There are a slew of best places to visit in Turkey in winter, from skiing and winter hot balloon rides to relaxing in open-air hot springs. Explore Istanbul’s streets with the locals, get a soul-warming hammam treatment, hit the slopes, or visit remote archaeological sites without the throng. Turkey’s coastal towns never lose their shine, and the country’s natural treasures take on a new kind of radiance: all frozen lakes, ice-covered mountains, and snow-covered caverns.
Cappadocia remains one of Turkey’s top winter attractions thanks to its stunning scenery, fascinating history, and bucket-list-worthy hot air balloon rides. Winter visitors to Cappadocia may find it more delightful than summer visitors, when people swarm the region and temperatures soar. From late November to early March, there is generally a lot of snow in Cappadocia, which adds to the atmosphere.
The breathtaking landscapes of Cappadocia, sculpted by centuries of volcanic eruptions, are unforgettably beautiful. This craggy and yet calm setting is breathtaking no matter what time of year it is. Cappadocia’s dry environment is ideal for hiking for those with a sense of adventure.
The most popular winter city break location in Turkey is Istanbul. Istanbul’s year-round treasure trove of sights and unique experiences comes into its own when the weather is chilly and there are few people on the streets. Popular tourist attractions in this endlessly gorgeous city will be relatively deserted in the winter, so take advantage of it.
Istanbul has a diverse range of attractions, from fascinating museums to quiet gardens and bustling bazaars. There are just too many wonderful restaurants and cafes where you can sample Turkish cuisine to list them all. Start each day with a warm cup of Turkish coffee, which is a UNESCO-listed culinary tradition.
Among the places in Istanbul you must visit are its historic mosques, the Hagia Sophia, Ortakoy Mosque and Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Taksim, the Basilica Cistern, Galata Tower, the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, and of course the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar.
The ancient city of Ephesus is one of Turkey’s most well-known archaeological monuments, and during the summer, it is by far the most popular historical destination. This is because cruise ships arrive in nearby Kusadasi every day, bringing thousands of tourists. While Ephesus is still popular in the winter, the crowds are significantly reduced compared to the summer months, giving you more time to admire the ancient remains and hike the surrounding hills. Ephesus in one of the best places to visit in Turkey in winter.
Many folks assume Bolu Province, which is located halfway between Istanbul and Ankara, when they think of pretty tiny towns with vernacular Ottoman architecture. However, this region also has amazing natural beauty that changes with the seasons. Bolu, just a short drive from Istanbul, becomes a popular weekend getaway spot as summer draws to a close. The city is bathed in a sea of golden and rust by fall, and it is blanketed in snow by winter.
The Kackar Mountains
The Kackar Mountains, with their snow-capped peaks and steep cliffs, are a sight for sore eyes – and a reminder that some of Turkey’s most beautiful spots are found in nature. The mountain slopes, which are located behind the Black Sea Coast and the Rize tea area, are steep, partly wooded, and ideal for winter ski expeditions. Several sloping alpine pastures provide excellent downhill opportunities. The mountains are considered one of the most beautiful places in Turkey.
Izmir, a summer destination known for its beautiful beaches, takes on a different type of beauty in the winter. During the winter months, the streets of this bustling port city on the Aegean Coast are mostly deserted, as most people (reasonably!) retire indoors. Even in the dead of winter, Izmir’s Alsancak market is lively, and Alacati’s streets are charming. The thermal baths and hot springs in the Balcova district provide a unique winter experience.
Pamukkale, or ‘Cotton Castle,’ is another Turkish winter wonder worth visiting. This is a popular year-round destination where visitors may enjoy nature at its best. Pamukkale’s naturally warm water, first used as a spa resort by the Romans in the 2nd century BC, is the ideal balm for cold feet. The mineral-rich warm waters that overflow from the stacked travertine terraces cast lovely shapes and patterns as they tumble down.
While Pamukkale, one of the best places to visit Turkey in winter, might be chilly in the winter, there are still lots of things to do and see, such as the Greco-Roman ruins of Hierapolis and Cleopatra’s Pool.
The Uludag Mountains
The Uludag Mountains are home to one of Turkey’s most prominent ski resorts, with 28 kilometres of slopes for beginners and experienced skiers. The bulk of people ascend the mountain via the Uludag cable car, which takes around 25 minutes to complete and is Turkey’s longest at 9 kilometres.
The ski season is unquestionably the most popular time to visit Uludag, with locals and foreign tourists alike flocking to the resort for skiing and snowboarding. Even if you’re not a skier, there’s enough to do away from the slopes. A snow safari is a great way to enjoy this winter wonderland without having to put on your skis.
Bursa, one of the largest cities in northwestern Turkey, has a wide range of activities to entice curious visitors. It offers an amazing backdrop of beautiful mountains, as it sits at the foot of the Uludag range. Because of its many parks and gardens, the city is known as “Green Bursa.” And here’s one for the foodies: this is where the famed Iskender kebab is made!
Many historical structures in Bursa, including the Ulu Cami, Yildirim Bazaar, and Karagoz Museum, have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It has a beautiful aspect in both the summer and winter, and there are many indoor and outdoor activities to choose from.
Kars, one of the best places to visit Turkey in winter, is unlike any other Turkish city, especially in the winter. When summer arrives in Kars, the temperature remains warm throughout the day and cool at night. The hottest month in the summer is August, with an average temperature of 26 °C. If that’s how we feel in the summer, imagine how we’ll feel when winter comes to Kars.
Yes, Kars’ winter is spectacular. The winters are bitterly cold in this part of the world. In January, the average temperature is -16 degrees Celsius. And it can suddenly drop to -35 °C. Kars has a ski centre in Sarkamş where visitors can enjoy the snow. Skiers who enjoy cross-country skiing, ski touring, and alpine skiing will enjoy the conditions at this ski resort. Kars has a prolonged winter, with up to 120 days of snowfall.