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Does It Snow In Turkey? (You Will Be Surprised!)

Does It Snow In Turkey? (You Will Be Surprised!)

Yes, it does snow in Turkey. Turkey is always heavily advertised as an exotic destination. A Mediterranean paradise with a rich culture, food, architecture and a land graced by the golden shades of the sun during the day and equally dazzling at night.

So, the very notion of Turkey having snow sounds a little disorienting.

But! Nature is magical in its own way. The winter seasons of Turkey are not given the prominence they deserve. But that doesn’t take away its charm. And that’s exactly what we are focusing on in this article. So, stick around to find out what Turkey has to offer during winter.

The Climate In Turkey

Turkey Mediterranean Setting

Most of us know that Turkey has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate. The coastal areas surrounding Turkey are expected to look and feel exotic and warm, and the picture-perfect sunny weather. But how does winter come into play with all this heat?

Let’s look at the Tukey Climate basics one-oh-ones. Turkey has three different climate zones thanks to its expansive landscapes. The coastal regions of Turkey (Istanbul included) bordering the Sea of Marmar, connecting to the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea, have a transitional climate. So while it’s all about the watermelon sugar high during the heated sunny summer days, it also can get cold enough to snow during winter.

However, if you’re only exploring the coastal regions, the winter can be rather mild, but as you head deeper into the heart of the nation the wintery cold can get severe. We are talking snow-capped mountain sceneries and temperature drops between −30 °C to −40 °C (−22 °F to −40 °F) – especially towards the central Anatolian plateau (which is pretty much the middle earth of Turkey).

Related article: Does Turkey celebrate Christmas?

Why Visit Turkey During Winter

Snow in Turkey Mountain Summit

Turkey is known for many things. Stunning landscapes, breathtaking beaches, incredible culture and history, immaculate cityscapes and architecture – it’s truly an exotic paradise. There are also some incredibly rewarding reasons to visit Tukey in the wintertime as well.

  • Scenic Views

The Mediterranean coastal feel, to a more warm-hued bucolic scenery towards the hillside of Turkey, all of which are breathtakingly picturesque and cannot be rivalled by many nations. Maybe except its very own lands during the winter season. Turkey offers an unexpected yet exceptionally stunning landscape during the winter season.

  • Turkish Bath

Turkish Baths are a star reason to visit Turkey. If this is the first time you are hearing about it then listen up. Istanbul has some amazing hammams (Turkish bath places). This bath offers you a whole other level of therapeutic relaxation. It cleanses deep and invigorates the soul (we kid you not) – what better time to escape into one to escape the wintery cold?

  • Turkish Winter Cuisine

The cold, wet weather can inspire some mouthwatering and heart-warming Turkish dishes. Chestnuts are hardly a cuisine, but they are some of the most comforting snacks you can enjoy during winter in Turkey. Enjoy a warm cup of salep and have some leblebi(toasted chickpeas). It sounds simple, but it hits the spot, and that’s just the start.

  • Skiing and Skateboarding

When you think of skiing and snow activities, Turkey might not be the first destination to make the list. However, some of the ski resorts active in Turkey during the winter season can give a run for any European ski resort’s money. Don’t believe us? Hold-up. We are not done.

  • Crowds

Turkey enjoys a tsunami of travellers during the hot, peak season of June to August. It means the numbers drop hard by December. If you’re allergic to the crowd but not the cold, then the winter season is the ideal time to come to Turkey.

Must Visit Winter/Snow Destinations in Turkey

Cappadocia in Winter

Cappadocia

If you wish to enjoy a winter wonderland in one of the most beautiful and warm Mediterranean destinations in the world, then head off to Cappadocia. Located in the central region of Turkey. It’s known for its unique hillscapes, cone-shaped rock formations, home structures carved in the rock valley walls and hot air balloon tours. But during winter – it’s also known to be the destination you can find some healthy bit of snow carpeting some incredible landscapes. 

