Is it possible to swim in Turkey in winter, what to do, and in general, is it worth to go there at this time? There are a lot of questions, because Turkey is traditionally a summer destination. But beloved by tourists Turkish service attracts tourists all year round.
Let’s say at once that if you want to get from winter to full summer, then Turkey is not your option. Read the article about affordable beach destinations this winter season.
But to forget about the frost for a while, to bathe in a warm pool, relax, gain experience in the winter is possible in Turkey. At this time there are even advantages, one of which is low prices for 5-star hotels.
Where in Turkey in winter is the warmest
Different areas of the country have their own climatic characteristics. What vacation do you prefer? In Turkey, there is a choice – it may be a city walks through the beautiful Istanbul, contemplation of the peaks and active recreation at mountain resorts or a serene relaxation at the seaside.
Winter weather in Istanbul is not always pleasant, with frequent rains and piercing winds. The average winter temperature during the day is +8°C to +10°C, at night it drops to +3°C. Yes, it is warmer than in Russia, but not so much that you forget about the cold. Jackets, hats, umbrellas are sure to come in handy. It may snow rarely, but not for a long time, because there are no long frosts here. But it can be sunny and +15 ° C.
The weather is generally suitable for walks in the city, and a little rain is an excuse to go to a cafe. There is plenty to do in Istanbul – museums, monuments, markets – and the weather is not a hindrance.
➡ ☀ If you want more heat, fly to the Mediterranean Sea. Alanya, Side, Belek, Kemer, Antalya is the warmest place here. The reason is geographical peculiarities of the area, high mountains hold back the cold air from the north, and the sea, well warmed up during the summer, shares its accumulated heat for a long time.
But in the Aegean coast resorts (Kusadasi, Bodrum, Didim, Marmaris, Fethiye) air and water temperature is lower, and it is noticeable
Sea temperature on the Mediterranean coast in December from +18 to +19 ° C is the minimum limit at which it is recommended to swim. More about the temperature of the sea, comfortable for swimming, we wrote in a separate article. In the morning and evening, it’s cool and a light jacket will definitely come in handy, but in the middle of the day on a clear day the air warms up to +20 °C. Those who want to swim in such not very comfortable conditions are, but of course not much.
We flew to Kemer in mid-December with a child, we watched people sunbathing and swimming in the sea, but we have not dared to try it ourselves. We had enough water procedures in a spa center and heated pool of the hotel.
In January the air and water temperature drops a couple of degrees, the amount of precipitation begins to increase and about bathing in the open sea is definitely out of the question, only heated pools.
February is not much warmer than January but after a long Russian frost you may feel that you have immersed yourself in a real spring.
Next we will tell you what to do in the Turkish resorts in this weather. But a few more words about the weather in the mountains. There are frosts and snow at this time, you can do winter sports.
Also in winter tourists fly to Cappadocia (from Istanbul or Antalya). Enchanting landscapes of mountains and soaring hot air balloons. This is already the central part of Turkey with a moderate continental climate – hot summers, cold winters. Frosts at night can drop to -15 °C, and daytime highs rise to +5 °C.
Where to go in Turkey in winter, what to do
✅ Wherever you decide to go, a winter holiday in Turkey has one significant advantage – it has a good price. If you’ve already vacationed in Turkey this summer, just check your hotel prices for any of the winter months. You will be surprised that the difference can be 2-3 times lower. Immediately there is the thought – “why not fly” or “I can afford more.
On our last winter vacation, we chose a Rixos hotel that we couldn’t afford during the summer season 😅
➡ 🎄 The exception to this rule are the New Year’s vacation dates, for which prices don’t think to go down.
Already in December hotels are decorated, put Christmas trees and hang garlands, preparing a holiday show program. Istanbul, too, transforming, adopting the traditions of European cities.
✅ The second characteristic of winter holidays is that all tourist places are less crowded compared to the peak season. And this is a good opportunity to go and quietly see the sights, where in high season there are huge lines and can not be crowded.
In winter, we walked alone in ancient Fazelis and it was an incredible experience.
Holidays on the Mediterranean
What to devote yourself to during the vacation – you decide, there is a choice.
The easiest and most obvious is walking. Walks along the sea, boat rides, walks through the resort towns and natural parks. Clean sea air and no exhausting heat as in summer – is another reason to go and explore the sights, which did not have time during the peak beach season.
