Istanbul is a wonderful city but it is also so huge that sometimes you just need a break, green areas, sports in nature, breath fresher air…
20km away from the big metropolis you can find the Belgrad Forest which you can get from Taksim Square (down town) by bus, combining it with Hacioman metro station or by private car. By public transport, you should still have to walk around two kilometers to get to the forest, but you can notice a big change already. You go from a city where it is impossible not to see a building to a small two-way road surrounded by trees.
Once inside the forest area, you can find a picnic or barbecue area (for a small fee), a sports area (there is 6km track around the lake), kids area and multiple ways to hike or bike routes.
On the one hand, winter is probably the time when you least want to be outside because of the weather, however, it is possible the best time around to go as you will be able to enjoy the place. It will be very crowded during spring or summer. But on the other hand, everything will flourish and animals will be born, it will be charming.
When to go will be up to you, but this is for sure a must if you are around Istanbul, it is like changing worlds and it is just 20km away. You shouldn’t miss it.
What about you, have you been in the Belgrad Forest? Do you know any other similar area that you could recommend?