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.

Coastal Resort Out Of Season

Coastal Resort Out Of Season

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.

Busy Istanbul

Busy Istanbul

Know that Turkey is also an excellent ski-destination. 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!

Turkey as a winter destination

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.

Some Resorts Are In Lockdown

Some Resorts Are In Lockdown

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.

Clocktower In Antalya

Clocktower In Antalya

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.

Fancy A Dip?

Fancy A Dip?

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. 🙂

Dark Clouds On A Hot Autumn Day

Dark Clouds On A Hot Autumn Day

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

Public Transport

Best time to visit Turkey

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

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, you may not even notice it, but during Sacrifice Feast (Kurban Bayramı) and Sugar feast (Şeker Bayramı), popular resorts can be overly crowded. 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 join our Facebook group to connect with us and other Turkey travelers for inspiration and information about traveling to Turkey.

Comment on Facebook

We’re all different people, so checking reviews on TripAdvisor is always a good idea! Just know we’ve visited each place personally and all photos are our own. So, basically, what you see is what you get. If you have any questions about a place, feel free to ask. You can send us a message through our contact page, or join our closed Facebook group where other Turkey travelers and aficionados are ready and eager to help.

Turkey is a perfectly safe country to travel, except for these risks. Still, you should never travel without proper insurance. We love World Nomads’ travel insurance. We love their philosophy and their take on responsible travel, but also the fact that they cover popular activities in Turkey such as paragliding or balloon rides.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

You must have guessed it already, we’re independent travelers. Joining groups for excursions or activities isn’t really our cup of tea. But we fully understand that not everyone is keen on exploring Turkey on their own. That’s when Get Your Guide comes in handy. They offer plenty of activities and sightseeing tours that you can pre-book online.

If you’re more into a personalized experience while enjoying the services of a guide, Tours by Locals may be what you’re looking for! We just love them! You get the knowledge and assistance of a local, and the experience of independent traveling. Best of both worlds, really.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

We still love to use Booking.com when searching for the perfect hotel or vacation rental in Turkey. Unfortunately, the website isn’t accessible from within Turkey without the use of a VPN. If you don’t have a VPN, and you’re already in Turkey, Hotels.com is a good alternative.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

When searching for flights, we like to use Skyscanner. It’s easy to use, and reliable. Find the best flights to Turkey and domestic flights that will take you all around the country here.

Do you prefer some good old road tripping? Once you get used to the unconventional driving style in Turkey, you’ll love to hit the road. After all, it’s all about the journey, and you may expect some very scenic rides! Renting a car in Turkey is easy. If you’re looking for an established car rental company that allows pick-up and drop-off at different airports, check out Europcar. They have offices all over Turkey.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

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Check the weather

Never wonder about the weather in Turkey again. The Turkish climate is as diverse as the country with significant differences between the regions.

This page contains the current weather and weather statistics for all regions in Turkey.

Prepare your trip

How to order a tourist visa for Turkey?

What about public transport?
Can you skip the line at Istanbul Airports?

General Turkey travel information, essential to help prepare your trip, on one page!

Work with us

Get direct access to your target audience with a proven interest in Turkey. People call us their Turkey Bible!

Contact us for a feature on our map, a destination guide, a photo shoot, or any form of professional Turkey-related content.

Ask a traveler

Are you unsure about a destination, activity or hotel? Why don’t you ask other travelers about their experience?

We have a closed Facebook group where you can ask all Turkey-related questions. You’ll get solid advice and travel inspiration.

Check the weather

Never wonder about the weather in Turkey again. The Turkish climate is as diverse as the country with significant differences between the regions.

This page contains the current weather and weather statistics for all regions in Turkey.

Prepare your trip

How to order a tourist visa for Turkey?

What about public transport?
Can you skip the line at Istanbul Airports?

General Turkey travel information, essential to help prepare your trip, on one page!

Work with us

Get direct access to your target audience with a proven interest in Turkey. People call us their Turkey Bible!

Contact us for a feature on our map, a destination guide, a photo shoot, or any form of professional Turkey-related content.

Ask a traveler

Are you unsure about a destination, activity or hotel? Why don’t you ask other travelers about their experience?

We have a closed Facebook group where you can ask all Turkey-related questions. You’ll get solid advice and travel inspiration.

JOIN THE TRIBE, FOLLOW US

5 Things you need to know about visiting #Turkey #off-season