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Things to Do in Turkey in January

Admire the stunning snow-covered landscapes on the Eastern Express Journey, indulge in thermal spas, take part in local festivities & many more.

Turkey in January offers an experience that is truly something special. This is when the air is crisp and cool, wrapping everything in a gentle chill. The temperatures during this month range between 7 and 13 degrees Celsius, particularly if you head into the country's interiors or up the northern region. Although it is cold, the warm hospitality and welcoming smiles are sure to keep you cosy. 

Istanbul, straddling Asia and Europe, offers snowy scenes at iconic spots like the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Cappadocia's fairy-tale landscapes become even more magical with a dusting of snow, ideal for hot air ballooning. The ski resorts in Uludağ and Palandöken are in full swing, attracting skiing enthusiasts looking for adventure. For cultural immersion, January is perfect for enjoying Turkey’s hearty cuisine and steaming Turkish baths without the summer rush. During a trip to Turkey in January, you can also witness the celebration of the New Year. This is when you can enjoy both vibrant festivities and peaceful moments, reflecting Turkey’s diverse allure in winter.
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Essential Information About Turkey in January


Weather Conditions Of Turkey in January

January in Turkey brings cool to mild weather throughout the country. Daytime temperatures average around 7°C to 13°C. Nights are colder, especially in inland areas where they can drop below freezing. Cities like Istanbul and Ankara experience chilly days with occasional snow showers, making warm clothes necessary.

Coastal regions like Antalya are slightly warmer and inviting, with light daytime jackets rather than heavy winter gear. Rain is frequent in Turkey in January, with most areas seeing wet days for half the month. Humidity levels are high, making the air feel colder, particularly in the north and west. Sea temperatures hover around 10°C, too cold for swimming. This month is ideal for visitors to enjoy Turkey's scenic winter landscapes and historic sites without the crowds of peak tourist seasons.

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What to Pack for Turkey Trip

When packing for your trip to Turkey in January, consider the cold weather. You will face temperatures from 7°C to 13°C. It often rains, so waterproof gear is essential. Start with a warm coat and add a light jacket if you are heading south. Don't forget a hat, scarf, and gloves to keep warm. Pack warm socks and waterproof boots for walking.

Your suitcase should include thermal underwear and comfortable layers like sweaters and cardigans. Also, include an umbrella and a raincoat to stay dry. A sturdy bag for day trips will help you carry essentials as you explore. Remember to bring a universal travel adapter for your chargers; Turkey uses Type C and F plugs. Also, pack a high-quality camera to capture the stunning landscapes and historic architecture.

Also Check: Istanbul Tour Packages

Things to Do in Turkey in January


Enjoy Skiing in Uludag

During your visit to Turkey in January, enjoy skiing at Uludag the region's premier winter sports destination. Uludag offers a variety of ski runs suitable for all skill levels, from beginner slopes to advanced tracks.
The slopes are less crowded in January, providing a more personal and enjoyable skiing experience.

Enjoy the vibrant après-ski scene, which includes lively cafes and cosy bars, perfect for evening relaxation.The resort provides comprehensive facilities, including equipment rentals and ski lessons for beginners. Snow conditions in January are consistently excellent, with frequent fresh snowfalls ideal for skiing.

Location: Bursa Province, Turkey

Entry Fee: INR 1,500 onwards per person

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Visit Istanbul's Historic Landmarks

Visit the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, a stunning mosque that showcases Byzantine architectural beauty in winter. Explore the iconic Blue Mosque, renowned for its majestic minarets and grand scale, with fewer tourists in January. Wander through Topkapi Palace, exploring lavish courts and ancient relics, with more tranquillity during off-peak times.

You can also walk along the historic walls of Istanbul, which offer panoramic views of the city and its snowy surroundings. Take serene boat tours on the Bosphorus, witnessing Istanbul’s historical skyline beautifully framed by winter skies. Delve into less crowded Istanbul bazaars, perfect for shopping for unique Turkish crafts and spices.

Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Read More: Turkey in November

Enjoy The Journey on Eastern Express

Begin your memorable trip to Turkey in January with a journey aboard the iconic Eastern Express. Travel from Ankara to Kars, experiencing stunning snow-covered landscapes and frozen lakes. The train journey offers expansive panoramic views of Turkey's picturesque winter scenery from comfortable, heated carriages.

Interact with locals and fellow travellers in the communal dining car for cultural exchange. Indulge in authentic Turkish cuisine served during the journey, featuring regional specialities like kebabs and meat stews.
The route includes lengthy stops at key historical stations like Erzurum for sightseeing and photography.

Location: Ankara Railway Station to Kars Railway Station, Turkey

Also Read: Things to do in Turkey

Explore Cappadocia's Winter Wonderland

Experience Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys and ancient rock formations, uniquely beautiful when dusted with snow. Hot air balloon rides over the snowy landscape of Cappadocia offer mesmerising views, especially at sunrise. Stay in one of Cappadocia’s cave hotels, which provide warm, unique accommodations embedded in ancient rock.

Hike through the Ihlara Valley or Red Valley, experiencing Cappadocia's natural beauty in its winter stillness. Visit the underground cities of Derinkuyu or Kaymakli, which are less crowded and more mystical in the snow. Capture breathtaking photographs of the white-blanketed peaks and valleys at sunrise, offering stunning natural contrasts.

Location: Cappadocia, Turkey

Also Check: Places to Visit in Turkey

Relax in Thermal Spas

Rejuvenate at the famous thermal spas in Turkey in January, renowned for their healing properties and warm, mineral-rich waters. Pamukkale’s hot springs offer therapeutic baths that are especially inviting against the January chill. Visit the ancient Hierapolis Spa near Pamukkale to combine historical exploration with relaxing thermal treatments.

Experience the health benefits of naturally heated pools, which are believed to help alleviate various ailments. Many Turkish spas offer luxurious massages and skincare treatments that utilize mineral-rich thermal water. Unwind in natural saunas and steam rooms, which offer a respite from the brisk winter weather.

Location: Pamukkale Thermal Pools (Pamukkale), Kizilcahamam Thermal Springs (near Ankara, Kizilcahamam), Bursa Hot Springs (Bursa)

Entry Fee: INR 1,700 onwards

Experience Turkish Culture at Local Festivals

Attend local festivals to experience traditional Turkish dances, music, and theatrical performances. The Camel Wrestling Championship in Selcuk is a highlight, featuring camels in traditional garb. Taste authentic Turkish dishes that are specially prepared for the winter festivals, including spiced meats and sweet pastries.

Marvel at the local crafts and arts showcased at these festivals, offering a glimpse into Turkey’s vibrant artisan traditions. Experience how locals celebrate the New Year with vibrant fireworks, lively dances, and communal feasting. The friendly festival atmosphere makes it easy to mingle with locals and learn about traditional Turkish lifestyles.

Selçuk, Ankara, Çanakkale

Taste Turkish Winter Specialties

Your trip to Turkey in January must include tasting Salep, a warm, flour-based beverage that is a local favourite. Try hearty traditional stews and kebabs, which are particularly satisfying during the cold winter months. Sample Baklava with a hot cup of Turkish tea, providing a sweet, warming treat during your travels.

Lokum (Turkish Delight) offers a sweet treat perfect for snacking as you explore Turkey’s historic sites. Street vendors sell roasted chestnuts and freshly grilled corn, ideal for on-the-go snacking in cold weather. Savour rich, freshly brewed Turkish coffee at local cafés, accompanied by stunning views of snowy landscapes.

