Lake Van (Van Gölü) – or, the Sea of Van, as it known in the region – is the largest lake in Türkiye and the largest soda lake in the world. The waters of the lake are salty and sparkling. Lake Van is more like a sea, busy with ships carrying passengers and cargo, piers, islands, peninsulas, coves, and gulfs. Most of its 600 km of beaches are natural beaches.
As a closed basin, the lake has unique characteristics. The Van Balığı (fish) (pearl mullet), an endemic species, and microbialites add a special quality to Lake Van, with the length of the latter reaching up to 20 meters.
In the eastern part of the lake, there are four islands rich in history and culture: Akdamar, Çarpana, Adır and Kuş. Displaying a multitude of turquoise shades, the lake offers visitors dozens of pristine coves to discover. In addition, the soda in the lake’s waters is considered therapeutic for skin diseases.
Mullah Kasım Public Beach
Deemed eligible to receive the Blue Flag in 2018, this was the first beach in Türkiye to be Blue Flag certified – even though it is on a lake rather than the sea or ocean!
Mount Artos (Artos Dağı) is a special area in the world in terms of the butterfly population. It is home to about 200 species of butterflies. Every year, nature lovers and botanists from all over the world come to Mount Artos, which attracts attention from the scientific community for its fauna and flora, and from others for its outdoor sports. Due to its volcanic and mountain ranges, the area is suitable for Alpine skiing and mountaineering sports, with an altitude difference of 1,800 meters between the summit and base. Artos is one the world’s few mountains prominent for both trekking and ecological activities. Mount Artos rises in all its glory directly opposite Akdamar Island (Akdamar Adası) and offers unique views for nature lovers and photographers.
The mountain is just 10 km from the city and is easy to reach. It has favourable conditions for both winter and summer climbing. With snow on the summit until mid-June, the mountain also has caves at approximately 2,500 meters above sea level. A hidden paradise, these caves feature giant icicles. Erek Mountain (Erek Dağı) offers its visitors different alternatives with its ice waterfall and natural climbing tracks.
The Inverted Tulip (Ters Lale), considered a symbol of sadness in different cultures and therefore also called the Crying Bride (Ağlayan Gelin), is among the endemic plant species that grow in Van and are worth seeing.
Unique to Van, this special flower is one of the city’s endemic species. The Van tulip (Van Lalesi), with a yellow interior and petals that bloom purple, is one of dozens of the natural beauties of Van!