Yalova is a city and district in the Marmara region on the eastern coast of the Sea of Marmara. The name Yalova means “house at the coast”‘ Yalova is not a popular foreign tourist destination but local tourists from Istanbul flock here all year round. Residents of Istanbul have been visiting this city for decades due to its thermal resorts and the fact that it is only a short distance from Istanbul. At just under 100 km in distance, a one hours drive, it is easy to see why this city is popular.
Yalova has a lot to offer in the way of outstanding countryside, and an abundance of good hiking, biking and trekking trails. One of the most famous landmarks in the city is a house known as the Yuruyen Mansion ( Moving Mansion ) due to the fact that Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, had the building moved to avoid the destruction of an old tree that was damaging the buildings foundations. Ataturk’s association with the city is strong and the house that he loved and stayed in during his final years living in the city is now a museum.
Yalova hot springs and the thermal hotels are situated to the south of the city just 11 km away from the city centre.
The thermal waters are reputed to ease the symptoms for skin disorders amongst other ailments. The Yalova thermal springs have a temperature between 57 to 60 degrees celcius and are suitable for drinking as well as bathing. The actual spas consist of open and covered pools and include good quality spa hotels where you can pamper yourself and enjoy the excellent traditional restaurants nearby.
In ancient times the city would have been known as Pylae or Pylai in Bithynia region. After the fall of the Roman Empire it became part of the Byzantine Empire before finally falling under the control of the Ottoman Empire. Yalova today is the only city in Turkey where orchids are grown. In the district, kiwi fruit is grown, and Yalova also has some busy shipyards that provide much needed employment in the area.
Yalova has everything you might expect for a modern Turkish city. It has a couple of good shopping malls, excellent restaurants, cafe bars and hotels. Yalova is one of the smallest provinces in Turkey. However, it packs a punch with plenty to do and see. Yalova is not a large city so it is easy to navigate on foot. The Yalova Bazaar is opposite the ferry terminal on the seafront and this huge market is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and is a great place to snap up a bargain.
Places to visit
The Arboretum is situated along the Yalova Terman road near Samanli village. It is about 5 km from the city centre. Covering an area of 13.5 hectares it was founded by Hayrettin Karaca and is the only privately owned Arboretum in Turkey. With nearly 7000 species of plants and an equal number of trees in the garden it is a nice place to escape to and spend a few hours strolling around the grounds.
The Sudusen Waterfalls are located 9km from the Thermal town near the village of Uvezpinar. This is a beautiful and quite spectacular waterfall with some amazing secluded countryside surrounding it. It is a popular tourist destination so it can get busy at peak periods. There is a reasonably good road and parking is available nearby. There is a river and a number of restaurants, cafes and ice cream sellers with an abundance of outdoor seating and picnic tables. To reach the waterfall you need to climb some stairs and walk along an unpaved rocky pathway so it may not be suitable for the elderly or disabled.
Yalova Kent Orman Çifte Şelale
Just 29 km from Yalova, the city forest was established in 2005 in 95 hectares. The Yalova city forest is near Çınarcık. Beautiful natural scenery and with recreational facilities and observation terraces, there is plenty to see and do. Don’t miss the Erikli double waterfalls where there are also some playgrounds for children. Be aware that the road is narrow so try and avoid at the weekends and holiday times.
A beautiful lake with some stunning countryside and traditional village nearby. A good place to spend a day with nature and do some walking.
Places to stay
Yalova Ögretmenevi, Dereağzı Mevkii Tigem Yanı Liman Caddesi Merkez Yalova. Tel: 0226 814 94 00