Trabzon in Turkey is a completely cool city to check out, despite the fact that most travellers seem to “use it” as a means to their onward travels. The reason being it’s ideally located for onward travels from Turkey to Iran or Georgia. Trabzon sits on the Black Sea so leaving by boat is an option. It also has an airport. We ended up leaving by bus on route to Iran, but of course with time to play with in Trabzon, I thought I’d share my top 5 things to see and do in Trabzon.
We picked the Hotel Benli in the downtown area. No free breakfast, but clean and basic – a small lounge, working wifi and good location. Check out the choice of Hotels in Trabzon. These are my personal top 5 sights…
1. Aya Sofya. This old building is Trabzon’s number one attraction. As well as being a pretty building, this place was once a Church, a Mosque and even a hospital in its coloured history. It was being renovated when we visited and as well as being a cool building and courtyard, it also offers good views.
2. Old City Walls. Trabzon has one of the most surprisingly cool set of old city walls. When you first pull into this friendly city, you almost didn’t notice these massive walls which scale their way around the city. Walking at leisure is the best way to see them.
3. Hamam/Turkish Bath. Don’t let the fact that Trabzon is Turkish to the core escape you. I had my first ever Turkish Bath here (and my first Turkish coffee incidentally). I actually wasn’t a big fan of it and I didn’t feel completely clean after it, I must admit. Plus it’s all male, and you can’t take photos inside. So similarly to Adventurous Kate, I don’t have any nude photos of me in the Hamam, but here’s a topless shot before I went in to have my Turkish Bath and get scrubbed down.
4. Iranian Consulate. Let’s get to the obvious here: the only reason you backpacked your way to Trabzon was to get your Iran visa. Most travellers check into a cheap hotel before making the short walk up to the Iranian Consulate to apply for their Iranian visa. Don’t just believe the rumours, get yourself out here and nail that Iran visa. This is the easiest place in the world to get your Iran visa so do it. Read my guide to getting an Iran visa here and my backpacking in Iran stories.
5. The Black Sea. Breathe in the fresh air, walk along the promenade and love the Black Sea. This was another of life’s “full circle” journeys for me as just a month or so earlier, we had been to Batumi in Georgia and seen the Black Sea on its east coast, now we were on the southern part.
While these are simply a quick top 5, I also have to mention the following that missed out on the list and I didn’t actually do all of these either!:
– Watching Trabzonspor FC (the city’s beloved football team – Turks are football crazy)
– Ataturk Kosku – a mansion which looks down on the city
– Sumela Monastery – a few hours drive away (I want to write about my trip to Sumela separately – it’s highly recommended!)
– Ortahisar – an old school village, the local version of “Cappadocia” which we didn’t visit because we’d seen Cappadocia and later went to Kandovan in Iran.
– Main Square – some great restaurants here.
– Trabzon Bazaar – it’s Turkey so Bazaars and markets feature too.
– Mosques – despite being a massive city of half a million, the Mosques are not quite as impressive as those in Adana, Ankara or Istanbul.
Here are my videos from backpacking in Trabzon: