Are you looking for a beginner’s guide to Trabzon, Turkey for your next vacation? Well, look no further!
If you’re planning a trip to Turkey and are looking for a destination that offers a unique blend of stunning natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture, look no further than Trabzon.
As someone who has been living in Turkey for nearly four years and has visited Trabzon, I can attest to the fact that this city has an undeniable charm. From its ancient Byzantine churches and Ottoman-era mansions to its bustling markets and mouthwatering cuisine, Trabzon has something for everyone.
In this beginner’s guide to Trabzon, we’ll dive into everything you need to know to plan your visit to this unique Turkish destination. Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s rich history, soaking up the sun on its stunning beaches, or indulging in its delicious local cuisine, Trabzon has it all.
So come along with us as we discover what this amazing city has to offer.
Where is Trabzon?
Trabzon is a city located in the northeast region of Turkey, along the coast of the Black Sea. Surrounded by lush green mountains and crystal-clear waters, Trabzon is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.
As one of the most important cities in the region, Trabzon has been a hub of trade and commerce for centuries. Its strategic location on the Silk Road made it a key stopping point for traders traveling between Europe and Asia, bringing wealth and prosperity to the city.
Today, Trabzon remains an important center of trade and industry, but it is also a popular tourist destination known for its hospitality, delicious cuisine, and stunning landmarks.
How do I get to Trabzon?
There are a few different ways to get to Trabzon but the quickest, easiest, and perhaps even cheapest is to fly. Once you land in Trabzon you could easily rent a car for the rest of your vacation.
If, however, you are up for an adventure and have a bit more time and money, you could do a road trip out to Trabzon. This is what my friend and I did and it was epic! We stopped at a few different cities along the way and had a blast. The world is your oyster when you have your own car!
If you’re planning to fly in but don’t want to rent a car the best thing is to take a taxi to your hotel. It is less than 10 km from the airport to the center of Trazon so it shouldn’t be too expensive. There are other options but this is the easiest one.
Pro tip: Make sure they turn on the meter so you don’t get an erroneous bill because you’re a foreigner.
What makes Trabzon special?
You may be asking yourself what is so special about Trabzon. Well, when you visit you can explore ancient Byzantine churches, Ottoman-era mansions, and soaring mosques.
You can wander through bustling markets filled with colorful spices and traditional handicrafts, or stroll along the seaside promenade, taking in stunning views of the Black Sea. With its unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, Trabzon is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Turkey.
Here are a few things that contribute to Trabzon’s appeal:
- Rich History: Trabzon has a long and fascinating history that dates back thousands of years. It was an important trade center on the historical Silk Road and a gateway to the Black Sea region. The city has witnessed the rise and fall of various civilizations, including Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans, leaving behind a wealth of historical landmarks and cultural heritage.
- Natural Beauty: Trabzon boasts stunning natural landscapes that attract nature enthusiasts. The city is surrounded by lush green forests, majestic mountains, and picturesque coastlines. Uzungöl, a mesmerizing lake nestled amidst the mountains, is a popular destination for its tranquility and scenic beauty.
- Local Cuisine: Trabzon is renowned for its delicious local cuisine, which is heavily influenced by the Black Sea region. Visitors can indulge in mouthwatering dishes such as hamsi (anchovy) prepared in various ways, kuymak (a cheesy cornmeal dish), and pide (Turkish pizza). The city’s vibrant food scene offers a delightful culinary experience.
- Traditional Culture: Trabzon has preserved its traditional culture and customs, providing visitors with an opportunity to immerse themselves in the local way of life. Traditional dance performances, folk music, and local festivals showcase the region’s rich cultural heritage.
- Warm Hospitality: The people of Trabzon are known for their warm hospitality and friendliness towards visitors. Travelers often appreciate the genuine warmth and welcoming nature of the locals, creating a memorable experience during their stay
When should I go to Trabzon?
This is always a hard question for me. I think I am different than most people…or maybe I just have more flexibility? I think this is a bit of a subjective question so let me tell you a little about the seasons and you make up your mind.
Trabzon has a humid subtropical climate, which means it experiences mild and wet winters and warm, humid summers. The city is generally mild throughout the year, with temperatures ranging from 43 °F (6 °C) in the winter to 82 °F (28 °C) in the summer.
In the winter months of December through February, Trabzon can experience heavy rainfall and occasional snowfall. Average temperatures during this time range from 45-50 °F (7-10 °C) during the day and 35-41 °F (2-5 °C) at night. The heavy rainfall does make traveling to many places quite difficult. Unless you have experience in this environment I would recommend another season.
Spring, which takes place from March to May, brings milder temperatures and less precipitation. Average temperatures rise to 55-59 °F (13-15 °C) during the day and 45-50 °F (7-10 °C) at night.
Summer is from June to September and is warm and humid, with average daytime temperatures ranging from 73-81 °F (23-27 °C). Nights are cooler, with temperatures ranging from 59-68 °F (15-20 °C). It is also a relatively dry season, with less rainfall than the other months.
