Sunday, July 29, 2012

A City Escape - Belgrade Forest

Just a 25 minute drive from our apartment is an oasis away from the crowded, noisy, busy streets of Istanbul.

This weekend, we took Belle for some running and playing in Belgrade Forest. This wasn't Belle's first visit - our fantastic dog trainer who watches Belle when we are out of town has taken her a few times. But I had never been and was curious to check it out and most importantly get Belle some quality off the leash time.

Driving up, you first pass through some of the cities old aqueducts from the 16th century. It still amazes me that these are regular sites which cars pass through every day, just a normal part of life.

Once we got there, we drove on the road all the way through the forest. People have pulled off to the official stops, enjoying picnics, hanging out in hammocks, grilling and enjoying time with family. People stopped just off the road and wandered to hike a bit through the forest. People were selling watermelons, vegetables and toys on the side of the road. Quite a bit of activity.

Yet, after a 2 minute walk past the picnic tables and gathered family crowds, we had the forest all to ourselves.

Belle had a ball. She'd run ahead several feet, sniff out plants and smells, trying to find a bite to eat. Just when we would think she might run off, she would stop, turn around and look at us, as if to say "Come on guys, you're slowing me down here!" We never did find the lake we were looking for, but Belle (and us) still enjoyed all the sights and smells of the forest, although maybe not the mosquitoes that come out in the summer.

I'm not sure what all there is to see here - there is a 6km trail that runs around the forest and passes by the lake where Belle usually gets to swim. There is also a beautiful arboretum with manicured lawns and lakes. We still don't know if we found the "right" place to walk around the forest, but enjoyed a couple of hours of quiet nonetheless before returning to our bustling neighborhood in urban Istanbul.


  1. Belgrade Forest is just a great place to escape from the city for a bit. We've gone off the trail ourselves several times, brought some wine and cheese in our backpack and settled down away from the crowds for a small picnic. ;-)

  2. Joy - I saw one of your posts about that! Unfortunately, we were a bit spur of the moment and not too prepared, but hopefully next time we can do the same