Unfortunately, the availability of hot air balloon rides reduces during this time due to foggy weather and wind. But if you do manage to book a ride, it will be insanely epic and unforgettable. But be cautious – safety trumps excitement anytime, any day.

Anatolia

Anatolia has earned a reputation for being one of the coldest regions in Turkey. So, it makes plenty of sense if you see snow here during the winter season – heavy snow for that matter. Which makes it ideal for skiing.
That is why you will find some of the most epic ski resorts Tukey has to offer ski lovers right here. Let’s talk more about that soon.

Erzurum

Nestled in the eastern region of Turkey, this city tends to experience snow days roughly for over a month or more. It’s another popular destination sought out by ski-lovers and skateboarders during the winter season. The mountain landscapes are covered by a healthy layer of snow and it carries an almost otherworldly look. So it’s worth visiting during winter even if ski activities are not your thing.

You might also be interested in: Amazing Places To Visit in Turkey

The Most Popular Ski Resorts in Turkey

Skiing at Sarikamas

Sarikamis

Location

Sarıkamış is a town in the Eastern Anatolia Region – Kars Province. This beautiful town is nestled amidst many rugged sky-reaching mountains. Heavy snow is expected during winter. What makes Sarıkamış a top contender in the ski-destination list is its insane slops – some going high as 20 km. 

The Sarıkamış Ski Resort is an ideal choice for travellers who come with their families to enjoy skiing adventures in a destination more known for more sunny holiday tales.

Uludag

Location

Uludag is a mountain that is in Bursa. The name directly translates to “the great mountain”. Looking at the mountains’ appearance, we could confidently say the reality does the name justice.

It is also extremely popular for ski activities. Skiers from all across the world gather here to ride the snowy slopes of the highest mountain in the Western region of Turkey. With 30 km slopes in place, this ski destination is really ideal for intermediate-level snowboards and skiers. And as for the snow-covered forests, you will find on either side – it simply adds to the mystic view of this place.

Palandöken – Ejder

Location

Get ready to be captivated by the rugged mountains surrounding the Palandöken Ski zone. We are talking about 40 km slopes waiting to be enjoyed. Seasoned skiers and skateboarders come here to have some serious fun.

This famous ski destination is located in the northeast region of Turkey, and it belongs to the Erzurum Province. The ski resort is located at 3,200 meters altitude. Apart from its frosty panoramic sceneries, these slopes provide thrill seekers with some decent slopes to deal with.

Erciyes – Kayseri

Location

We saved the best for last. The Erciyes Ski Resort is the best ski resort in Turkey. Being located on the highest mountain in Anatolia definitely contributes to this. There are 14 ski lifts, and many who visit confirm that it has the best infrastructure.

The best thing about this resort is it is open from the beginning of December to the end of April. It is not the case with all the resorts. AND the resort is just 30 minutes away from the airport.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the peak Snowy times in Turkey?

The winter season begins through December and melts away through March.

On Average what’s the climate reading in Turkey during Winter?

It ranges between 12 °C to – 12 °C (or less, closer to the plateau)

Does it Snow in Istanbul?

Yes, records show that Istanbul has experienced snowfall in the past. In fact, Istanbul experienced a seriously heavy snowstorm in 2022, which left the city immobilized for a while.

What is the Coldest Temperature recorded in Turkey?

The coldest recorded temperature in Turkey is -46.4°C, which was in 1990.

What is the Coldest Month in Turkey?

January is usually the coldest out of the three months Turkey experiences peak winter.

What are some must-take Clothing items to Turkey during Winter?

  • Winter Jacket or an insulated coat
  • Rain Coat/Jacket
  • Plenty of clothing to keep you warm.
  • Ski Gear if you are planning to test the icy slopes

Does it Rain a lot during the Winter season in Turkey?

Yes, heavy rainfall is on the agenda – and thunderstorms can be regular too!

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