Hopa is a small Turkish town on the Black sea shore. It is situated not far from the Georgian border, just 18 kilometers from the Sarp border gate along the highway. It has quite a small population, a bit more than 18 thousand people. However, this is the best place to start exploring Turkey, if you enter the country by land from Georgia.
The first thing that impresses you is the long and wide seafront with monuments, cafes and even a children park. The highway goes straight through the city, separating the coastline with the seafront from the rest of the town. The cozy streets of Hopa are just the small image of all traditional Turkish cities – people eating out in the local cafes, older men gathering in the teahouses drinking tea (everybody calls it “chai” in Turkey) and playing backgammon or Okey, vendors selling cheap and high quality clothes, shoe shiners ready to clean your shoes to the mirror shine, and barbers eager to shave you Turkish-style with a straight razor.
Go to one of the local cafes and order some kebap with ayran, and after that go and buy some traditional baklava desserts. WARNING: from the moment you taste the local foods you will fall in love with Turkish cuisine.
The cuisine is not the most important thing here. Hopa is one of the few places in Turkey where the Turkish tea grows. Just come up along any street, closer to the mountain hill, and stare with awe at the small green bushes covering the ground like a soft Turkish carpet. This tea is gathered two or three times a year, and sent to one of the two local tea factories. After that it goes to restaurants, shops and supermarkets all over Turkey and abroad.
Hotels are quite cheap in this place, and my advise is to stay in one of them. Even if you still have time to go further, restrain yourself and stay here for a night. In reward you will enjoy the most beautiful sunset in the whole northern coast of Turkey. The secret is that it is the only part of the Black sea coast which faces the sea not from the north, but from the northwest.
Just sit back on one of the numerous benches along the seafront and enjoy the orange sun slowly immersing into the blue waters of the sea. Although Hopa is not a tropical island, it is a very romantic place to watch the sunset with your loved one.
Minibuses (dolmuşes) go to here from the Sarp border gate