Living in Istanbul is full of surprises. This city probably never sleeps and sometimes to follow its rythm can be exhausting. In summer time, many Istanbulites escape to nearby beaches in Kilyos, Şile or to a Princes Islands. By saying many, I actually mean MANY. Beaches, roads and ferries are often very kalabalık on the weekends, so the water might cool you down, but does not take away the stress.
So how can one really escape Istanbul?
Sometimes surprisingly easy, you just need to go off the beaten path. And last Friday, despite being an official holiday, we have found a very peaceful, isolated, refreshing and green oasis just two hours ride from the city. You cannot believe it, right? Then continue reading.
First things First: The Kahvaltı
Serindere Canyon is located in Kocaeli, about 130 km from Istanbul. With a private car it will take approximately 2 hours to reach Serindere Canyon.
If you are not on my blog for the first time, then you probably know, that I love (and share the love of) Turkish breakfast. Despite the fact that the canyon is not really far away from Istanbul, one still needs energy for the adventure. You can start your water adventures already before reaching Serindere Canyon. Sakli Vadi is located approximately 40 minutes before you reach the canyon, very close to the Yuvacik Dam. Though breakfast prices are a big high (50tl/person for serpme breakfast; 20tl for menemen), it can be a nice start of your trip.
Once you cross the Yuvacik Dam, you will continue the road among the green countryside (probably reminding yourself of natural beauties, which actually still exist on the outskirts of Istanbul’s concrete jungle). You can park a car quite close to the river.
Before embarking this adventure, be sure that you are wearing proper shoes and clothes. Most of your hike will actually be in the water, or next to it. You will have to find a safe and not slippery path along the canyon. If you are not ready for it, then I advise you to walk to the first waterfall, which is very close to the starting point. The area close to the waterfall is also a very popular area for local picnickers. If you decide to have a picnic, please don’t forget that you are in nature, so don’t leave trash in the forest, or do not throw it in the river.
Discovering the canyon can take hours. And, despite being difficult at the times, it is extremely beautiful: clean water and million shades of green under the blue sky. Even though water is a bit fresh, don’t miss the opportunity to swim in one of the natural pools along the way. There are supposed to be 9 waterfalls in the canyon (I guess we have seen “only” 3).
KEEP IN MIND: Route is not marked and there are not many people hiking there. Phone signal is also very poor. Be safe and enjoy this beauty.