Turkey is not just about beach holidays and historically significant cities. As a country with its fair share of mountains and peaks, it is not surprising that in the winter tourists from abroad and Turks themselves head up piste to do a spot of skiing – and the options available to them are in fact numerous.
But where are the best skiing spots in Turkey and how do they compare to perhaps the more famous slopes of Europe and North America?
According to legend, the top of Mount Olympus – where the skiing resort of Uludag is located – is where the Gods were said to have watched the Trojan War, although these days you are more likely to see skiers taking advantage of the 25 km of ski runs than mythical Gods of yesteryear. Uludag is located 36km south of Bursa and is where city dwellers from there and Istanbul tend to head to between the months of December and March for some winter fun. The area has and is undergoing major redevelopment with nearly 30 hotels currently available to house guests.
The ski resort of Kartalkaya is located just a three hour drive from Istanbul and easily accessible, meaning it is a viable alternative to the Uludag resort and a morel lively one at that. There are many young faces gracing the slopes and one of the key things you will notice is the thick forest which surrounds the resort and slopes. The Kartal and Grand Kartal Hotel are just two of the main hotels, complete with warming spas and first class restaurants. The slopes are ideal for skiers of all levels meaning families with young children will be able to enjoy the resort too, making it more than suitable for cheap holidays abroad.
If you want to go skiing in a resort close to a major city, Palandoken is the one for you. It is located just 18 km from Erzurum, the largest city in eastern Turkey, and enjoys snow coverage for over half of the year, making it a natural resort favoured by seasoned skiers. Here you will find spectacular hotels on the top of mountains 3000 meters high as well as slopes perfect for skiing and snowboarding along with ice skating rinks and slalom routes. There is not exactly a buzzing nightlife scene, but if you want comfortable hotels, excellent slopes and little else, Palandoken is perfect!
There is nothing stopping you taking to the slopes on cheap turkey holidays rather than the beach. In fact, you could alternate year after year and see both sides of Turkey – the buzzing summer resorts and the peaceful, wintery slopes off the beaten track!
Written by Ricky Durrance for Beat the Brochure.
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