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The Black Sea and Plateaus: Turkey’s Green Paradise

Imagine a place where you can see dozens of different shades of green in the Kaçkar Mountains, go hiking in an oxygen-rich environment, and admire the endless view of the tea fields. Yes, this is the Black Sea Region!

Especially with the plateau season, which starts at the end of May, the path of all nature lovers definitely falls to the Black Sea. You can both make a social media detox and enjoy the moment with the tea and Tulum (is a musical instrument, a form of bagpipe from the Black Sea region of Turkey), accompanied by the unique landscapes offered by the plateaus at an altitude of 2000-2500 meters. It is possible to have a holiday away from the stress of the city in this geography where the phone’s internet doesn’t work and allows you to focus only on the beauties offered by nature.

Transportation and Accommodation

If you want to reach the Black Sea Region by plane, you need to buy a plane ticket to Trabzon, because there is no airport in Rize. After landing in Trabzon, I recommend you to rent a 4×4 car from the airport. In this way, you can proceed smoothly on the rugged and dirt roads of the region.

You have many options for accommodation. I stayed in Bungolove Holiday Village in Fırtına Valley for two days, Hozboncuk Mountain House in Gito Plateau for one day, and Macahel Han Hotel in Macahel Village for one day. All the hotels I stayed in were wooden and breakfast was included. However, it is difficult to say that the prices are very affordable.

Rize

Zil Kale

Zil Kale, which looks like it came out of a movie in the middle of lush forests, is 100 meters above the Fırtına River and 750 meters above the sea. The exact construction date of Zil Kale is unknown, but the scenery it presents makes you forget all the dates.

Palovit Waterfall

Palovit Waterfall, located in Kaçkar Mountains National Park, is one of the waterfalls with the highest flow rate in Rize. Located in a huge forest, this waterfall flows from a height of about 15 meters. The scenery it offers is, of course, wonderful.

Çinçiva (Şenyuva Village)

Formerly Çinçiva, now Şenyuva Village is actually a village connected to Çamlıhemşin region and its most famous place is Çinçiva Bridge. You will realize that you are in the right place when you see dozens of tourists lined up to take pictures around this bridge. But when you come to this village, definitely stop by Çinçiva Cafe. Drink your coffee in peace with the view of Fırtına River.

Boxwood Forests

Turkey’s only boxwood forest is located in Rize’s Fırtına Valley and this forest is definitely worth seeing. However, it is known that due to the coal imported from Siberia, the fungal disease spreads to the environment, damaging the trees and shortening the life of the boxwood forests. For this reason, see this unique forest before it is destroyed.

Çeçeva Village

As you know, the Black Sea Region is famous for its tea cultivation and is known not only in Turkey but also all over the world. If you want to spend time in tea fields and find answers to your questions about tea, Çeçeva Village is just for you. You can have a great time in the lush green tea gardens that give the feeling of eternity.

Plateaus

Badara Plateau

Badara Plateau, located near to Gito Plateau, is one of the rare plateaus that remained untouched. There is also a small pond on this plateau. Every place is like a flower paradise. If you are going to Gito, do not miss this place.

Gito Plateau

Wouldn’t you like to take a morning walk in Gito, where you can hear only bird sounds in the quiet nature? When you go to Gito, you should definitely drink highland tea after walking in the unique nature and resting in the green forests surrounded by fog. You can taste this delicious tea made with herbs collected from the plateaus at an altitude of 2500 – 3000 meters at Hozboncuk Mountain House.

Huser Plateau

Welcoming its visitors with its famous sea of fog, Huser is more enjoyable with the tea drunk at Zirve Cafe. Pass through Avusor Plateau and continue on the road. The road that leads here is very bumpy and gets muddy especially in the rain, but believe me, it is very beautiful afterward.

Elevit Plateau

Elevit, a plain plateau surrounded by flowers and not visited by crowded groups, is definitely a place to relax. Enjoy the virgin nature here.

Pokut Plateau

One of the most popular plateaus of the Black Sea, Pokut fascinates people of all ages with its magnificent natural landscapes. Since the roads are very bad, the local people recommend going there with a tour, keep in mind.

Sal Plateau

It is possible to walk from Pokut to Sal and this place is very beautiful. If you are going to Pokut, you should stop by Sal Plateau.

Ayder Plateau

Skip Ayder directly, because this place is too crowded and it is too much “like a city” compared to other plateaus.

Restaurants: Laz pastry, muhlama (melted cheese), rice with anchovies, dried white beans, fish with butter in a casserole and pita are very famous in Rize. Taste these delicacies. You should eat dried white beans in Lale Restaurant and for the other traditional meals; you can go to Akasya Restaurant.

Artvin

The Double Arch Bridge – Arhavi Kamilet Valley

Kamilet Valley, which hosts many endemic plant species, is located in Arhavi district of Artvin. It is incredibly enjoyable to travel here in the green nature, away from settlements and crowds, accompanied by a wonderful vegetation.

The Double Arch Bridge, which is the gateway to Kamilet Valley, is one of the symbols of Arhavi. This bridge was built in the 18th century. The two bridges, which intersect with each other on Kamilet River, impress with both the scenery and architecture they offer.

Mençuna Waterfall

Mençuna, which is by far the most beautiful waterfall we have seen in Turkey so far, is admirable. Although it is very difficult to reach this waterfall, you have to climb a slope of approximately 1.5 km, when you see Mençuna flowing from a height of 50 meters, all tiredness ends and love is experienced in Mençuna.

Karagöl – Borçka

This lake is the most touristic places to visit in Artvin. Although Karagöl is very touristic, its nature is beautiful and the scenery it offers and the vegetation it has are truly incredible. We recommend you to take a walk around Karagöl, but beware of the fog. It can suddenly fog up.

Macahel (Camili) Village

This is my favourite place in Artvin and it is located on the Georgian border. There are actually 18 villages in this region. However, Turkey-Russia border agreement determined in 1921 that 12 of these villages remained in Georgia and six of them remained in Turkey. On your way to Macahel, you pass through the Lifeguard Passage at an altitude of 2900 m. The Macahel region was declared the first biosphere reserve area in Turkey by UNESCO. Thus, wildlife and some plants in nature are protected. If you are looking for a quiet and nature-oriented holiday where no one bothers you, away from traffic, air pollution and crowds of people, Macahel is just for you.

** Macahel roads are very rough and it is necessary to drive very carefully.

Maral Waterfall

Located about half an hour from Macahel, the Maral waterfall falls from a height of 65 meters. The waterfall trail that descends a steep slope through spruce and beech trees is quite challenging, but well worth it.

**You will see many people selling corn on the way to Karagöl. You can take a break here and drink tea or eat corn. Since I had my dinner at Macahel Han Hotel, I did not search for a place in Artvin. But the Silor (a kind of ravioli) we ate at the hotel and the potatoes cooked in the oven were delicious.

In the Black Sea Region, I liked the virgin highlands of Rize and the untouched nature of Artvin the most. I spent time alone with nature, sometimes with rain and sometimes with fog, as a friend. Let’s not forget that “Investing in travel is the best investment you’ve ever made in yourself.” So what are you waiting for?

Go, travel, explore… life is beautiful when you travel!

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