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Cittaslow is a movement that arose in opposition to fast food, thus the “slow” moniker. It focuses on cities that promote a high quality, sustainable lifestyle in contrast to an urban lifestyle that harms the environment and is hard on people who live in those cities. It promotes cultural diversity and uniqueness in each city, region and is against the idea of cities/countries growing more homogenized and globalized.
Not surprisingly, Turkey has quite a number of cities which are Cittaslow members, as the Turkish lifestyle tends to fit very much within its mandate. Here are probably the best-known Cittaslow Turkish cities, where you can really just sit back and enjoy “the good life.”
Seferihisar is a seaside paradise along the Aegean in the province of Izmir. It’s a little on the road to Çeşme. But what qualifies it so much for Cittaslow is its historic beauty, with the ancient Carian city of Teos founded 4,000 years ago. The food – particularly its clementines – are delicious and it gets most of its energy from solar, geothermal and wind energy. It truly is a lovely place to discover the past and the present!
Shutterstock / Yasemin Olgunoz Berber
Gökçeada is the largest island in Turkey, but that doesn’t mean it’s heavily developed and fast-paced! It’s heavily wooded, and amazingly self-contained for an island off a major coast. It houses 94 traditional recipes local to the island, involving some 16 indigenous products. The food you’ll eat is grown on the island, and it really represents a world apart from the rest of Turkey – an amazing place to spend a long weekend away from it all!
Akyaka is only just recently beginning to be discovered as a touristic treasure. It’s in the southwest of the country in the province of Muğla, right on the Mediterranean coast. It’s been a home to ancient civilizations, most notably as a part of ancient Caria. Despite all this, it still carries the air of a small little fishing village on the water, as if it’s been the same for centuries.
Halfeti is a lovely little farming village, much of which is now submerged in water. So you get the chance to stay in a traditional village, half of which is underwater – what a treat! (You’ll stay on the above-water bit. 😊 )
Şavşat is a Black Sea coastal town that sits right on the edge of a gorgeous lake and national park. Because it has so many bodies of water (including nearby streams and pools), the fish here are plentiful and delicious. It gets quite chilly in the winter, which makes it the ideal time to visit when the whole place is covered in snow and looks at its most pristine.
Eğirdir is a lakeside town (named after Lake Eğirdir) in the Turkish Lakes Region just north of Antalya. The lake has two islands inside and the town looks over them, making for a perfectly picturesque location. The town has beautiful flowers and a wonderful feel to it, and is a great place to kick off an exploration of all of Turkey’s lakes.
Göynük is well known within Turkey as one of the most beautiful spots anywhere in the country. It’s been a relatively important area since the Roman era. Its forests and lakes are stunning, and in the fall people flock to see the range of colors, not to mention the local cuisine which is delectable.
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