Extending for about 500 km along the Turkish Black Sea coast, Western Karadeniz (Turkish: Batı Karadeniz) is a region of remote and rugged shores backed by lush and hazy mountains, with a strip of century-old industrial and mining heritage inbetween. The main drawcards are the old towns all over the region up the mountain down the shore, ranging from run-down and modest to the perfectly renovated and up and ready for tourism, and the pristine, scenic mountain lakes.
- 1 Akçakoca — a coastal town with a Genoese citadel
- 2 Amasra — a beautiful seaside resort with a nice beach, charming vistas, and great fish restaurants
- 3 Bolu — a city renowned for its chefs, it is a hub for visiting the natural and historic attractions in the surrounding area
- 4 Boyabat — an inland town with a hilltop fortress
- 5 Kastamonu — a riverside city with a pleasant historic core
- 6 Safranbolu — the regional highlight is noted for its lovely Ottoman houses and preserved streetscape
- 7 Sinop — an ancient fortress and port city on the northernmost tip of Anatolia
- 8 Zonguldak — a bleak industrial city surrounded by coal mines
- 1 Abant — a mountain lake near the Istanbul–Ankara motorway with some well-established tourism infrastructure, offering hiking and horseback riding along its trails
- 2 Ilgaz National Park — a winter sports resort surrounded by lush spruce forests and beautiful views
- 3 Yedigöller ("Seven lakes") — seven small lakes tucked away in a heavily forested national park, which goes extremely scenic in autumn
Except for the UNESCO-listed Ottoman old town of Safranbolu, Western Karadeniz often goes unexplored by travellers, and for most, it is simply a line of blurry mountain and forest images on the other side of the window when transiting between Istanbul and destinations east, including Ankara. This is quite understandable, given that those that want to check out a slice of Turkey's north usually opt for the better known (and perhaps, more "exotic") Eastern Karadeniz, and the beachgoers simply prefer the warmer waters (and the sunnier climate) of the Aegean and the Mediterranean. However, give Western Karadeniz a chance (even if that means a short break on your long journey across the country), and you are unlikely to regret it.
It's fairly easy to get in the westernmost sections of the region (around Düzce and Bolu) as they lie on the main motorway between Istanbul and Ankara, the largest Turkish cities. Getting into most other parts of the coastline involves quitting this motorway at Düzce and then heading northwards to Akçakoca, where the highway meets the coastal road .
Buses to the regional cities and some of the towns can be found from the major cities of Turkey.
The region's rail connection is limited to a single line, which links Zonguldak and a number of towns along its route (most notably Karabük) with Ankara. While the trains are infrequent and take a lot of time to cover the distance, the scenery along the route is of epic proportions.