Istanbul – Zonguldak – Amasra – Samsun – Ordu – Trabzon
In a road trip to discover the Black Sea you have to organize yourself very well. The journey we propose is as long as it is beautiful. During this road trip you will discover a large and wonderful coast that is home to small seaside villages and large cities. The trip has several stops including Zonguldak, Amasra, Samsun, Ordu and Trabzon. The journey time of the one way trip exceeds 20 hours, so (if you don’t have enough time) we recommend that you take a rental car in a Istanbul airport and drop it off at Trabzon airport so you can fly back to Istanbul.
I remind you that we wrote a very interesting article on “Car & rental”
First stop: Zonguldak
After hiring a car in Istanbul, following our tips, you can start the road trip in the Black Sea.
The first stop on this long road trip is Zonguldak, a small town far 4 hours from Istanbul.
With its important carbon production center, incredible views and a pivotal role in Greek mythology, Zonguldak is one of the most interesting cities on the Turkish Black Sea coast!
The history of the city dates back to 550 BC. Around 560 BC A Greek colony was founded in its city and the city was named Herakleia Pontika, after its Heracles (Hercules), the legendary hero of Greek mythology! The Romans occupied the city in the dry 1st century BC. Zonguldak was of great strategic importance during the First World War with its abundant coal beds and harbor. Today, Zonguldak attracts many tourists with its wonderful beaches and ancient caves!
This road trip we propose is long but if you plan to stay some days in Zonguldak, we recommend that you visit Kopuz beach and Cehennemağzı cave.
Second stop: Samsun
As written in the first paragraph, this road trip on the Black Sea will be long. The second stage that we recommend, in fact, is 9 hours from Zonguldak: Samsun.
To get from Zonguldak to Samsun you have 2 roads. We recommend the longest one because it is the most beautiful and runs along the Black Sea coast.
Samsun is the largest port in the Black Sea and one of the protagonists of the Turkish economic boom.
The hotels and restaurants mostly concentrated around Cumhuriyet Meydanı (Republic Square), the heart of the city, make Samsun a convenient stopping point. Pay attention to the development that is affecting the city center, it is a good witness to the dizzying economic ambition of today’s Turkey. From Cumhuriyet Meydanı, Cumhuriyet Caddesi stretches eastwards, skirting the southern side of Atatürk Park, bordered to the north by Atatürk Bulvarı (the coastal road).
Do not miss a visit to the Gazi, a museum which commemorates the beginning of the war of independence, and the Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum.
Third stop: Ordu
After Samsun, the obligatory stop is Ordu,
an another port city on the Black Sea coast of Turkey!
Ordu may be known for its breathtaking views, but the largest hazelnut producer in the world is also here! With its epic nature, delicious food and medieval ruins, Ordu is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in Turkey.
Among the must-see attractions, we recommend Cape Jason and the village of Boztepe.
Cape Jason is a church built as a pagan temple to protect sailors from the troubled waters of the Black Sea. Today, you can find this amazing church sitting in an overgrown cornfield near a lighthouse.
Boztepe, on the other hand, is a beautiful hilltop village in the Ordu province. It is a famous tourist attraction in Ordu with a panoramic view of the city and the Black Sea coast with amazing restaurants. If you check the top of the hill, you will find a restaurant where you can enjoy delicious traditional dishes overlooking the city of Ordu and the Black Sea! With the Ordu Boztepe cable car you can even reach the top of the hill!
Fourth stop: Trabzon
The road trip on the Black Sea continues to Trabzon, the largest city of this trip.
Trabzon is one of those places that either hate or love each other. Arguably the most sophisticated of the Black Sea coastal cities.
The region’s past lives on in the enchanting medieval church of Aya Sofya and the Byzantine monastery of nearby Sumela, while in Atatürk Alanı, Trabzon’s lively main square east of the city center, the modern world impresses its dazzling supremacy. With the winding streets of the bazaar and the pedestrianized islands, the city preserves the most authentic essence of the Black Sea, and its liveliness, after the slow and relaxed pace of the other small towns, manages to be contagious.
The heart of Trabzon revolves around Atatürk Alanı, also called Meydan Parkı. The port develops east of Atatürk Alanı, at the foot of a steep hill. You will find cafes and restaurants around Atatürk Alanı and west of the square along Uzun Sokak and Kahramanmaraş (abbreviated to Maraş) Caddesi. To the west of the center, past the bazaar, Ortahisar is a picturesque and ancient neighborhood that straddles a rocky hollow.
Fifth stop: Istanbul
After visiting Trabzon and its surroundings for a few days, it’s time to think about returning.
As written in the first paragraph, in this road trip you can consider renting the car at the Istanbul Airport and deliver it to the Trabzon Airport (there are several rental car agencies that have this service), then take a domestic flight from Trabzon in Istanbul.
If, on the other hand, you have time and want to return to Istanbul by car, you can retrace the same route and change the stops (you can, for example, stop at Bafra, Sinope and Amasra). If you are in a hurry but still want to get back by car you can take the internal road and in just 12 hours you will be in Istanbul. Along this road you can take a few hours break (for lunch or for the night) in Çorum, whose modest reputation is due to its role as Turkey’s leading chickpea producer. The lively and crowded center of this city offers a glimpse of the typical life of the Turkish province.
Whatever the choice, don’t spend too many consecutive hours driving. A break with a good çay recharges you more than you think.