Hitchhike from Samsun to Trabzon
Hitchhike from Samsun to Trabzon
To see another side of Turkey we would definitely recommend hitchhiking from Samsun to Trabzon. Although it wouldn’t be fair to say that this is the road less travelled, (you are in Turkey after all) you will, at least, be stepping off the well-worn Turkey tourist route. Plus, it is a great chance to look out over the Black Sea and admire the sun setting beautifully over the water, if it isn’t raining of course. P.S. It will be probably be raining.
Our hitch-hiking experience
After reaching the out of town shopping centre courtesy of a dolmus (see how to reach hitchhiking spot below) our first ride was with a very pleasant man who lived in Istanbul and insisted on writing down his telephone number and address for us should we ever come to Turkey’s largest city. The second ride was with two young guys who drove us through the seaside town of Ordu (see below) and left us on the other side at a petrol station. Next, a truck driver who stopped to pray and took us upon his return from the Mosque and lastly another truck driver, who was making a delivery on route to driving to Trabzon. In the last truck, space was at a premium until he dropped off the goods in the back, so we had to sit with all our luggage on our laps, fighting to put our feet on the ground and get comfortable. A day in the life of a hitchhiker!
Distance: 327 km
Number of lifts: 4
Estimated journey time: 5h
Estimated waiting time: 15 mins
Alternative transport costs: Bus 30TL
As the largest city on Turkey’s Black Sea coast you might expect Samsun to be full of cultural monuments and places of interest. Unfortunately, you would be wrong, as its long history is also a very turbulent one and its repeated destruction has robbed the city of its former glory. What is left today is a bustling city of over a million people, laid out in a grid patterned design that rolls down the hill to the sea. Still, that is not say it is without charm and its position off the main tourism route helps ensure friendly locals who are always happy to see travellers in their midst. Furthermore, Samsun is important to Turks as the base from which Atatürk began his quest for independence and a replica of the ship he arrived on, the SS Bandırma, and the Gazi Museum, which is dedicated to his time in the city, might be of interest to those with a passion for modern history. If not, the central square Cumhuriyet Meydanı is pleasant enough and there is a nice walk along the sea front to enjoy.
Sprawling Trabzon is the last major stop on the Turkish Black Sea but visitors in search of the exotic, cosmopolitan city of Marco Polo’s time will be left hugely disappointed. The industrial, modern and at times grimy city is home to 400,000 people an is centred around the partially pedestrianised Meydan parkı (Atatürk Alanı). Many tourists come to Trabzon in search of a quick route to an Iranian visa, but the rules have been changed so don’t expect any quick fixes. If you find yourself with time to kill the medieval church, now a mosque, of Aya Sofya is worth a look and west of the centre lies the bazaar and the neighbourhood of Ortahisar which still contains some cobblestone streets that evoke memories of former glories. For out of town trips Sumela Monastery lies 30km south of the city and is a spectacular building perched on a steep cliff, although vandalism has destroyed much of the interior. Check out our story on our attempt to hitchhike there for more information. The beautiful mountain lake of Uzungol (99km south-east) is also a great place for hiking in the summer.
What to visit on the way?
The tree-lined seafront boulevard of Ordu, make a quaint stop for those looking to break up the trip between Samsun and Trabzon. For one, the absence of concrete seaside developments makes a nice change from almost every other stop on the Turkish Black Sea. Things to visit include the Taşbaşı Cultural Centre (Taşbaşı Kültür Merkezi), which was once an Armenian church and has a lovely balcony overlooking the sea, the interesting Paşaoğlu Mansion & Ethnography Museum and the Ordu Boztepe Cable Car, taken from near the seafront, which climbs up to 498m and overlooks stunning views.
How to reach the hitchhiking spot
① Locate the main seafront road Atatürk Blv and from opposite Sahil Park take a dolmuş to the out of town shopping centre ‘Lovelet‘ (it will be written on the front). You can hitchhike from the gravel area just before.
Written by: Jon