Türkiye is Poles’ favorite holiday destination. Seaside resorts, sunny beaches, tropical weather and luxurious hotels at moderate prices attract thousands of tourists from the Vistula River every year. However, few people consider this country for winter recreation. And this is a big mistake, because Turkey has a lot to offer to all those who love skiing on the slopes and skiing madness. And cheaper than many European ski resorts.
Türkiye has over 40 ski resorts with almost 400 kilometers of slopes. Good weather conditions, well-prepared slopes, modern ski lifts, and hotels offering a high standard are the main advantages of a Turkish ski trip. Another advantage is that it is much cheaper than in the Alps. A week-long trip with flights, a luxury hotel, all-inclusive meals and ski passes can be booked for up to PLN 3,000 during the season. After skiing on the slopes, you can relax in the swimming pool, hot jacuzzi or hammam. And also visit interesting places and experience the oriental culture of this country.
The ski season in Turkey is shorter than the Alpine season and lasts from mid-December to the end of March (in the higher mountain areas until the end of April), but due to the many three-thousanders, winter sports enthusiasts can count on excellent snow conditions at all times: We won’t experience bad weather here or no white powder like in the Polish mountains. Package trips are offered by, among others: Itaka travel agency, but you can also organize a ski trip yourself, and many Turkish resorts also advertise in Poland.
Skiing on the volcano
The largest and one of the most popular ski resorts in Turkey is Erciyes-Kayseri. It is located right next to the town of Kayseri, on the slopes of an extinct volcano. Measuring 3,917 m above sea level, the peak is the highest mountain in central Anatolia and the fifth highest in Turkey. It is clearly visible that this place was created with foreign tourists in mind: it is modern and luxurious.
There are 34 slopes with a total length of 102 km available to skiers. The level of difficulty varies: there are plenty of routes that provide safe conditions even for inexperienced skiers, but at the same time, advanced ski enthusiasts will also find something for themselves there, because several modern ski lifts take skiers to an altitude of 3,346 meters above sea level.
This area is located in Cappadocia, near the town of Kayseri. It is one of the most unique places in the entire world. Fascinating underground cities, rock-cut churches and strange formations create an extraordinary land that is a sin not to visit. In the summer it is quite a distance from the Turkish Riviera, and during winter holidays it is just a stone’s throw away, so it is worth taking advantage of this opportunity.
The second largest ski resort is Palandoken and is located in eastern Anatolia. Since 2016, the ski resort has been part of the new Ejder 3200 World Ski Center, a combination of the local ski resorts of Palandoken and Konakli. The largest city in the region is well connected to the rest of the country. You can get there by air from many places. Here, 13 lifts take skiers and snowboarders to an altitude of 3,176 m above sea level. From there they extend almost 43 kilometers down into the valley. The excellent altitude and natural snow make it one of the most spectacular ski resorts in Turkey. Winter sports enthusiasts will also find the longest ski slope in the country here. Over a length of 12 km you can overcome 1000 meters of height. The steepest slope, Ejder, is located on the northern slope of Mount Palandoken. To sum up, the ski area is not only fun for experienced skiers, but also for beginners who can enjoy snow-white winter fun.
It is also worth paying attention to the Uludag ski resort, which is located in the Uludag massif, about 30 km from the city of Bursa. The metropolis in western Turkey with a population of 1.5 million is the fourth largest city in the country and is perfectly connected to airports. In recent years, the local ski lifts have been carefully modernized, and the hotel offer is constantly expanding, including luxurious 5-star hotels. Currently, there are 22 chairlifts and ground lifts and two gondola lifts. This infrastructure gives Uludag an almost alpine character, as 28 kilometers of ski slopes are embedded in the mountain landscape of the national park, which was established here in 1961. Therefore, skiers and snowboarders can admire the views of nature almost untouched by human activities from slopes at an altitude of up to 2,322 meters.
Skiing on the Riviera
Nothing is impossible in Turkey. There is a place in this country where you can combine skiing with walks on the beach. The Sakliken ski resort is located just 50 kilometers from the famous seaside resort of Antalya. If the visibility is good, you can ski down the slope overlooking Antalya and the turquoise sea. In the capital of the Turkish Riviera, you can also go out for local food or visit a traditional Turkish hammam.
When in Antalya, you must go to the city center to the old town of Kaleici, which is separated from the city by historic defensive walls. For several years, cars have been banned in the old town, so you can easily traverse it on foot. One of the biggest attractions in Kaleici are beautifully preserved Ottoman houses from the 17th and 19th centuries, which often serve as hotels. One of the biggest attractions of Antalya is Hadrian’s Gate, which opens the old town. This is a Roman triumphal arch that has been standing here practically intact for over 200,000 years. There is also the symbol of Alanya, the Broken Minaret.
A good solution after a long day on the slope is a visit to the local bazaar or a walk around the historic port, from which you can sail on a short sea trip.