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Turkey in January: Is it a good time to visit?

Turkey in January

It depends on what you want to do, where you want to go, and whether January is a good time to go to Turkey. If you’re traveling for a holiday and dream of sun-kissed beaches and swimming in the Aegean or Mediterranean, be prepared to be disappointed.

In January, you can explore, ski, go on city breaks, or look for a house to buy. In January, you’ll find fewer crowds, less waiting time to get into attractions, and cheaper flight and hotel prices. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Turkey in January.

How’s Turkey in January?

  • We touched on it briefly in our introduction, but we’ll elaborate because this is important. Many coastal resorts and districts dot Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. Between May and October, these beach resorts are a hive of activity.
  • The primary flight schedule stops at the end of October, so tourism to these resorts drops. Some beachfront restaurants, bars, and nightclubs close, like Altinkum on the Aegean coast near Izmir. Councils also stop Sunbeds and umbrellas.
  • In Mediterranean Turkey, Antalya city center is a notable exception.
  • There’s tourism all year round, but expect fewer facilities in smaller resorts like Kas or Kalkan on the outskirts. Make sure you research before visiting Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean coasts in January.

How’s the weather in January?

  • Turkey has several different climate zones, so you can’t stereotype its weather. Snow is common on the Kackar mountain tops in the northeast.
  • Meanwhile, people in Mediterranean Antalya wear t-shirts outside. For example, in Istanbul, you can expect daytime temperatures of around 10 degrees and nighttime temperatures of five. Make sure you wrap up warm.
  • Snow and rain can also hit Istanbul in January. Antalya, meanwhile, averages 17 degrees during the day.

Which place in Turkey is the hottest in January?

  • Turkey’s hottest cities are in the Southeast, like Sanliurfa and Batman. However, those places are usually only popular with cultural tourists because they’re conservative and inland. If you want to visit the hottest spot in January, visit Antalya.
  • You can ski in the mountains in the morning and swim in the Mediterranean in the afternoon in Antalya. The Taurus Mountains range behind it evokes it.

Skiing in Turkey: 4 things to know

  • The ski season starts in January and goes through April. Around 15 ski resorts are located in Turkey, mostly inland.
  • Some are more popular than others, like Mount Uludag near Bursa and Mount Erciyes near Cappadocia. Take a ski trip to Saklikent if you’re in Antalya. It is a different gorge than Mugla’s.

January city breaks in Turkey

  • Despite operating many different niches of tourism, Turkey excels at city breaks. There’s lots to do and places to go, whether you’re here for a couple of nights or a week. Keep in mind that northern destinations in Turkey are colder in January, so wrap up warm, but some great bucket list cities are.
  • Istanbul is Turkey’s biggest city as the former capital of the Ottoman and Byzantine empires. It’s a hub of business, economy, education, health, and tourism, sitting on two continents and surrounded by the Marmara Sea, Bosphorus Strait, and Golden Horn.
  • Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar, Topkapi Palace, and Basilica Cistern in Sultanahmet are some of the major sights.
  • They’re all UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Visiting Taksim, the new nightlife and shopping district, is also a must. It is impossible to run out of things to do in Istanbul during January, but if you have a limited time, try to see all the highlights over four days.

In winter, we love Antalya’s cosmopolitan atmosphere. 

  • During Christmas and New Year, all-inclusive hotels in Antalya make a roaring trade. In addition to spas and indoor pools, most all-inclusive hotels keep them open after you see the main sights.
  • Kaleici has some great shopping malls, but its old town part with authentic Ottoman houses is the main attraction. You should also check out Antalya Museum and the Aquarium. Try some great restaurants and quaint cafes in the Konyaalti district in January.

Turkey’s capital, Ankara, has 6 million Turks living there. 

  • Despite being the capital since 1923, Ankara has achieved a different fame than Istanbul, the previous capital. Anitkabir, the Mausoleum of Ataturk, founder of the modern republic of Turkey, is the main reason to visit during January. The castle gives off a great big city view and many museums. Nightlife and shopping are abundant in Ankara, a big city.

Turkish city and peninsula Izmir sits in the Aegean, the third-largest in the country. 

  • In January, you should check out Konak, the old city district. Check out the clock tower, the agora ruins, the Kemeralti bazaar, and the
  • Kadifikale castle for a great view. Izmir Wildlife Park is a great place to visit if the weather’s nice. Around Konak, there are lots of Turkish restaurants that serve fresh fish and seafood. Other than that, the Alsancak area is great for shopping.

Green Bursa earned fame as the Ottoman Empire’s first capital before invading Constantinople. 

  • World Heritage sites like the great mosque and many Ottoman tombs are mostly in the old city part. Additionally, Bursa’s Iskender kebab is famous all over Turkey, so check out local restaurants for a taste. Enjoy a weekend at Uludag ski resort and a city break in Bursa in January.

Take a trip to Cappadocia in Turkey.

  • Let’s be patient here. January is a cold month in Cappadocia. Because it is located at higher altitudes inland, the air can get cold.
  • Winter in Turkey, however, is a time when this place becomes a magical destination.
  • There are many 14th-century churches at the Goreme open-air museum, which is an excellent place to explore.
  • Cappadocia was one of the first regions to embrace Christianity, resulting in the Cappadocia fathers. Experience a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the great valleys of fairy chimneys, rock formations shaped over thousands of years by the unique wind cycle. It is also advisable to visit the Derinkuyu underground city. Everyone should visit Cappadocia while in Turkey.

In January, we visited Ephesus.

  • It’s another place with low tourism in January. There’s a lot to see at Ephesus ancient city ruins in Turkey. Every year, 15 million people visit, and hundreds of cruise ships dock here.
  • Make sure you check the weather before you go, but most days are nice for exploring the Roman terrace houses, Celsus library, and grand theater.

Here’s what Pamukkale was like in January

  • The other most visited tourist attraction in Turkey in January is Pamukkale. There’s nothing like paddling in the white calcium pools in summer.
  • It’s a must-see once in a lifetime, so you should go even if the weather’s bad. Check out Hierapolis, a spa city once favored by wounded Roman soldiers, after you see the pools. Swimming over fallen columns is fun in Cleopatra’s pool.

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