Best time to visit Turkey

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For some, the best time to visit Turkey is early winter, namely December—no heat, fewer tourists, and great traditional hamams. This season is also great for watching whirling dervishes at Mevlana Festival and attending the camel wrestling events with famous camel sausages on sale. Early summer comes in May–June, so enjoy a beach vacation with smaller tourist crowds, or go trekking. This time is usually about Ramadan celebrations, so you can learn more about Muslim traditions. September is also great as it’s still warm enough for the seaside, and cool enough for exploring the cities.

Dec15 - Dec25:DECEMBER 15 - DECEMBER 25:

8 THINGS TO DO IN TURKEY

Warm up in Traditional Hamam

November–February • activity

Want to feel like Sultan Süleyman or his beloved Hürrem? Centuries-old hamams and professional masseurs and masseuses do miracles

Whirling Dervishes at Mevlana Festival

early December–December 17 • event

Though ecstatic whirling ceremonies might be experienced in many cities of Turkey, the rite's birthplace city of Konya is unmissable one

Wild Strawberries (Koca Yemiş)

November–December • food

Unlike usual strawberry, this rare type grows only in the mountains, on a strawberry tree

Camel Wrestling

late November–late March | 3rd Sunday of January (Selçuk) • event

Two boys fighting for a girl—that old scenario works in animal world too,—it's enough to parade a cow in front of two bulls and recently calm camels are already determined enemies

Camel Sausages

late November–March • food

Camel wrestling festivals cannot do without the stalls lavished with Turkish "deve sucuk"—actually, this snack is mostly eaten during the camel wrestling season

Skiing Season

December–April | late January–early March (heliskiing) • activity

Turkey is not one of world's top skiing destination, yet it has a dozen of decent resorts and even heli-skiing available

Persimmon Season

November–February • food

In Turkey, it's hurma or "cennet hurması" meaning "paradise fruit"—perhaps, we have confused the true forbidden fruit?

Ayva (Quince) Season

October–December • food

A fruit that is believed to have originated in Anatolia comes in lots of varieties and boasts a wide use in Turkish cuisine

18 THINGS TO DO OUT OF SELECTED DATE RANGE

Turkish Sticky Ice Cream (Dondurma)

May–September • food

A Turkish ice-cream man is a kind of a troll—you'll be involved in a lasting trick show until he finally hands you the treat

Kurban Bayramı or Feast of the Sacrifice

August 21–24, 2018 • event

Tables will bend under the weight of meat dishes during the four festive days

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey

October 10–15, 2017 • event

Thousands arrive in Turkey especially to witness professional competition and the rest of the world follow the race on popular sport channels

Bosphorus Cross Continental Swim

July 23, 2017 • event

Swimming from one continent to another—sounds challenging but it's a totally real accomplishment

Aşure or Noah’s Pudding

September 20, 2018 • food

On the tenth day of Muharram, every Turkish household is preoccupied with cooking Aşure,—imitating the dish the very Noah once cooked in his ark at the Mount of Ararat

Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling

July 10–16, 2017 • event

The world's longest-running sport besides the Olympics was initiated by Ottoman warriors who once started a wrestle in a camp just out of boredom but took it too seriously to give in and fought to death

Green Plums or Erik

mid-April–May • food

Small, tart "erik" is a real passion of Istanbulites, who eat them raw and add them to soups, stews, sauces, and salads

Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival

August 23–September 04, 2017 • event

A unique occasion to enjoy world's best classic repertoire in likewise best-preserved ancient amphitheatre

Beach Season (Aegean & Mediterranean Coasts)

May–October • activity

In Turkey's southern coastline summer arrives earlier than in its northern counterpart and leaves later as well, so you have a plenty of time to enjoy the extended beach season

Trekking & Hiking

April–June | October • activity

From the Black Sea coast up and across Taurus mountains, then down through to Anatolian plateau and again up to Kaçkar range, and down to the Mediterranean coast—Turkey is a great area for hiking

Fresh Figs

May–September • food

Local produce must be enough to feed half of the world if not less, as Turkey is renowned as the world's largest producer of figs

Paragliding

April–October • activity

Turkey's beautiful landscapes are even better when viewed from above

Cornelian Cherry (Kizilcik)

August–September • food

Locals name this fake cherry "kizilcik" or more mystically "Şeytan aldatan ağaci"—the tree that deceived Satan

Beach Season (Black Sea)

June–August • activity

Common chill and rain are replaced with semi-tropical heat during summer months making for a perfect beach holiday

Pamukkale (Hierapolis) Thermal Pools

April–mid-June • nature

Charming and relaxing. Cotton castle welcomes everyone to enjoy bathing in its stunning pools

Kiteboarding

mid-April–mid-October • activity

Pure waters and perfect winds make Turkish beaches a great kiting destination

Ramadan (Ramazan)

May 15–June 14, 2018 • activity

Ramadan drummers traditionally wake the neighbourhood up at dawn for an early meal, and the next meal is to happen only after sunset

Wildflowers

April–May • nature

If you travel around Turkey in spring, prepare for lots of forced stops, flowered landscapes are too adorable not to take a few snapshots