When you think of Turkey, you probably think mostly of the sun, the sand the sea. But Turkey’s a huge country with just about every kind of terrain imaginable, including some world class ski slopes! Just recently, the FIS Snowboarding world championships were held in Palandöken and World Cup competitions in Erciyes. In the winter, Turkey’s mountain ranges get lots of snow and the weather is very accommodating to ideal skiing/snowboarding conditions.
Ok, then where should you go if you’re looking for an amazing ski experience in Turkey? Here’s a list of the top 5 destinations you’ll find.
Possibly the best slopes in Turkey are in Palandöken, Erzurum. The mountain is just around 15km from the airport, so you can literally get off the flight and be skiing down at speed in an hour. It’s also one of the only ski slopes in all of Turkey that guarantees snow between December 1st and March 30th due to the investments made into artificial snow in case of unexpected weather conditions.
This mountain is 3,176 meters high, with no forest making it absolutely the perfect location, height and climate for skiing, day or night as it has a state-of-the-art lights system along the slopes. It features one of the longest natural ski tracks of any mountain in the whole world, and features facilities the house visitors regardless of their needs or price ranges.
It should be mentioned that nearby in eastern Turkey sits the Sarıkamış resort 50 kilometers from the center of Kars, with 14 kilometers of slopes and four ski lifts with an elevation of between 2,100 and 2,600 meters. Just in case you want some variety when you visit Palandöken.
This ski resort in the Beydağları section of the Taurus Mountains features 500 chalets and a full ski complex. It’s 2,550 meters at its highest point, and is great for either beginners or average skiiers, or of course for anyone who wants to experience the magic of this region.
The season runs officially from December 10th through April 10th, with most of the time in there relatively sunny with clear skies so you get those views that you’ve been looking for. February and March are the perfect months to go skiing as the weather’s more than warm enough at the beach and the skiing is still in full throttle.
Below the mountains of Saklıkent sit the stunning canyon of the same name. This canyon is a famous summer spot for hiking as the cliffs rise above it, and the whole region is perfect for hiking and taking in the magnificent views. Even if you’re not a skier (or snowboarder or like to go out on ATVs), the views here are totally worth it. Or just if you want to get away from the beach for a day!
The natural beauty and ideal location of this resort makes it one of the world’s most unique spots for a spring or fall vacation.
Uludağ sits just outside the city of Bursa, and is perhaps the most well-known and popular ski resort in Turkey. It’s a short trip outside of Istanbul, where Bursa can be reached by a pleasant ferry ride across the Marmara Sea. Uludağ is a beautiful mountain and you can ski down with vistas of the whole city opening up before you down below. Of course, being so near a major city has the added advantage of being able to spend your days skiing while you spend the evening enjoying the cuisine and culture of Bursa!
Along the Black Sea, Kartalkaya is located relatively close to both Istanbul and Ankara, and the surrounding area is known for its breathtaking natural beauty. Taking in the views from the resort here is absolutely one of the highlights of a visit to Kartalkaya.
Erciyes in Kayseri is the newest hotspot ski resort in Turkey. Mount Erciyes is a volcanic mountain (not active anymore! ? ) and at nearly 4,000 meters it’s Anatolia’s highest summit. Hundreds of thousands of visitors arrive every year to conquer the mountain and recent investments have made it a truly state-of-the-art ski resort, one of Turkey’s best along with Palandöken.