Every once in a while, the hubby and I both realize – at the same time – that we really need a break. Yesterday was the day! While many Turks have headed to the Mediterranean shores for the weekend, we headed north to Bolu for a day trip. Destination – Yedigöller Milli Parklar (Seven Lakes National Park).
Established in 1965, it is known for its seven lakes on over 4000 acres. You can read more about it on Wikipedia. I am embarrassed for the publishers of the 5 Turkish travel guides that I own. Not one of these major publishers name this park!
The park is a relatively short drive from the center of Ankara, about 2.5 hours by the newer highway. (Make sure you have a thingamajig on your windshield to pay the tolls. They do not accept cash.) My usual recommendation is to take the older roads to your destination and enjoy the scenery. Take the new highway home. There are two Bolu exits for the park (look for the brown signs with park name) from the new highway. We missed the first one. You should not do that! After taking the second exit, there were no more signs for the park. We used 3 different navigation apps, often lost service, and found our way along winding dirt roads. The park has a second entrance from Mengen.
As we neared the park, there were a few roadside stands selling hot and SWEET corn on the cob, gozleme, and tea. They also sold herbs, cheeses, and a few other homemade and homegrown items. I recommend stopping here. The food in the park is pricey and there’s not much of it. Bring your own water! The park ran out of bottled water early.
We saw a lot of tents in the park. It is a lovely place to camp, but not much compared to American standards. Parking lots and tons of visitors are near the camping locations. There are traditional Turkish toilets. I did not see showers. There are picnic tables near campsites. If you are planning on camping, I would suggest heading towards the bottom of the waterfalls for less people. There was also a more quiet spot near the entrance of the park. If allowed, I would also do it during the weekdays so that there are less visitors. There seemed to be bungalows and cabins too. There are hard to find and understand fees listed on the park’s website – the fees are out of date. (For camping, contact Gürkan Oruç: email@example.com 0542 210 2069. I have no idea whether he speaks English.)
While there are 7 lakes on the property, the small waterfalls seem to be the highlight. For me, just being in the fresh air among the trees was the best part! It’s the place to go for flora and fauna. I assume fishing was prohibited since I did not see any. At the gates to the entrances, there are posters indicating the many fish in the lakes. Tilapia!
The entrance fee was 12TL per car or 4TL per person. There is a big list of fees posted at the entrances. Who knows what they are for???
Maps of the park are not available. I only saw them posted at the main gates. Try printing this one:
I’ve been quite busy and have had little time for blogging lately. I hadn’t even thought about it until I was on my way home. Therefore, I did not ask more information, take photos of signs, or photos of the roadside stands and yummy restaurant (Oltu Cağ Kebap) we stopped at afterwards in the city of Bolu. Here are the photos I do have: