Paradise in the North: the Lakes Region
The Lakes Region north of the Gulf of Antalya is among the most remarkable areas of Anatolia in terms of natural wealth. Located mainly in the provinces of Burdur and Isparta, national parks, nature parks, nature reserve areas and wildlife reserve areas have been established to protect and preserve plants and wild animals.
Lake Kovada National Park
The small Lake Kovada in the Eğirdir district of Isparta is a real gem of nature with its charming scenery and wildlife. The lake is easy to reach and has lush foliage. It is a haven for many bird species ranging from partridges to ducks and there are squirrels, foxes, martens, badgers, wild boars and rabbits to be found as well.
Lake Kovada has a circumference of 20 kilometers and with its untouched nature is a hidden paradise for camping enthusiasts.
Kızıldağ National Park
The Kızıldağ National Park in Isparta’s Şarkikaraağaç district is noted for its high oxygen producing capacity. This is probably due to the extensive forest cover at the slopes of Büyüksivri Hill, just south of the district’s centre, and consists of cedar, larch, juniper and other trees. The Kızıldağ National Park is not only important in terms of the presence of trees, but for its endemic plant diversity and wildlife.
The large Lake Beyşehir to the south of the national park is not only renowned for its scenery but also for its climate and rich vegetation.
Yazılı Canyon Nature Park
The Yazılı Canyon Nature Park is situated within the borders of Sütçüler district in Isparta province. It derives its name from the rock inscriptions on the canyon walls, which includes the writings of the famous Stoan philosopher Epictetus. St. Paul crossed this road during his journey from Perge to Yalvaç, which is also the most direct route connecting the Antalya region to the north. Because of its well-maintained sections, this road has been referred to as the “King’s Road,” but is more commonly known as “St. Paul’s Trail” or the “Way of the Cross.”
The canyon, which is traversed by a road, is noted for its extraordinary views and for its delicious trout.
Mount Gelincik Nature Park
Mount Gelincik Nature Park is situated on the western shore of Lake Eğirdir. With its unique ecosystem and stunning views of the lake from the summits of the Kapıdağı and Çamdağı Mountains, this is one of the region’s important natural treasures.
The Mount Gelincik Nature Park has an abundance of cedar trees and to a lesser extent juniper and larch trees. Many bulbous plants also grow in the park. The Mount Gelincik Nature Park is used by the villagers of the Senirkent, Egirdir, and Uluborlu districts as a pasture ground. As in almost all nature conservation areas, this park enables visitors a first hand experience of traditional rural life and nature.
Gölcük Nature Park
Lake Gölcük, a few kilometers southwest of Isparta’s city centre, is a crater lake. Unique for its natural formations Gölcük Nature Park is a highly popular place with local and foreign tourists. This recreational area attracts plenty of visitors for its trees variety, as well as animals such as various bird species, turtles and snakes.
Lake Salda Nature Park
Lake Salda is located within the boundaries of the Yeşilova district in the Burdur province and is among the deepest lakes of Anatolia, if not the deepest. Lake Salda Nature Park is a popular excursion spot for visitors where they can savour regional dishes and trout.
Serenler Hill Nature Park
The Serenler Hill on the shores of Lake Burdur attracts many visitors with its picnic areas and an observation deck that offers outstanding views of the lake. Serenler Nature Park is one of the most visited places in the region.
Kasnak Oak Forest Reserve Area
The Kasnak Oak Forest Reserve Area lies within the Yukarı Gökdere village between Lake Eğirdir and Lake Kovada. Since this area has been declared a reserve, oak trees which previously sustained heavy damage over the years, will now be preserved for future generations.
Kargı Village Sweetgum Forest Nature Reserve Area
The sweetgum oil extracted from the sweetgum tree was well known in ancient times for treating skin ailments and for its other therapeutic qualities. One of the places where sweetgum trees can be found is the vicinity of Kargı village in the Aksu Valley of Burdur. The Kargı Village Sweetgum Forest Nature Reserve Area was established to preserve these cherished trees for years to come.