Turkey in January: Cold Weather and Ski Season


If you are visiting Turkey in January, you have picked a great time for a ski holiday adventure. Far away from the sweaty and crowded peak season of summer, Turkey is cold and parts of it are blanketed with snow in January. Fewer tourists and cheaper rates are great perks if you are visiting this country during this time of year.

The further you head inland, the colder the temperatures get, but you will also find better skiing conditions. Turkey is often overlooked for snowsports in favor of the Alps or even nearby Bulgaria. But Turkey is an affordable alternative for snowsport enthusiasts. Add to that a completely different cultural vibe, and you have the perfect holiday.

Turkey Weather in January

Mountain skiing and snowboarding in Erzurum, Turkey.
There are amazing snow conditions in Turkish ski resorts which make skiing a blast for the visitors.

The weather in Turkey in January is cold. With average daily highs of 3℃ and the average nightly temperature hitting a bone-chilling -5℃, you might want to bring your thermals and jackets for your trip to Turkey in January. However, although the weather can certainly be chilly, that does not mean you will not have fun. Many Turkish ski resorts are blanketed with fresh powdery snow throughout this month.

If you think a ski holiday in the Alps or Japan is expensive, Turkey is a great alternative. Not sure when is the best time to visit Turkey? We have got you covered. You can check out our seasonal overview and decide how many days to spend in Turkey.

Weather in Turkey in January - Rainfall and Temperatures

Avg Daily (°C)351116202528282518115
Avg Nightly (°C)-5-4-2369121283-1-3
Avg Daily (°F)37.44151.860.8687782.482.47764.451.841
Avg Nightly (°F)2324.828.437.442.848.253.653.646.437.430.226.6
Avg Rainfall (mm)604030605040201020304060

Why Visit Turkey in January

Aerial view of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey.
You can explore the famous monuments in Turkey without having to fight through a crowd on your travels in January.
Copper bath bowl with soap foam in a Turkish hammam.
If you are worried about the chilly weather, go for a warm bath in a Turkish hammam.

So why should you visit Turkey in the depths of winter? Here are a few reasons.

  • Better rates: Cities and seaside towns offer cheaper rates on accommodation during the low season. The cold, snowy weather offers ideal conditions for snow sports and ski resorts in Turkey are cheaper than in other European countries.
  • Fewer crowds: If you want to check out the famous tourist attractions in Turkey without being disturbed by crowds, January is the best time to visit. Explore its museums and monuments and enjoy the spectacles that the country has to offer in peace.
  • Ski season: January is the peak of the ski season in Turkey and probably the main reason that people visit the country during this period. Whether you are a novice or a pro skier, there are routes and resorts to suit everyone. Bursa, Erzurum and Kartepe are some of the popular ski destinations in Turkey.
  • Thermal spas: Although the famous thermal spas and hammams (steam baths) of Turkey are open year-round, there is no better time to visit them than in winter. Take a dip in the warm and inviting waters to relax and soothe that dry, wintry skin. For the most luxurious spas head to Belek, Side or Kemer. Go on, give yourself a treat.

Where to go and what to do

The Eastern Express in Turkey operating in the snow.
You can take in the scenic views from the Eastern Express as it makes its journey from Ankara to Kars.

Thinging of what to do in Turkey in January? If you are looking for a way to explore the frozen beauty of northern and inland Turkey while still remaining warm, book yourself a ticket on the Eastern Express train from Ankara to Kars. Often named one of the most beautiful train rides in the world, this journey is sure to be one of the highlights of your Turkish holiday. January is the perfect time to hop aboard the Eastern Express, as the train traverses through a snow-covered winter wonderland while you sit warm and snug inside your compartment.

And if you want to check out the ancient artifacts and landmarks of Turkey like the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, January is that time of year when there are fewer visitors around. Head to Istanbul and take all your time to explore and experience ancient Turkey.

Looking for something away from the snow? On the third weekend of January, you can check out the Camel Wrestling Festival. It is a huge Turkish cultural event where camels, adorned in colorful jewelry and gems, are put to fight. Do not worry, this is not a blood sport. Each bout is closely monitored and these dromedary pugilists are stopped before they can do real harm to each other.

January is an amazing time to visit Turkey for a ski adventure. It is the peak of the ski season and the weather is perfect for various snow sports. January is also the low season in Turkey, which means popular tourist attractions like the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia have thinner crowds, thereby offering you a great opportunity to explore this ancient country more intimately and peacefully.

January is also an ideal time to experience the thermal spas and steam baths and take a memorable ride on the Eastern Express through the country’s snowy landscape. Besides, the off-peak season means cheaper tour package rates. Just remember to wrap up warm, and you will have an unforgettable time in Turkey in January.

Need assistance planning your ultimate Turkish adventure? We have you covered. Reach out to our local travel experts for a customized itinerary.

Check out our tours to Turkey in January for more ideas.

Related articles:
Turkey in December
Turkey in February

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  • Kadir Ismail Kuscu
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