Turkey in Winter (Feb 2022)

 

After leaving Iran we had about 4 weeks to drive through Turkey back to the European Union. It was February so in many parts of Turkey it was still proper winter. Right from the Iranian-Turkish border we had an amazing view of the perfect white volcanic cone of Mount Ararat. Our first stop was shortly after the border – the Ishak Pascha Palace. It sits at the edge of mountains which were luckily still covered with some snow. We enjoyed to nice days there with beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

sunset above Ishak Pasha Palace

We spontaneously decided that we will drive southwards towards lake Van. The fully snow-covered landscape was so beautiful. The road goes right along the Iranian-Turkish border so there are many watch towers and check points so unfortunately, we did not take many photos. In Van we visited the castle and a rescue and research center for the famous „Van-Cats“ 🙂

the special Van cats often have two different eye colors
lake Van

The way to Diyarbakir was impressive because we started our day in winter and when we arrived in the city it was spring with lush green fields 🙂 We enjoyed walking through the old part of Diyarbakir on a sunny day. It was very calm and relaxed – maybe because it was off-season.

Diyarbakir

On our way further west there were several days of mainly driving without visiting things. When we reached Kayseri, we were – after many tries before – finally able to get our booster vaccination.

When we looked at the weather forecast it predicted a slight chance of snowfall for our beloved Cappadocia. When we arrived there, it rained for two days. But then it got colder and the third morning we woke up to a snow-covered ground and the sun even peeked through the clouds every once in a while. It was pure magic to see this magnificent landscape covered in snow – like a frosting on a cake!

Cappadocia

We really wanted to go skiing again. The weather forecast predicted sun in some days, so we headed back to Kayseri and continued to the nearby “Erciyes” ski resort. We rented equipment again – this time including helmets as it was mandatory in this ski resort. As in Iran we had a wonderful day of skiing. The gondolas were mostly very modern and fast. The slopes were sometimes a bit narrow but because it had snowed the days before the snow quality was very good and the slopes well prepared. Although it was a Saturday there were not many people so we could fully enjoy the day 🙂

Erciyes peak
view from the slopes towards Kayseri

As the weather was gray and unpleasant the following week we decided to just continue driving towards the west. We drove for four days until we reached the Bulgarian border. On our last two gray, rainy and cold days we finally made it to a Turkish Hammam. It was a very pleasant experience, and we enjoyed the Sauna, the endless hot water and the massages 🙂

If you are interested what we experienced in Turkey our first time the autumn before you can check out our blog post here.

 

NOTES & ANECDOTES

 

the non existing “green light phase” on roads (German: Grüne Welle) drove us crazy. When driving through a city on a major road almost every traffic light was red.

the weather forecast was often rather bad but in the end it turned out to be much nicer than forecasted.

in winter it was much harder to wild camp. Due to the snow coverage many overnight spots were unreachable.

 

NUMBERS

 

we spent 19 days on our second visit in Turkey 

Exchange rate: for 1 Euro we got 15TL (February 2022)

we slept 13 nights on parking lots (one of the reason being the snow coverage), wild camped 4 times and spent 2 nights on a campground. 

diesel price was 15TL when we entered Turkey and 23TL just 19 days later. The biggest reason for the price hike was the very sad war in Ukraine.

we drove approximately 2700 km in Turkey

we spent 13 Euro per person per day. The daily costs do not include fixed costs like car insurance + taxes and travel health insurance.

SIM card: Turkcell. Excellent 4G coverage – we were really satisfied. To buy the SIM card is expensive: 290TL (18 Euro at that time) for 20GB. Recharging is much cheaper: 25GB for 100TL (6,50€ at that time).

we went to a mechanic once

road condition: ranging from 5 to 9 (out of 10 points). Many 4 lane roads even in rural areas.

driving style / manners: respectful, friendly driving and mostly mild overtaking.