Brought to life by tenacious rivers that have been flowing for centuries carving into steep rocks, Türkiye’s canyons are among some of the world’s most adrenaline-laden experiences. Whether travellers want to cool down in ice-cold waters, raft, zipline or climb, Türkiye’s canyons promise adventures that cannot be refused. At the same time, nature and history offer a unique harmony that make up the stories of the country’s beautiful canyons.
Köprülü Canyon National Park (Köprülü Kanyon Millî Parkı)
Located 85 km from the Antalya city center, Köprülü Canyon (Köprülü Kanyonu) is a true natural wonder created by the turquoise waters of the Köprüçay River. The area, known for its natural landscape, breathtaking scenery, and nature activities, was declared a national park in 1973. 14 kilometers long and more than 100 meters high, Köprülü Canyon is among the longest canyons in Türkiye.
Its most remarkable feature is undoubtedly the Köprüçay River, which makes the region one of the most attractive natural recreation areas in Türkiye. Here, visitors can enjoy water sports such as rafting, angling and swimming, all exciting activities in a peaceful setting. The surrounding area also offers many adventures such as water sports, trekking, rock climbing, cycling, botanical and wildlife watching, photography, camping and picnics. Highland excursions and jeep safaris are also available.
The Köprülü Canyon National Park features food and beverage facilities and camping areas on the riverside for rest and accommodation. A more comfortable stay is also possible; wooden bungalows within the park’s borders serve as hostels.
The Köprülü Canyon is one of the stops along St. Paul’s Road, which is the second longest walking track in Türkiye. St. Paul walked along this path on his journey to spread Christianity in Western Europe. Travellers often rest near the Köprülü Canyon on their way to the ancient city of Selge to the west of the river.
Ihlara Valley (Ihlara Vadisi)
The Ihlara Valley (Ihlara Vadisi) is in Cappadocia, the region famed for its fairy chimneys and underground cities, and considered by many to be one of the most fascinating places on Earth. The 14-kilometre-long valley along the Melendiz River is famous for its history and natural beauties.
The Ihlara Valley was an important centre of Christianity, thanks to the sheltered structure created by the Melendiz Stream. The region’s many churches, some notable for their decorative arts, include Sümbüllü, Yılanlı, Kokar, Ağaçaltı, Pürenliseki, Eğritaş, Kırkdamaltı and Bahattin Samanlık. The Valley also offers some terrific trekking trails. After visiting the churches in the valley, visitors can be found relaxing at cafes and restaurants near the Melendiz Stream.
Saklıkent Canyon (Saklıkent Kanyonu)
The Saklıkent Canyon (Saklıkent Kanyonu) in the Seydikemer district of Muğla is a natural canopy created for adventurers. The 18-kilometre-long valley is also among the deepest valleys in the world, with a height of its stone walls exceeding a thousand meters in some places. Accompanied by the soothing sounds of flowing water, a walk around Saklıkent offers only sky views amid the rocks.
A majority of the canyon shrinks down to two meters wide, making it a professional trekkers haven, and requires appropriate equipment and skill to experience it. Only the first two kilometers of the valley can be visited by inexperienced trekkers. Wooden piers attached to the canyon walls in this section enable visitors to access a magnificent view.
In addition to canyoning, Saklıkent offers rafting, ziplining and bungee jumping. Saklıkent Canyon also features seating areas on wooden platforms, where visitors can dine on fresh pancakes (gözleme) and trout.
Arapapıştı Canyon (Arapapıştı Kanyonu)
Arapapıştı Canyon, also known as İnceğiz Canyonis a natural wonder, formed by erosion from the Akçay Creek. Six kilometers long and 380 meters high, the Arapapıştı Canyon is made up of city ruins from the Roman era. A mysterious 2,500-year-old tomb from the Persian area also makes up part of the canyon, as well as “row lair” caves formed by the waters of the Akçay. One of the most prominent historical features of this canyon is the Kemer Bridge, which was built by the armies of Alexander the Great.
Some sections of the Arapapıştı Canyon are explored by boat tours, which can last about two hours. Trekking trails offer a more active sightseeing experience, but both types of excursions present incredible landscapes and untouched nature.
Şahinderesi Canyon (Şahinderesi Kanyonu)
Şahinderesi Canyon is in the Ida Mountains, known in Turkish as the “Kaz Dağları”. This natural wonder of Türkiye is made up of legends. In ancient times, the Ida Mountains were the “Mountains of the Goddesses” and are considered sacred. They are also known to help create the oxygen paradise of Şahinderesi Canyon. About 27 kilometers long, this canyon is known to be the second most oxygen-producing region in the world after the Swiss Alps. Medicinal plants and herbs grow abundantly in this region.
Located in the Mount Ida National Park (Kaz Dağları Millî Parkı), visitors to the Şahinderesi Canyon can trek, swim in ice-cold waters, and enjoy beautiful photo opportunities. For a deeper exploration of the canyon, guided tours are available.