activities like trekking in the valleys, exploring underground cities, and visiting the Goreme Open Air Museum, featuring 14th-century churches. Mountain biking, horseback riding, and jeep tours are also popular activities.
You will find unusual landscapes in Goreme in central Cappadocia. This park is one of Europe's most extraordinary national parks, and unique landscapes and formations draw visitors from across the globe. You'll see rock mushrooms, domes, chimneys and pyramids. Also, enjoy early morning hot air balloon rides, which are one of the top recommended things to do in Turkey.
5: Beautiful Views in Köprülü Canyon National Park
Köprülü Canyon lies in southwest Anatolia near Antalya province. The spectacular nature reserves with the deepest canyons, deep gorges, and lush forests are a playground for outdoor activities like rafting, camping, trekking, and mountain biking. Covering approximately 366 square kilometres (141 square miles), the central attraction is Köprülü Canyon, which was formed by the Köprüçay River (Köprülü River). The canyon, with striking limestone walls, gorges, and emerald-green waters, stretches for 14 kilometres (9 miles) and is famous for rafting and kayaking.
Köprülü Canyon's outdoor activities make the park a paradise for adventure seekers in Turkey. The Köprüçay River offers exhilarating whitewater rafting and kayaking opportunities, attracting enthusiasts of all skill levels. Jeep safari tours also showcase rugged terrains of natural beauty. Vegetation includes pine forests, juniper trees, and Mediterranean shrubs, while wildlife includes wild goats, boars, and various bird species. Many tour operators offer excursions and activities here.
6: Beydağları Coastal National Park and Mount Tahtali
Beydağları Coastal National Park along the Mediterranean coast of southwestern Turkey protects habitats like rocky cliffs, lagoons, wetlands, and many bird species. The park boasts of rich flora varieties and migrating birds in spring. Visitors enjoy bird watching and hiking along trails that lead to stunning views of the Aegean Sea.
Mount Tahtalı, also called Tahtalı Dağı in Turkish, is a prominent mountain in Beydaglari national park. Tourists ride the cable car to the summit to see for miles over the coastline and Taurus Mountain range. Mount Tahtali is easily reached from most towns and villages in the Antalya area. The elevation of 2,365 metres (7,759 feet) above sea level makes it one of the tallest peaks. While there, also take time out to enjoy the nearby Phaselis beach and ruins.
7: Munzur Valley National Park
Munzur Valley National Park in the Tunceli Province of eastern Turkey earns fame for natural beauty, ecosystems, and cultural significance. Sitting in the Munzur Mountains, the park encompasses 425 square kilometres (164 square miles) and features dramatic and varied landscapes with rugged mountains, deep valleys, dense forests, meadows, and pristine rivers. The Munzur River, which flows through the park, has crystal-clear waters and is a vital water source.
The park's forests comprise conifers, oaks, beech trees, and other native species. Wildlife includes brown bears, wild goats, lynx, wolves, and numerous bird species, making the park perfect for wildlife enthusiasts in Turkey. Visitors can camp for an immersive experience in nature or book hotels in nearby towns and villages for more comfortable lodging options.
8: Dilek Peninsula-Büyük Menderes National Park
Dilek Peninsula National Park in western Turkey near Kusadasi is home to an impressive variety of wildlife and plant species, amazing views, and some classic Greek ruins from the fourth century BC. Visitors enjoy mountain biking, trekking, and camping. The park also has several bird species that migrate here in summer. Watch out for resident boars who don't like it if you get too close to their babies. There are two beaches to relax on and designated roads to drive into the park's heart. Expect fantastic sea views and visit the nearby Zeus cave for refreshing swims there.
9: Yedigöller National Park
Yedigöller National Park, also called Seven Lakes National Park, is a natural reserve in the Bolu Province of Turkey. This park boasts pristine beauty, amazing views, lush forests, and seven interconnected lakes with unique characteristics and charm. The park's name, Yedigöller, translates to "Seven Lakes" in Turkish, named after the seven glacial lakes that are the central attraction. These lakes are Seringöl, Büyükgöl, Deringöl, Nazlıgöl, İncegöl, Sazlıgöl, and Küçükgöl.
Each lake has its distinct size, depth, and character, surrounded by lush forests and vegetation. The reflection of surrounding trees and mountains on the calm lake surfaces, particularly during the fall when the leaves change colour, creates breathtaking sights. Yedigöller provides camping and picnicking facilities for those who want to immerse themselves in nature. In addition to hiking and camping, activities include fishing, swimming (in designated areas), and photography. The national park, easily accessible from Bolu and other nearby towns, is famous for day trips and longer stays.
10: Scenic Views from Bursa Uludağ National Park
Uludağ, in the Bursa province of northwestern Turkey, is most notably famed for the skiing opportunities in winter. Stretching across 13,908 hectares (139 square kilometres) the park, centred around Uludağ Mountain, was called Mount Olympus in ancient times. Uludağ, the highest mountain in the Marmara region, with its highest peak, Kartaltepe, reaching an elevation of 2,543 metres (8,343 feet), features beautiful alpine plateaus and wildflowers.
