Carved by the Hand of Nature: 9 Canyons in Türkiye
Ready to feed the adrenaline junkie in you? Below is a list of some of the most spectacular and most popular canyons in Türkiye – all are ideal destinations to add a touch of nature’s beauty to your trip.
A nature park that spans Uşak’s Ulubey and Karahallı districts, Ulubey Canyon is the second largest in the world, coming after the Grand Canyon in the United States. A suitable habitat for several animal and plant species, the canyon has in time developed into an ecotourism center. It is ideal for hiking, trekking, and camping. There are several landmarks near the canyon that are worth discovering, such as Cilandiras Bridge, the rock-cut tombs of Duraklı, the monuments at Hasköy, the ancient cities of Pepuza and Blaundus, and Salma Creek. Banaz Creek, which is located inside the canyon, offers opportunities for rafting, and the canyon itself is excellent for climbing.
There is also a glass observation deck to take in the astonishing landscape. A café of 302 square meters is also available to make the most of this incredible canyon.
Believed to be the second deepest canyon in the world, Valla Canyon is located in the Pınarbaşı district of Kastamonu. By virtue of its natural beauty and incredible geography, the canyon is excellent for nature sports. If you are into rock climbing or trekking, or perhaps both, be sure to visit and experience this phenomenal natural formation which was formed when the Devrekani Creek wore out Küre Mountains. The valley is also notable for its rich fauna, being home to several avian predators like eagles and vultures. This is why it is restricted to enter a large section of the canyon without suitable clothing, and sports and trekking is only permitted in specific sections. Like Ulubey Canyon, there’s an observation deck here that you definitely shouldn’t miss!
Situated near Mount Hasan and Mount Melendiz, Nevşehir’s Ihlara Valley is a canyon that is believed to have hosted more than 4,000 homes and several cave churches throughout history. This comes as little surprise to us as the Kapadokya region, where the canyon is located, is world-famous for its rock-hewn structures.
Excellent for trekking and hiking with its vineyards, poplars, and pistachio trees, the valley will soothe your mind with the reverberating sound of Melendiz River’s rampant waters. You should not omit visiting the cave churches here all of which are decorated with amazing frescoes. There are some restaurants located near Belisırma, one of the valley’s several entrances – these are ideal for lunch after having tired yourself with all the outdoor activities available across the valley.
Türkiye’s city of Muğla is home to a canyon that’s already become a tourist hotspot. With depths reaching up to 30 meters, Saklıkent is amongst the world’s deepest canyons and comes packed with several steep cliffs, waterfalls, and a total of 16 amazing caves. To enter this natural landscape, which has been declared a natural park, you’ll have to walk over a bridge, and a huge, 10-meter-deep crevice will welcome you and lure you into discovering this amazing canyon. Due to its high cliffs and sculpted walls soaring to great heights, there’s little to no light inside the gorge. This is why in Turkish it is known as “Saklıkent,” meaning “hidden city.”
Be sure to visit the ancient ruins of Tlos and eat at one of the fresh trout restaurants nearby. The restaurants here are set upon wooden platforms suspended above the rushing waters of the river – in other words, something as simple as lunch will make your trip to Saklıkent unforgettable!
Köprülü Canyon stretches along the Köprü River and is a popular destination for adrenaline junkies. Home to a national park that bears the same name, the canyon is an ideal spot to enjoy rafting in the safest way possible. Located in Antalya’s Manavgat district, it is also excellent for rock climbing and camping.
Köprülü Canyon National Park has a rich flora and fauna, and is home to several pine, black pine, cedar, fir, and oak varieties, and endemic and endangered animal species. It also hosts the largest cypress forest in Asia Minor. Parts of St. Paul Trail nd the ancient city of Selge also fall within the borders of the national park.
Karanlık Canyon, meaning literally “Dark Canyon” in Turkish, is a steep-sided canyon located near the city of Erzincan. It was formed by the Karasu River on what have been called the Munzur Mountains and is excellent for canyoning and canoeing. In fact, the “Euphrates Route,” which stretches along Karanlık Canyon, was cited among the Top 10 European canoeing routes by a magazine dealing with water sports.
The canyon’s rough and ruggid terrain make the roads here quite challenging for driving – and the perfect destiantion for adveturous, adrenalin-loving drivers. In fact, sections of the road here are deemed even more dangerous than the famous Guoliang Tunnel in China.
Stretching on a large area that falls in southwestern Türkiye’s Aydın, Denizli, and Muğla provincial borders, Arapapıştı Canyon is one of the most visited spots of the Turkish Aegeanegion. Also known as İnceğiz Canyon, it offers beautiful boat tours that are ideal for a city break. Formed by the waters of the Akçay River, the canyon provides a boost to the local economy. The canyon is also notable for its rare wildlife which includes eagles, wild goats, and boars.
Situated east of Antalya’s Alanya district, some 40 kilometers from Alanya, Sapadere Canyon is a rugged canyon that is home to a waterfall and clear pools that are popular among swimmers. Its shades of green and layers of rock are truly captivating.
If you find yourself at this perfect getaway, which is particularly loved by those who want to cool off from the summer heat, be sure to walk around the village of Sapadere, admire its beautiful water mill and silk-weaving ateliers, and taste the delicious fresh trout available in the nearby restaurants.
Cehennem Deresi Canyon
One of the world’s few canyon valleys, Cehennem Deresi is probably the most popular canyon of Türkiye’s Black Sea region. Located in the city of Artvin, the canyon was declared a national park and is equipped with wooden stairs to add to the overall fun. It’s famed primarily for being the second-highest canyon in the world, following Arizona’s Grand Canyon, and is excellent for nature sports like hiking and trekking.