Şile, one of the 39 districts of Istanbul and located on the Black Sea coast, is a frequent destination for daily vacationers, especially in summer. Being accessible from the furthest point of Istanbul in 2-3 hours, blue flag beaches, wide coastline along the sea, forested areas, stylish and shabby restaurants serving fresh fish and of course delicious pancakes, every Istanbulite drops his way here at least once a year. . However, these are only the visible and most well-known faces of Şile.
It has been 2 years since we migrated to Şile with the Pandemi. Previously, this was a short vacation spot for us that we used to come on Saturday morning in the summer, swim in the sea and eat, and then return in the evening for a change. But in the last 2 years in a village of Şile, we discovered that there is something different hidden in almost every one of its 62 villages, and we still continue to discover it with astonishment. It turns out that Şile was a place like the Çeşme of the people of Izmir and the Bodrum of the people of Muğla for the people of Istanbul, but we could not give it the value it deserves.
Although it has already been discovered by cycling and motorcycle enthusiasts, hiking and trekking lovers, campers and photographers, most Istanbulites still do not realize that Şile is a touristic paradise with its promised four-season activities. From rock climbing to wave surfing, from ATV and bicycle tours to horse riding, from paddle board to trekking tours to waterfalls and caves, the activities you can do here are endless. Şile’s nature is still intact, traditional village culture is still alive in its villages, and while there is at least one activity that will appeal to almost everyone, it is a very close place that should be evaluated as it deserves.
1- Our suggestion for those who are looking for a more extreme track for trekking; Hacilli Waterfalls and Onbirgöller Valley and Değirmençayırı Waterfall
The natives of Hacilli migrated from the province of Karaman, from the group called Manav, just like the people in the Black Sea coastal villages.
For this route, after arriving in Hacilli village, you will follow the dirt road descending to the right of the mosque in the village, and when the road starts to curve to the right, you will reach the creek from the path just in front of you. Ballıkayalar is located across the walking path. The Ballıkayalar rocks are named after the cracks in the triassic limestones because the bees make honey. Triassic fossils of 300 million years old have been found in Hacilli rocks. These fossils, which can be seen by professional mountaineers, are examples from the transition years between the life forms of the Paleozoic and the Mesozoic. Take the stream to your right and continue your walk until the wooden bridge. After crossing the bridge, follow the limestone path along the Göksu coast. When the road meets the river for the second time, you will cross here. By following the valley upwards, you will reach the waterfalls and the lake region will begin with the province you see. Nazlı Lake, Serin Lake, Kayalı Waterfall are some of them. You can also swim, especially in the third pond. On the east side of the pond, Gürlek Cave, one of the first Christian prisons, has its mouth 10 meters above the ground. During the time of the Eastern Roman Emperor Diocletian (284-305), the caves in Şile and its surrounding villages became a natural shelter for the first Christians. The soldiers imprisoned what they caught in the caves here. The cave, which is 241 meters long, was discovered in 1985 by a village teacher. In the cave, pottery bones were found. On the east side of the pond, Gürlek Cave, one of the first Christian prisons, has its mouth 10 meters above the ground. During the time of the Eastern Roman Emperor Diocletian (284-305), the caves in Şile and its surrounding villages became a natural shelter for the first Christians. The soldiers imprisoned what they caught in the caves here. The cave, which is 241 meters long, was discovered in 1985 by a village teacher. In the cave, pottery bones were found. On the east side of the pond, Gürlek Cave, one of the first Christian prisons, has its mouth 10 meters above the ground. During the time of the Eastern Roman Emperor Diocletian (284-305), the caves in Şile and its surrounding villages became a natural shelter for the first Christians. The soldiers imprisoned what they caught in the caves here. The cave, which is 241 meters long, was discovered in 1985 by a village teacher. In the cave, pottery bones were found.
There are also places where you can pitch a tent on this route, but it should be noted that there are no facilities such as electricity, water, WC. There are bats in Gürlek Cave, so we recommend that you do not go inside. In addition, if you are going to be a little conditioned and climbing, it is useful to be a professional.
– Technically, Değirmençayırı waterfall , located in Şile, can be another alternative. Located on the Gebze-Şile border in the southwest of Değirmençayırı village, this very popular waterfall is 8 meters high and 30 meters wide. To the north of Değirmençayırı waterfall, there is another waterfall called Şarlak Waterfall.
2- Our suggestions for those looking for an endless and relatively quiet beach ; Kabakoz, İmrenli, Akçakese and Sofular Village
Şile is one of the rare places where Istanbulites can swim. For this reason, it is one of the first locations that come to mind for those who want to escape from the city and cool off a bit, especially in summer. As everyone now knows, the Black Sea is not as calm as the Mediterranean or the Aegean Sea, so let’s first recommend that you cool off on the shores before it gets too wide, and that those who can’t swim just stay by the sea.
There are many beaches and facilities in Şile center and Ağva. Some of these are Şile Public Beach, also known as Ayazma Beach, Kumbaba beach, Uzunkum, Crying Kaya Beach and Agva beach. These beaches can be very crowded due to their easy accessibility due to their location. Apart from these beaches, which are within walking distance when you arrive at the center of Şile by bus 139 A from Üsküdar or when you get off at the last stop, Ağva, we recommend some relatively less crowded village beaches. Some of those;
– Kabakoz Village is famous for both its beach and its fountain, which was built by the Byzantines in 1871.
– Akçakese Village and especially the beach is one of our favorites. It is quite calm compared to other beaches in the center of Şile. It is guaranteed to spend a beautiful day with its crystal clear sea and magnificent nature.
