One of the world’s most significant cities in terms of history, geography, culture, and politics, Istanbul is the gateway between Europe and Asia. Straddling the Bosphorus Straight – a narrow causeway between the Mediterranean Sea (represented by the Sea of Mamara) and the Black Sea – the city is a conglomerate of Eastern and Western culture and a popular tourist destination.
While the unique geography of Istanbul has made it a principal metropolis in the region for two thousand years, the hills, seas, beaches, and the straight also create excellent opportunities for rafting in Istanbul – for residents and visitors alike.
Naturally, sailing has evolved as a popular activity for water goers. But the mountains and rivers of Turkey make rafting the more tempting of treats.
The Melen River lies two hours east of downtown Istanbul. Tour companies are available to pick you up from the door of your hotel booked through HostelBookers.com and drive you to the riverside drop off location in Duzce. Rafting the predetermined 11 kilometres normally takes about an hour and a half. Many tours offer lunch at a stopping point halfway down the course. Here you’ll have an opportunity to eat, relax, lounge the in the sun, capture a few pictures, and enjoy the mountain scenery.
Arriving at the end point, participants will have a chance to shower and change their clothing at an established facility before the drive back to Istanbul. The tour down the Melen takes one full day including transportation to and from the river. The rapids are family friendly and provide an excellent outdoor excursion away from the bustle of town.
Another notable rafting location a few hours outside of Istanbul is on the Coruh River near the towns of Erzurum and Yusufeli. Approximately 150 kilometres of the Coruh are good for rafting as well as 20 kilometres of one if its tributaries, the Barhal River.
The rapids here are more challenging that than those of the Melen River.
Some sections of the rivers are classified as Level Five difficulty and rafting experience is strongly recommended before taking on these challenging rapids.
The best time to visit Istanbul and take advantage of the rafting opportunities around you is in the summer, from May through September. While the water temperature will be chilly, the air temperature should be pleasantly warm and you will be far from the fog that notoriously hangs over the buildings of Istanbul during these months.
With cheap hotels Istanbul is appealling for both backpacker and adventure traveler. And if you need a place to stay that’s close to great rafting destinations and gives you all the cultural immersion you could ever want, you’ll be easily pleased.