Do you belong to one of those who only travels in Europe during the high season, ie in the summer from mid April to early October, where you are guaranteed more or less sunny and good weather? Then it might be interesting for you to read this post. If, on the other hand, you belong to one of those who often travel to Turkey, maybe even have an apartment down there and come at all seasons, then you may recognize the following. Yes, you will probably be able to give me some good advice or two, that I will receive with kisses. Just write a comment below.
Most pros and not so many disadvantages
There are undeniably certain benefits if you travel out of season. A lot actually, if you just think about it.
It is quieter
there is cooler
It is more relaxing
It’s perfect if you dream about an active holiday
It is the best way to experience the true Turkish culture
The summer is usually good in Denmark and Scandinavia – especially if the weather lasts. It rarely happens in my world. I would rather have guaranteed heat without speculation about the possibilities of rain, wind and what to pack. And you are sure of that, when you travel to Turkey in the summer. But off season it’s not quite that simple as in summer, but the benefits outweigh the disadvantages for me. For example, in February and March, there is the possibility of sunshine, temperatures above 20 degrees etc, etc. And that’s enough for me. Yes, even in January it’s nice. I spoke with my father-in-law some 3 weeks ago and he told him it was 20 degrees as he walked in the garden and cut the grapes. Yes, I became envious – a lot actually.
But what’s so nice about traveling in the winter (or off season)?
Yes, it’s very, very individual. But I think most people can sign up, that it might be nice with a break and a shift in the middle of the long and grey winter months at home? And if it’s in a period, where both flights, stays and experiences are cheaper than in the high season, it’s just another feather in the hat.
Of course, there are no guarantees, but the prices is given. It is a question about supply and demand. As demand is not so big (yet) to Turkey in the winter time / out of season, the tickets are also cheaper. But the selection is not quite as good comparable to the summer. And when there are’nt so many tourists, it usually puts a damper to the prices of hotels, museums and excursions. I’ve heard about savings from 20-80% compared to “normal”. For example, I have just looked at a very nice and modern hotel in the city for a short trip in mid-April. 67 Eur for 2 people for 2 days! Can it be done cheaper?
But the big win is – in my mind, it’s clearly out of season, that you really learn the real Turkish culture. There is just a little more time and space among the locals, as there are no tourists who “fill up” in the image. And the pressure on the city is not as big as in the high season. The culture is becoming more visible, when it is not mixed with all sorts of fuss and hubbub for and from the tourists. People have more time, show the little habits and routines that life also consists of. And that’s something we busy Europeans can learn – getting down in speed. Even the city is noticeably down at a different pace, and it’s really, really nice. Yes, almost completely liberating. I absolutely love to come to Turkey in March / April and October / November. So my warmest recommendations for a quick break or a little longer stay at this time a year.
When the weather is with you
If you want to go on an holiday, it is important to plan the holiday outside the high season. The temperatures are lower, so you can better do something (especially in Antalya and on the rest of the South Coast, where summer is often too hot). But even in Istanbul it can also be very nice. There is just a bit better room for hiking, mountain climbing, watching some of the many ancient ruins (such as Termessos, which I can not recommend to visit during the warm summer season), bicycle holidays, yogaretreats etc.
If you’re skiing, of course, it’s also out of the high season. For yes, it is possible to ski in Turkey. And even at pretty good places. In fact, there are about 21 ski resorts around Turkey. There is, for example, a nice place at Uludag – close to Istanbul or Saklikent, close to Antalya. How many places do you know, where you can skiing one day and shop in one of the world’s biggest cities or swim by the beach the next day? Yes, all forecasts says winter sports in Turkey are only in their very beginning.
Experiences outside the high season
One should not believe it, but even the food and drinks also change a bit with the seasons – just as we know it from home. In winter you have the opportunity to taste some of the hot drinks such as salep – as I have written about here or the popular dessert asure, most of all, reminiscent of pudding.
And finally there are all the Turkish baths – hamam – for which the country is so famous. It is truly an experience in itself. I think, I had traveled to Turkey 20-25 times before I finally tried a real Turkish hamam. I had the idea, that it should be in one of the oldest hamams in Istanbul, if it were to be. And so it became. So I’ve never been to Hamam in Antalya, but it’s on the to-do list on my next trip outside the high season. (In some way, it’s just not as good to be scrubbed and shed, when you try to get color or have a body that is red from the sun. So the summertime is excluded for me). But it’s an obvious thing to try, if you have the opportunity.
So yes, here are some of my suggestions on why you just have to go – the sooner the better. The weather is quite nice and mostly with you. So it’s just about going before all the other tourists discover how great it is at other times of the year than the summer. I even heard that Christmas should be quite special at these latitudes.