If you’re getting tired of the relentless rain, the bite of cold snaps and the darkening nights it might be time to book a holiday. Turkey is not an obvious winter destination, but there are plenty of reasons why this endlessly fascinating country is simply better when visited in the off-season. While your peers are slumped in front of the television or paying over the odds for a ski holiday, explore the alternative of a winter getaway in Turkey.
While they’re not doing a roaring trade, there is enough business for most hotels in Turkey to stay open during winter, particularly in Istanbul and the Mediterranean coastal areas. Not only can savvy travellers sniff out cheap off-season flights, but they can also benefit from excellent room rates, and even consider the possibility of a heavily discounted 5 star stay.
There are fewer tourists
To anyone who has had to queue for hours to see an attraction, been jostled by a rude day-tripper who can’t wait their turn or had to endure a five hour flight surrounded by a chorus of howling babies, there’s a lot to be said for off-season travel. Turkey holidays in particular see significantly fewer tourists in winter because of the absence of the cruise parties that swarm its western coastline in summer.
You can meet the locals
The ratio of visitors to locals decreases in winter, meaning you might actually be in with a chance of chatting with shopkeepers, guides and townspeople. You’ll go from being just another tourist to being a warmly received guest in this hospitable country, and will gain a greater cultural insight because of it.
Turkey can become oppressively hot in summer, but in winter months, the temperature drops to reasonably cool, without becoming uncomfortably cold. For those who don’t care about sun-worshipping, the winter conditions in Turkey are ideal for urban exploration and exhilarating hikes.
You can experience the sights
Experience the relaxation of a Turkish bath without being uncomfortably crowded. Grab a cup of steaming Turkish coffee without waiting in line, or shop in the bazaar without having to wait to look at pretty local handicrafts and goods. Enjoy the true power of the Hagia Sofia when viewed unobstructed by gawking crowds, or be awestruck by Ephesus without the blistering heat. If you’ve come for the culture, you’ll get a chance to see it unmolested by the hell that is thousands of tourists all vying for the same thing. Most points of interest are open year-round, but coastal areas do tend to become quieter as the summer season winds down.
This coming year, skip the crowds and embrace Turkey in all its wintery glory.
Guest post provided to Jen is on a Journey, images by Martin Fisch and Özlem Ercan used under the Creative Commons license.