When we first saw the salt lake Tuz Golu and the causeway crossing it, we knew that sooner or later we would get to this place. Saved in the depths of Instagram, it was waiting for our trip to Turkey, and when we googled that the lake is on our way to Cappadocia, we were sure we had to stop there!
Tuz Golu in Turkish means nothing less than “salt lake”. It is located in Central Anatolia at the junction of the provinces of Ankara, Aksaray and Konya. The lake supplies 40% of Turkey’s salt needs. The whole process exist due to fact that rainwater infiltrates deep into the earth, dissolves previously formed salt deposits and brings them to the surface along tectonic lines. Lake Tuz Golu is the second largest lake in Turkey by area and one of the largest hypersaline lakes in the world.
Why is it worth seeing this place? In our opinion, it has something unusual about it, stretches of white, salty surface all the way to the horizon during the golden hour are really impressive! It is important to plan your stay for the golden hour, colors appear in the sky an hour before sunrise, and the play of roses and oranges delights the sky until a few moments before sunrise.
In the daylight the lake loses a lot of its magic. In our opinion, the visitor center set up on the lake gives a rather disappointing perspective on the lake and below we will tell you where to hunt for the best views!
We spent in Turkey 2 weeks all together and we traveled in a rental car, haven’t had any problems with that! Beside Tuz Golu we visited also Oludeniz, Daylan, Cappadocia, Cesme and Istanbul.
Lake Tuz Golu – how to get there and where to stay?
The best option is a car. It’s about 600 km from Istanbul, but the highways are of really great quality and it’s easy to drive on them, we decided to take this route and we don’t regret it. It is about 200 km from Cappadocia and trips are organized from there (you can also hire a photographer and go to the lake for a photo shoot). From the capital of Turkey, Ankara, it is the closest to Lake Tuz Golu, only 150 km. Unfortunately, you cannot get to Lake Tuz Golu by public transport.
From Cappadocia or Ankara, a trip to the lake can easily be a one-day trip. However, if you are driving such a long route as we were and the lake is only a stop on the road, it can be quite an intense route and it is worth resting along the way. Unfortunately, the lake is a bit in the middle of nowhere, there is no bigger city, just a few villages and practically no accommodation facilities.
Due to the late arrival, we decided to just sleep in the car. Wild sleeping is legal in Turkey and we had no problems (or any other options). The lack of accommodation should be taken into account when planning a possible trip to the lake.
Lake Tuz Golu – the best views
As we have already mentioned at the official visitor center, there is no need to stop, because the views are not the best there, and the whole center is a bit of a hodgepodge. Unless you plan to buy souvenirs – this is probably the only place with souvenirs in the area, you want to stop for a coffee or use the toilet. The lake itself is worth a trip around because of the surrounding landscapes, which are worth seeing in themselves.
The best place to admire the lake, especially during the golden hour, is the causeway. You can get to it from two sides – from the village of Bozan and on the other side through the Koyuncu Kaldırım Tuz İşletmesi salt mining plant.
From the village of Bozan, the road is longer and of much worse quality, you can’t count on tarmac, but you are 100% sure that no one will stop you. On this side, right next to the village (about 5 km from the lake itself) there is a nomad camp, which probably does not look friendly in the evening, but during the day we had no problem driving past it. On the dike we even met a boy traveling in a converted bus, who camped on the dike itself.
The drive from the other side is much shorter and the road is better, but you have to drive through the plant. At the entrance there is a guard booth and a lot probably depends on his mood, he let us in after a few minutes of discussion (we didn’t speak Turkish and he didn’t speak English, but the discussion was fierce!) and led us towards the causeway. We were a bit worried that we wouldn’t be able to enter the area before the opening hours of the plant, but the guard booth probably operates there 24 hours a day.