When it comes to Sakarya, the number of people who do not think of Sapanca is very few. In fact, it saddens me that this cute city, which contains many beauties, is known only with Sapanca. (Most people either don’t know Sapanca completely.) Fortunately, I think I can satisfy your curiosity about the region as a local person. Of course, it is not a place that can only be described, you should definitely see these places closely. But before you go, let’s review the places to visit in Sapanca so that you have some idea.
Sapanca Travel Guide
Sapanca, one of the most popular points to escape from the crowd in Istanbul, has a deep-rooted history essentially. Also, I can say that it is called the hidden paradise by a very wide segment. When it comes to the geographical information, the climatic conditions of the region resemble both the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, and this means that the four seasons are beautiful here. I can start with the overflowing streams and talk about the fertile lands of the region. But, there is no need to be swamped with geographical information. When you meet this hidden beauty soon, there is a possibility that you will have forgotten geography already.
How to go to Sapanca?
I guess I don’t need to mention the convenience of transportation by private car. Sapanca takes an average of one and a half hours from Istanbul and only 3 hours from Ankara. So it is in a very easily accessible location for weekend getaways. I have also good news for people who do not have a private car: There are public transportation vehicles that provide access to the district from many points. You can come to Sapanca by minibuses departing from Sakarya center and Izmit center every half hour.
If you are planning to come from Istanbul by bus, you can reach Sapanca by getting off at Berceste (or at SaSa way station if you are traveling in the opposite direction) while moving in the Istanbul-Ankara direction. If you want to have a nostalgic journey and have a different experience, you also have the chance to come to the area by train. Moreover, the number of expeditions is quite frequent.
When to go to Sapanca?
If you want to mingle with the beauties of Sapanca and lose yourself, I recommend you to wait for the spring and summer periods to go to the region. The cold climate of the Marmara Region is known. There is a high rate of precipitation and cold in the winter months. So, you may catch a cold and get sick while wandering. On the other hand, Sapanca is extremely generous in every season in terms of places to visit. There are dozens of things to see here both in summer and in winter. But my advice is that if you do not plan to ski in Kartepe, the spring months are the best time to go to the region, when the harsh cold of winter goes away and the sun smiles. Especially if the trees are starting to grow, the landscape is priceless.
What to do in Sapanca?
There are many activities to do in Sapanca. You can sip your coffee while watching the lake view on the slopes of the mountain and you can get dirty on crazy adventure tracks. I am listing some of the activities that come back to my memory right now:
- Breakfast: I assume that you reach Sapanca in the early hours of the morning by public transportation or your private vehicle. Places in the Kirkpinar Neighborhood or the shores of Sapanca Lake look forward to welcoming you with their unique tastes. (Not a joke, the customer is a benefactor after all.) You can meet with classical tastes such as pancakes or different flavors such as Circassian breakfast. By the way, Circassian breakfast is quite famous in the region.
- Lake Tour: You can join boat trips where you can have romantic and nostalgic moments on the lake. But if you say “I like more active things”, there are different alternatives such as paddle boat and canoe. Let me state this immediately: There is also surfing in the summer months. I think it’s very exciting!
- Bicycle Tour: There is a bicycle, which is a very enjoyable activity for those who say “We experienced the boat, toured the lake, what’s next?”. You can explore new places not only around the lake but also around the streets.
- ATV Tour: There are ATV tours for those who do not like pedaling. Of course, let me remind you that although it is fun, it is a little loud. So, if you miss the ambiance because of the sound of the vehicle, I would be sorry. I think, forget about ATV or something, and ride a bike.
- Paintball: Although I cannot understand why there are so many paintball tracks in Sapanca, if you are traveling with a large group of friends, you may consider adding paintball to your plans.
Where to stay in Sapanca?
It is certain that you will not stay on the street thanks to accommodation options suitable for every budget. There are many options from luxury hotels to classic hostels. (Luxury hotels are quite luxurious, by the way. They are the kind where Arab sheikhs stay.) There are also boutique hotels around the lake where you can stay. In fact, it fascinates people with its wood details.
