Five places to visit in Turkey during the off-season: Turkey borders Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, and each country has influenced its culture in its own way. In this regard, every corner of the country has its own unique flavor.
What to do in Turkey?
Turkey’s capital is Ankara, but its largest city and financial center in Istanbul. Both of these cities are excellent starting points for your trip, but Istanbul still benefits from a greater focus on tourism.
Turkey has seven regions. These are Eastern Anatolia, Central Anatolia, Black Sea Region, Mediterranean Region, Aegean Region, Marmara Region, and Southeast Anatolia.
Eastern Anatolia is the largest region, consisting mainly of mountains, and is also home to Turkey’s largest inland body of water, Lake Van. The capital, Ankara, is located in the Central Anatolia region, while the tourist center of Istanbul is located in the Marmara region.
Each area is known for something different. Istanbul is the most popular destination for tourism. Bodrum in the southwest is the best place for budget travelers and Cappadocia has some of the most beautiful and dramatic scenery.
And here are five interesting destinations for traveling in Turkey outside the beach season.
- Visit Goreme National Park, Cappadocia
Göreme National Park and the rock formations of Cappadocia are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. The impressive rocky landscape has been completely shaped by erosion and showcases Byzantine art from the post-iconoclastic era. Here you can find evidence of human habitation dating back to the 4th century.
During your trip here, you can take an hour-long hot air balloon ride and admire the hoodoos, mountain ranges, and valleys. The best time to travel is at sunrise when the sky turns a faded orange.
- Take a trip to the blue lagoon of Oludeniz.
Oludeniz is a lagoon and beach resort in the Fethiye region of Muğla Province, on the Turquoise Coast of southwestern Turkey.
The sandy bay is also worth a visit. And the lagoon itself is a national reserve. The seawater of Oludeniz is famous for its color: shades of turquoise and aquamarine.
Here you can go paragliding. Oludeniz is considered one of the best places in the world for this hobby due to its unique panoramic views and stable weather conditions.
The best international airports for flights to the Turquoise Coast are the airports in Fethiye and Antalya.
- See the sea turtles in Dalyan
Nature and animal lovers will love Dalyan Turtle Beach (also called Iztuzu Beach). It is famous throughout Turkey for its natural splendor. It is home to over 100 species of birds, as well as three varieties of turtles, including the endangered loggerhead turtle.
You can take a boat trip from the city harbor to visit the local turtle sanctuary. This is a great place to swim with these animals, visit the nearby hot springs or take a mud bath.
The mud here is rich in minerals such as magnesium and sulfur, which are good for the skin.
- Go to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
The famous Blue Mosque (or Sultan Ahmed Mosque) is an architectural masterpiece of the Ottoman era and a functioning mosque in Istanbul.
But why is it called the Blue Mosque? Because its interior is lined with more than 20,000 Iznik – turquoise-colored ceramic tiles. The upper floors of the mosque are also painted blue, which are flooded with light coming through over 200 stained glass windows.
The mosque is unique from an architectural point of view due to its six minarets and five domes. The construction of six minarets was unusual even for an imperial mosque since this number implied equality with the multi-minaret mosques of Mecca.
The mosque is popular with tourists and pilgrims alike, so be sure to reserve your spot to enter the building in advance to experience the majesty of this historic building.
- Walk around the underground city of Derinkuyu.
The underground city of Derinkuyu is an ancient multi-level city in the province of Nevsehir. It was built to shelter the local population of 20,000 who served during the Arab-Byzantine Wars (AD 780–1180). Derinkuyu has eight floors and reaches a depth of more than 85 meters.
The city was also used by Christians as a defense against Timur’s Mongol invasions in the 14th century, and later, when the region fell under Ottoman control, it was used as a refuge from Turkish Muslim rulers.
You can take a guided walking tour and explore the excavated ruins, including the remains of stables, cellars, storage rooms, kitchens, wineries, and wells.
It is an unforgettable and very popular tourist destination, but be aware that the narrow tunnels and small chambers can make Derinkuyu difficult to navigate for those who are claustrophobic.
What is the best time of the year to visit Turkey?
April, May, September, and October are perfect, with comfortable temperatures between 20 and 30 degrees during the day. As a rule, this is the best time to visit the historical sites of Turkey, as well as a good opportunity to watch the sun go down into the winter for European travelers.
Fethiye, Bodrum, and Antalya are considered the top three winter destinations.
At the height of summer, Turkey can become a very uncomfortable country for a vacation, because the average air temperature exceeds 35 degrees Celsius.