If you want to get away from the fast city life, slow down your pace a little, and take a break from the daily rush, this is just the place to be because you’re about to explore all the Cittaslow locations you need to add to your next Türkiye trip.
What is Cittaslow?
Well the name comes from the Italian word Città (city) and we all know the “slow” part.
The “slow city” movement was born in 1999, in a little town of Tuscany, Italy. It was originally started as a supporter of the Slow Food movement which basically acts to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions. Still embracing this movement, Cittaslow can be explained as a union of towns and cities that adopt a more peaceful, calm and quality lifestyle. It cares about the protection of local tastes and beauties, making life better for people living in an urban environment and improving the quality of life in cities.
There are currently 287 Cittaslow towns worldwide and 21 of them are in Türkiye.
Which cities can called “Cittaslow”?
There is a requirement that the population of cities that will apply to the union be less than 50,000. Of course, cities are expected to act in accordance with the philosophy of the Cittaslow movement. Cities that want to join the International Cittaslow Association must also get enough points from the application file they submit in order to join the association.
Cities are expected to work within the framework of the criteria determined by the union in order to get enough points. These criteria are listed by the association as follows;
- Energy and environmental policies
- Infrastructure policies
- Quality of urban life policies
- Agricultural, touristic and artisan policies
- Policies for hospitality, awareness and training
- Social cohesion
Cittaslow in Türkiye
As we just mentioned there are 21 Cittaslow towns in Türkiye, let's have a look at them.
The gateway to Europe from Anatolia, Ahlat is in the city Bitlis and located right next to Lake Van. It’s a unique city with its lake beaches.
2. Cittaslow Akyaka
Akyaka is one of the cities that have been inhabited since ancient times. Located in the city Muğla, Akyaka is one of the rare towns that stands out with its sustainable tourism activities, its respect for nature and the fact that people in Akyaka act in unity and togetherness.
3. Cittaslow Arapgir
Dated back to the 15th century BC, Arapgir is one of the most peaceful spots of the city Malatya. Located 110 kilometers from the city center, it’s a town that has a great number of endemic plant species and hosted various civilizations.
4. Cittaslow Eğirdir
Eğirdir, located within the provincial borders of Isparta, is one of the Cittaslow towns that attracts people with Lake Eğirdir, which changes color every hour of the day. Definitely worth seeing!
5. Cittaslow Foça
Known as Phokaia among the locals, Foça is a peaceful city that takes its name from the seals living on the islands of Foça. Foça was one of the most important settlements of the Ionian period in ancient times. It’s a town that produces, sustains and preserves the structures remaining from the Hellenistic periods, and impresses with its city life in accordance with the Cittaslow philosophy.
6. Cittaslow Gökçeada
Gökçeada, in the province of Çanakkale, is the largest island in Türkiye and located in the westernmost part of the country with a unique view. It’s one of the most beautiful Cittaslow spots that will rest your soul with its lush nature and underwater beauties. We definitely recommend you to visit Gökçeada.
7. Cittaslow Gerze
Located in Sinop, the happiest city of Türkiye, Gerze is one of the towns that best bears the snail emblem representing Cittaslow with its regular city life and welcoming people. If you visit Gerze, a quiet fishing town in the Black Sea Region, don't forget to send us a photo!
8. Cittaslow Göynük
Göynük is a charming town located between the high hills of the city Bolu, and built around the valleys where beautiful streams flow. The town has managed to preserve its cultural and natural beauties from the Ottoman period to the present, and is one of the rare spots with the title of "Calm City".
9. Cittaslow Güdül
Güdül is a district located 90 km from the capital Ankara. It’s one of the most quiet towns of the Central Anatolia Region, and it’s a place to add to your list of want-to-go destinations with its culture, history and nature. If you visit İnönü Caves in Güdül, don't forget to take a photo of the Ankara Goats around.
10. Cittaslow Halfeti
Halfeti, a district of Şanlıurfa, had remained under the waters of the Euphrates during the construction of the Birecik Dam, and the flooded area has formed a mysterious image. Famous for this mysterious appearance, Halfeti is one of the most attractive spots for both local and foreign visitors. We recommend you to see this calm and mysterious city under the waters of the Euphrates.