Wildlife includes brown bears, wolves, lynx, wild boars, and numerous bird species. Uludağ's recreational activities include hiking, trekking, skiing, picnicking, camping, and mountain biking. Well-maintained hiking trails lead to various viewpoints and natural attractions. Uludağ is one of Turkey's premier skiing destinations, with several ski resorts and well-developed infrastructure for winter sports. Skiing and snowboarding are popular during winter, attracting local and international visitors.
Reach the summit of Uludağ Mountain by taking cable cars (teleferics) from Bursa. These cable cars provide stunning panoramic views of surrounding landscapes. Uludağ also has cultural significance in Turkish history and mythology and has been mentioned in ancient texts. It was called Mount Olympus in ancient Bithynia and was associated with mythological figures like Zeus and Heracles.
11. Kazdagi National Park for Nature Lovers in Turkey
Kazdagi National Park, also called Mount Ida National Park, is a pristine natural reserve in the Çanakkale Province of Turkey. Natural springs and waterfalls like Hasan Boğuldu and Sutüven offer refreshing spots to cool off and enjoy the serene sounds of flowing water. Aside from that, also enjoy stunning landscapes, vibrant colours, and ever-changing natural beauty. Spectacular scenery provides ample opportunities for photography.
Many visitors come to Kazdağı to experience healing properties of natural hot springs, which are believed to have various health benefits. Kazdağı's rich history links to Greek mythology. According to legend, the mountain was the scene of the famous beauty contest between the goddesses Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. Reach the national park from Edremit and nearby Çanakkale. The proximity to these urban centres makes this park convenient for travellers.
12. Altin Besik Cave National Park
Altınbeşik Cave, also known as Altınbeşik Mağarası Milli Parkı in Turkish, is in the southwestern Antalya Province of Turkey. Altınbeşik Cave National Park in the Köprüçay Valley, near the town of Ibradi in the Antalya Province of Turkey, is part of the larger Köprülü Canyon National Park, with rugged terrain, canyons, and rivers.
The centrepiece is Altınbeşik Cave, one of Turkey's largest and most impressive. The cave's stunning formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, and underground lakes, create surreal and beautiful subterranean landscapes. Also, explore parts on guided tours, typically lasting around 45 minutes to an hour.
The 2.5-kilometre cave consists of various chambers and passages. On the underground lake inside the cave, take boat trips on the lake to further explore the cave's interior. The temperature inside the cave remains relatively constant throughout the year, providing incredible retreats during the hot summer months. Reach the park via the road from Ibradi and other nearby towns and cities in the Antalya region.
13: Kackar Mountains National Park and Alpine Villages of Turkey
Kaçkar Mountains National Park, called Kaçkar Dağları Milli Parkı in Turkish, is in northeast Turkey, near the Georgian border. This park boasts rugged terrain, alpine landscapes, diverse flora and fauna, and opportunities for outdoor adventures. This landscape is a stark difference to the southern and western beaches. Expect green from every direction you look in.
As a subrange of the Pontic Mountains (Karaçam Mountain Range), covering 51,600 hectares (516 square kilometres). the Kaçkar Mountains feature several prominent peaks, including Kaçkar Peak (3,937 metres or 12,920 feet) and Kaçkar Dağı (3,912 metres or 12,832 feet), making them some of the highest peaks in Turkey. Landscapes are characterised by deep valleys, glacial lakes, and extensive alpine meadows.
Beautiful glacial lakes include Karagöl, Şimşirli Göl, and Palovit Gölü. These lakes are stunningly clear and surrounded by picturesque landscapes. The Kaçkar Mountains are highly favoured by mountaineers and climbers. The challenging terrain and high peaks attract climbers from Turkey and abroad.
14: Mount Ararat National Park for Biblical Connections
Last on our list of national parks in Turkey, with over 88,000 hectares, Mount Ararat National Park is huge. It has biblical connections, as the believed resting place of Noah's ark. Very few mountains are taller than Mount Ararat, a cliff formed by a now dormant volcano. Much of Ararat is perpetually snow-covered. The park has many different facets, depending on what area you visit. The mountain has two peaks, Great Ararat and Little Ararat. Read more about Mount Ararat and the story of Noah.
Common Questions about Parks in Turkey
How Many National Parks Does Turkey Have?
Altogether, there are 44 national parks in Turkey. The first national park, Yozgat Pine forest was given protected status in 1958. All 44 parks are run by the General Directorate of Forestry branch of the Turkish government. If your passion is to explore the parks of Turkey, head to the Antalya province because they are home to five, the most amount in Turkey. Having said that, Mount Ararat is the highest park covering the most amount of area.
What is the Most Famous Park in Turkey?
The answer will vary depending on who you speak to. The most visited is the Goreme national park, however Mount Ararat earns fame as being the supposed resting place of Noah’s ark.
Also About Turkey
Nature Spots near Istanbul: If you are planning a trip to Istanbul, you will be delighted to know there are many nature spots nearby, despite it being Turkey's largest city. While famed for urban living in Turkey, Istanbul is also home to a few well-kept secrets where you can escape and enjoy being at home with nature.
More Beautiful Places in Turkey: Of course, if you want to see beautiful places, you don’t have to go to the national parks of Turkey. This country surprises many with the beautiful towns, villages and natural landmarks. We look at beaches, places of Mother Nature and also Historical regions that make up the stunning list of places to visit in Turkey.
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