Yayla culture in Turkey is one of a kind, with some of the world’s prettiest alpine pastures wowing tourists from all over the world. The views are unbelievable and the local culture that you find in each yayla is different from the next. We’ve already told you about 5 of the “coolest” yaylas there are, but this is the kind of list that’s endless! Here’s 5 more yaylas that will make you want to buy your tickets immediately and hop on over!
Sakarya Karagöl Yayla
Lake Karagöl in Sakarya's Taraklı district represents a stunning plateau with a lake resting up 1,150 meters above sea level. The hiking and vistas you get all along the trails are magnificent, and it's well-developed, yet still feels totally natural as it's not yet been discovered too much by the tourist swarms.
But it will one of these days, as it's just a few hours outside İstanbul and one of the prettiest hikes you'll find anywhere in the world. Hike through the autumn, it's still warm enough, or camp out (though there's no official camping grounds, there are no regulations as of yet that prevent you from pitching a tent and enjoy the nature to yourself) and breathe the clean air. There are festivals held in the summer and spring as locals in-the-know flock to the beauty of this spot. You don't need to bring more than an empty water bottle to drink from, as the local spring water is of the highest drinking quality. The yayla itself isn't exceptionally long, and it takes around an hour to walk from one side to the other. As you walk, you'll see a few ruins left over from when this was a Roman settlement.
There's a local market held on Fridays, selling traditional handicrafts from the surrounding boxwood and beech trees as well as the local produce. This yayla is one of the best 1-2 day trips outside of İstanbul you'll find.
Gito is another wonderful yayla in the Çamlıhemşin of Rize, stretching out over the beautiful Fırtına River valley with wonderful views overlooking it. This is a spot where you can look down below you and see what looks like the whole world down there, including even the clouds as they dance before you.
It's been relatively recently developed for outside visitors, and is clean with signposts for hiking and picnicking. The atmosphere is somewhat mysterious, as clouds and fog are a constant with trees and the river peeking through them at unexpected moments.
Pürenli Yayla, located on the border of the Gölyaka of the province of Düzce, is a magnificently beautiful plateau with green pastures and colorful flowers. There are traditional festivals organized every year along the yayla set intentionally for when the flowers are in the fullest bloom. Camping is common here and you can hiking its surroundings.
Kümbet Yayla is maybe the most famous yayla in an Eastern Black Sea Region that is particularly famous for its yayla and yayla culture. It sits at an altitude of 1,640 meters, 52 km south of the province of Giresun. Its fame means that its not the uninhabited beauty of other yaylas on this list, but instead is a flourishing spot full of people and festivals and life. The Kümbet Festival is held every year on the second Sunday of July on a small hill just over the yayla, offering views overlooking the whole range of hills. The mountains are covered in magnificent forests of spruce trees, and even the road up to the yayla features some of the more spectacular roads in all of Turkey as they wind their way up.
Ayder Yayla may be last on this list, but it is far from least as it is maybe the best known yayla in all of Turkey. It features dense forests and is surrounded by waterfalls and is at an altitude of 1,350 meters.
For centuries, the yayla has been used a spot to relax amidst the beautiful spruce, pine and beech treee forests, often from the villages below (and particularly from the village of Hala). There are thermal springs in the plateau that have been in use for millennia by locals for their restorative powers.
There are trails all around Ayder Yayla, stretching into the beauty of the Kaçkar Mountains as you wander past countless plains full of flowers and as well as local pastures full of herbs with medicinal properties known only to locals.
For the past 30 years it's been a center of tourism, with signs and events organized by the local municipalities to attract people from all over the country and beyond. There are hotel and spa facilities, and the water can reach a temperature of 55 degrees in the summer.
Some of the best honey in the world also comes from Ayder as the bees feast on the rhododendrons and hives are hung from the trees.