We occasionally go on trips with my family during the holidays in Turkey. Sometimes outside of the country, but this time, mainly because of the recent exchange rates between lira and euro/dollar, we decided to stay in Turkey. We haven`t visited the Black Sea region in Turkey, and as it isn`t far from Istanbul, we decided to visit Küre Mountains National Park.
My family hit the road with our car from my hometown Adana in the morning of the day I arrived in Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport. As I have missed my first flight at 7 am from Berlin, we started our travel a day later on Sunday, after spending the night in Istanbul.
We put up our tent the first night around the village called Hacilli (close to Istanbul district Agva). As my parents never really did camping before, it was supposed to be a trial day, so we did not travel very far.
My family was suprised in Hacilli that there were no toilets and cellphone service :). For me these are the requirements of camping but luckily they also got used to that fast. So we could spend time together without the internet and technology. This is the point of camping!
As I told, this was the first real camping experience for my family. Out of lack of experience, they have packed as if they were going to picnic next to the Seyhan Lake in Adana :). My mum even brought a pressure cooker! At the end of our journey, we even did some halva and gave it to our camping neighbours!
In the utopic planning in my head, we would be able to travel all the way to Trabzon, maybe even Artvin. At the end we had our car and 9 days, right?
Of course nothing went according to my initial plans. We had to unpack everything in order to pack back our stuff like tetris game. Which took lots of time.
As my mum brought many equipments and ingredients to cook, we had to use them. Which also takes lots of time. Therefore we minimized our target and decided to stay around the Küre Mountains National Park.
I have realized how good of a decision it was to go and stay there!
Because of the bad pavements of the roads, some parts of the park is barely reachable with a passenger car. Maybe with a SUV or 4×4 would have been better. There is no designated camping areas marked by the administration of the camp and during summer we have been warned that the wild life activity is quite high.
Due to our fear against bears :) and not wanting to be far from fresh water again, we decided to camp in a point where some of the services like toilets and showers exist. We have discovered this small camping/bungalow housing area called “Parkilica” close to the Ilica Waterfall. On the internet there is few information about the place, so I am going to try to explain the details about the camping area.
Park Ilica is run buy a very friendly family. They charge 50 liras per tent and 110 liras per person if you decide to stay in the bungalows. If you stay in the bungalows then you also get breakfast from them. If not, you are responsible of your own food. The website of the place is here (be aware that the pictures on the website are old).
You can reach to the Ilica Waterfall from the camping place with a 20 minutes easy hike. The Canyons of Horma and Valla are 15 km away from Parkilica. For those places you have to have a car with you. (I saw some taxis around but I have no idea how much they charge and if they bring you up to the viewing points).
Make sure you have enough food for the duration of your stay there. There is no supermarket or grocery store anywhere close :). You can buy your food from the town of Pinarbasi which is 11 km away from Ilica.
I have been told that Valla Canyon is the second deepest canyon in the world. You follow a unpaved way for 15 km in order to reach the viewing point. I can assure you that it worths the trouble! The view is just stunning! If you decide to hike, there are some paths but some parts are only for people with experience and right equipment. I heard that they are connecting some canyons to each other with some marked hiking paths but construction of the paths are still ongoing. As it was hard to hike with my parents, I could not really discover the hiking trails of Küre. I would like to go there again and discover that another time :)
After staying 2 days in Park Ilica, we decided to go and discover the Black Sea beaches. I have heard a lot from my friends that there is a bay called Gideros close to the town of Cide. It was going to be our last destination. There is a mountain way through the park, but the quality of it is too low. Even it is shorter, it takes longer. That`s why we decided to drive back to Pinarbasi and take the way through Azdavay to Cide.
Close to Azdavay we have visited another must-see of the national park: Catak Canyon. As usual the ways were unpaved but the view is worth your while. They even build a skywalk on the canyon which might be scary for many. The skywalk is a perfect example of turkish planning. They finished it before even starting to fix the 10 km road until the viewing point :)
Catak is less scary in comparison to Valla but due to vegetation being thicker, it provides a great scene to enjoy.
In comparison to where I am from in Turkey (Adana) it was suprising to see that this kind of thick forest exists in Turkey too! I have seen it often in Germany but I did not expect it in Turkey. Another part that suprised me was lack of flat land. It looked like all the houses were hanging from some cliffs! Of course the guest-friendliness of the Black Sea folk is also worth mentioning.
If you feel in need of more tips and tricks, you can leave a comment. I try to answer all of them as soon as I see them :)
You can read my post about Cide and Gideros through this link.
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed it!