Turkey as a winter sports destination

Is this worth writing home about? I shall say “yes” as I wish to attract our dear readers’ attention to an issue that to me would benefit from getting more headlines: winter sports in Turkey and Turkey as an all-year-round leisure destination regardless if you already live here or are specifically journeying to this fascinating country for a snow-filled vacation.

Leading into the subject and taking a look at the numbers, it is correct to state that in the past, the sun, sand and sea paired with city tourism as well as visiting places of archeological and historical interest were what the majority of tourists chose to fill the agendas of their trips with. At the same time most expatriates eventually settle in either Ankara, İzmir or İstanbul, or alternatively along the sunshine belt stretching from Ayvalık in the northwest via Aydın to Alanya on the southern Mediterranean shores of this fascinating country. Hence my topic for today’s column may be a novelty, at least for first-time travelers or those amongst our international community who may perhaps have spent less than a full calendar year with us.

I like snow, probably even more so in Turkey as it becomes a much welcome change of scenery as summers are hot and long and some parts of the country do not see any snowfall at all. It reminds me of the fact that there are four seasons to be enjoyed indeed and it reminds me that Turkey is an all-year-round destination! It needs some logistics as it all depends on whether you wish to go skiing, have a stroll around an ice-covered lake or simply take your family to one of the many parks in the metropolis of your choice and let the kids build a snowman.

There is not enough line space to feature a really fair selection of the manifold splendid “white” locations but if accessibility is your key concern you should definitely check out Bursa’s Mount Uludag ski center. If a trip further inland is more your winter traveler’s cup of tea, Erzurum should be on your itinerary, this time involving a short plane journey. And Kayseri’s Mount Erciyes vast ski area is not to be missed either and easily reachable overland or by air travel.

If forests and lakes are what you prefer over full-fledged skiing or snowboarding Bolu springs to mind with its hills and nature parks where after your walk in the crisp air a meal next to a log-fire in a chalet type restaurant could round off your day.

Yet even without leaving the metropolis you will realize that by sheer necessity traffic slows down and people walk more slowly. It seems as if by magic entire inner cities become a winter fairytale. Granted, for the captains of the road snow is the last thing they would wish for and if you are driving please exercise extra caution whilst on the road.

Of course in all the non-exhaustive locations I mentioned (and wherever else you decide to visit) and at an ever increasing rate you will find top class hotels as well as smaller establishments, most of which can be booked comfortably in advance via the usual online reservation sites that allow us to compare a hotel’s offers in English before committing. You can rent equipment there and then.

This piece was never intended to be a comprehensive winter travel guide for Turkey; that would fill many more pages. What I wanted to do is whet your explorer’s appetite, so to speak. Snow and winter holidays in Turkey — highly recommended!


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