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Welcome to Samsun, Turkey!
Samsun may be a lesser-known city in Turkey, it has always been culturally important to the people of Turkey and is full of history and natural beauty. Samsun is located on the Black Sea coast and has been historically the most important city on the coast for the country.
Legend has it that a race of amazon-like people once lived here, but what makes Samsun so important was the 1919 fight for Turkish independence that started here. Among the historic landmarks and beautiful scenery is a city that has beautiful weather, great food, and much to experience. As a worldwide local those are some key ingredients to a great time, and with the help of this insider’s guide, you’ll gain tips on how to explore Samsun best!
Worldwide Local Tip: Remarkably, it’s pretty easy to get around in Samsun--in Turkey, this is not always the case, and generally, the older cities tend to be harder to navigate with public transportation. There’s a myriad of options to get around the city center, including a modern tram system, but there are also buses and shared taxis (called dolmuses) readily available. To make your life easier, pick up a Samkart, which will act as your travel card/fare card as go you around Samsun.
Marvel at Sahinkaya Canyon
We cannot overstate the natural beauty that surrounds the area of Samsun. Turkey weather is temperate generally, but because this city sits on the Black Sea, it experiences amazing weather almost all year round. The lush green hills and valleys, make taking a trek out into nature something absolutely necessary. One place that is a little unknown, even to many locals, is the Sahinkaya Canyon. The canyon is the second largest in Turkey, and in the canyon is the blue waters of Altinkaya Dam Lake. Taking a boat cruise will grant you some of the best views in the entire country.
Worldwide Local Tip: Travelers can head out to this area themselves, but to get a good overall view of the entire area, it behooves you to book a tour. Tours offered here take people through old Ottoman villages and homes, the old mosques of the area, and finally through the valley.
Learn about Local Culture at Ataturk Park
A worldwide local knows that understanding the culture is paramount to visiting a new city. Understanding the origins of where the locals come from and their customs is what makes traveling a worthy experience. The Onur Aniti (statue of honor) is located in Ataturk Park, which is in itself a place you should be visiting while in Samsun. The park is well-kept and is often full of locals lounging in the sun and enjoying the day. The statue is important because it depicts the landing of Ataturk in Samsun and the beginning of the Turkish War of Independence. There are often cafes and stalls around the park making it a great place to just hang out and people watch.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you’re still into checking out local legends and history then head to the massive Samsun Amazon Heykeli. This large statue of an amazon warrior queen takes center stage in Bati park. Representing the fierce warrior women of legend, the statue is flanked on each size by massive lion statues. The statue’s backdrop is the Black Sea, making the whole view just absolutely stunning.
Take a Day Trip into a Fairytale
A worldwide local knows that it is important to get out of the city sometimes. Another place that is of absolute beauty that few tourists get to is the fairytale-like Kabaceviz Waterfall. The waterfall is about 40 kilometers outside the city, but once you get there you’ll be glad you made the trip. The waterfalls follow a winding path through trees, small cliffs, mini caves, and mangroves, that often feel like it’s playing hide and seek with those who try to make their way to the waterfall.
Worldwide Local Tip: The area is a pretty quiet one and the waterfall is off the beaten path, offering plenty of privacy while you’re here. Pack a picnic and dip your toes in the water, and make sure to wear good walking shoes while you make your way to the waterfall, as some of the ground is rocky and unstable.
Enjoy Your Visit!
You should never pass up a deal on cheap flights to Samsun. Turkey is a big country, and while Samsun might not be the number one spot on most people’s travel list when they’re visiting this country, it really should be! The area is rich with history and culture, and ignoring it would be a disservice. On top of that, the beauty of the area is also amazing and not always found elsewhere in the country. A worldwide local knows that these often overlooked cities are sometimes the best, and Samsun is definitely worth a visit.