Istanbul is known mostly for its historical places and landscapes, but believe me, it has more than that! There are many undeveloped parts of the city which offer a great way to escape from the crowds and just relax with your own thoughts – and maybe even a picnic!
1. Bakırköy Botanic Park
What makes this park so special is that the energy is supported by solar panels and wind turbines. Since it’s close to the highway, tree lines have been planted to limit the noise. The park hosts 11 themed gardens with a huge variety of plants, a natural pond and a playground for the kids.
Open Hours: 7/24
Location: Osmaniye, İncirli Kavsağı D-100 Yanyolu, Bakırköy/İstanbul
Phone Number: (0212) 414 97 00
2. Atatürk Arboretum
If you love nature and the relaxed feeling of a fresh breeze your face, this arboretum is for you. A little pool which birds bathe in welcomes you at the entrance, and the forest map you’ll be given will help you make the most of your visit. After the entrance there’s a place where you can inspect how old is a tree by looking at the circles in its trunk. The forest is huge and clean and will create a dreamy experience for you.
Open Hours: 09:00 – 17:00 Closed on Mondays
Location: Kemer, İstanbul Üniversitesi Orman Fakültesi, Bahçeköy/Sarıyer
Phone Number: (0212) 226 19 29
3. Yıldız Park
A green and quiet environment, this park is just perfect. It has more than 120 kinds of exotic trees and bushes, and also hosts three pavilions so you can enjoy the view with a cup of tea or a beautiful dinner. It’s popular with joggers, walkers and cyclists, and you’d never know you were in the heart of a vibrant city.
4. Emirgan Grove
Imagine a park so full of colourful tulips that your eyes are bathed in pleasure. Well, that park is Emirgan Grove! Here you can enjoy a picnic with the view of Bosphorus, or have breakfast, dinner or some tea or coffee in one of the three pavilions. The park hosts a tulip festival which is full of 190 different types of tulips. During the festival, which runs from 1st – 30th April, the park is lit up with 2.8 million tulips. The park also boasts 120 different types of tree and bush. This is literally the most perfect flower garden you’ll ever see.
5. Fenerbahçe Park
This park is like heaven for people who want to avoid the crowded areas of some other parks. Here people mostly come to relax and read a book or drink tea and coffee from their Thermos. The gum woods, which are 150 years old, are worth seeing, and when the spring comes the judas trees will rise in their magnificent form to be seen. You can roller skate, ride a bike or go jogging as long as you want!
6. Belgrad Forest
The lungs of Istanbul! This mighty forest is a journey for adventure lovers. It is the last one of those green areas that Istanbul should protect at every cost. Without this forest, people would have nowhere to breathe some fresh air, have a good time with their families or spend time alone with their loved one. Spending time here is like therapy for the soul and you’ll feel like you’re in a romantic movie. This place is a must for all visitors to Istanbul.
7. Maçka Democracy Park
Perfect for photographers, this park is bathed in a multitude of colour. In autumn, you can enjoy the tones of brown, and when spring comes, shades of green will whisper to the soul. When the snow falls in winter, the park turns a beautiful white. This park hosts two different sport areas, two different playgrounds for the kids, two coffee shops (where you can also get a meal), a man-made island and 9 separate artificial pools. You can use the rope railway inside the park to get to Taksim very easily!