When you hear the word “Istanbul”, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
Some of you would say magnificent historical structures, others will mention the amazing Bosphorus Strait, while others would refer to the exciting urban activities.
It is true that Istanbul is all about the mentioned attractions, but it’s also about green spaces and nature. This metropolitan city is covered by 44% of greenery ranging from street greenery to parks and forests.
Away from touristic areas, crowds of people, shopping sprees and noisy traffic, on the north side of European Istanbul, lay two of the most beautiful natural spaces. Atatürk Arboretum and Belgrad Forest.
Home to more than 1,500 plant species, Atatürk Arboretum serves as rich material for scientific plant researches, while providing locals and tourists alike with a superb natural escape.
You can smell fresh air, relax in open space, jog on walking tracks, and shoot beautiful photos full of life and color.
Tickets are sold at the gate of the Arboretum. Food and drinks are to be left in a safe box at the ticketing counter and can be retrieved on the way out.
The Arboretum has a central fountain,5 different walking tracks distributed around the center and 2 small lakes with swans and ducks.
Locals head to this location especially to shoot wedding and kids photos.
There are plenty of benches around the lakes for you to sit and enjoy the scenes. Drinking water source and WCs are also available. (People with special needs have a special WC).
So just unwind, relax and enjoy…..
Known as Belgrad Ormanı in Turkish, this forest is considered as the lung of Istanbul.
Entry to the Forest is free for people on foot, while car drivers pay a fee.
Inside the forest, there are two main roads. The right one is short and leads to a lake and some historical ruins. It is a nice way to walk and absorb nature.
The left road is a long uphill road, which reaches a beautiful picnic area. Although this road will need about 30 minutes to walk, it is worth if you are a nature lover, especially in autumn where leaves are of different color shades.
The picnic area is provided with benches and tables. There is a booth that sells snacks, coffee and tea. WCs are available on site too.
Igniting fire is forbidden, so you can’t cook or heat up food. Best picnic food options are pastry and cold sandwiches.
Kids can have fun on wooden bridges and can play with small balls or rackets. You can read here about other kids activities in Istanbul.
These were two natural escapes in Istanbul. Do you know others? Share them with us in the comment box below.
Need to know more about activities to do in Istanbul? Press the Follow button to be notified about new posts.