You can click here to see all rental houses, bungalows and villas in Sapanca. Renting a house on Airbnb offers very affordable prices, especially for crowded visits. Airbnb homes are also very convenient for those who want to enjoy a private environment. As an Airbnb friend, you will have a small contribution to me when you book through this link. Hope you have a great accommodation experience!
Is there a campsite in Sapanca?
There are campsites within the borders of Sapanca near or far from the lake. Some of these areas are paid and some are free. As someone who has experienced both options, I recommend you to prefer paid areas because it is possible to easily meet your electricity and toilet needs in this way. Also keep it under your hat that I do not recommend anyone to hang around comfortably since they beat the rowing team athletes in Sapanca years ago for wearing shorts. I think it is best to be nervous in Sapanca as if there could be danger from anywhere at any moment. (How have I introduced my hometown right now, I hope they won’t beat me either.)
But if you want to do mad things, you can choose free places and entrust yourself to nature. The area is suitable for both tent camping and caravan camps. Sometimes it’s confusing that there’s too many options. There are areas where you can set up free tents on Sapanca Lake and Kirkpinar beach.
Places to visit in Sapanca
I suggest this to those who will come to Sapanca: Take a small walk by the lake in the center of Sapanca and then throw yourself into the loving arms of Kirkpinar without thinking. Kirkpinar is a pleasant neighborhood with beautiful-good people and lots of greenery, where summer house vacationist from Istanbul are the majority. It resembles a European city with its walking paths, green areas and cafes along the Baghdad Street. In fact, those who come here generally tend to liken Kirkpinar to America.
Although the number of highly regulated sites with two-storey houses is high, it is never noticed how many houses there are thanks to afforestation. In Kirkpinar, you can walk, ride a bike, have a rest in cafes, and choose a home for yourself by wandering the streets. (There is really an activity here as choosing a house. It’s a fun activity that you look around and walk around by saying this house is nice, this house is good, I wish this house was mine.)
If you ask me, Kirkpinar and Kurtkoy beaches are much more beautiful than Sapanca beach. There are almost 10 alcoholic and non-alcoholic restaurants on a part of Kirkpinar beach, and in the remaining part, there is a long road where you can walk by the lake. Kurtkoy beach, on the other hand, is a small beach with fewer cafes and two or three places that appeal more to picnickers. I think you should not leave Sapanca without seeing these two locations.
It is not possible to make a list of places to visit in Sapanca and not to mention Otama Kirkpinar. When you come to Kirkpinar, I strongly recommend that you end your walk on Baghdad Street in Otama Kirkpinar’s cute little shop that smells like essential oil and coffee. You can buy natural and additive-free, handmade personal care products, soaps and many other things directly from their carefully prepared workshop, and taste their coffees and healthy snacks. Most importantly, you can meet big-hearted women who run this small shop like a bee.
Sakarya Provincial Forest Nature Park
Sakarya Provincial Forest Nature Park, located on the Sapanca road, 12 km from Sakarya and 5 km from the center of Sapanca, is a place with wide land and active all seasons. You can meet all your needs from the cafes, restaurants and buffets located in the nature park. There are also bungalow houses if you want to stay in the park where you can benefit from opportunities such as bike and ATV rental, and trying sports such as archery.
Where are there to visit near Sapanca?
If you have finished the list of places to visit in Sapanca, now we can move on to the places around. There are many places around Sapanca that you can go in 30-50 minutes. You can see them from the article “Places to Visit in Sakarya“, but here I will talk about some of the places that you can easily reach in 10-15 minutes.
Although it is known as Kocaeli (Whatever it means, “Although it is known as Kocaeli”. It is directly connected to Kocaeli, but I am trying to add Masukiye to the Sakarya provincial border on the sly), Masukiye, a part of which is in Sakarya, is very close distance to the region. While you lose yourself in the sounds of the waterfall in Masukiye, you can come alive with a delicious village breakfast.
If you come to Sapanca in winter, you should definitely stop by Kartepe. Kartepe Ski Center is a very suitable center for a pleasant ski tour. You can click here to get detailed information about Kartepe Ski Center. If you come in summer, stop by Kartepe anyway, because as you climb the hill, your journey is accompanied by magnificent views.
Kuzuyayla and Sogucak Plateau
Especially in summer, you can stop by Kuzuyayla and Sogucak Plateau and enjoy nature.