Introducing Black Sea Coast
Travel Alert: The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office recommends against travel to some parts and against non-essential travel to other parts of this area, please check with your relevant national government.
Travel no further: you've found what you're looking for. A place where resorts are nonexistent, where you can really feel a sense of wilderness and adventure, and where superb archaeological sites and hidden treasures are set amidst eerie landscapes - welcome to the Black Sea coast and eastern Turkey.
If you're heading overland for Iran or Syria you will certainly need to transit parts of these fascinating areas; bear in mind that the weather can be bitterly cold and snowy in winter, especially in eastern Turkey.
Turkey's Black Sea coast is a distinctive part of the country. With plenty of rain, even in summer, it's the garden of Turkey. It is steep and craggy, damp and lush, and isolated behind the Pontic Mountains for most of its length. The coast west from Sinop to the Bosphorus is little visited, although the quaint seaside town of Amasra, with its Roman and Byzantine ruins and small, cheap hotels, is worth a look. Sinop, three hours northwest of Samsun, is a fine little backwater, with beaches on both sides of the peninsula, as well as a few historic buildings and several cheap hotels.
While Samsun has little of interest to detain tourists, there are excellent beaches around the cheerful resort town of Ünye, on a wide bay 85km east of Samsun. About 80km further to the east, Ordu is a bustling seaside city with a pleasant seafront boulevard. Giresun is famous for its hazelnuts and cherries.
From the Black Sea coast, it's fairly straightforward to get to northeastern Anatolia. This remote section of the country exerts a magnetic power, even for the Turks. Here the flavours of the neighbouring Caucasus, Central Asia and Iran are already palpable. It's a perfect blend of nature and culture, with many palaces, castles, mosques and churches dotted around the steppe.
Day Trip to Pergamum and Asklepion from Izmir
Visit Pergamum, an ancient city dating before the 4th century BC. It's home to the second largest library in the ancient world, the steepest Theatre of Anatolia, the monumental Altar of Zeus and the Roman Medical Center ruins of Asklepion, work site of the great physician, Galen. Pergamum is one of the finest archaeological sites in Turkey.
Private Tour of the Hittite Sites
Journey to Yazilikaya and see an impressive open air rock sanctuary created by the Hittites, the second oldest known civilization in Anatolia. At Hattusas, the ancient Hittite capital which dates from 3,000 BC, you'll visit Lion's Gate, King's Gate, Citadel and the Grand Temple.