Yason Burnu (Cape Jason) National Park
While many Europeans looking to catch some rays will think of the Mediterranean as their go-to destination, for Turkish travelers it is the Black Sea that springs to mind. With spectacular coastlines, subtropical temperatures, and mountain landscapes, it's also not difficult to understand why.
A mythical past
All around the Black Sea coastline, travelers are met with a stunning patchwork of landscapes. On Turkey's coast, not far from the port city of Ordu, Yason Burnu can be found, which translates to Cape Jason. Named after Jason of Argonauts, a hero in Greek mythology famously known for his expedition with a band of 50 heroes in search of the magical "Golden Fleece," the location is known as the harbor of Jason's ship, the Argo. According to legend, the Argo is said to be the only ship to traverse the treacherous currents of the Bosporus Straits and make it to the Black Sea. The area's only landmark—and proof of the story of Jason—is the temple of Jason, which is said to have protected sailors from the perilous Black Sea waters.
The temple sits on a thin peninsula facing the sea. Today, the surrounding area is classified as a governmental environmental protection area and a first-degree archaeological site. Known as the only place in Ordu where you can watch both the sunrise and sunset, it is particularly known for its striking natural beauty and lush, emerald-green landscapes.
A thriving tourist hotspot
Flanked by old ports where life is slow and time seems to stand still, Yason Burnu offers a glimpse into a time long gone. However, in recent years Yason Burnu has also become a popular tourist destination for outdoor activities. The Black Sea coastline has indeed made a name for itself as a popular diving and water sports destination, although it is certainly nothing like the adventure that Jason and the Argonauts once bravely faced. With pristine natural beauty everywhere you look, it's not surprising that Yason Burnu has also become the site of weddings, local ceremonies, and family festivities.
Coastal cuisine and mountainous terrain
Drive along the Black Sea highway and take in the beautiful scenery. If traveling in the summer, make a stop at one of the longest and most pristine beaches on the coast, Çaka Plaji, just four kilometers from Cape Jason. Along the route you'll find local restaurants serving simple dishes and regional delicacies, including yogurt soup and meats from the open grill. Driving further inland, you'll be greeted by a cascade of tea plantations covering the mountains. Here you'll also find a series of waymarked hiking routes, which are ideal for exploring during the summer when locals celebrate festivals and music.