1. Sapanca Lake
Sapanca Lake is one of the three most beautiful lakes in the Marmara region. Surrounded by forested hills, with an area of 45 km² and a length of 16 km, it forms a natural border between Sakarya and Kocaeli. Sapanca Lake, which is 12 km from Adapazarı, the central district of Sakarya, and 32 km from İzmit, the center of Kocaeli, takes its name from the town of Sapanca next to it.
Sapanca Lake, through which the North Anatolian Fault Line passes, was formed by tectonic movements. The lake is fed by the streams descending from the mountains in the north and south and the springs at the bottom of the lake. It is a very rich lake in terms of both flora and fauna. Fishing is also done in the lake.
Turkey Rowing Championship is held on the shores of Kırkpınar, where the Turkish Rowing National Team trains. Surrounded by forest, the lake takes on the most fascinating shades of red when it snows.
I suggest you stroll along the lake shores to listen to the nature of the region. There are many businesses that rent bike and walking paths and canoes on the lake shore. You can watch the lake while eating and drinking around the lake where there are many restaurants and cafes.
Sapanca Harmanlık Walking Road is located on Harmanlık Caddesi, one of the most lively streets of the district, located on the shore of Sapanca Lake. There is a tartan track, a bicycle path and a walking path on the track, which has been made suitable for walking by Sapanca Municipality. You can feel the breeze of the lake along the road covered with lush trees. The walking path is also ideal for watching the sunset, especially during sunset hours.
2. Naturkoy Observation Terrace
Natürköy Observation Terrace is the answer to the question of where to watch the sunset in Sapanca Lake best. It was established in the east of Sapanca Lake, in the Göl Mahallesi, right in the middle of a valley that contains different shades of green. When you look from the terrace, the whole lake is under your feet from north to south.
Inside the Observation Terrace, there is a restaurant and an observation point with a view of Sapanca Lake. The prices in the restaurant are a bit high, and you may encounter an unexpected account because the prices on the internet are not up to date. Special events are held throughout the year on the Observation Terrace, surrounded by lush trees.
Kırkpınar is a neighborhood of Sapanca, located on the lake shore, 5 km west of Sapanca district center. The region, where Circassians mostly live, is the most decent place of Sapanca, where you can visit all four seasons like other settlements on the lake shore. It gives the feeling of being in Europe with its paths lined with lush trees and villas lined up side by side in large gardens.
The neighborhood where the Circassians, who had to come to Turkey with forced migration in 1864, were settled, is right on the shore of the lake. It has very nice cafes and restaurants. Especially stop by their breakfast restaurant, you can have a delicious Circassian breakfast while you’re here. The farm restaurant and Heinz’s breakfast are good. Uğurlu Shop, where designer home decoration products are sold, also has its own cafe. Their coffees and desserts are delicious.
Keep this place in mind for your stay in Sakarya. In most of the places you will stay, the view you will see when you look out the window will be green and trees. An ideal location to spend a nice holiday with your family or friends. The 6-kilometer road from Kırkpınar to Maşukiye winds its way through beautiful forested hills.
Maşukiye is a neighborhood in the Kartepe district of Kocaeli. Especially on weekends, one can go to Maşukiye, which is preferred by daily visitors from nearby places such as Izmit and Istanbul, to meet with nature, have a picnic and have village breakfast, even for lush nature and fresh air.
Established in a valley through which Aygır Stream flows, Maşukiye offers activities such as trekking, ATV safari and zipline in the facilities that provide service in touch with nature.
If you want to stay, there are bungalow houses. Tours are also organized from nearby cities, especially from Istanbul. There are plateaus and walking paths around. The magnificent view of Kartepe is another reason to come to Maşukiye.
Sukaypark is a fun social facility located within the borders of Kartepe district of Kocaeli, 15 km west of Sapanca, with water skiing, windsurfing, kneeboard, wakeboard and camping areas. You can do water skiing without the need for a speed boat, wind or other equipment with Wake Board, which is known as Rope Water Ski, which has become widespread in many countries of the world, which has increased its popularity recently.