– İmrenli Village has a beach where families with children can relax and which is generally preferred by the local people.
– Sofular Village public beach can be preferred by those who want to escape from the lesser-known and concentrated crowds of Şile during the summer months. There is also a Byzantine cave in the village, 100 meters long and 17 meters high.
3- Our recommendation for those who seek calmness by the lake; Darlık Dam and Saklıgöl
– For those who want to open their camping chairs and read a book around a wide lake, we recommend the Darlık dam located in Darlık Village . After arriving in Şile, you can reach the dam via Ahmetli, Ulupelit or Tekeköy.
You can set up your tent, fish and barbecue around the Darlık dam. Let’s just say that there is no facility with facilities such as WC, water, electricity, and you will also experience network problems. While enjoying the nature and silence in this area, where there is no facility or residence that will cause any noise around, please take care to leave without leaving any garbage or any traces behind you, as you know, such places are very rare and we must do our best to protect them.
– We recommend Saklıgöl, located in Karamandere Village , for those who are looking for a facility to have a nice breakfast and then take a walk by the lake . After starting the day with a nice breakfast at the cafes and restaurants around Saklıgöl, you can take a walk along the lakeside among a unique landscape that will accompany you. On weekends and public holidays, you may not even be able to find a parking space due to the density of vehicles.
4- Our suggestion for those who want to take a quick glance at village life and spend the whole day in a workshop full of education and idioms; Ovacik
Ovacık Village is our recommendation for those who want to become conscious about agriculture, experience village life such as making bread or milking . Ovacık Experience Workshop was opened within the scope of the Future is in Tourism project, with the aim of developing an experience-based tourism model by enabling visitors to experience local flavors, local culture and traditions from farm to table. Various events are organized in groups and it promises a very unusual day to its participants. You can get information about the events by contacting the workshop directly or request an event with your own group.
5- Our recommendation for those who can’t wait to learn how to surf; Balibey
– Did you know that it is possible to surf in the crazy waves of the Black Sea? Şile is also an ideal place for wave surfing, as it provides many favorable conditions such as its long beach and sandy seabed. Lost Island Camp Balibey, where you can learn this sport in Şile, offers both an introduction package and a long-term camping opportunity to people of all ages who are interested in this sport. If you are interested in surfing but do not have the opportunity to go abroad, we recommend you to try it.
6- Our suggestion for those who are looking for a place with a sea view for tent accommodation ; Sahilkoy
Located in Sahilköy and demanding a lot of tenters for a long time, Sahil Kamp has created an area where you can set up your tent by the sea and just listen to the sound of nature and the waves. It should be noted that there will be an excessive intensity in the summer, especially on weekends and holidays.
7- Our suggestion for the hikers who are looking for a bit of history; Yenikoy and Sarikavak Village
Those who want to walk among the basic ruins of Greek buildings can explore Yeniköy . Yeniköy is a very old settlement that was used as a center by the Greeks in 1770. The main façade of the Santa-Lea baptismal church, thought to have been built in the 18th century, still stands. The baptismal pool in the baptistery is still active.
While you’re at Yeniköy, we recommend you to take a look at the villages such as Yaylalı, Tekeköy, Yazımanayır, Osmanköy on the mountain road stretching towards Ağva and feel the real village spirit.
In addition, Gökmaslı village with its historical houses, Karacaköy founded by the Byzantines, Hasanlı Village, which is also built by the Byzantines and has four towers and which is thought to have been built to control an important ancient road in the past, are among the other places waiting to be explored.
8- Our suggestion to have fun with your children or like children in Turkey’s first corn maze; Agva
Corn Maze’ located in Agva is a newly opened event space. Although it has a 1-year history, it has already been experienced by most Istanbulites. Especially in summer, you can examine the event calendar on the website and enter the maze of fear, stroll through the pumpkin field, do ATV safari or experience horse riding.
9- For those who want to experience canoeing; Goksu River
In addition to boat tours and dolphin rides in Göksu Creek, you can also add a 3-hour canoe experience on a route stretching through the reeds to the sea. You can contact Kano Istanbul for this event where canoeing turns into a very enjoyable group activity. Events, especially on weekends, are affordable and require reservations.
10- Our recommendation for those who prefer an adventure park in Şile; Karakiraz Village
– Incekum Adventure Park is an ideal area for families with children. You can take a walk, have fun on 49 playgrounds, participate in activities such as volleyball, paintball, live table football, airball, ground Survivor track, in this area, which was built on a 220-decare land with respect to nature and the eco system. There are also camping and caravan areas and a picnic area. You can also do horse riding inside.
For those who do not have enough time to visit the villages or who use public transportation instead of their private car to do these activities, our suggestions for spending a nice day in the center of Şile are;
Şile lighthouse, Şile castle, Crying Rocks are ironic structures that must be seen here. The Hanımsuyu fountain, located on Üsküdar street, was built by Hatice Hanım from Egypt as a charity in 1871 and it is said that when the fountain was first supplied with water, sugar was poured into its tank and therefore its water still flows sweetly. Şile Earth Market, which was opened very recently, is the address of natural products supported by Slow Food and produced with seasonal, local and sustainable agricultural methods. There is also a very new and clean walking area where you can spend the day taking a long walk along the beach. In the evening, you can choose fish restaurants or stop by the fisherman’s shelter and buy fresh fish. Serintepe Picnic Area , which is located on a 60-decare land covered with pine trees, for those who want to barbecueThose who want to take a coffee break can also prefer Coffe Gutto , located at the bottom of Şile Lighthouse.