Turkey Weather in January: Travel Tips for First-Timers

By Margaux | Updated May. 9, 2023

Turkey in January is mild-to-cold and wet; skiing and Cappadocia's snowy stone-scape are its off-season highlights. Read on for our travel advice and weather info, with average temperatures, rainfall, and humidity, and travel tips...

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1. Turkey Weather in January: Overview

Averages:

  • Temperature range: 4–13°C (39–55°F)
  • Rainfall: 9 cm (4 inches)
  • Rainy days: 11
  • Sunshine hours/day: 2
  • Sea temperature: 10°C (50°F)
  • Humidity: 69–80% (muggy in the south to oppressive on the northwest coast)

January comes in the middle of Turkey's cool, wet winter. The weather in Turkey in January is cold to mild, with lots of cloud and light-to-heavy showers on 1 in 2 or 3 days.

There is still some wintry sun: more inland in Cappadocia, where rainfall is low, but temperatures hover around freezing there. Fog/mist is common on the coast leading to high humidity. This typically clears, though it remains cloudy most of the time.

Weather of Turkey's Major Cities in January

Turkey City Daily High Temp. Daily Low Temp.
Istanbul (largest city, historical importance) 9ºC (48ºF) 4ºC (39ºF)
Cappadocia (Rockscape, ballooning) 5ºC (41ºF) -6ºC (21ºF)
Antalya (Top beach resort city) 15ºC (59ºF) 6ºC (43ºF)
Izmir (near Kusadasi, once Ephesus) 13ºC (55ºF) 6ºC (43ºF)
Turkey City Rain (cm) Rain (in)
Istanbul (largest city, historical importance) 10 4
Cappadocia (Rockscape, ballooning) 4 2
Antalya (Top beach resort city) 21 8
Izmir (near Kusadasi, once Ephesus) 13 5

2. The Best Places to Visit in Turkey in January

January in Turkey is too cool (and wet) for beach holidays, but its cold (inland) temperatures give rise to winter sports opportunities and a variety of snowscapes. Visiting Turkey's amazing historical and cultural sights is still very attractive, despite January being Turkey's wettest month.

Top things to do in January include: going to Turkey's historical sites, skiing at Bursa, snowscapes and skiing in Cappadocia, and more snowy scenery in Bolu's national park.

So, for a chance to explore Turkey's past for less or a snowy holiday, you may be interested in Turkey's best places to visit in January:

1) Istanbul — Visit Historical Sights

Mosque in Istanbul, TurkeyMosque in Istanbul, Turkey

Its largest city, besides being the No. 1 gateway city for Turkey, has many of the country's top historical attractions, not least the Hagia Sophia with its beautiful dome and long Christian/Muslim history and the exquisite Blue Mosque. So, it's the ideal place to start a Turkey tour, whatever the weather.

Further reading: Top 10 Things to Do in Istanbul

2) Cappadocia — Still Awesome in Winter!

Cappadocia cave hotel, TurkeyCappadocia cave hotel, Turkey

Cappadocia, that wonderland of pointy rockscapes and colorful balloons, is still a traveler's paradise in the middle of winter, especially if you like the crisp cold.

The balloons still fly (allow some flexibility as this is not on all days), the stark landscape has a fresh kind of beauty in the light snow and frost, cave hotels with hot tubs are cozy and charming stays, and the hiking (or horse-riding if you like) is surreal.

As if this is not enough, Cappadocia also has a ski resort on Mount Erciyes, tallest peak in central Anatolia, with 8 lifts and fun runs from 2,200 to 3,100 m (7,000–10,000 ft) altitude. It's great for a day out from your warm cave!

There are plenty of other activities to enjoy too: see Top 10 Things to Do in Cappadocia.

3) Skiing at Bursa, Northwest Turkey

Skiing at Bursa, TurkeySkiing at Bursa, Turkey

Towering over the city of Bursa, about 300 km (200 miles) or 3 hours south from Istanbul, is Mount Uludag, which has a famous but average ski resort. It is a convenient place to go from Istanbul with amazing views and dozens of ski trails (not many in the difficult category).

It is a fun place to go to enjoy some leisurely skiing/snowboarding and wintry scenery, but don't have too high an expectation of the facilities and marking of pistes. Booking of ski passes may also be confusing. Contact us for the smoothest visit to Bursa with private transport and help booking everything you need, including accommodation to suit you.

4) Yedigoller National Park — Snow Scenery

Yedigoller ('Seven Lakes') National Park in Bolu Province, 300 km (200 mi) east of Istanbul, is an extremely scenic place to go for some peace and quiet amongst snowy forested hills and frozen/glassy lakes — "the best-preserved natural area in Turkey". Apart from soul-refreshing hiking, there is a popular ski resort there too on the mild slopes of the Koroglu Mountains — Kartalkaya.

It is difficult to get to in the winter, but our private transport would get you there as comfortably as the roads allow.

3. Middle of the Low Season: Least Crowding and Cost

Pigeon valley in Cappadocia, TurkeyPigeon valley in Cappadocia, Turkey

January is one of the least crowded and cheapest months to travel in Turkey. Not only is it cooler, but rainier too, in Turkey's winter off season, but you can save on flights and hotels and see the sights when they're quiet.

January 1st is a public holiday in Turkey, which sees a brief increase in travel and restaurant/hotel bookings, but it is not as significant as in other countries.

4. What to Wear in January

Pamukkale, TurkeyPamukkale, Turkey

There are mild temperatures, even some warm days in the south of Turkey in January, so you could wear lighter clothes there. However, the more recommended areas for January are all further north and cool to cold, so bring winter clothing that's suitable for whatever activity you want to do: skiing, hiking, sightseeing…

In January, it is cold at night in inland areas like Cappadocia and the high mountains, so remember to take enough warm clothes. Central heating is provided in most hotels.

January is Turkey's rainiest month, with rain on half or a third of its days, but it comes in different amounts depending on location: from low amounts (often snow) in Cappadocia, through moderate amounts on the north/central coast to high amounts on the south coast around Antalya.

So, a raincoat is recommended wherever you travel in Turkey.

Suggested reading: The Best Time to Visit Turkey.

Monthly Weather in Turkey

Suggested reading: Best and Worst Times to Visit Turkey>>>

Recommended Tours for Turkey in January

In Turkey in January, having some things professionally arranged for you would definitely be of benefit, particularly a local guide who makes the best of the weather and gives you insights into the local culture and history, as well as private transport that's comfortable and convenient.

At Global Highlights, we recognize that you may want some independent time with your traveling companion(s), maybe to ski together or hike in a national park, so we are flexible to do as much itinerary tailoring and expert arranging as you want to make the best trip for you. Contact us to begin a tour inquiry.

You could start from one of our customizable Turkey tours that we recommend for January:

Get Inspired with Some Popular Itineraries

7-Day Turkey Classical Wonders Tour (Istanbul–Ephesus) 13-Day Natural Highlights of Turkey 10-Day Turkey Honeymoon Tour (Istanbul to Cappadocia) 16-Day Turkey Great Circle Tour

More Travel Ideas and Inspiration

7 Days in Turkey — 5 Top Itinerary Ideas 10 Days in Turkey: Top 4 Itinerary Ideas How to Plan a Trip to Turkey in 2024 How to Plan a Trip to Turkey and Greece in 2024
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