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Black Sea Coast of Turkey

Last Updated on April 22, 2024

Do you like nature, greenery, and rain? Alpine forests? Tea plantations? Billions of hazelnuts? The world's oldest cherry orchards? Then, the Black Sea region (Karadeniz) is your perfect destination.

Turkey's Black Sea coast, covering most of the country's northern coast (map), is surprising in many ways.

The land is green from plentiful rain, thanks to the region's high elevation and rainfall rate, but as a result, the sky is often gray. So, the Black Sea coast is never crowded because cloudy days are more common than sunny days, and the sea water is chilly. 

But that's fine for those who look for outdoor adventure and who come here for a few days to get off the beaten track and enjoy the lush greenery of the mountain slopes.

Top Destinations

The Black Sea region is not well-known for its preserved history, with fewer historic sites compared to the country's other regions. However, the scenery you can find here is unique to a number of places in the world. Plus, you can find ancient sites scattered around the coast if you don't mind the distance. 

Eastern Karadeniz

Eastern Karadeniz is the most beautiful section of the Black Sea region, with beautiful scenery, trees, valleys, and natural wonders. The area is also full of historic sites and structures left by the ancient people who lived there. 

Trabzon

Famous in ancient times as Trebizond, modern Trabzon has also buried much of its past beneath modern concrete, but enough interesting places remain to reward a visit. Trabzon makes the best base for explorations of the eastern Black Sea shores and mountains as the local hub for the region.

Unless you have a special interest in some aspect of Black Sea coast history, hazelnuts, or cherries, we suggest you fly to Trabzon, the coast's prime destination, and use that as your base for further explorations.

Here, you can see the Fatih Mosque (Panagia Khrysokephalos church), Hagia Sophia of Trabzon (Aya Sofya), Kaymaklı and Kızlar monasteries, and the famous Sümela Monastery, rivaling no other in Turkey. The city is also a good base for several hiking destinations and valleys.

Giresun

Giresun is a well-developed city in the Black Sea region with some tourist sites. Also, its history is illustrious, as this is where the Romans discovered cherries and spread them around the world, but it is important to note Giresun harbors little of Roman Cerasus.

Here, you can visit the beautiful Kuzalan Nature Park with Blue Lake, Giresun Castle, and Giresun Island, also known as the legendary Aretiasa Island, which is believed to have been habituated by Amazons in the past.

Rize

While there are no noticeable historical sites in Rize, in the center of Turkey's tea-growing region, you can easily visit Rize from Trabzon to see the tea plantations, rivaling those in Vietnam, climbing the steep hillsides of the Pontic mountains.

Here, you can visit the Ziraat Tea Garden and Rize Castle, built in the 6th century.

Artvin

Artvin is a beautiful city built next to the Chorokhi River, creating stunning scenery for visitors to see. 

Here, you can see Mençuna Waterfall, Double Bridge, Karagol Lake, İşhani Church, and Tbeti Monastery.

Hopa

This transport town near the eastern end of Turkey's Black Sea coast has grown exponentially since the opening of the Turkish-Georgian border-crossing point at Sarp. Hopa is where you turn right and climb the mountains to reach Artvin, Kars, the Kaçkar Mountains, and Erzurum, but it has little else to hold you.

Western Karadeniz 

While there are few historical sites in Western Karadeniz compared to the Eastern part, it is full of scenery views, mountains, lakes, and beautiful coastal cities. 

Zonguldak

There is little to see in Zonguldak, founded in 1849 as the port for shipping coal from nearby mines. Today, it is still a gritty industrial town.

Here, you can visit the Mining Museum, Varagele Tunnel, and Gökgöl Caves. 

Amasra

Not to be confused with the similarly named inland town of Amasya, Amasra is a historic small town on a dramatic promontory that is well off the beaten track. Popular with Turkish vacationers, it makes sense to visit if you're also planning to visit Safranbolu.

Here, you can see Amasra Museum, Amasra Castle, and the small beaches around. 

Sinop

Sinop, the most northerly town on Turkey's Black Sea coast, has had strategic importance since ancient times. It has mighty stone walls and several old mosques to visit.

Here, you can see Sinop Fortress, the statue of the Greek philosopher Diogenes, Alaaddin Mosque, İnceburun Lighthouse, Balatlar Church, and more.

Kastamonu

Kastamonu is a historical coastal city located in the Western Black Sea region. It has canyons, mosques, and natural wonders. 

Here, you can see Ilıca Waterfall, Nasrullah Mosque, Valla Canyon, Kastamonu Museum, and Kastomonu Clock Tower and Castle.

Central Karadeniz

Central Karadeniz can be considered the balanced division of the Black Sea region with beautiful nature and few historical sites to visit along the way. 

Samsun

Samsun, the largest city on Turkey's Black Sea coast, is a big, bustling, modern, congested, concrete city extending for kilometers along the Black Sea coast. With lots of services, hotels, intercity buses, and an airport but little to see, Samsun can be an overnight stop if you're driving long distances.

Here, you can see the many museums of the city, such as the Gazi Museum, Archaeology and Ethnographic Museum, Samsun City Museum, and some others.

Amasya

Amasya is another beautiful hillside city in the Black Sea region. It is full of history and authentic buildings lining alongside the river and rock tombs on the hill facing the city. 

Here, you can see King Rock Tombs, Sultan II. Beyazit Mosque & Theological College, Amaasya Museum of Archeology, Amasya Castle and Citadel.

Ordu

Another hazelnut-growing town, Ordu, is a port that has some pleasant seaside parks and a few historic buildings, such as the Taşbaşı church, but not much else to hold you long.

Here, you can see the Old Town of Ordu, the Ordu cable car going up to Boztepe, and Yason Chruch (Cape Jason).

Ünye

This smallish coastal town concentrates on growing, processing, and selling hazelnuts (filberts, fındık).

About the Hazelnuts

It's likely that the hazelnuts/filberts in your Nutella, chocolate bar, or hazelnut-flavored coffee come from Turkey's Black Sea coast. In 2014, Turkey exported more than 252,500 tons of hazelnuts to over 110 countries, meeting 70% of world demand and earning US$2.3 billion.

Also here, fat dairy cattle munch lush grass and produce the country's best milk and butter. Fresh sardines are a delicacy.

Black Sea Coast Tours

Efendi Travel, a TurkeyTravelPlanner.com partner, organizes special Black Sea Coast tours, including tours guided in Arabic.

 

—by Tom Brosnahan, updated by Can Turan

Read More:

Eastern Turkey & Black Sea Coast

Amasra

Sinop

Samsun

Giresun

Trabzon

Hotels in Trabzon, Turkey

Transport for Trabzon, Turkey

Ayder

Central Anatolia

Eastern Turkey

Where to Go in Turkey

 

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