11. Cittaslow İznik
Located within the borders of the city Bursa, İznik was the capital of the Anatolian Seljuk State and the İznik Greek State. It is one of the most important cultural and artistic points of its period, and is one of the cities that can proudly carry the title of Cittaslow with its calm life, peaceful and friendly people. If you happen to be in Bursa, don't pass without stopping by Iznik, which is famous for its local tastes and calm life.
12. Cittaslow Kemaliye
Another Cittaslow destination is Kemaliye. It’s the most recent Cittaslow in Türkiye. In fact, the joining ceremony of Kemaliye, who was entitled to receive this title during the pandemic, was held online. The province is located in the city Erzincan and is a beautiful Cittaslow with its calm nature.
13. Cittaslow Köyceğiz
Our next Cittaslow is Köyceğiz with its unique beauty. Köyceğiz, a province of Muğla, is a place we can call the “paradise on earth”, fascinates us with its natural beauties and preserved historical texture. You should definitely add this calm and peaceful town of citrus groves, into your travel plans.
14. Cittaslow Mudurnu
Mudurnu, one of the most beautiful spots for a quiet and peaceful lifestyle, is located in Bolu. It’s a place where you can see every shade of green. The area was declared an Urban Protected Area due to the architectural structure of fountains, baths, mosques and dozens of houses dominated by Turkish architecture. If you ever happen to visit Mudurnu, which is as enjoyable to walk around as it is to live, we suggest trying out a local taste, Saray halva.
15. Cittaslow Perşembe
There are a lot of beauties in the Black Sea Region, but the Cittaslow Perşembe, located in city Ordu, is something else. Perşembe, one of the most calm and peaceful districts of the Black Sea Region, is a rare spot that attracts us with its natural beauty, lush flora and untouched bays.
16. Cittaslow Şavşat
Şavşat, a town in Artvin, is famous for its calm and peaceful life, and has about 70 villages. The area is very rich in terms of its rivers and natural beauties, and promises a calm and sustainable lifestyle.
17. Cittaslow Seferihisar
Next up is Seferihisar, the first Turkish county to have the Cittaslow title. The majority of the people in Seferihisar are engaged in agriculture. Citrus, artichoke, olive cultivation and animal husbandry are the main sources of income. Another important source of income is tourism. The municipality's adoption of the 'calm life' philosophy and the projects carried out make it an exemplary city. You’ll feel a great calmness while spending time in Seferihisar.
18. Cittaslow Uzundere
Another calm city of Türkiye is Uzundere, Erzurum. Located at the western end of the Caucasus Ecoregion, Uzundere is one of the areas that has the most biodiversity. If you happen to pass by Uzundere, you can give water sports such as canoeing, rafting and sailing a try at Tortum Waterfall, which is the highest waterfall in Türkiye.
19. Cittaslow Vize
Next is Vize, the first Cittaslow city of Thrace province. Vize stands out with its natural and cultural beauties such as the only known ancient theater of Thrace. Most of the local people are retired and life here flows very calmly, quietly and slowly. Nettle soup and linden flower honey are very famous in Vize, just setting a great example of Slow Food movement and Cittaslow philosophy.
20. Cittaslow Yalvaç
We’re again in Isparta but this time in Yalvaç district. Yalvaç, the second Cittaslow of Isparta, is among the pilgrimage routes of Christians. It’s a city that hosts Christians who want to complete their pilgrimage in certain periods. In addition to its historical, cultural and natural beauties, the fact that people there still keep their traditional handicrafts alive, makes Yalvaç much more special.
21. Cittaslow Yenipazar
The last Cittaslow on our list is Yenipazar. It’s located in Aydın and in the middle of Büyük Menderes Basin. In Yenipazar, which has very fertile lands due to its geographical location, agriculture is the main income source of the local people: from greenhouse cultivation to animal husbandry; from cotton to citrus… You should not leave Yenipazar without tasting the fresh fruits found there.
So, that’s all for the Cittaslow of Türkiye, at least for now, as the list is updated every year. It’s great to know that each of these locations is very valuable and special. Hopefully you’ll find the chance to visit and explore some of these Cittaslow locations yourself. Have a calm and peaceful day. 🌿