By Justin Mays:
There are days when all you want to do is to disconnect. Disconnect from routine, noise, cars, hustle, and crowded places. In short, disconnect from the city. We love Istanbul and we love to venture into its streets, to enjoy its peculiar charm, but sometimes one prefers to escape from all that. It is nothing more and nothing less than that popular saying that says: “Disconnect to reconnect”. That is, get away from the day-to-day to find yourself again.
Luckily, Istanbul is the city of a thousand faces and, of course, it also has an ideal facet for the days when one prefers to get away from the noise. In the metropolis, you can find peace in many places. Some find it during a ferry ride from the European part of the city to the Asian one, others spend the afternoon in a hidden cafeteria, many go for a walk through some of the most local neighborhoods and some simply decide to take refuge at home to recharge the batteries.
We propose another option: explore some of the forests that Istanbul has. It is a perfect plan to disconnect from the city, although it will be up to you to decide whether to turn it into an adventure or a moment of relaxation. Luckily, the metropolis is lucky to have many green areas, but the ones that we present to you below are, surely, some of the most spectacular. We hope you like them. Oh! And don't forget to bundle up well, now that the temperatures have dropped to winter numbers, it's not a good idea to catch a cold.
The Belgrade Forest is located between the districts of Sarıyer and Eyüp, at the easternmost point of the Thracian Peninsula. It is a vast forest, which has about 5,500 hectares, and has a great variety of species, both plants, and animals. Its name pays tribute to the thousands of Serbs who were deported from Belgrade in 1521 when the city fell to the Ottomans.
It is one of the most visited areas in Istanbul and it is one of the favorite places for those who seek to disconnect or make a different plan. It is only an hour's drive from the metropolis, a fact that will give you the feeling that you are traveling to another place almost without leaving the city.
Kaymakdonduran is a natural recreational area located in Beykoz. It does not become a forest but rather a wide green area surrounded by tall trees. It is located just a few minutes from Beykoz park and is a perfect area for picnics. The space has several tables, wooden benches, and an esplanade where the little ones in the house can run and play. It is an ideal place to spend Sunday morning in good company.
Atatürk Urban Forest
The Atatürk Urban Forest is another of the forests that make Istanbul an always open place for green spaces. Like Belgrade Forest, Aratürk Forest is also located in the Sarıyer district. Although it is true that, initially, this forest was known as the Hacıosman Grove, in May 2020 it was reopened under the name of Atatürk Urban Forest.
Currently, the forest has two large natural ponds and another smaller one, which makes this green space an area like no other. In it, one can find different valleys and thousands of trees, which offer hikers a spectacular landscape. The large amount of vegetation that inhabits the Atatürk Urban Forest makes it a perfect space for birds. In fact, it is full of robins, wrens, blackbirds, and nightingales.
Göktürk Ponds National Park
Last but not least, we introduce you to Göktürk Ponds National Park, a national reserve in the Eyüpsultan district. If you are a nature lover, this is a site that you cannot miss in any way. It is a huge forest that is lucky to have a beautiful lake and several areas for picnics. It is a perfect place for excursions and long walks since the landscape that can be seen from this park is practically magical.
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