Probably the most stunning natural wonder that Artvin has to offer, the grand Kaçkar Mountain range stretches along the Black Sea coast with the highest peak reaching an elevation of 3,397 meters. The glaciated mountains that are alpine in nature have beautiful rocky peaks and many natural lakes that are discovered by hikers, campers, and mountaineers who take on the magical landscape for a truly spectacular adventure. In 1994, the mountain range was declared a national park and many of the Black Sea region’s alpine pastures have a gorgeous view of these mountains that are often snow-capped, even in the warmer months.
With a 100-meter fall from a steep rocky wall into a small lake, the Mençuna Şelalesi is another of Artvin’s beautiful natural spectacles. Surrounded by rich flora as well as a wooden hanging bridge that leads into the forest, the waterfall is in Artvin’s Arhavi country within the Kamilet Vadisi. A very popular destination for tourists, the waterfall is most beautiful between the months of April and May when the snow has melted away.
Kamilet Vadisi – Mençuna Konakları Karşısı, 08290 Arhavi, Artvin, Turkey, +90 0532 485 49 58
Hatila Valley National Park
Located at the eastern end of the Kaçkar Mountains, the Hatila Valley National Park is famous for its diverse plant and animal life as well as its Mediterranean climate due to its proximity to the Black Sea. With plenty of accommodation options all around the park including bungalows, caravans, or tents, visitors can gaze upon the deciduous and evergreen tree species such as sessile oak, sweet chestnut, oriental hornbeam, and black alder. In spring, the beautiful flowers such as the pink primula vulgaris or blue Cappadocian navelwort and five species of snowdrop among many others bloom to their full capacity. Animals such as red foxes, wild goats, European hares, and birds of prey also call the area their home.
Another beautiful waterfall in the Artvin province that’s become a favorite among visitors, the Maral Falls are located in the northwestern area of the Karcal Mountains in Artvin’s town of Borçka. With a 63-meter drop from a distinct knickpoint from the Maral Creek, the waterfall flows into a lake where swimming in the summer is especially refreshing.
Karagöl-Sahara National Park
Artvin’s other national park is another heavenly place on earth where nature still reigns freely. Located within the borders of the Şavşat and Artvin provinces, the park has beautiful valleys and dense forests with spruce, fir, and Scotch pine as well as a gorgeous lake surrounded by rich flora. Every year there is a Beetroot Festival around the Reşat River (at around 1,800 meters), which has become a popular destination for visitors. In 1994, the 3,766-hectare area was granted National Park status and there is only one lodge in the Karagöl area where visitors can stay overnight and hike through the surrounding natural beauty.
08790 Şavşat, Artvin, Turkey, +90 312 207 50 00
Located in Artvin’s Borçka district, the Macahel Plateau is a real natural wonder with six Turkish and 12 Georgian villages that are pretty much undiscovered by visitors. One of the best places to visit is the Camili village where the first foray into tourism has been reached through the construction of a lovely alpine lodge hotel called the TEMA Vakfı Konukevi. From there you can take a hiking trip to the beautiful Gorgit and Beyaz Su alpine pastures, check out the Maral Falls, or just stay in Camili and really take in the stunning green valley and mountains, small wooden village houses, and the utter silence of being remote and at one with nature.
Merkez, Muratlı Cd. No:55, 08400 Camili Bucağı, Borçka, Artvin, Turkey, +90 466 485 24 04
Often called ‘Turkey’s last remaining wild river,’ the Çoruh River is located in Mescit Mountains flowing through Artvin as well as Georgia before reaching the Black Sea south of Batumi. The Çoruh valley itself is an important area for biodiversity with around 104 plant species that are nationally threatened, which is why the area has been marked for protection. For visitors, the river is one of Turkey’s best places for whitewater kayaking and rafting, having hosted the Çoruh Extreme kayak competition in 2005.