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5 Things to Do in Turkey in the Winter

Vacationing in Turkey in the winter? Of course! Turkey offers several winter options to make your vacation and travels in Turkey a perfect option for family travel, solo travel, or a romantic getaway.

It is both mild and frigid throughout Eastern Turkey, so you have options on what you prefer. Turkey offers a nice seclusion from the frigid temperatures in the Southeast but also offers a winter wonderland for those wanting to indulge in the cold.

1. Winter Moments on Palandoken

When the snow freshly falls on the mountains, they seem to glisten. We can hear it. The mountains are calling. Palandoken offers multiple ski resorts and world class skiing available for every level of skier. Bring your entire family and relax with a much needed escape from life’s craziness on our local ski slopes.

Snow season on Palandoken Mountain revolves around the weather but typically runs from December to early March.

Activities on the mountain include skiing, snowboarding, snow walking, ice climbing, or relaxing in one of the many resorts on the mountain.

Snowboarding and skiing are huge parts of Palandoken. The mountain offers so many options for the winter traveler. EJDER3200's courses, the main ski provider on Palandoken Mountain in Erzurum, fit all ability levels ranging from green to black (or black diamond). You can find the perfect slope for you on EJDER3200's four different levels ranging from very easy to very difficult. ⠀⠀⠀

You can see a map of Ejder by clicking here. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If you are new to skiing, make your way to the green slopes (the bunny slopes) where you can learn about skis and how to ski. If you know more about skiing, head out to the black (black diamond) slopes to challenge yourself more.

Snow walking or snowshoeing is a fun way to explore and enjoy the mountain without having to ski or do other extreme winter sports. You can rent your equipment and hire a guide directly from Ejder (let us take the stress out of planning and allow us to arrange this for you!).

If you want to be a bit more adventurous, try climbing the ice wall. Climbers that have climbed the tallest walls all over the world have called this wall impressive. In the first weeks of January you can even participate in the ice climbing and mountaineering festival.

You can find multiple resorts on the mountain. Many offer in-hotel restaurants, spas, and other amenities. These often fill up months in advance, so if you plan to stay on Palandoken Mountain, you should plan to book at least 6 months in advance, earlier if your group is large.

Once you have gotten your fill of skiing, take a break and explore the wonder that is Palandoken or head into Erzurum for a day tour.

2. Visit the Southeast

If the frigid temperatures are not your thing, then a visit to Southeast Turkey is exactly what you need! The area stays relatively moderate in temperature. Places you could consider visiting include Abraham’s birthplace, the largest city wall in the world only second to China, an architectural dig that makes Stonehenge look new, a city full of limestone labyrinths full of shops and local finds, and a monastery that has had Christian roots since the time of Christ.

3. Museums

Turkey offers so many historical and cultural museums. If you took the time to visit every museum in Turkey, it could take you months to explore every single one. There are both indoor and outdoor options for museums. You can see things as old as 9500 BC, older than Stonehenge.

Some of our favorites include the:

  • Mosaic Museum in Gaziantep

  • Archeological Museum in Gaziantep

  • Archeological Museum in Sanliurfa

  • Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul

  • Yakutiye Madrese in Erzurum

  • Akdamar Ada in Van (outdoor)

  • Gobeklitepe in Sanliurfa (outdoor)

  • Ephesus near Izmir (outdoor)

4. Stay in a cabin in the Karadeniz

The Camlehemsin area of the Karadeniz, or Black Sea in English, is full of mature and beautiful evergreen trees. When the snow falls, the trees and mountains are absolutely gorgeous. The area is full of villages and people that live life at a slower pace.

Rent a cabin in the mountains and enjoy the quietness of the snow falling with a warm cup of coffee or tea. This is a great option for a couple’s romantic getaway.

5. Eat your way across Turkey

Travel through every province and eat their local delicacies. One unique thing about Turkey is that each province has a local food unique to their region, yoresel in Turkish. Each region will cook a dish using a different method or different ingredients.

Ideas to try:

  • Antalya: Piyaz (local beans mixed with tahini)

  • Antakya: Kisir (bulgur wheat, tomatoes, garlic, parsley, mint salad)

  • Bursa: Iskender kebab (thick bread topped with meat strips topped with tomato sauce with a side of salty yogurt)

  • Camlehemsin: Mulahma, Mıhlama (Turkish queso)

  • Erzurum: Cağ Kebab (lamb grilled on a spit)

  • Diyarbakir: Belluh or mercimek köfte (red lentils, bulgur, onion, scallions, tomato and hot pepper tomato sauce in bite-size pieces)

  • Gaziantep: Baklava

  • Isparta: Yaprak Dolma (rice and tomatoes wrapped in a vine leaf)

  • Kahramanmaras: Turkish ice cream

  • Kayseri: Manti (Turkish ravioli topped with yogurt and chili flakes)

  • Tokat: Maple Leaves, bakla sarma

  • Trabzon: Trabzon pide

You might even get to sit by a local as they prepare your food over a fire or even in a hole. You can learn all their tips and tricks as they lavish they warm Turkish hospitality upon you. Paired with food made from scratch, there is nothing else that warms the soul in the same way.

You can visit Turkey in the Winter!

Turkey has so much to offer year-round! Do not let the time of year discourage you from making travel plans. There are so many options from which to choose for your family vacation, solo travel, or romantic getaway.

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