Route from Ankara to Safranbolu
From Ankara was a three hour drive northward to Safranbolu. On the way we stopped for a short break at Abaci Peribacalari then it was straight to Safranbolu.
Abaci Peribacalari was a small nature park with some sharp odd shaped upward pointing rocks. After experiencing Cappadocia, Abaci Peribacalari paled in significance. We did not bother to walk out to explore the park, just drove by and took some pictures.
From Abaci Peribacalari to Safranbolu was another 1.5 hour. When we reached Safranbolu town there was a huge sign of the town name on the hill side and a tall Turkish flag.
We had two nights at Safranbolu to give us more time in this beautiful quaint town. We had a couple of destinations in mind, which were the Crystal Terrace of Safranbolu, an aquaduct, a limestone cave and of course the old town.
Crystal Terrace of Safranbolu
The crystak terrace was about 6km from the town. It was a cliff-top cafe with a glass platform suspended from the cliff edge, 80m above the Tokatlı Canyon. There was entrance fee was 20tl per person.
The crystal terrace was a glass deck suspended over the canyon. It was fun to walk to the very edge of the terrace and look down into the ravine.
The aqueduct was just next to the Crystal Terrace. We took a walk all the way to the top of the aqueduct and crossed from one of the valley to the other. This aqueduct was built in the 18th century, and crossed over Tokatli Canyon. It was commissioned to bring water to Safranbolu.
Bulak Mencilis Magarasi
Mencilis Cave was the 5th longest cave in Turkey, located within the borders of Bulak village, Karabük province. It was a 8 km drive from Safranbolu town and the route to the cave was very scenic.
Entry into the cave was not free. We climbed up a long long flight of steps to reach the cave and at mid landing there was a staff stationed in a small ticketing booth in this isolated place to collect payment. After getting our tickets it was more steps to the cave entrance.
Mencilis Mağarası cave network had a 400m route open to the public but the actual caverns stretched for 6km.There were metal walkway and steps going up and down in the cave. The path were wet at certain stretches so having a good pair of waterproof shoes were great. The cave were dimly lighted but still good enough to see the fine array of stalactities and stalagmites. Besides us there were only four other visitors.
City of Safranbolu
Safranbolu was an UNESCO World Heritage site, it was recognised for its well perserved Ottoman era houses and architcture. The name of the town derives from “saffron” and the Greek word polis meaning “city” since Safranbolu was a trading place and a center for growing saffron.
Today, saffron was still grown at the village of Davutobası to the east of Safranbolu and many shops in the old town sold saffron. We bought a few tiny glass jars of Saffron containing a few grams of strands in each jar.
The town was very charming, it was lined with shops on both side of the cobblered streets. Though it was an old town, the place was clean and the house looked well maintained. We walked into a large building which had a sign board saying Kahve Museum (coffee museum).
Kahve Museum was on the 2nd level of the building, we went in to order our coffee. It coffee came with a pink drink and a small sweet cake. It was turkish coffee which had lot of residue in the drink. The coffee cost 90tl.
Since we had two days in Safranbolu we ate both our dinners in the old town. Based on google reviews, Topcuoglu was the best so went in search of the restaurant for our first dinner. It was the usual Turkish meals, this time we had some pink cream dip which was made with saffron.
The meal was fine, cost 340tl, taste wise “nothing to die for”. The second day we randomly picked another restaurant to go for our dinner. The weather was nice and it was wonderful to dine alfresco and looked at the locals that walked by.
Safranbolu town as seen from our stay
We stayed at Seyir Konak Otel which was sited near the top of Safranbolu hill slope. It had a deck with a spectacular view of Safranbolu Old town. We spent both the two evenings on the viewing deck, enjoying the view as the sun set.
We made tea to drink on the deck, we took out cherries to eat as we watched the light faded as the sun set.
Our stay at Safranbolu Old town
Our stay was Seyir Konak Otel. It was a lovely family run butik hotel on the high ground of Safranbolu town. We parked our car just at the car porch provided by the hotel and walked into town via the steps near the hotel which was most convenient.
Our room was lovely and it had ensuite bathroom. The cost of the room was Eur130 for two nights and it included breakfast the next morning.
Breakfast was in the dining room that had a great view of the the valley.