Mersin, a pearl of the Mediterranean, is one of the most important tourist destinations for a sea vacation, with its crystal-clear seas and sustainable “Blue Flag” beaches. Mersin’s distinctive cuisine, deep-rooted history, and natural wonders leave tourists with pleasant memories. While you are out enjoying the sun and the sea, don’t forget to explore the area’s hidden gems. They include ruins, ancient caves, and natural formations, to name a few. In this article, we have compiled a list of the most beautiful places in and around Mersin.
If you plan to start your Mersin trip from the city centre, you should check out our article ”Mediterranean’s favourite city Mersin will enchant you with its historical and natural splendours”.
The Yerköprü Waterfall, located on the Mut-Ermenek road, is a natural wonder located approximately three hours from Mersin’s centre. On your way here, you will pass through a canyon between Silifke and Mut, with beautiful views of the Göksu River. When you arrive at the waterfall’s site, you must walk a certain distance. On the walking trail, you should expect a walk that may take more than half an hour. It is a bit of a hill, but it is well worth it. In and of itself, this is a lovely walking area. There are so many breath-taking vistas before you get to the waterfall that it’s almost like a little version of what you will see at the end. The remarkable beauty of the Yerköprü Waterfall, which falls from a height of 30 meters, welcomes you with a freshness that, with its mysterious air, floats into the centre of the canyon. Behind the waterfall, there is a lake and a deep cave. The formation is located inside the water tunnel and is made up of lush vegetation and stalactites. This cool spot, away from the heat of Mersin, should be at the top of your list of places to visit in this area.
The Maiden’s Castle
The Maiden’s Castle, a Mersin landmark, is one of the most well-known tourist attractions in the Erdemli district. It is also known as the Sea Castle or Korykos in other sources. It is around 600 meters away from the land. Swimming to the castle adds a new level of thrill. You may also rent a pedalo if you like. Once there, you will observe a stunning view of the pristine, turquoise waters. During the Roman period, pirates used the castle, which was erected as a shelter by Leon I in 1119. The western bastion is the only one with a gate that leads to the sea. In the castle’s courtyard, there are workshops and cisterns with various inscriptions. After viewing this magnificent castle in the midst of the water, you may swim to the shore and relax in one of the hotels located near Maiden’s Castle.
Heaven and Hell
This site is two kilometres northwest of the Ancient Narlıkuyu Port in Silifke. In Greek mythology, the two pits, known as Heaven and Hell, are referred to as twin caves. The pits formed as a result of the underground stream’s erosion have varying features. Over 452 stone stairs, you descend to the pit of Heaven at a depth of 70 meters. On the 300th step, you will find a church. After exploring the cave located after the church, an underground creek rises to meet you. The hell pit, as its name suggests, has a different structure than the other pit, and it is 110 meters deep. Because of its narrow and steep structure, it is difficult to descend. Those with mountaineering experience use equipment to descend here. When viewed from this vantage point, the sinkholes (visible from the observation terrace) show their chilling beauty. After seeing this place, you may swim in the deep blue seas of Narlıkuyu, which is three kilometres away, and enjoy a pleasant dinner at one of the beach’s fish restaurants.
Aynalıgöl (Gilindire) Cave, located in the Aydıncık district between Sancak Point and Kurtini Creek, was discovered by a shepherd in 1999. The cave’s entrance faces the sea and is accessible from both land and water. You begin your exploration of this location by ascending the 560-step stairway at the entryway. This natural feature has a long history dating back to the Ice Age. You’re on a 555-meter-long road that’s becoming deeper. There is a vast lake within the cave that reflects like a mirror, and this is where the name comes from – ayna. The cave is devoid of animal life; however, there is evidence of people from the past. The lighting enhances the beauty of the stalactites and stalagmites.
We are at one of Mersin’s most stunning historical areas: Alahan Monastery. The Mut district church remains are located at the height of 1300 meters on a steep slope overlooking the Göksu Valley. It is one of the temples constructed by Roman emperors during the 5th century AD to spread Christianity in this region. The complex consists of the East and West churches, cave chambers, and tomb ruins. The stone carvings of the monastery, which still exist with their beautiful construction, evoke admiration. In the courtyard, there is an 11-meter-long colonnaded cloister where religious rituals were performed. It is tough not to be amazed when you walk in here. It is decorated with iconic depictions, vine leaves, and fish motifs. The breath-taking vista of the valley is one you will never forget.
Adamkayalar (human rocks), in the district Silifke, is situated on the southern slopes of the Taurus Mountains. The canyon’s tremendous beauty, known for its stone reliefs, awes everyone who sees it. First and foremost, you must cross the 10-meter yard to descend into the canyon. Then you have a delightful 100-meter walk through the canyon. The rock compositions, carved into Roman Empire reliefs from the second century AD are made up of various human figures. These representations may be analysed. There are several sarcophagi among the ruins, in addition to towers, angular spaces, and diagonal or single-arched structures. Adamkayalar is one of the historical sites around Mersin that should not be missed.