When is The Best Time to Travel in Turkey

paragliding fethiye

The high season for travel in Turkey generally runs between mid-April and late-October. During the off-season, temperatures are much cooler and snow is possible in mountainous areas. Many visitors enjoy the spring and fall, with their mild weather and small crowds. Coastal regions are particularly popular with tourists during the summer. These include resort areas along the Aegean and Mediterranean coast with beaches and yachting facilities.

The coastline, especially between Izmir and Antalya, features numerous coves and bays and many nearby ancient cities and is perfect for yachting. A large number of international-quality marinas provide services for the yachtsman. For active travelers, swimming, fishing, water-skiing, Paragliding, surfing and diving are available. Turkey also enjoys many spectacular rivers.

They are ideal for canoeing, skiing and rafting. Mountaineering is also popular in mountain ranges throughout Turkey in spring and summer. The high plateaus of the Eastern Black Sea Region are covered by colorful flowers and green pasture during spring and summer. Naturalists will enjoy the diversity of fauna and flora as well as the heart-stopping splendor of the surrounding landscape.

caretta caretta diving

Central and Eastern Turkey can receive large accumulations of snow, and snow skiing is a favorite winter pastime. Turkey has several ski centers, which are generally open from December through April depending on snow conditions.

The Most Popular Travel Destinations in Turkey


The most popular travel destinations in Turkey
From the perfect beaches and ancient ruins of its coast to the pulse of its cosmopolitan cities, Turkey is a study in contrasts. Visitors can lose themselves in the magic of a historic palace before enjoying a world class meal, or swim amidst Roman ruins before continuing their journey in the comfort of a state of the art yacht. Whatever your fancy, there are countless things to see and do in Turkey. Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, serves as the gateway for most travelers. Istanbul is the only city in the world that sits on two continents and it offers an abundance of fascinating attractions for visitors.

Some of Istanbul’s most popular sites include the Bosphorus Strait, the Blue Mosque, Haghia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Dolmabahce Palace, the Kariye Museum, the Underground Cistern, Galata Tower, the Tower of Leander, the Princes’ Islands and the Grand Bazaar. Bursa, the land of silk, was the first capital city of the Ottoman Empire and birthplace of modern Turkish culture. The mosques, like Yesil Cami and Ulu Cami, are some of the most important and beautiful inthe country. The country’s first ski resort was built on the mountain of Uludag, lying to the south of the city.

From Canakkale Bogazi, also known as the Dardanelles, to the fairytale Crusader castle and sunny beaches of Bodrum, the Aegean shores of Turkey are among the loveliest landscapes in Turkey. The highlights of an Aegean tour are Troy, the site of the legendary Trojan War and its wooden horse; ancient Pergamon, once a great center of culture and now one of Turkey’s finest archeological sites; Ephesus, the capital of Roman Asia Minor, dedicated to the goddess Artemis whose temple was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; Aphrodisias, the center of the greatest school of sculpture in antiquity; Pamukkale, a unique fairyland of dazzlingly white calcified castles; and Bodrum, a charming coastal town with a long, palm lined waterfront and beautiful beaches. Antalya province on the Mediterranean coast is Turkey’s principal holiday region.

kaleici antalya

It is a paradise for sunbathing, swimming and sports. Best of all, Antalya serves as a convenient hub for nearby archeological attractions. Ancient theatres can be found in a remarkable state of preservation at Aspendos and Perge and visitors can tour the sunken city of Simena in Kekova. Remains of ancient Lycian cities such as Patara, Letoon, Xanthos, Myra and Apollonia are also within easy traveling distance. These are among the most fascinating sites on the Anatolian Peninsula. Cappadocia in Central Anatolia is one of the most fantastic landscapes in the world and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Turkey.

bodrum turkey

The area’s early Christian inhabitants utilized its remarkable rock formations to create more than 220 churches and numerous underground cities in which they took refuge from their persecutors. Other popular destinations include Safranbolu in the Black Sea Region, an open air museum of traditional Turkish houses; Mount Nemrut in southeastern Turkey, where enormous stone statues of deities commemorate the first century BC Commagene Kingdom. Konya in Central Anatolia was home to the great Islamic philosopher Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi who in the 13th century founded the Mevlevi Order known as the Whirling Dervishes. Each year in early December, the white robed Mevlevi commemorate the death of Mevlana with their trance like turning dance or sema an amazing sight to behold.

Is it Better to Travel Independently or go to Turkey as a part of a group Tour?

tourist guide

The best way to see and experience Turkey depends on one’s knowledge, experience, and personal preferences. Touring is a safe way to experience new cultures and to see new places with peace of mind. However, some travelers may prefer to visit sites independently without the confines of schedules and timetables. Group tours are organized through tour operators.

There are many tour operators in the U.S. that specialize in trips to Turkey. These can be found in Turkey: The Travel Directory. Most group tours are all-inclusive. This means that transportation (air and ground), hotels, some meals, and a guide are usually provided for a flat-fee. Guided tours are highly recommended for those with an interest in history and culture, since tour guides can enhance the traveler’s experience by sharing their in-depth knowledge of the places visited.

