If your first question is where is Yalova? That’s fairly understandable as it’s not a well known city for foreign holiday makers and tourists – but it should be! It is nestled between Istanbul and Bursa on the north-west coast of Turkey it is ideally located south of Istanbul across the Gulf of Izmit and near the eastern coast of the Sea of Marmara. The quickest route to reach Istanbul is by fast ferry and it takes a mere 70 minutes.
If you are visiting Istanbul why not take a couple of days out of the city to Yalova as it’s a nice contrast to bustling Istanbul. You can virtually walk everywhere as the city is small in comparison and you can take a delightful stroll along the sea front.
The famous thermal hot springs are located in Termal which is a natural beauty spot in the hills on the outskirts of the city. This is a great place to come and relax and rejuvenate any tired or aching muscles. Apart from the hot thermal springs are Hamams which are Turkish baths that are similar to a Scandinavian sauna and a Roman bath.
At the Hamam it is basically a bath where you lie on a stone slab and you’re cleaned to within an inch of your life, scrubbed for exfoliation and massaged with oils. Finally you are washed clean with hot water. It’s very invigorating and your skin feels like a baby’s although a few hours afterwards you feel completely exhausted. It is always said when a holiday maker visits Turkey they should partake in a Hamam so their skin is prepared ready for the sun to get a super tan. Also at Termal is a large public swimming pool and plenty of hotels so you can stay over and enjoy the surroundings.
The botanical gardens (Karaca Arboretum) are also a nice day out and they are located on route to Termal and make for a pleasant stroll in lush surroundings. The gardens cover a vast area and you can easily spend the full day there if you love your flora.
Every city visit should include a trip to the local Bazaar and Yalova is no exception. Opened Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays you can buy a vast array of fresh food, clothes and souvenirs that won’t break the bank. Visit Yalovas cobbled old town area for more shopping although good; it doesn’t have the variety of shopping stores that the Istanbul has.
There are plenty of other attractions to see in Yalova there are the most captivating parks with breathtaking scenery and one, in particular, is Dipsiz Gol, you have to navigate through some very narrow roads in the heart of the countryside and through a few small villages but you arrive in the most magnificent natural beauty spot and it’s well worth the journey to get there. Then we arrive at the majestic Erikli Waterfalls it’s an area of outstanding beauty and it’s worth mentioning a guided tour is advisable as you need to travel up the narrow mountain roads to reach it. Once arrived there, you will walk through a lush green forest and it’s a bit of a climb but once there the views of the Marmara Sea are well worth the climb. The cascading waterfall is a delightful sight and there are small ponds ideal for children to take a dip and cool off – for the adults too actually!
Another must visit is to Yuruyen Kosk, once Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s summer house. It’s been described as tranquil and beautiful with peaceful surroundings by visitors and the history of the house is fascinating with a charming story of an old sycamore tree that was to be removed because it was causing damage to the nearby mansion, Ataturk was upset this beautiful old tree was to be chopped down so instead of the tree being removed he said the mansion should be moved 5 metres away, therefore, the mansion is known as “the walking mansion” and the great man himself said that the woods of Yalova should be “conserved sensitively”
Yalova is becoming increasingly popular with professional Turks who work in Istanbul but want a slower pace of life, many are moving there so they can work in the city and spend weekends and down time in peaceful Yalova. One would expect property prices to be high because of its close proximity to Istanbul but you couldn’t be more wrong – 1 bedroom apartments start at just £48,302 and 2 bedroom apartments at a mere £60,161.
Put Yalova on your wish list of places to see in Turkey, I did and really loved it!