If you’re in Mersin and looking for a quick getaway to some cooler temperatures, some great views of the city, and some trail hiking, head up to the City Forest (Şehir Ormanı) north of the city. The forest is situated on a “yayla,” or plateau, above the new stadium. From the forest one can see the expanse of the city if it’s a clear day. There are around 5 km of shaded hiking trails in the bounds of the forest, and even a playground for children to use. While making a fire for cooking is off limits, you can bring pre-cooked food and have plenty of space to spread out for a picnic.
While on the trails, you will discover an old Roman road with some water canals on each side (see the map below), and near there a lookout tower (be wise – it’s not very stable at the top). On the backside of the information building at the parking area, there is a Roman era tomb (read cave). Down the hill from there you will find an amphitheater and an old well.
To get to the Şehir Ormanı, from the west side of the Yenişehir Belediyesi (see the map below), drive or bike towards the mountains. That road is İsmet İnönü Blv. and will take you to the forest, about a 10.5 km trip. If you don’t have your own vehicle or bike, you can take the Kocavilayet minibus to it’s last stop and walk the rest of the way (from the village of Emirler Köyü).
If you are planning on a market being here, you will be disappointed and thirsty. So, if you don’t bring your own drinks, stop at a little market in Emirler on the road on which you will be traveling. They will have snacks and drinks for your enjoyment.
Be sure to bring your walking shoes, as the trails are great, but flip flops and heals won’t cut it.
If you are a geocacher, you can find the one that is hidden in the forest.
Also, while you’ve got your hiking shoes, why not take your travels five minutes further and visit Başnalar Kalesi (well, the hike to the top will take you a lot longer than five minutes!)?