© Photos Courtesy of GoTürkiye
By Allie Murray
Whether you’re craving time in nature away from the crowds or seeking immersion in traditional heritage, Türkiye calls to green-minded adventurers from all over the world.
Late last year, Türkiye’s President Tayyip Erdogan changed the country’s internationally recognized name from Turkey to Türkiye, which is the way the country is pronounced in Turkish. Regarding the change, President Erdogan said, “The word Türkiye represents and expresses the culture, civilization, and values of the Turkish nation in the best way.”
Türkiye’s culture and values surrounding tourism focus on sustainability, making the country the ultimate destination for travelers seeking an adventure that is both unforgettable and environmentally conscious. The country is working to ensure the travelers focus on eco-tourism and leave behind nothing but footprints.
Across Türkiye, travelers can explore majestic mountains, sparkling lakes, caves, and national parks. Türkiye is also home to an abundance of UNESCO cultural and natural heritage locations focusing on historical landmarks and sustainable travel. Türkiye has 18 locations recognized by UNESCO, including the Karain Cave, The Mausoleum of Hecatomnus, Cappadocia, and more.
Türkiye’s Cappadocia is well known for its hot air balloon rides, during which travelers can experience aerial views of its famous and distinctive plateaus, valleys, hills, and volcanic cones.
Choose Eco-Friendly Travel for a Better, Healthy World
Get off the main trails and take in the natural beauty of Türkiye while keeping your carbon footprint small. There are so many ways to explore Türkiye using eco-friendly transportation, from scenic bike trails suitable for all skill levels to low-impact train travel with magical views along the way.
Türkiye is driven to make the country a more sustainable global tourist destination by prioritizing the protection of the planet in everything they do. To do so, they have implemented international environmental conventions and have put a focus on the United Nations Sustainable Development goals as the foundation for their tourism strategy.
In the region, discover the beautiful wildlife and natural areas, like Caretta Carettas (Loggerhead sea turtles) hatching on Turkish beaches, which is one of the world’s biggest nesting areas for these turtles. Nature lovers will be enchanted by the floral richness of Türkiye’s vast fields of flowers. The country is home to nearly 12,000 species of plants and over 2,300 species of mushrooms. Even more magical are the many colorful butterflies native to Türkiye, most notably in the provinces of Van, Hakkari, and Artvin.
Feel the full force of Türkiye’s natural charm by packing a tent and embarking on a camping adventure. Spend the day hiking through numerous national parks and mountains and fall asleep to the soothing sounds of the waters. The bravest of adventurers will enjoy outdoor adventures like rock climbing, caving, and horseback riding.
Sustainable Events and Festivals
Every April since 2006, Istanbul has hosted its annual Tulip Festival to celebrate the beginning of spring. The tulip is a traditional symbol of Türkiye, and fields across the country fill with brilliant colored tulips every spring. The tulips begin to bloom around the end of March and, depending on the weather, can be enjoyed into May. Other flowers, like pansies and bluebottles, are also planted in contrast and add variety to the gorgeous floral fields.
The Sustainable Living Film Festival screens films that contribute to the creation of a new culture of life by inspiring the concept of sustainability around the world. This year’s festival will feature 30 feature films and short documentaries in November. As well, the Bozcaada International Festival of Ecological Documentary features films on the topic of ecology, environmentalism, and sustainability.
Since 2010, İzmir has hosted the Alaçatı Herb Festival during the spring months. The festival features activities focusing on “Turkaegean” cuisine, known for its elaborate use of diverse local herbs while promoting sustainable farming and tourism. The festival raises public awareness for environmentally friendly consumption with its workshops, panels, events and contributes to the region’s economy.
Experience Türkiye like the locals do by indulging in gastronomic experiences from local small businesses and artisans. Each region of Türkiye is home to a variety of age-old cuisines, including traditional agriculture and food practices that connect the past, present, and future in each plate. Immerse yourself in centuries of Turkish cuisine, from wild Aegean herbs to unique street foods, world-renowned kebabs, and desserts that will keep you coming back for more. Through each dish, you’ll be supporting the protection of biodiversity and regional culture, ensuring that generations for years to come will be able to experience the same.
Türkiye is also home to various ecological markets, open and covered, found in every city. At these markets, you can find local delicacies like local cheeses, fresh or dried produce, handcrafted products, and more, all while supporting traditional and local producers and vendors from around the area. These markets are an important facet of the Slow Food movement, which encourages locals and tourists alike to take the time to prepare and eat food entirely from local sources, which in turn, keeps culture and heritage alive.