EuroVelo 8: The ‘UNESCO Route’ from Bergama to Ephesus
The Ancient City of Pergamon, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the first stop on the forty-fifth kilometre of this route, which enters Türkiye from İzmir’s Dikili Port. The route then passes through beautiful spots in İzmir, such as the İzmir Bird Paradise, Karşıyaka, Alsancak, Seferihisar, Sığacık, Urla and Alaçatı, before ending in the ancient city of Ephesus, another UNESCO World Heritage site. On this 500-kilometre long-distance route, you can stop in numerous villages and holiday resorts, observe flamingos while passing through the Gediz Delta and enjoy breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea from the bike lane that runs through the city centre. You can also visit historic sites in two ancient cities on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
‘Thrace Route’ from Edirne to İstanbul
You can start your tour in Thrace from Edirne, a region noted for its natural beauty, delicious food, vineyards, legendary wines, and friendly people. The city, the second capital of the Ottoman Empire, features historical structures such as inns, baths, bridges and palaces and is the heart of the Thrace region. The Selimiye Mosque, built by Architect (Mimar) Sinan and included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2011, is a must-see attraction in the city. After Edirne, you can continue to Kırklareli via lush forest roads. In addition to the İğneada National Park, which has floodplain forests, swamps, freshwater lakes and coastal dunes, the highlights of this picturesque city include stellar examples of 19th-century Ottoman civil architecture. İstanbul, the vivid and vibrant metropolis with its ancient history and monuments, is the final stop on your bike journey.
‘Anatolian Route’ from İstanbul to Kayseri
Ride from İstanbul, the world's crossroads, to Anatolia's heart. From the European side of İstanbul, the ferry transports you to the Anatolian side, with stunning views of the Bosphorus. As you bid farewell to İstanbul’s evocative silhouette, Kocaeli, Sakarya, and Eskişehir welcome you, one after the other. The historical Odunpazarı district in Eskişehir draws attention due to its cultural richness and various museums. With its picturesque traditional houses, narrow streets, mosques, fountains and small squares, the district centre was added to Türkiye’s UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 2012. In Nevşehir, you are greeted by scenic Cappadocia, one of the world’s most fascinating geographical regions. You can see the distinctive Fairy Chimneys throughout the region – and one of the most thrilling ways to discover these natural formations is from a hot air balloon. Kayseri, one of Anatolia’s most historic cities, is the final stop on this route, and it will captivate you, particularly with its legendary traditional cuisine.
The Eurasian Route: The Route of the Empire
Another option for long-distance cycling in Türkiye is the Eurasian Road (Via Eurasia), a long-distance culture and trekking route. The route enters Türkiye from Edirne and heads south, passing through İstanbul and Bursa. Starting from Beykoz, known for its lush groves, you can cycle through Poyrazköy and Anadolu Feneri and pedal towards İstanbul’s northern end. After İstanbul, you will pass through Bursa and Bilecik, former capitals of the Ottoman Empire, before arriving in Kütahya and then Afyonkarahisar. Afyon Castle and the İscehisar Fairy Chimneys are among the must-see attractions in the city, which is also famous for its delicious cuisine. When you see Eğirdir, a freshwater lake formed by tectonic and karstic forces, you’ll know you’ve arrived in Isparta, Türkiye’s rose garden. Crossing the Taurus Mountains reveals magnificent combinations of greens and blues and the rich cultural heritage of ancient cities.
‘Mediterranean Route’ from Antalya to Mersin
A route steeped in history, blessed with exceptional climatic conditions, and enthralling in its natural beauty... This long-distance route begins at Antalya’s famous Kaleiçi Yacht Harbour and continues to the ancient city of Side, Pamphylia’s most important port city. Continuing along the coastline with its beautiful views, you will arrive in Alanya. After 500 kilometres, the Mediterranean coast embraces you with its deep blue sea and natural sandy beaches. Cycling the coastline, you can reach Mersin, one of the Mediterranean’s favourite port cities, and enjoy a variety of local dishes ranging from tantuni (a lavash wrap made of julienned lamb or beef, boiled and roasted on an iron plate in oil) to cezerye (a type of lokum (Turkish delight) made of sweet carrots and covered in ground pistachios or coconut flakes).