Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ayder & The Kaçkars

Situated in northeastern Turkey, the Kaçkar Mountains is a mountain range that separates the Black Sea coast from the Anatolia region. One of the easiest visit to these mountains is the summer resort town of Ayder.

Ayder in the Kaçkar mountains
Misty day in Ayder

Ayder may be considered 'touristy' as many local tourists come over for weekend holidays, and for good reason. Surrounded by lush green forests, and cool mountain air, it is such a pleasant place for an outdoor break from the city. I visited just off-season, and there was virtually no crowd. However, it was very drizzly and very very misty, though it does give the place an idyllic charm.

There are plenty of hiking trails, streams and waterfalls in the region that cater to various levels of participation - from hiking daytrips to multi-day treks to Mt Kaçkar at almost 4000m. I had contemplated about a trekking trip to another village Yaylalar, reputed to be even prettier, but the weather was just not cooperative. I had to settle for simple hikes, which was really quite enjoyable as well. With the cool mountain air, I could also just relax in the many comfortable resort guesthouses and pansiyons (pensions).

Ayder can be reached by dolmush (minivan) from the town of Pazar. To Pazar, there are buses from the major towns like Trabzon and Rize, and even from Batumi Georgia, which was what I did! I had too much humid heat in the city, and Ayder provided much relief for me. For those who are traveling to eastern Turkey, and love mountain greenery, check out Ayder (and probably Yaylalar as well)!

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