Turkey Tour - Family Skiing and Beach side (2)

On the beach in Side, 2016

Turkey Tour in Winter – What is it like?

Are you considering a Turkey tour? In Turkey, the ebb and flow of the late winter weather has begun. The relatively mild winter is already bidding its gradual farewells. The mountain peaks are still heavily covered in snow as the rains come and go, but the coast is a sunny 65 degrees in the sun today. Are you considering a visit to Turkey in the winter. Winter is the best time to visit Turkey if you’re looking for a deal and are more interested in beautiful views and locations and less interested in swimming in the Mediterranean.

Our favorite time of year is almost upon us at Dos Plumas Travel. The point when the majority of our guests begin to feel the urge to travel again. The travelers winter hibernation period is coming to an end and travel to Turkey once again has greater appeal. Turkey in the summer is a great family destination and we host families from the United States every summer at great historic locations – Istanbul, Cappadocia and Ephesus are our most popular destinations. With a growing tourism industry in Turkey we have seen more and more families looking for new destinations to visit. One positive experience in the land of history, mythology and the birth of civilization is never enough for our visitors.

Many of our guests have wondered what traveling in Turkey is like in the winter. So, we traveled this winter with the family to two unique destinations in the Antalya region to evaluate service, comfort, and affordability in the winter months. We spent a week on the road visiting all inclusive beach resorts and a mountain top ski lodge. The weather was overcast for our time at the all inclusive hotel but the prices were amazing for delicious food and local alcoholic beverages. We were surrounded by German retirees who spend four to six weeks each year wintering in Turkey. The hotel atmosphere was like a Mediterranean Cruise ship with jocular retirees enjoying the company of internationally minded comrades.

Turkey Tour Alanya in Winter?

Our initial destination was Alanya in the east of the Antalya province. The city of Alanya has a beautiful castle at the top of a peninsula. The castle overlooks the whole city of Alanya. Our first adventure was booking with Air BnB trying to get a good price for a hotel with a pool. We found one of only two or three listings in Alanya that promised an indoor pool for our kids to enjoy. The pool was not filled and the hotel we visited willingly canceled our reservation. After that mishap we quickly made our way by personal vehicle to Side (an hour to the West of Alanya). Side has a beautiful temple ruin. The ruined temple was once a temple to Apollo and it was built at the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. The waves crash upon the ancient stairs of the temple.

“The hotel atmosphere was like a Mediterranean cruise ship with jocular retirees enjoying the company of internationally minded comrades.”

We found another great deal with booking.com on a three-night stay at the Hotel Terrace Beach Resort. The pool was the warmest indoor pool we’ve had the pleasure to enjoy in Turkey in the winter. This is significant because most of the big hotels do not heat their pools sufficient to swim in their indoor pools in the winter. We were pleasantly surprised by the comfort of the Hotel Terrace Beach Resort’s pool. The Sauna was also nice but the steam room needed a good clean. Overall, the food was diverse and delicious. There was a Mexican food day, an Italian food day and a Turkish food day. Each of these days provided the full Turkish salad bar and dessert platter along with their special regional menus.

The rooms were well cleaned and maintained. The bunk beds were a fun aspect of the hotel for our kids. The refreshments in the room were ideal for kids with juice boxes and water as well as the standard soft drinks. The paid internet speed was horrible while the free wi-fi in the hotel was great. And with free alcoholic beverages and coffee and sweets in the lounge who wouldn’t want to use the internet downstairs? The staff at the hotel was very friendly and although we were the youngest couple, and the only family with children, in the hotel at that time the rest of the guests were not upset by our presence. Overall the atmosphere was a calm and relaxing place to rest or convalesce.

Mountains to Ski on a Turkey Tour 2016

Taking the kids for a sled at the Sirene on Mt. Davraz.

Taking the kids for a sled at the Sirene on Mt. Davraz.

From Side, and the seaside temple of Apollo, we drove two hours up into the Taurus range. On the way from Side or Antalya to Isparta one can take a pleasant break at the halfway point. There is a lovely lake and an impressive gorge with a lovely restaurant and convenient store. You can have fresh trout from the lake cooked wrapped in grape leaves in the summer with bay leaves and garlic and butter to flavor the delicious fish. This time, we stopped and just had a bowl of chicken soup as we were all fighting off the flu. The chicken soup was perfect and we made our way up into the mountains. We spent two nights at the foot of the ski slopes at Sirene Hotel Davraz above the city of Isparta, Turkey. The mountains are usually skiable from January to early March. The facilities rarely appear to be utilized from the outside, but all access to the slopes is from the back of the hotel and is semi-secluded. We were surprised to see a bustling hotel atmosphere. While the hotel was much smaller than the beach side resort, it still had a pleasant dining area and good food.

We were able to rent sleds and skis for very cheap by European standards and with the current exchange rate spent less than 12 dollars on sleds. Skiing classes were available for the kids 5 and up and we would have taken advantage of their daily ski classes for the kids if they hadn’t been so ill. None the less the service and amenities at the hotel were fine. Unfortunately, this hotel was not all inclusive and every extra bottle of water and soda beverage set us back significantly more than we would have wanted. Anticipating this we travel with snacks drinks and general necessities when going to remote hotels anywhere.

So, if you’re considering a winter Turkey tour and want to imagine what it would be like to visit the Mediterranean regions on your Turkey tour, then don’t forget about skiing and swimming and sledding and eating. Bundle up for the cold mountain weather and snow. When the rain is pouring on the coast the snow is improving your skiing to the north.