Turkey: When to go
With Christmas and New Year over, it’s time to start planning the next holiday. If you need a break, especially after the holidays, I’d highly recommend a trip to Turkey. I’m still in awe of Turkey after my recent six-week holiday in this gorgeous country. However, I’d suggest going before the high season kicks off in June. In fact, I can’t help but think that being there during the low season made me love Turkey all the more.
So I’ll let you in on a few reasons why I’d suggest hitting up the country before tourists descend en masse from June to September:
This is obviously a no-brainer, but I didn’t enjoy Topkapi Palace because it was too crowded. I’m told it’s even busier in the high season. And thankfully that was the only place I had to deal with crowds. Other places, like Ani in Eastern Turkey, were nearly void of tourists, making the experience even better.
And so if you enjoy photography, this is the time to go. Even Ephesus, popular with tour groups, cruise ships, and general travellers was void of large tour groups.
Less planning required
Because there were fewer travellers around, my flexible travel plans (read: no plans) did not pose a problem. I often stayed much longer than initially intended in my various destinations without any trouble as there were no other guests checking in. I intended to stay in Cappadocia for four nights, but stayed 10.
It also meant I could get a bus, flight, train whenever I pleased. While en route to Kars, I had the sleeping car to myself. The 22-hour voyage was spend lounging about between my bed and the dining car while enjoying the stunning views.
Meet the locals
With fewer tourists to attend to, I had the opportunity to meet some great locals. A barista in Cappadocia who shared amazing stories with me. Learning to make Turkish coffee and snacking on Turkish delight with the staff of Homeros Guesthouse in Selcuk was a treat! Learning about the local history and geology from a kind local in Kars was fascinating. And now I have even more reasons to go back!
The price of accommodations were significantly reduced, I paid maximum $30 per night for a three-star hotel room. That’s right, my own bathroom, heater, hot shower, and double bed and breakfast the next morning. Amazing! And because it’s off-season, even some things like boat excursions in Antalya were significantly reduced (and the boat nearly empty). Oh, and I found the food to be inexpensive, plus with so many local fruits and vegetables in season, you could eat well too!
With the exception of Cappadocia and Kars where it was quite cool in the evenings, the weather was amazing. The rain only interrupted my sunny days on three occasions in six weeks. And those days were spent either travelling or just sitting in cafes. The weather in Antalya and the Lycian Way was fantastic. In fact, I’m not sure I’d want to be here in summer when I’m told the temperatures climb to +45’C. The day we visited Myra was hot enough!
And I was even able to walk barefoot through the gorgeous Pamukkale.
Because there are fewer people and lower temperatures, some things aren’t operating such as the tours on the Lycian Way. But just another reason to go back! In the shoulder season of course.
Have you been to Turkey? When do you think it’s best to visit?
For more on my visit to Turkey, see my archive from November 2013 and December 2013.