Set amid the arid lowlands of central Turkey, Ankara is the type of destination that suffers severe limitations to selling points like natural beauty and adventure variety. Yet, despite these unfavorable preconditions, there are actually a suitable number of adventures to be encountered within a day trip of the capital.
If you're just looking to get away from the bustle and noise of the city for a break, then Eymir Lake just to the south is your best bet. Located in Orman Park, some of the best views of the area outside of Ankara may be had here, as well as some short hiking among the trees. Göksu and Gençlik are the most significant parks if you're looking to stay in the city. Göksu Park is cultivated around a lake and provides plenty of walking and recreation space, while Gençlik Park (near Anıtkabir) focuses more on the cultural draw of its amusement park and sports arenas.
For those whose ideal location is a mountain-top, Ankara has a few passable options. You can hoof it out to the nearest actual ski resort at Mount Ilgaz, which is about a two hour drive northeast, or you can settle for the handful of simple slopes a half an hour east at Elmadağ. As far as hiking is concerned, we'll admit, the prospects are quite limited. If you aren't willing to hang out within the city limits, there is some picturesque scenery about an hour north at Karagöl near the town of Çubuk and at Soğuksu National Park in Kizilcahamam, which is popular for its thermal springs and hiking and mountain biking trails.
For a more unique natural environment, the huge salt lake of Lake Tuz is an enticing geological oddity that you can wade into. Another adventurous possibility include the rock formations at Karakaya (among the best rock climbing in Turkey), which makes up for the lack of anything else truly superlative in the region as far as active pursuits.
Sure, it's not the Swiss Alps or Patagonia, but if you're willing to look, there are enough adventures awaiting in Ankara to provide a bit of variety to a culture-heavy trip. Take a look through our activities for further information.