Sprawling along the southern shore of Lake Sapanca, Sapanca is a flourishing getaway destination in Turkey’s Sakarya Province. Its proximity to Istanbul makes it popular with city dwellers, with dense forests, waterfront parks and the verdant Samanlı Mountains to explore.
Things to do in Sapanca
A short drive from Sapanca is Rahime Sultan Camii, a historic mosque built in 1892 by Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecit’s wife. It features a beautifully decorated dome and a soaring minaret that was rebuilt following an earthquake in 1999. While the mosque’s interior is largely unadorned, it features Islamic inscriptions and a pulpit dating back to the late 19th century.
Located on a tectonic hole, Lake Sapanca is a huge body of freshwater that lies between Izmit Bay and the Adapazarı Meadow. It’s a popular recreational and bird-watching destination and is home to several species of bream, carp and pike. You can rent a pedal boat to explore the lake at your leisure or relax in one of the traditional Turkish restaurants that line its shores.
On the northeastern shore of Lake Sapanca is Serdivan Gölpark, a forested green space that offers scenic views from its walking trails. It provides a setting for summer concerts and theatrical performances and features children’s playgrounds and picnic areas. On the lake’s northwestern shore is Ormanya, a small wildlife park where you can get up close to alpacas and ostriches.
Getting around Sapanca
Sapanca is around 45 minutes' drive from Gölcük and 1.5 hours from Istanbul. Sabiha Gokcen International Airport is one hour away and has flights to destinations across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Regular trains connect from Istanbul to the Sapanca railway station and buses travel throughout the town. The centre of Sapanca can easily be explored on foot.