Like many big cities, when it comes to finding Green Space in which to relax and unwind, Istanbul is no different with it’s noisy streets, car filled roads, multiple office buildings and residential developments however, if you know where to look then there are 5 National Parks that we highly recommend taking a stroll through if you need to escape the normal hustle and bustle.
Let’s start with a family visit to Faith Forest which is situated in Sarriyer. Offering a wide range of facilities, including a large playground and picnic area it covers around 150 acres, plus there’s an on-site forest café which serves a traditional breakfast every Saturday morning.
Next, we waltz over to Irmak Nature Park, also located in Sarriyer, in the Belgrad Forest. Only recently declared a National Park it’s named after the creek which runs through the 25 acre ‘estate’, and it offers hiking, cycling, a playground and a running track.
Jogging over to Polonezkoy, which was Istanbul’s first designated National Park, and here you’ll find several European Style wooden lodges which are set up as restaurant’s or café’s, plus there’s plenty of trekking and cycling for burning off those calories afterwards. The area itself covers 3,000 hectares and has beautiful scenery including multiple tree species & a few birds of prey.
Take a run to Mihrabat National Park and like Irmak it too is rather recent, only being designated as a National Park in 2011. Located on the Asian side of Istanbul here you will find a rather lovely open air restaurant and wedding/concert venue, plus, open air basketball courts and a football field. It covers around 50 acres in total.
Lastly, for the perfect romantic spot, dance over to Dilburnu Nature Park which is situated on Buyukada Island and offers a wonderful spot on which to stare out over the sea. There’s close to 17 acres, several spots for a picnic and if you do take your children with you, there’s also a playground and a restaurant.