The Black Sea coast is lush and verdant, edged by the dark waters on one side and towering mountains inland. This is rich agricultural country. noted for its tea, tobacco, hazelnuts, and cherries -and for Byzantine churches and hidden monasteries.
Length of Trip: 5-7 days
By Car: This is the most pleasant way to go. Roads are incredibly scenic but demanding, so don’t try to cover too much ground at one time. From Istanbul, drive to şile (it’s 70 kilometers, or 43 miles) and start at the western end of the coast, or fly to Erzurum at the far eastern end and rent a car there. Another option is to drive north from Ankara to Amasya and then on to Samsun. The following itinerary will start in the west.
By Bus: Since there are connections to all sites on the itinerary below, it’s also possible to make this trip by bus.
The main route
One night: Lake Abant, Safranbolu, or Kastamonu. After a long drive from Istanbul, or a much shorter drive from Ankara, take a rest at the wooded lake or at the unspoiled historic towns of Safranbolu and Kastamonu.
One night: Amasya. See the old mosques and modern museum in this historic provincal capital hemmed in by sheer rock walls.
One night: Samsun or Ünye. Drive the coast, breeze through the pleasant small towns of Prdu and Giresun, and rest for the night in the big city (Samsun) or the tiny coastal town. (Ünye).
One or two nights: Trabzon. See the fine musuem and other sights of this ancient Byzantine city, and visit the Rize tea plantations. Stop at the Sumela Monastery.
One or two nights: Erzurum. Make a side trip to the windswept ruins of Kars and Ani.