Located 36 kilometres from Rize’s İkizdere district, Ovit Highlands (Ovit Yaylası) are covered with a blanket of snow 6 months of the year befitting a destination that has recently been deemed the brand-new heart of winter tourism in Türkiye. It stands atop the Black Sea region’s scenic Kaçkar Mountains (Kaçkarlar) and welcomes visitors as they travel up the İkizdere Valley (İkizdere Vadisi).
These highlands are situated 52 kilometres from Rize’s city centre and can be accessed via direct transportation from İspir or by renting a car in the city centre or at local airports. Access is easier via the 14-kilometre-long Ovit Tunnel (Ovit Tüneli) passing through the mountains. Drivers are recommended to use snow chains, wedges, and tow ropes in winter to ensure a safe trip.
A former centre of commerce that used to lie on the historic Silk Road (İpek Yolu), these highlands are fast becoming a hub of winter sports and activities with their 7 different ski runs. With its mountainous areas being home to several endemic plants and animals, there are a whole bunch of things to explore on this 30,000 acres area all accessible with snowmobiles operating up and down. Those who know how to drive these motor vehicles can use them themselves. Others are offered private classes teaching them how to travel on snow.
For those winter people who would prefer skiing or snowboarding, it must be underlined once again that this route, with its newest facilities, is simply excellent for any winter activities and sports in addition to wildlife watching. Necessary equipment can be rented on top of the mountain, though you should probably note that facilities may not allow you to bring along your own equipment to ensure your safety. Trainers on the land teach visitors how to properly carry and turn on an avalanche transceiver as well as how to use an avalanche airbag backpack.
Adventure seekers must also note that they must be at an advanced level to be skiing or snowboarding on these highlands as the features of the terrain are not suitable for beginners. For this reason, off-piste experiences will surely be a plus. Ski lessons in groups are available on the land, though customized experiences can also be organised if one desires to change the difficulty level.
2,640 metres above the sea level is located this trendy winter destination with world’s highest accommodation facilities standing at its elbow. Here, you can face the most unique, stunning views of the Black Sea lying right before your eyes. Its alpine elevations (2,640-2,400 metres) get 15-30 metres of snow each year from October to May, and the best times to check-in are between late January and early February.
With Kaçkar Mountains being the snowiest mountains in the whole country, it is of no surprise that Ovit is fast becoming a high-quality winter destination. In fact, it is expected to grow exponentially especially after the airport of Rize opens in late 2021.
- Manle Waterfall
- İkizdere Valley
- Black Sea forests
- Çamlık River
- Cimil River
- İkizdere Festival