THE BLACK SEA & BEYOND
Turkey’s Black Sea coast is not an obvious destination for most visitors to the country. From the coastal population centers of Trabzon and Rize up into the mountains to find medieval castles, precipitous waterfalls, alpine villages, and an incredible culture and cuisine that differs substantially from what you see in Istanbul and the rest of the country.
The main attraction for travellers of the Black Sea coast might be the water but, as most soon realise, the real stars of the show are the region’s soaring mountains. Rising to almost 4000 metres, the Pontic and Koroglu mountains keep the Black Sea coast wetter and greener than any other region in the country. This means they are able to support some of Europe’s only temperate rainforest, as well as the vast stone fruit and nut orchards for which the Black Sea region is famous throughout Turkey.
The mountains create a spectacularly lush backdrop to the string of seaside settlements at their base. Soaring cliffs run along the coast giving the region an almost Nordic feeling – even in summer, waterfalls sprout through the greenery and rolling clouds of mist tumble down the cliff faces.
As well as being an attraction in their own right (the hinterland is home to some of Turkey’s most appealing and unspoilt villages), the mountains have had the effect of giving the locals a culture distinct from anywhere else in the country. Black Sea food, for instance, is arguably the best in Turkey.