Turkiye has never been the preferred destination for Americans taking Transatlantic trips, at least up until now.
They have always had a clear preference for nations like England, Ireland, Italy, France, or even Spain, not only due to the high concentration of historical landmarks in the Western group but also the strong familial and historical ties they share with the States.
This year, however, U.S. citizens have been actively going off-path and venturing further East in hopes of experiencing a culture other than their own and escaping the crowds and incessant price hikes across the Western flank.
When it comes to alternative destinations, Turkiye – formerly spelled Turkey – has been a no-brainer for most.
It serves as the gateway to the Middle East, with one foot firmly planted in Eastern Europe and the other in Western Asia.
Other than a rich Byzantine and Ottoman past, it is best known for its long miles of sandy beaches and warmer weather.
While most of Europe turns dark and gloomy, the Turkish coast stays mostly sunny and still relatively warm, so it is no surprise high air traffic was registered well into the fall months and even now going into December.
In fact, Turkiye has become suddenly so popular with Westerners, Americans included, that it's already broken all-time records, and it looks set for further growth in 2024.
If you're flying to Turkiye in the next few weeks or months, and freezing temperatures are not your idea of fun, these are four of the best sunny spots that will help you keep the winter blues at bay:
Bodrum is the summer capital of Turkiye, with its long miles of golden-sand beaches and turquoise waters lined by five-star resorts, but it's slowly becoming a year-round destination, especially now that climate changes are accelerating and temperatures are soaring more than usual.
As late as December, Bodrum can still record highs of around 59°F, like much of Turkiye's sunny Aegean Coast, and there is an average of ten days of rainfall only, contrary to other far more popular Mediterranean destinations that just get wetter and darker as winter approaches.
While you won't exactly be going for a swim in the Aegean, as inviting as the crystal-clear waters may be, nor basking in the sun, at least not in your shorts or without a mantle, Bodrum and its long hours of sunshine, coastal views, and blood-orange sunsets remain a great off-season getaway.
The Queen of the Eastern Mediterranean, Antalya has made headlines this year as one of the fastest-growing beach destinations in Eurasia: it is a highly-developed coastal resort combining the best of Turkish hospitality with a plethora of five-star offers and ancient culture.
Similarly to Bodrum, Antalya has an average high temperature of 57°F in winter, and it will only get progressively hotter as the Mediterranean as a whole becomes more heavily impacted by off-season heat waves.
Again, December through March is not the best time for swimming, but tourists still have numerous man-made wonders and points of interest to explore, such as Hadrian's Gate, a 1st-century portal that guards the entrance to the Old Town, and the hippy Konyaaltı oceanfront.
Not too far from Antalya, Alanya is a fortified port and modern-day beach resort where centuries-old Byzantine churches, medieval walls, tall glitzy hotel towers, and quirky Bohemian districts make up an inharmonious yet fascinating townscape.
Strolling the cobbled streets of the historical core in winter, visitors will still be able to feel the warmth of the Mediterranean sun as they scavenge for antique items and cheap clothes in the old bazaar, marvel at the colorful Ottoman houses, or take leisurely walks down the beach.
If you're hoping for a relaxing vacation that won't break the bank, you're in luck, as some of the luxury hotels in Alanya have slashed prices by more than 40% this winter, including the adults-only Day One Beach Resort & Spa, with overnight rates starting at just $126.
The last entry on our list, Fethiye is a small city on Turkiye's Turquoise Coast, where the Aegean meets the Eastern Mediterranean, and though it has been historically marketed as a summer hotspot, it can make for an incredible destination in winter.
Winters in Fethiye are made for sumptuous breakfast spreads overlooking the ocean, leisurely strolls down a crowd-free marina, and wine tasting. Among the top attractions, you will find a natural harbor bounded by bright-blue waters, the ancient tombs of Amyntas, and Ölüdeniz beach.
On average, you should plan on spending $108 per night on hotels in Fethiye and only $39 daily on meals, making it one of the cheapest Mediterranean destinations regardless of season, with total daily costs averaging a reasonable $122.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
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