Cycling the European side of Turkey and a bit more

by tkos on September 12, 2012

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Cycling through Turkey is exciting. There is just no other way to put it. The food is more distinguished, the people are fascinating, the history is mesmerising and you just can’t help but get absorbed into the whole culture. As far as the cycling itself, this part of Turkey will take you through the craziest of traffic so far of the trip in Istanbul and Ankara. Six lane freeways will have you dodging everything from push carts to semi-trailers. Unless you have all the time in the world, you cannot really help but cycle on the freeways at least a little bit, especially coming into the bigger cities. More often than not though, there is a parallel highway you can follow for the most part.

You can check out our daily route on the map below, and just underneath our favourite photos for this part of Turkey, is a table listing all the towns we went through and the distance between them.

Let me know if there is anything else you’d like to know!

View Larger Map

What we loved the most:

  • This part of Turkey is pretty much flat, but the diversity is pretty amazing. It’s a bit of fun to get completely lost in Istanbul. You can cycle around it for a couple of hours and always believe you are in the centre. Ankara on the other hand is good for getting your Iranian visa, but it can take up to ten days.
  • The people always represent the country and Turkey is no exception. For the best knowledge of food and where to get it, places to see and how to see it, make sure you couch surf. Our experiences in Corlu, Istanbul and Ankara were all amazing because of our hosts. We used Warm Showers to find a host in Derince which lead onto hosts in Bolu. If you haven’t checked out Warm Showers yet, do it now.

What was like a rusty chain:

  • The road coming into Ankara is just a bit nuts. Not too dissimilar to Istanbul either. One minute you’re cycling along a highway, the next you are surrounded by two lanes of traffic either side. It probably didn’t help to be in the pouring rain with little to no visibility. Top tip, get some headlights and strap them to your bags as well as the back of your helmet.

What we didn’t but should’ve done:

  • Buy! Buy! Buy! Turkey is not expensive (it’s not Asia either) and there are far too many great things that you can buy in the Bazaar and send home. So just do it. Don’t make the same mistake as we did and just window shop and come out empty handed!

What’s it worth:

  •  We ended up spending quite a bit of money in this part of Turkey as we had to pay for our Iranian visa’s, so it skews things a bit. Without that though, I believe you could get through for less than £50 per day, depending on how much you want to shop and send things home.
Cincopa WordPress plugin
TownKm'sNightsWhere we slept
Corlu138 (from Greece)3Couch Surf
Istanbul1286Couch Surf
Derince872Warm Showers
Hendek (sort of)821Random stranger
Bolu882Warm Showers
Kizilhacamam (before)1071Wild Camp
Ankara1036Couch Surf

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