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Bike-packing: Eco-Friendly Routes to Discover Türkiye

Büyükada, Adalar/İstanbul, Türkiye

Taking the cycling experience to a new level, bike-packing is for the adventurous traveler searching for discovery. In this type of exploration, you can carry all the materials and equipment you need while traveling long distances on a bicycle, giving you the chance to travel freely in nature.

Türkiye, with its natural parks, canyons, ancient cities, crowded bazaars, and historical villages and towns, welcomes adventure enthusiasts with very different opportunities for a bike-packing experience. The country also offers many opportunities that increase the quality of bike-packing, with services such as secure parking, bicycle cleaning and repair provided to those staying in bicycle-friendly hotels.

From the Bosphorus to Gallipoli: Istanbul-Canakkale Route

Embark on an epic journey preferred by long-distance cyclists that stretches from the iconic city of Istanbul to the historic town of Çanakkale. The route, which begins surrounded by Istanbul’s architectural heritage in the peninsula of Sultanahmet, extends to the spectacular views of Çatalca. 

One of the stops along the Istanbul-Canakkale bike-packing route is the town of Lüleburgaz, which can be accessed by visiting the province of Tekirdağ via Çerkezköy. Known for its charm, Lüleburgaz is also home to the Lüleburgaz Yıldızları Cycling Academy, which provides free accommodation and maintenance services to cyclists from all over the world.

Proceeding towards the fascinating inner parts of Tekirdağ, the route again descends to the shores of the Marmara Sea in Şarköy. A trip to Tekirdağ would not be complete without sampling their famous meatballs and  locally produced wines.  As you continue on the route, you will come across the Gallipoli sign which marks the entrance to Çanakkale, and is the final destination of the bike-packing route.

The Gallipoli Peninsula played a significant role in Turkish and world history as it was the site of the Battle of Çanakkale during the First World War. The route ends in the center of Çanakkale via Eceabat,  which, like Tekirdağ, is also known for its meatballs.

The Gökova Route: Where the land and sea meet 

When you cycle towards the southern part of the country, you can discover the wonderful Gökova Route, which stretches from the Bodrum to Datça peninsulas. At around 260 km long the route is one of the most stunning in Türkiye, featuring breathtaking sceneries such as pine forests, small ports, clear waters, and ancient ruins. 

Various peaks such as Mazı, Alatepe, Karacasöğüt, and Balıkaşiran await you along the way from Bodrum to Datça. With very manageable elevation changes of no more than 450 meters, these peaks offer an ideal exploration experience for cycling enthusiasts.

On your journey along the Gökova Route, you have the opportunity to swim in the vast blue waters of the Turkish coast, and also experience water sports such as kite surfing, canoeing, sailing, and snorkelling. When back on land, you can taste the local delicacies of Aegean and Mediterranean cuisines and seafood.

The Phrygian Way: In the depths of Central Anatolia

The Phrygian Way is a bike-packing route that takes you through the provinces of Ankara, Afyonkarahisar, Eskişehir, and Kütahya. Starting in Eskişehir at the ancient settlement of Yazılıkaya, the route covers over 500 km, following the path of  a settlement that people called home over a thousand years ago.

The Phrygian Way is a challenging but rewarding route that takes you through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Türkiye. You will cycle past many of the Phrygian artefacts and impressive structures carved into rock, including churches, burial chambers, settlements, and the Avdalaz Castle. If you’re looking for an adventure, this is the perfect route for you.

Hittite Road: Exploring history 

If you are  a history enthusiast looking for a unique cycling experience, the Hittite Road in Türkiye is a must-visit destination. The route passes through Hattusha, one of Türkiye’s UNESCO World Heritage sites,  which was once upon a time a caravan and migration route.

Cycling on the Hittite Road offers a one-of-a-kind cultural and historical journey between the past and present. You can explore the cultural heritage of the Hittite civilization in Anatolia, which was considered the “superpower” of its time. Along the way, you’ll see unique works such as Yazılıkaya and Alacahöyük, which are sure to amaze you.

This route is perfect for adventure-seekers who want to explore the most beautiful landscapes of Türkiye. The Hittite Road is also a challenging but rewarding route that will take you through some of the most stunning scenery in the region.