From hot air balloon rides in Central Anatolia to paragliding over the Aegean Sea, Turkey offers adventurous sports to get your adrenaline pumping..
Regarded as one of the most appealing touristic destinations in the Mediterranean region, Turkey attracts tourists because of its turquoise waters, beaches, ancient ruins and boutique B&Bs along its coasts. However, the country offers more for those who want explore hidden beauties off the beaten track. With its natural, historical, oceanic and geographic wonders, you will definitely want to discover all the beauty it has to offer. If living in a nature and experiencing the rush of adrenaline is your ideal holiday, the adventures that await you in Turkey are sure to satisfy.
One of the most untouched tourist spots in Turkey, Kaş, on the warm, southern Mediterranean coast, is suitable for diving and one of the world’s top 100 diving destinations. Kaş boasts more than 25 underwater sites for divers to discover amazing ruins including shipwrecks, caves, beautiful seascapes, ancient amphorae, underwater canyons and deep drop-offs into turquoise waters.
Antalya’s other hot spot for diving, Kalkan, is suitable for advanced divers looking for a more serious diving experience. Underwater currents and rare fish species amaze and challenge the experienced diver who can see hundreds of fish and aquatic mammals riding the currents; including sea turtles, tuna and stingrays.
If whitewater rafting is your cup of tea, the Dalaman and Çoruh Rivers in the district of Dalaman in Muğla province are an option. Considered one of the best destinations for rafting, Dalaman is home to three and four-grade rapids that run through traditional Turkish villages, past ancient ruins and through natural wonders. On the Dalaman River, which stretches 229 kilometers in length, two rafting courses are available along which rafters will see eight different waterfalls and beautiful boulders that line the river. Rafting down the Dalaman River takes nearly three hours and is a strenuous but thrilling experience. A daunting challenge for first-time rafters, the experience on the Dalaman River is worth every minute and the time will fly by just as quickly as the whitewater rapids.
Another whitewater rafting option in Dalaman is the Çoruh River to the northeast. Recognized as one of the top 10 whitewater rafting destinations in the world, the grade-five rapids on the Çoruh River are fed by runoff from melting snow in the mountains along the Black Sea coast in spring. Flowing through canyons, narrow valleys and ancient ruins, the Çoruh River offers a heart-racing experience for the adventurous whitewater rafter.
Turkey is the perfect destination for amateur as well as experienced paragliders due to its optimal weather conditions, mountainous terrain and turquoise coastlines which truly make you feel like a bird gliding in endless freedom over the sparkling waters. Ölüdeniz in Fethiye is one of the best spots in Europe for solo and tandem paragliders. To paraglide, first you take a one-hour drive in a Jeep to the top of the Babadağ Mountain, which overlooks Ölüdeniz, where you can see an extraordinarily beautiful view of the mountainside and stunning foliage. From there, you will leap from the side of the mountain over the turquoise waters, feeling the breeze on your face while taking in a picturesque bird’s eye view of magical Ölüdeniz.
In addition, there are other regions of Turkey that are also optimal for paragliding; namely, Eğirdir, Pamukkale, Gölbaşı and the Abant Mountains. The second favorite spot is Kaş, a small, touristy town located in Antalya province. The best time to paraglide here is between the months of April and October when natural beauties are at their finest and weather conditions are most suitable.You must be at least 16 years of age to paraglide in Kaş and there is an age limit of 55.
With its rush of tourists in recent years, Alaçatı is a hot spot for water sports where sports enthusiasts flock to experience one of the best windsurfing and kitesurfing experiences in the world. An exhilarating activity for tourists of all ages, I definitely recommend windsurfing. For a family, it is a great opportunity to try kite surfing with your children. Schools have opened along the sandy coastline to teach kids, adults or older learners how to kite surf and wind surf. The towns of Foça, Akkum and Bodrum are other destinations for windsurfing. Locations along the Aegean coast have perfect wind conditions optimal for windsurfing due to the configuration of bays and islands. Windsurfing in Turkey is increasing by the day and high quality facilities have sprung up across the country. For kite surfing, you will find that Gökova, Akyaka in the western province of Muğla are all great places to start. Just remember before trying these sports that it is beneficial to take lessons for beginners to get the most out of your experience.
Hot air balloon ridesCentral Anatolia’s historical region of Cappadocia is another amazing destination that offers breathtaking experiences with ancient natural treasures and hot air balloon rides. This magical city with its historical remains stand as the most renowned wonder of nature from ancient times, inviting you to lift your soul and vision with hot air ballooning. Through wind and melting snow, the region has been carved out of volcanic rocks over centuries and is a display of amazing colors and shapes unique to Cappadocia, including the famous fairy chimneys (also known as hoodoos).