Fall starts in October and lasts until November. During this time, the weather is mild and temperatures range from 61-66 °F (16-19 °C) during the day, and 50-55 °F (10-13 °C) at night.
Overall, Trabzon’s climate is characterized by mild temperatures and high humidity throughout the year, making it a great destination for those who enjoy moderate weather.
Where to stay in Trabzon
There are a million places you can stay and honestly, I always recommend checking booking.com and looking through reviews. Because places close down so often here, it is hard to stay on top of them all.
That being said, this is where we stayed and I will totally stay there again if I go back. This apartment was right on the water. Every morning we would walk out the back patio door, breathe in the smell of the Black Sea, and drink our coffee on this idyllic porch swing.
The sound of the lapping water was like balm for my soul. After my first 2 years of living in Istanbul, I felt like I could breathe a bit deeper and let the stress melt away.
Not to mention, the landlord was so kind. He sent down sweets with his kids most nights and gave us suggestions of where to go and what to do. This is outside of downtown and we had a car but for us it was perfect.
What to do in Trabzon
Trabzon is a beautiful city with much to offer for visitors looking for an authentic Turkish experience. Here are some things you can do while you’re in Trabzon:
Visit the Hagia Sophia Museum
This Byzantine-era church turned mosque turned museum is one of the most iconic landmarks in Trabzon. It features awe-inspiring frescoes and mosaics that transport visitors back in time. Something interesting about this mosque specifically is that only half of it has been converted to a mosque and half remains a museum.
Explore Sumela Monastery
One of the most iconic attractions in Trabzon is the Sumela Monastery (also known as the Monastery of the Virgin Mary). Perched on a cliffside in the Alt?ndere Valley, this ancient Greek Orthodox monastery offers breathtaking views and is a testament to the region’s religious and architectural history. You can hike through the lush forests to reach the monastery and marvel at its impressive architecture. Pro tip: make sure you call ahead and verify it is open as it has been closed often for renovations.
Walk along Boztepe Hill
For panoramic views of Trabzon and its surroundings, take a stroll up Boztepe Hill. You can enjoy a cup of Turkish tea or pack your own little picnic while admiring the cityscape below.
Taste local cuisine
Trabzon is famous for its delicious local cuisine, which includes seafood, kuymak (a cheese and cornmeal dish), baklava, and pide (a type of Turkish pizza). Be sure to try some of the local dishes while you’re in town.
You should also make sure you get in a Turkish breakfast while in Trabzon. I especially love doing this kind of meal in all the different cities because each region has its flavors to add. This restaurant had m?hlama and it was delicious! We ate like queens!
Shop at the local markets
Trabzon has several bustling markets where you can find traditional handicrafts and spices. There are plenty of special souvenirs in Turkey that are perfect gifts for friends and family. The Ortahisar district is particularly known for its vibrant market scene.
Relax at the beach
Trabzon is home to several stunning beaches, including Uzungol Lake, Sogutlu Beach, and Akcaabat Beach, where you can relax and soak up the sun. If you are headed to Trabzon and have any Turkish friends, the will be mortified if you go to Trabzon and don’t go to Uzungol, take it from experience. We simply ran out of time. Oops. It is a beloved place by the Turks and definitely worth seeing. Guess I need to go back!
Visit Ataturk’s Mansion
A beautiful mansion located on a hill overlooking the city, Ataturk’s Mansion is a popular tourist destination that offers a glimpse into the life of Turkey’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. It also boasts a large flower garden and beautiful views.
It was actually quite interesting to see some of his personal items. He didn’t actually live here long and said “The real estate and properties have become a burden to me, I will be relieved when I donate these to my people. The wealth of a person should be within his own morale. I would like to give many more things to my great people” and thus did so.
This is a charming village known for its stunning natural scenery and traditional architecture. Hamsikoy is a popular destination for visitors looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. You can also explore the village’s historic wooden houses, stroll along the cobblestone streets, and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forests.
The village is particularly famous for its delicious local cuisine, including its signature dish, Hamsikoy sütlaç, which is similar to rice pudding. This is probably my favorite Turkish dessert and this was the best one I have had yet. When we asked the restaurant owner why it was so much better, he described how the cows are able to roam free meaning their diet is quite diverse. This gives the milk they use a really rich flavor. Highly recommend this experience!
These are just some of the many things you can do while you’re in Trabzon. With its rich history, stunning natural scenery, and delicious local cuisine, Trabzon is a destination that should not be missed.
Final thoughts on visiting Trabzon, Turkey
As you can see, Trabzon, Turkey provides tourists with a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture that is sure to leave a lasting impression. Whether you are exploring the ancient Byzantine churches and Ottoman-era mansions, sampling the delicious local cuisine, or simply soaking up the sun on one of the city’s many beaches, there is something for everyone in this charming destination.
The city’s mild and humid subtropical climate means that it is enjoyable to visit year-round, making it the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and experience the beauty of Turkey’s Black Sea region.
So why not plan your trip to Trabzon today and discover all that this amazing city has to offer?