The Turkish Black Sea is listed on “The Best Places to Visit in 2024” List
Türkiye’s stunning coastal Black Sea Region has been ranked among CNN Travel’s The Best Places to Visit in 2024, the annual list published to present different perspectives to travel enthusiasts. In the north of Türkiye, the crescent-shaped Black Sea Region and its coasts were lauded for their unique geography and climate, historical sites, hidden routes – and delicious tea.
A Nature and History Route in Türkiye
Featuring lush emerald mountain slopes and a coastline bordering a deep blue sea, the Black Sea Region of Türkiye is one of the country’s hidden gems, waiting to be discovered with its rich cultural heritage, natural beauties, and various activities. The Black Sea’s winding coastline is notable for having some of the most scenic roads in Türkiye.
A trip along the region’s long coast offers the opportunity to explore ancient fortifications, unique beaches, and quiet fishing villages by the harbour. An ideal route for cycling enthusiasts, the Black Sea appeals to adventure lovers with its emerald forests, dramatic waterfalls, and incredible plateaus. Adventure sports such as rafting, trekking, mountaineering and rock climbing can also be enjoyed.
Home to different civilisations and cultures since antiquity, the Black Sea Region has a rich history and cultural heritage. The area contains several historical destinations, including the Sümela Monastery, founded in Trabzon in the 4th century and dedicated to the Virgin Mary; the Zil Castle in Rize, 750 metres above sea level; the Bandırma Ship Museum(Bandırma Gemi Müzesi) in Samsun, the city of the National Struggle, and Ordu’s Cape Yason, the origin of the Altınpost Legend.
Attracting attention with its cloud-covered plateaus and village life, the Black Sea Region is also renowned for its charming small towns. Safranbolu, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Karabük; Kastamonu, with historical houses that preserve traditional Turkish urban architecture to the present day; Mudurnu and Göynük, the Cittaslow destinations of Bolu; and Amasra, with its stunning natural beauty. These are testament to Türkiye’s commitment to sustainability.
The Black Sea Culinary Adventure
The Black Sea Region’s rainy climate and fertile soil have contributed to the area’s unique culinary culture. The products grown in the region, including kale, corn and chard, are among the fundamental elements of Black Sea cuisine. The Black Sea region is also famous for its tea and hazelnut production. Türkiye’s tastiest hazelnuts are grown in Ordu and Giresun, while Rize is home to 60% of Türkiye’s tea plantations. Tea in Türkiye is much more than a simple beverage. It is an inseparable part of the local lifestyle, deeply ingrained in Turkish culture. The drink, relaxing and delightful, is the most popular breakfast component and the most consumed beverage type in Türkiye.
Furthermore, vegetarian and vegan travellers will find a thriving culinary landscape waiting to be explored. From hearty stews like Dible, featuring black cabbage and rice, to crispy gözleme flatbreads stuffed with savoury spinach or mushrooms, the region offers a kaleidoscope of flavours. One could warm their soul with a steaming bowl of Mercimek Çorbasi, lentil soup rich in spice and protein, perfect for breezy days by the shore. No Black Sea adventure is complete without Pestil, a chewy roll of grape or mulberry paste, a local treat that’s as healthy as it is delicious.
Fish, particularly the famous Black Sea anchovy, is a mainstay along the Black Sea coast. The tiny fish are used for local specialities such as the anchovy bird (hamsi kuşu), a dish of battered and fried anchovies, and pilaf with anchovies (hamsili pilav). Pide (the Turkish flatbread filled with different ingredients) is also very popular in the Black Sea regions, but Samsun’s local pides are the most famous. All three districts of Samsun, Bafra, Çarşamba and Terme, have different pides with unique dough and other ingredients, such as minced meat or cheese.