To get the most out of a winter vacation, you should take seriously the choice of hotel. To be able to swim, you need the hotel to have a heated pool, which can be open, indoor, saltwater or water park. We’ve compiled 💛 a great selection of hotels worth flying to this winter. If you have your favorite hotels in mind – keep in mind that not all may be open in the winter.
It’s also worth checking out if the hotel has a spa complex. Visit a traditional Turkish hamam, go for a massage or try phytotherapy.
Everyone knows that all-inclusive catering has made Turkish resorts famous. You can not deny yourself anything, unless of course you’re afraid during the vacation to put on extra pounds (it’s very easy). In addition to food at the hotel, we recommend getting acquainted with the local cuisine, visiting the restaurants for local people.
Try to explore Turkey on your own by renting a car. We enjoyed it very much!
The traffic on the roads is organized and civilized, if you travel by insured car there should be no problems. Arrange a trip along the coast, stopping at the resort centers, which have not yet been. You can go to the mall and do 🛒 shopping, prices for clothes and other goods are much lower.
You can do some shopping in Istanbul too, this is the time of Christmas sales, fairs and markets. But not only that the city attracts tourists from all over the world. This is a metropolis with a very old history, before the Turks, it had the name of Constantinople, and was the capital of the Byzantine Empire.
There are many architectural monuments such as the Sultanahmet Mosque, the former Patriarchal Orthodox Cathedral of Hagia Sophia, the Galata Tower, the Basilica Cistern. There are also the Museum of Modern Art and many other museums, that is up to your taste.
Here is where to get acquainted with the local cuisine. There are a lot of cafes and restaurants, street food, food markets with local color on the streets of the old city.
By the way, you can find hammams in Istanbul too, some have more than 300 years of history.
Take a boat ride on the Bosphorus or head to the Princes’ Islands (an archipelago in the Sea of Marmara) to admire the city from the outside. Feed seagulls on the way and cats on the shore. Istanbul is very fond of cats.
Ski resorts in Turkey
Turkey has mountains, hence ⛷ ski resorts. Many are inland, far from the coast. The most convenient in terms of transport accessibility and popular with Russians is Uludag, located near Istanbul.
The name Uludag means The Great Mountain, but the resort is more suitable for families, as most of the tracks are designed for beginners. Most of them are gentle and long slopes. The popularity of the resort is largely due to its affordability, if compared to European resorts.
Packaged tours are available for booking in Uludag for the winter. Hotels all inclusive not so much, more widespread three meals a day. Many hotels are located near the elevators.
We recommend the Monte Baia Hotel – a four on all inclusive and good reviews. New Year’s Eve dates are best booked in advance.
Cappadocia is a mountainous area with an unusual natural landscape. Here you can see canyons, bizarre pillars, caves. The fastest way to get there is to take a plane from Istanbul to Kayseri and then by land to the tourist centers of Goreme, Ürgüp, and Uçhisar.
Some people come to Cappadocia to fly in hot air balloons, and some just to watch and take pictures in front of them. Balloons take off all year round, including in winter, the only thing that can prevent it is a strong wind. Plan your trip for a few days to increase the likelihood of flying weather.
👁🗨 You can watch the balloons in Göreme, the Valley of Love near Göreme, from the rock fortress in Çavuşin.
Popular excursions in winter
Going on any trip, we always plan to visit excursions. With them the impressions of the rest remains much more. And for a long time now we have been booking them online via tripster.ru. The advantage of the site is that you can, in advance, in a relaxed atmosphere to choose what suits you best, to price, read real reviews about the guide, and then leave your own.
We noticed that the tours, actively offered by hotel guides at meetings with tourists, often do not meet expectations – long tastings, dubious attractions, which are a long drive, crumpled program. ❗ This is why we advise you not to be lazy and choose a great tour in advance, which will be the main impression of the entire trip.
Winter is a great time for excursions and the choice is not less than in summer. Most of them in Istanbul: Asian Istanbul, Istanbul for their own, Treasures of the Bosphorus, Classic Istanbul, All Istanbul in 1 day, Real Tastes of Istanbul, The Picturesque Beauty of Slums and many others.
You can also get in touch with history in Antalya. We attended a tour of the old district of Kaleici with a Russian guide who came to the city permanently, it was very interesting. The whole walk consisted of places that we would not even have noticed or were afraid to go in.
You can explore the surroundings of the region: the temple of St. Nicholas in Demre, the ancient city of Mira, Pammukkale, Perge, Aspendos. There are tours from Side, Alanya, Kemer, Belek.