Those who wish to travel independently can make travel arrangements in advance through a tour operator. Many tour operators will design customized individual itineraries in which air transportation, hotel and car rental reservations and other services are privately arranged to match the specifications of the client. Some tour operators offer fly/drive packages as well, in which airfare and rental car services are provided as a package.
Travelers can also make their own hotel and rental car reservations, use the services of local travel agencies in Turkey. These agencies can arrange car and driver mini tours, which are very popular in many areas, including Istanbul, Ephesus, Antalya and Cappadocia.

Turkey is a country of diverse scenery, climate and historical monuments, so travelers are sometimes overwhelmed by the number of places to visit.

How Can I Travel to Eastern or Southeastern Turkey

kekova turkey

Several specialized tour operators offer organized tours to Eastern and Southeastern Turkey. A list of these tour operators can be obtained from the Washington, D.C. Turkish Government Tourism Office. It is also possible to rent a car in Turkey and drive to these areas. However, during winter some parts of Eastern Anatolia can be quite cold and snowy. Roads are not always passable. Therefore, it is generally recommended that visitors travel to these regions as part of an organized tour during the summer.

The Best Time For Touring in Turkey

konya mevlana dance

The best time for touring is April – May and September – October, when the day temperatures are most comfortable and the least amount of rain falls. For the beach worshipper, June – September is best. While the coastal areas enjoy milder climates, the inland Anatolian plateau experiences extremes of hot summers and cold winters with limited rainfall.

What types of tours do tour operators in the United States offer?

girl tower istanbul

Tour operators listed in our guide, Turkey: The Travel Directory, are Turkey specialists – they have extensive knowledge and experience in Turkish tourism. Some exclusively offer trips to Turkey. Others offer trips to Turkey in combination with other countries, such as Greece and Italy. The companies listed in the Travel Directory can provide a wide range of services including package tours, air ticketing, rental car reservations, hotel reservations, day tours, customized itineraries, guides, and more.

Many companies specialize in different areas of Turkish travel and tourism. Almost all tours include western Turkey and focus on historical and archeological sites. However, some tour operators also offer tours of the Black Sea region and eastern and southeastern Turkey. There are also special-interest tours such as golf tours, photography tours, culinary tours, trekking tours and more.

The oriental experience of the Turkish Bath, HAMMAM in the 21st century

turkish bath hamam

Take some time out to treat yourself with a rubdown and soap massage for a therapeutic and curative process, all thoroughly Turkish – not forgetting how relaxed, refreshed, and stimulated you will feel afterwards. The tradition of the Turkish bath is still a common practice in Turkey despite the proliferation of modern domestic baths, saunas, and Jacuzzis. On entering a hamam, choose between the “full monty” or a simpler experience of taking a bath in the marble chamber. In both cases, you will change into a “pestemal” (a type of sarong) leaving your clothes and valuables in a locker.

As in the Oriental custom, first let your skin soften up in the heat of the steam, and then pour water over your body from a jug. There is no bathtub in a hamam, but a basin and a seat made of pure marble. Before soaping yourself, you will have a rub-down with a ‘kese’ (an abrasive cloth) which takes off a layer of your skin! Then you can enjoy the soaping which can now thoroughly penetrate your pores. A hamam attendant will help you throughout this process for a pampering experience. Don’t be surprised if, you fall asleep during the process.

Afterwards don’t rush to have a cold drink, but choose a warm drink instead to equalise your body temperature and water balance. The very first examples of public baths were found in the Indus Valley the baths of Mohenjo Daro of about 5000 years ago. In ancient Egypt, priests washed themselves four times a day in cold water. The Ancient Sumerians had bathing facilities in which they built vertical drains leading from bathing rooms and had a large swimming pool constructed in the centre.

Bathing in Greece as evidenced in Homer’s description was brought by Menelaus from the East. Elaborate sweat baths were seen in Roman civilisations where men and women bathed at different sections at different times. The Turkish bath (Hamam), similar to that of Roman times,usually has two symmetrical sections for men and women in one building. There are large and comfortable sofas in the dressing room. After warming the body, one enters the central part of the hamam where the heat is at a maximum.

The original system depended on an upside-down cauldron placed in a large pool and the inside of the cauldron functioned as an oven heating the whole area through pipes under the floor and inside the walls. There was no chimney, and the smoke exited through this canal system. The hamams that have survived up to the present are mostly Ottoman examples, though some belong to the Seljuk period. Since the early stages of history, the main reason for taking a bath remains to be a ceremonial purification rather than just getting clean.

The custom of washing for cleanliness is thought to have developed later, as people originally washed more for ceremonial reasons than for hygiene. It is interesting to note that due to the Christians condemnation of self indulgence, antipathy to bathing remained for a long time in Europe as opposed to the cleanliness of the Moslems. The Crusaders returningfrom the war introduced the Turkish bath to Europe. At the same time, Englishmen residing in India and Turkey returned with a habit of daily bathing.

In 1862, David Urquart, whose life in the East had convinced him of the value of the Turkish steam bath, introduced the idea in London and thus it became an institution in the West. Later, European colonies took their attitude on bathing to America where it was taken to an extreme.