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Top 5 things to do in Istanbul during winter

10th October 2013

We’re now in October and fast approaching the end of the year…again!

Time certainly does fly as they say but if you have a few days why not head to Istanbul. The Turkish capital provides plenty of opportunities especially during winter to explore all the sights which are far less crowded. 

In addition, you will able to grab a host of bargains at numerous hotels as prices tend to be lower during this period. But what are some of the best things to do? Don’t despair, we’ve got it covered.

Shopping (see the best shopping malls)

This is an ideal moment to enjoy not just the sights of Istanbul but a variety of shops. Meanwhile, less hustle and bustle means more chances for you to check out great deals in the Galleria, Capitol as well as Carousel shopping complexes. 

Tip: You can find a host of sales around winter especially on leather good and a wealth of fashion items

Skiing (see skiing in Turkey)

A couple of hours from Istanbul, many travellers head to either Bursa or Uludag where the ski season kicks off in style. 

Uludag is considered to be one of the most significant winter resorts across Turkey and is frequented by many seeking both off piste and en piste activities. Uludağ can be on the chilly side so expect cold conditions on the slopes. 

Tip: Ideal skiing conditions in Uludag run between October and April with ideal snow cover and crisp conditions usually from December to March. So there’s no excuse to not forget that hat!

New Year (see what to do NYE)

Bringing in the New Year known as Yılbaşı or Yeni Yıl in Istanbul is the perfect way to see in the festivities. Although busy all year round, Istanbul pulls out all the stops when it comes to January 1st!

Tip: The best places to experience are round Nişantası or Kadıköy Street where parties are in abundance

Private walking tours

What better way to explore this Turkish city than with an exclusive private tour on foot. Starting from your hotel or Ataturk airport, there are several local residents providing this service. 

Capture the true essence of Istanbul through the eyes of a real Istanbulite as you uncover the covered, whilst visiting a host of important sites. 

This includes the iconic Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Hipodrome, the diverse Mahmutpasa local markets, Galata Bridge, Istiklal Avenue and even a cruise of the picturesque Bosphorus.

Other tour highlights feature walking across Galata Bridge to explore the New City, the Jewish quarter around Karakoy and gazing in awe at the first ever mosque to be constructed in Istanbul. 

If that’s not enough then be sure to take a pit stop and enjoy a little bit of salep. This unique wintry beverage is normally consumed between October and the end of March. 

Milky in consistency, sahlep is a popular drink during winter made from wild orchid powder located in the south of Turkey or around the Black Sea close to Kastamonu.

Tip: Don’t forget to savour other delicacies whilst you are in Istanbul, so say bravo to Baklava and hello Halva!

Written by Simon Lazarus

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