6 Unmissable Mountains in Turkey
Ağrı Dağı - Mt Ararat
Mt. Ararat is in fact a system of 2 mountains, lesser Mt Ararat and greater Mt. Ararat. Both are dormant, compounded volcanoes. Greater Mt Ararat is the highest mountain in Turkey, standing at an elevation of 5,137 m (16,854 ft). Lesser Mt Ararat stands at 3,896 m (12,782 ft). These mountains have a long and illustrious history and are held sacred by many as the recorded site of Noah’s Ark.
The first to ascend the peak was Professor Frederick Von Parat on October 9th, 1829. The second ascent came over 140 years later when the former president of the Turkish Mountaineering Federation, Dr. Bozkurt Ergor reached the summit on 21 February 1970, sparking a wave of climbers in the 1980s, ultimately leading to a ban on climbing the fabled peak. This ban was lifted in 1998 and climbs are now permissible only up certain faces of the mountain due to the necessity of maintaining open communication channels with the brave souls who dare to attempt the ascent.
Climbing is best in July-September though winter climbs are also possible. Only experienced climbers with appropriate equipment should attempt the full trek. For those who’d rather watch from the sidelines, the nearby town of Dogubeyazit is charming no matter the season and is close to Ishak Pasha Palace amongst other historical sites.
Mt Erciyes, near Kayseri is actually a stratovolcano, though its last eruption was in approximately 6880 BCE. Mt Erciyes is a top tourist destination, particularly for locals, in the winter months when large snow falls turn the mountainside into a winter wonderland, perfect for skiing, snowboarding and other winter snow sports. In the spring and summer, the mountain is full of vegetation and is the perfect spot for hiking, camping, mountain biking and other outdoor adventures.
Palandoken Mountain is just 10 km from the city of Erzurum, in Turkey’s eastern province of Turkey. Because Palandoken is such a close distance from the city, it's an excellent destination, no matter the season for a nature break.
In the winter the mountain is covered in thick snow, making it a snow sports playground for one and all. In fact, the skiing here is some of the best in Turkey, thanks to the length of the ski runs, the quality of the snow that falls and the steepness of the slopes.
The ski season can stretch well into May, thanks to the height of the peak and it’s interior-Anatolian location. However, it shouldn’t be missed in the summertime, when the snow melts, giving way to lush greenery perfect for hiking and mountain climbing.
The Kackar Mountains are alpine-like mountains that run through the Black Sea region of northern Turkey. They are in fact, the highest part of the Pontic Mountain chain, with the highest peak being Mt Kackar, at an elevation of 3,937 metres (12,917 ft). The area was declared a national park in 1994. In the winter, skiing, snowboarding and even heliskiing are top activities to pursue. While in the summer, the extensive trails allow for trekking, hiking, camping and mountain climbing amongst stunning peaks and lush green valleys.
The best time to trek is from June to September, when the weather is clear and the flora and fauna are at their most beautiful. There are two distinct trekking paths to take. Amateur and less experienced hikers should ascend from the Black Sea side of the range, while more experienced and equipped hikers might like to challenge themselves with the Coruh side of the range.
Uludag is the highest mountain in western Anatolia and is easily reached by road and cable car from nearby Bursa. Uludag is a key winter ski resort for local and international visitors alike. The highest peak is Kartaltepe, with an elevation of 2,543 m (8,343 ft). In the spring and summer seasons, visitors flock to the area for the natural beauty and diverse history of the region. Camping and trekking are common, with the hills and valleys full of lush greenery and diverse bird populations including the rare Tengmalm's owl.
Uludag Mountain is where wonder-working Byzantine monk Saint Joannicius the Great, lived as a hermit. The nearby city of Bursa and the nearby northern Black Sea region have many historic Christian relics.
Demirkazik Mountain in the Anatolian region of Kayseri is a part of Adalar Range, part of the the greater Taurus Mountains. Standing at 3,756 metres (12,323 ft). Famous amongst mountain climbers, the summit was first reached in 1927.
The best time to climb Demirkazik is between July-September. This is a climb recommended for experienced climbers with the appropriate gear.
Mt Suphan is an inactive volcano in Turkey’s Eastern province of Van and north of Lake Van. The views from the 4,058 metre (13,314 feet) high summit take in the lake and the valley below. Mt Suphan is the third largest mountain in Turkey and the second highest in Anatolia after Mt Ararat.
In the winter the mountain is covered in snow and is relatively untouched due to the lack of a dense build-up of ski resorts. In the summer trekking is relatively easy, compared to other mountains in Turkey, due to the sandy surface of the mountain rather than cliff or rock face which require equipment.
Immediately below is the vast Lake Van, a beautiful lake that can be explored at one’s own pace.