5 Good Reasons to Spend Christmas in Turkey

It’s nearly September, and in many countries this is when Christmas decorations magically appear in the shops, signalling that it’s time to start thinking of Christmas.  If you are thinking of getting away from it all this Christmas, here are 5 good reasons to put Turkey on your list:

  1. Turkey is the home of the original St. Nicholas (Noel Baba in Turkish).  That’s right, St Nicholas was born to a Greek family in Patara, a small town in Turkey.  In the 4th Century he was the the Bishop of Myra which is near the town of Demre in modern day Turkey.  He reportedly loved to give gifts in secret and was well known for doing things such as putting coins in shoes that had been left out.  This is where the concept of Santa Claus and his gift-giving by stealth originated from.
  2. There is no Christmas hype – a Christmas spent in Turkey means you get to enjoy some of the nicer aspects of Christmas but without the commercialism.  You will see Christmas trees and Christmas decorations, but these are up for New Year, as Christmas is not celebrated in Turkey.  This doesn’t mean that you need to miss out on a nice Christmas dinner – in tourist resort towns such as Kusadasi and Marmaris and also in Istanbul, hotels will often put on a traditional Western-style Christmas dinner for expats and guests who may be missing Christmas back home.
  3. Cappadocia SnowThere’s a chance you’ll see fairy chimneys covered in snow.  Cappadocia, famous for its incredible landscape and its fairy chimney rock formations, is always a bit colder than Istanbul and other parts of Western Turkey, and so there’s a good chance  it will be snowing here.  Trust us when we say that the sight of fairy chimneys covered in snow is really something amazing. The combination of snow and Cappadocia’s already surreal, lunar-like landscape will make you feel as if you have stepped into some kind of magical fairy land.
  4. The weather is pleasant – for sure it is cold (although some years it has been warm during the day and just cool at night), but the worst of the winter weather doesn’t set in until mid to late January. So, it will make a nice change if you are from the Southern Hemisphere and wanting a break from the summer heat, and it is milder winter weather than that experienced in many other countries in the Northern Hemisphere.
  5. Istanbul New Year's EveYou can stay on for New Year’s Eve. Many Turkish families will have a special dinner together on New Year’s Eve. However, in the western part of Turkey, especially in larger cities, people will also flock in droves to join the festivities at a bar, a hotel or restaurant, or even in the local town square. Everywhere you go you will find buffet dinners and lots of live music and dancing, so it is worth joining in a celebration such as this if you have a chance as Turkish people definitely know how to celebrate New Year’s Eve. The New Year’s Eve celebrations and fireworks in Taksim Square are famous all over the World and a night in Taksim is also a great way to welcome the New Year.

It might not be quite what you are used to, however, a trip to Turkey for Christmas is definitely something to consider.  You’ll be taking the chance to see a great country, and there will be enough reminders of the festive season to make you feel at home. For more information see:

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