Sukaypark has Maşukiye on one side, Samanlı mountain range on the other and a beautiful forest view. On the opposite shore of Sapanca Lake, in the Seka Camp area, Sukaypark turns into a lively center during the summer months. You can have breakfast against the lake view or take a morning walk by the lake, or you can have a pleasant time with the Sea Tractor.
6. Meselik Park, Sapanca
Meşelik Park is located 10 km west of Sapanca district center, between Kırkpınar and Maşukiye. All over the place is covered with oak trees. It is a must-visit place for those who love waking up to the sound of birds in the morning and reading books in a hammock in the evening.
Meşelik Park’s 450 square meter tent restaurant, located on an area of approximately 250 decares, offers tastes from Turkish and world cuisines. It is a nice place even though the service staff are very uninterested and irrelevant.
If you want to have a picnic, there are wooden tables around. It is full of barbecue facilities, fire pit, swings, hammocks and playgrounds for children to play. Picnic table fee is 30 TL. You can stroll by the river.
Meşelik Park, which is located on a land covered with lush trees, has trails where you can go hiking as well as ATV safari, off-road, paintball, horse riding, phaeton and teamwork activities.
Kartepe , only 30 km and 45 minutes away from Sapanca, is Kocaeli’s only and famous ski resort. Kartepe Ski Center, which can be included in the program of those who visit Sapanca and its surroundings during the winter months, has a remarkable beauty with the view of Sapanca Lake. You can find shops selling and renting ski equipment around the ski resort.
If you plan to stay in a hotel, they also provide this service. There is a dense forest cover of chestnut, hazelnut, pine and oak trees. The fact that it is possible to reach the summit by car in as little as 20 minutes is one of the reasons that increases the interest in Kartepe.
Ormanya was established on the edge of the D100 Highway, within the borders of Kocaeli’s Kartepe district. Ormanya, the largest natural life park in Europe, is the project of Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality. An arrangement has been made to enable plants and animals to live in an environment closest to their natural conditions.
Ormanya consists of 6 regions: Zoo Wildlife Area, Tent and Caravan Camping Area, Hiking and Bicycle Trails, Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and Nature School. Ormanya, whose official name is Uzuntarla Nature Park, is 16 km from Sapanca.
In Ormanya, which is planned to reach an area of 4 thousand acres when all parts are completed, there is a zoo with 467 animals from 53 different species, a camping area with vehicles, a camping area with 100 tents, a 15 km bicycle path, a 21 km hiking trail and a recreation area for 5 thousand people.
9. Doğançay Waterfall
Doğançay Waterfall is located 28 km southeast of Sapanca, within the borders of Maksudiye Village in the Geyve district of Sakarya. The waterfall, which offers a visual feast to its visitors with its unspoiled nature, is located 10 km from the Sakarya-Bilecik Highway, at an altitude of 400 meters above sea level. Since 2013, the waterfall and its surrounding area of 4 hectares have been under protection as a nature park.
First of all, the road you go to by car is very narrow and winding. After a point, the road gets narrower and turns into a dirt road. There is a parking lot 500 meters away from the waterfall. After paying 10 TL for the parking fee, you will have to walk to the waterfall on foot. You have to cross a steep and challenging road from time to time. In rainy weather, both the vehicle and the bow path can be challenging.
Not a suitable route for the elderly. It is a track that will be a bit challenging both on the way down and on the way up. When I went, the ground was slippery due to the autumn season. Be careful when crossing the stream formed by the waterfall water. As the stones are slippery, you may slip and fall. Sandals can be good for walking through the water. That’s why I recommend comfortable shoes and clothes to cross the track. If you think cold water is bad for me, take your swimsuit with you.
10. Sopeli Wildlife Village
Sopeli Natural Life Village is an artificial village established within the borders of Mahmudiye village of Sapanca district. There are tiny, colorful accommodation houses for those who want to get away from the city center and watch the lake view. A place to make a reservation for food. I did not go, but there are those who love it, but there are also those who find it expensive and complain about the crowd. Maybe you want to stop by.