If you’re looking for a good hike and a view from far above the city of Mersin and the sea, then Başnalar Castle is a trek for you!
Dating back to the Middle Ages (approximately 10-12th century, this castle sits atop a 800m tall mountain with valleys on three sides. It was part of a system of castles that were used to defend the surrounding area. It was also used as a rallying point to stave off the French troops in the Cilician Campaign of the Franco-Turkish War in the aftermath of World War I.
You reach the castle by following the sign (see photo) through some steep, rocky, and thorny terrain, or you can park and follow the make shift farm road that takes you half way up to the castle. If you follow the waypoints given below (and on the map), when you come to the north side of the mountain where the farm road ends, you will have to scout the ground and bushes for some semblance of a trail that goes up the mountain at an angle. Your goal is to get to the top of the mountain on its west side. Once at the top of the mountain, go left and follow the walls. Eventually you will find a hole in the wall that will give you access to the inner castle. Try to go on a clear day, and you will have some spectacular pictures.
In order to get to Başnalar Castle, you pass the City Forrest (Şehir Ormanı) on the left. There are around 5 kilometers of trails, lots of trees to escape the hot sun, and a cave tomb dating back to the early middle ages.