On the Road Less Taken: Driving Turkey’s Black Sea Coast

On the Road Less Taken: Driving Turkey’s Black Sea Coast

up in California,
road trips along the Pacific Coast Highway were a mainstay of life,
and something I have missed since living in Eastern Europe. So when
an old friend was heading my way and suggested we take one, I began
searching for somewhere that might evoke the landscapes and
laid-back vibes of the “PCH”, without the tourists or 6,000 miles
air travel
. The place I found might surprise many, as it’s not
on the crowded
coasts of Italy
, Spain or the
South of France
, but in

While most visitors to coastal Turkey head to the
or Mediterranean seas, the Black Sea region remains
relatively unexplored territory. Spanning the northern length of
the country all the way to the frontier with Georgia, the area was
largely isolated from the rest of Turkey until a coastal highway,
opened in 2007, linked the rural west with the bustling port cities
of the east.

Driving through the summer heat four hours east of Istanbul, we
found the coast near the town of Amasra. As soon as we came down a
pass in the Pontic Mountains, the landscape changed dramatically,
and I knew we were in a special place. A cool breeze whipped into
the car as an endless span of lush mountains spilling down into
steel-blue sea came into view.

We spent the next week making our way to
, winding through colourful rural villages, old fortress
towns and ports, always in the shadow of emerald-green mountains
whose mists hide tea plantations and historic monasteries. We were
greeted like celebrities most places we stopped, plied with Turkish
delight and coffee by locals, most of whom spoke no English. We ate
fresh fish for dinner, toast with locally produced hazelnut butter
for breakfast, and made frequent tea stops at roadside cafés.

At one particular stop, sitting in a chair overlooking the sea,
I closed my eyes and enjoyed the feeling of being somewhere that
felt at once so familiar yet so far away. The road to Turkey’s
Black Sea coast may be less travelled, but it’s definitely one
worth taking.

@AQuietAmerican | stoeggerphotography.com

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