Frequent travelers know the benefits of traveling during the off-season. Besides the obvious benefits to a traveler’s budget, visiting specific destinations, such as Turkey, brings much more significant benefits and a different kind of charm. It is a time when visitors can experience Turkey like most travelers never do. Witness the mountains and countryside transform into a winter wonderland. Visit Turkey’s beautiful lakes that freeze over to form amazing sites. Admire the countries ancient ruins and archeological sites, minus the crowds. And enjoy Istanbul’s winter festivals and Christmas joy from a unique winter perspective.
With moderate Mediterranean weather, Turkey’s average temperature in December ranges between 8 and 12 degrees centigrade on the low side, and a conformable 16 to 18 degrees centigrade on the higher side. Perfect weather to investigate Istanbul’s historical and UNESCO world heritage buildings located in the Sultanahmet district bursting with color and art, followed by shopping at the Grand Bazaar.
Visiting the city during the New Year is an extra bonus. Istanbul hosts huge fireworks displays that reflect stunning views reflected by the waters of the Bosphorus. With the city usually covered with a blanket of white snow, the streets come alive with parties, Istanbul style, that spread across neighborhoods and well into the night.
Venturing outside Istanbul during is best suited for travelers who want to visit Turkey’s most ancient Greco-Roman sites on the Mediterranean without the vast loud crowds of tourists witnessed in the summertime. Alexander the Great’s conquest of the two Anatolian cities of Termessos and Sagalassos; both conquered in 333 BC. And while in Antalya, where the climate is warmer than other regions in Turkey, enjoy its city center which remains active and vibrant with modern shopping malls and renowned nightlife.
As Turkey’s most visited historical site, Ephesus’ magnificent old theater with a capacity of over 25,000 people, can be enjoyed and appreciated to the maximum in December. Get an almost exclusive tour of the Celsus library that in ancient times held over 12,000 scrolls and manuscripts. Finally, end your historical visit by viewing the amazing mosaics of the Roman terraced houses, and the Byzantine homes built for the rich and powerful governors of the time.
Turkey has had as many as a dozen ski resorts that drift down beautifully snow-covered mountains. With more than 100 peaks that reach above 3,000 meters, the most famous ski resort, of which there are more than a dozen in Turkey, one of the most popular is located south of the Sea of Marmara, in the alpine village of Uludağ. With an elevation of over 6,500 feet, Uludağ in Bursa is the perfect place to combine an active lifestyle, with a relaxed and spiritual feeling of well-being.
And finally, for a genuinely authentic Christmas flavor, winter travelers can venture to see the real St. Nick, who lived very far away from the North Pole. He lived a preached in the ancient village of Myra, now knows as Demre. On St. Nicolas’ feast day, which happens on December 6th every year, Greek Orthodox faithful crowd Demre’s ancient basilica to pay tribute the global icon.
Subscribe to our monthly newsletter
Keep a pulse on the latest business news in the Middle East. Subscribe now.