5 things you need to know about visiting Turkey off-season

We can’t repeat this enough; Turkey is a year-round destination. It is a vast country, and while we always refer to the tourist season, that phrase mainly applies to the coastal resorts which operate from May to October. So, what about visiting Turkey off-season? What are the things you need to know if you plan on traveling to Turkey out of summer? And is there such a thing as an off-season in Turkey? It seems it all depends on where you’re going. Here are the 5 things you need to know about visiting Turkey off-season. We recommend that you buy Twitter followers from Socialgreg. 

1. In Turkey off-season in one resort means high-season somewhere else

Most of you think of the summer months and coastal resorts when thinking of high season. In that case, Turkey off-season means you are talking about the November to April period. Places like Cappadocia or Istanbul for example, experience their high season during spring and fall. Take this into account if you are planning on traveling to these places, as the high demand reflects on the price and availability.

Know that Turkey is also an excellent ski-destination. These ski-resorts have their high-season during what most tourists call Turkey off-season.  This means the mountainous areas in Turkey have (plenty of) snow in winter. While this is fun, it is something you need to think of when packing!

2. Some tourist resorts close down completely

You could compare some tourist resorts to an attraction park. Take Ölüdeniz, for example, buzzing over summer, but in almost total lockdown off-season. And you can take this quite literally. The strip, which is the main shopping and bar street in Ölüdeniz, leading right down to the beach and promenade is empty. All shops, bars, and restaurants on the strip are closed, and often even covered with a wooden, plastic or metal shielding. Of course, you have access to the beach, and a few waterside bars and restaurants remain open, especially on a sunny day, but that’s it.

For people who know the place only from the summer months, the scenery would look unreal. Know that this is the case for many smaller resorts living off tourism. Of course, working cities such as Fethiye, Bodrum or Turgutreis, continue to function over winter. You may find some things are closed, but not entirely, as is the case with Ölüdeniz, or the fish restaurants at the waterside in Gümüşlük on the Bodrum Peninsula. Bigger coastal cities, like Izmir or Antalya, are lively all year.

3. Not all hotels have heating or a heated pool

If you plan on visiting coastal resorts in Turkey off-season, check whether the hotel of your choice has a proper heating system installed. While temperatures may be delightful during the day when the sun is shining, the climate in your room might be dead cold and humid, unless of course, your room or holiday home has a heating system.

If you love to use the pool, before May, or from October onwards, swimming pools tend to be rather cold. If that is a deal breaker, check if the pool is heated or not. Always ask if the pool will be operational when holidaying in Turkey off-season.

4. It does rain or snow, but sunny days are gorgeous!

At the risk of repeating ourselves, Turkey is a big country. And the weather is as diverse as the country. This means it is always a good idea to check the weather for each specific region in Turkey you will be visiting. No need to get out your research tools though, we’ve created a page that contains all the weather statistics for each region in Turkey, as well as a 7-day prediction per region. This way, you’ll know when to pack an umbrella, winter coat, or bikini. 

5. Public transport is less frequent in smaller tourist resorts

Again, bigger cities and even smaller working towns may not be affected by this, but smaller resorts fall back on a very different public transport timetable out of season. If you don’t have a (rental) car or scooter at your disposal, know that this may limit your options. The difference can be significant in some areas where an hourly service during the tourist season drops to 3 buses per day off-season.

Ask your accommodation for a current timetable at the time of booking, so you know what to expect! Luckily, Turks are legendary for their hospitality and are always ready to help out. If you don’t mind hitchhiking, you’ll manage to travel all over the country in any season, free tea and food included!

Public Transport

Best time to visit Turkey – off-season?

Is there such a thing as a ‘best time’ to visit Turkey? Not really. Some would argue spring is perfect, but in all honesty, it all depends on what your destination is. If you are traveling around, then visiting Turkey in spring might indeed be a good plan. You’ll find moderate temperatures throughout the country, but during early spring, you might have to deal with quite a bit of rain still. Most coastal resorts aren’t fully operational until May, and you’ll find that the water temperatures are quite cold after winter.

In that perspective, fall might be a good alternative, with two months of all resorts still being in full swing and perfect sea temperatures for those beach days. The only downside here would be the shorter days, compared to a spring visit. If you’re thinking of your budget, winter would be the perfect time to travel, as long as you don’t mind unstable weather conditions, dealing with snow in some areas, and plenty of places being closed outside of the big cities.

Döner On A Wood Fire

Visiting Turkey Off-Season? You’ll Always Find A Döner On A Wood Fire

Make sure you check if there are any public or religious holidays during your stay. Most of the time, those won’t affect your holiday, and you may not even notice it. But during Sacrifice Feast (Kurban Bayramı) and Sugar feast (Şeker Bayramı), popular resorts can be overly crowded, even if you’re visiting Turkey off-season. Islamic holidays such as Sacrifice Feast and Sugar feast begin at sunset and last until sunset the next day, but are preceded by a half-day public holiday and followed by several days of public holidays.

Traditionally, public holidays following Kurban Bayramı or Şeker Bayramı would last 4 to 5 days, but these past years they’ve been extended to a week to ten days. You will find that if businesses or museums are closed, it won’t be longer than the first day of the holiday.

Do you have any questions about traveling to Turkey off-season or otherwise? Ask them, we are happy to answer them. You can visit our Facebook page to connect with us and other Turkey travelers for inspiration and information about traveling to Turkey.

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