Concerts, exhibitions, parties, dinners, workshops, films, festivals…the city has endless options and opportunities for a lively social life. But now and again we feel the need to get away from it all, to immerse ourselves in nature, to leave everything behind for a few days and just be in silence. If this sounds like a great idea to you, check out our list of nearby getaways and treat yourself to a nature retreat sometime soon.
Abant & Yedigöller: Located within less than 2 hours of each other, both Yedigöller and Abant have natural parks that will refresh your urban self. Abant Gölü Tabiat Parkı is quite large with a walking route around the lake. However, the best way to enjoy the park is to go there with someone who knows the forest so that you can walk inside it instead of on the track next to it. Same goes for Yedigöller Milli Parkı. Both are very popular spots, less so in colder months, but if you want to enjoy the forest without the crowds, go as early as possible. It takes approximately 3 hours to get to Abant and another 2 hours to get to Yedigöller by car so you can do a 2 or 3-day trip that covers both parks.
Ağva: Located on the coast of the Black Sea, Ağva is a popular spot both for romantic and family getaways from the city, especially during the spring and summer. We suggest you go during the off-season when you’ll have the area pretty much to yourself. You can take a boat ride along the river that runs through and then head to the beach where there is absolutely nothing but the sea, the sand, and the wind – a perfect spot to meditate. The forest here is magical - make sure you find a local who will show you the way. Ağva is only 2 hours away from Istanbul and offers many accommodation options.
Sapanca: This is a destination that allows you to mix nature with luxury. Choose among the many comfy accommodation options, and maybe go for one that comes with a spa! Walk or bike around the Sapanca Lake or paddle on it. Head over to Maşukiye to enjoy the waterfall and a peaceful hike among trees. Sapanca is only 2 hours from Istanbul so you can either do a daytrip or spend the weekend there.
Heybeliada: If you don’t have a car and want to get to the closest calm spot without spending too much time or money, head over to Heybeliada, our favorite of the Princes Islands. It’s very serene, especially during the off-season, and you can bike or walk around the island and store some much needed clean air in your system. Mavi Restaurant by the ferry stop could be the perfect end to your day.