Location: Istanbul, Karaköy, Fethiye

Go Shopping For Spices at Grand Bazar

Explore the Grand Bazar in Istanbul, a historic market brimming with exotic spices and vibrant hues. Wander through aisles lined with stalls selling saffron, sumac, mint, and red pepper flakes. Discover the rich flavours of Turkish cuisine by sampling spices like cumin, cardamom, and cinnamon.

Purchase fresh, locally sourced spices packed with aroma and flavour, essential for authentic Turkish recipes and learn about the culinary uses of different spices from knowledgeable vendors eager to share their expertise. Engage in lively bargaining with vendors to secure the best prices on high-quality spices.

Location: Beyaz?t, 34126 Fatih/?stanbul, Türkiye

Timings: 08:30 a.m. to 07:00 p.m. (Closed on Sunday)

Attend the Wrestling Camel Festival

When visiting Turkey in January, witness the exciting Selcuk Wrestling Camel Festival, a unique cultural event. Watch as camels, adorned in decorative saddles, compete in traditional wrestling matches, a centuries-old tradition. The festival includes traditional folk dances, live music performances, and plenty of authentic Turkish cuisine.

Held in the town of Selcuk, this festival offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into rural Turkish cultural practices. Local artisans sell handmade crafts, perfect for unique, memorable souvenirs from your Turkish journey. Photographers will find the festival a vibrant subject, with colourful costumes, dynamic movements, and enthusiastic crowds.

Pamucak Arena, Selcuk, Turkey

Experience the Traditional Turkish Hammam

Indulge in the soothing warmth of a traditional Turkish hammam, an ancient wellness ritual. Start with a steam bath to relax muscles and open pores in a beautifully tiled steam room. Enjoy a vigorous scrub with a Kese mitt to exfoliate your skin, removing dead cells and revitalising your body.

Relax with a soothing foam massage, leaving you refreshed amidst marble interiors. Conclude with an aromatherapy oil massage to deeply relax your senses and enhance mental well-being. Embrace this centuries-old ritual for both health and relaxation, often followed by a cup of warm Turkish tea.

Location: Alva Donna Exclusive Hotel & Spa (Serik), Ali Bey Resort Sorgun (Side), Adam & Eve (Belek), Nirvana Dolce Vita (Tekirova near Kemer)

People Also Ask About Turkey

  1. Is Turkey snowing in January?

    Yes, Turkey does experience snow in January, especially in the interior and eastern parts. Cities like Ankara and Erzurum regularly see snowfall during this month. Coastal areas like Istanbul may also receive snow, although less frequently. The mountainous regions are particularly popular for winter sports due to the abundant snow.
  2. Is January a good time to visit Turkey?

    Yes, January is a great time to visit Turkey if you enjoy winter activities and fewer crowds. The snow-covered landscapes in places like Cappadocia and Uluda? offer beautiful scenery and excellent conditions for skiing and snowboarding. Additionally, historic sites in Istanbul and other cities are less crowded, providing a more intimate experience.
  3. How cold is it in Turkey in January?

    In January, Turkey experiences cool, wet weather with temperatures ranging from 4°C to 13°C. Major cities like Istanbul and Cappadocia see colder days, perfect for visiting historical sites without the crowds. With up to 11 rainy days, it is ideal for skiing in Bursa and exploring snowy landscapes in Bolu.
  4. How many days are enough to explore Turkey?

    10 to 14 days are enough if you wish to thoroughly enjoy a trip to Turkey in January. This duration is perfect for exploring key regions like Istanbul, Cappadocia, and the coastal city of Antalya. Within this duration, you can also indulge in immersive experiences in historical sites, thermal spas, and the splendid winter scenery across the country.
  5. How to reach Turkey?

    The most convenient way to reach Turkey from India is by air. You can take a flight from major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru to Istanbul's New Istanbul Airport (IST) on the European side or the Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) on the Asian side. Direct and connecting flights are available on the route, and they take around 6 to 10 hours. Some airlines operating this route are Turkish Airlines, Oman Air, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, and Lufthansa.
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