Düzce, a small northwestern city located between Istanbul and Ankara is becoming a hub for Turkish and foreign rafting enthusiasts, with its charming natural beauty and water sports facilities.
The Melen River, emptying into the Black Sea after flowing 2,317 kilometers, is one of the best courses in Turkey for rafting beginners. The course starts from Dokuzdeğirmen and ends in Beyler.
Düzce, a small city in northwestern Turkey just 200 kilometers from Istanbul, is becoming a rising star with its water sports facilities and magnificent nature.
Düzce Mayor İsmail Bayram said rafting had boosted Turkish and foreign tourist numbers lately, but added that the potential was even bigger.
“Düzce, with its location very close to Istanbul, has the potential to become a location for tourists and sport lovers. We aim to make good use of this potential. This sport started seven years ago in our city, but this has increased especially in the last three years,” Bayram told the Hürriyet Daily News.
The Melen River, emptying into the Black Sea after flowing 2,317 kilometers, is one of the best courses in Turkey for rafting beginners, trainers have said.
The course starts from Dokuzdeğirmen village and ends in the village of Beyler. It runs for approximately an hour following a short preparatory training session of around 30 minutes.
Well-educated, experienced trainers teach basic raft safety information and how to enjoy this “amateur beginning with a professional soul.”
The course becomes particularly challenging at three points in the river, where there are lots of big rocks and waves.
At this time of year, even the biggest waves are only around half a meter, but they can reach heights of up to two meters when the snow in Düzce’s great mountains melts, according to trainers. What’s more, rafters must be careful not to lose their concentration on the river as they are surrounded by stunning forest, waterfalls and natural caves along the river.
Those bored of the daily routine of the city can try this option to have a fresh, healthy and joyful time with daily rafting trips. In the last month alone, over 18,000 people visited the Melen River for rafting, official statistics say, even more than the total annual visitors last year.
Bayram said a ski facility was also planned for the city for the winter season, while one of Turkey’s biggest football teams, Fenerbahçe, also now has soccer facilities on the nearby Topuk Plateau.
“Düzce aspires to share Istanbul’s burden of sport centers,” Bayram said.
The southern province of Antalya is currently Turkey’s leading rafting center with its Kemer, Alanya, Manavgat, Belek and Side countryside rivers.
In addition, Çoruh River in Artvin, Fırtına Valley in Rize, Dalaman River in Muğla, Munzur in Tunceli and Zamantı in Kayseri are also internationally known courses in Turkey for rafting lovers.