There is nothing better than breathing in that first cold breeze, feeling the chill on your skin after a long and hot summer. Although Turkey's climate is milder compared to other parts of the world, the cold season has started to come, reminding us that snowy days and cold winter nights are not far away. Before winter visits us in the lowers parts of the country, it is a good time to visit the mountains and welcome winter under starry nights. If you think camping is fun in the summer, try camping in fall and winter, when it is more challenging and that much more exciting. You can test the limits of your body, work on your survival skills and most importantly, enjoy nature at its finest and most untamed. However, if you are not accustomed to the mountains and camping in winter, there are a few things that you might want to do differently than your usual routine:
Set a realistic destination: Climbing Mount Everest and setting up your tent is an absurd destination for a newbie. Instead pick up your tools and climb a mountain or hill that you are familiar with and can actually tackle. Fall is the best time to discover your talents for winter camping so that you can try something once the first snow falls, which is the best time for camping.
Prepare your bag with the right tools, materials: If you are a summer camper, this is where it gets tricky. The things you pack for camping on a seaside in the hot summer is quite different from packing for the mountains. Even if you decide to camp in this weather, never forget that up in the mountains, it will be at least 5 degrees colder than the lower lands. Hand and toe warmers are keys for winter camping. It is also a good choice to pick up a tent and a sleeping bag suited for colder temperatures. If you are snow camping, consider bringing an extra stove for melting snow into drinking water and be sure to pack extra fuel for your camp stove or you can learn how to light a fire with some wood.
Be aware of the weather: Before you head out on your winter camping trip, check the weather forecast. Be sure to know the expected high and low temperatures and if any storms are expected. Always be prepared for a change in the weather - winter storms are often unexpected, especially in the mountains.
Quick meals to warm your heart: A hot meal while winter camping is always a good choice but it is also a good idea to keep it simple to avoid spending too much time washing the dishes. Consider calorie-dense foods that don't take much time to cook and look for one-pot options. Freeze-dried entrees and breakfast foods are also good choices.Once you are set and ready to go, the only thing left is the perfect place for perfect winter camping. When it comes to serene beauties and a natural setting, Turkey is the best place. So if you are up for the challenge, here are some destinations suited for an unforgettable winter camping experience:
Murat Mountain - Kütahya
Lying between the cities of Kütahya and Uşak in the hinterland of the Aegean, Murat Mountain is a popular place for picnic lovers but especially campers. With its cold stream flowing between ancient plane trees, Murat Mountain always has snow on its summit, creating a contrast with its footsteps in the fall. Thanks to its natural wonders, the mountain is featured on the checklists of many campers. We advise you to not camp at Murat Mountain between January and May if you do not want to camp in snow as the mountain experiences a lot of snowfall in these months.
The highest point of the mountain is at 2,300 meters and Sarıçiçek Plateau is a campers' favorite. It is also famous for its thermal waters which mean you can throw yourself into a hot spring if you are too cold to move around. You can also drive to the mountain easily, as it is only 30 kilometers from Gediz district.
Ilgaz Mountain National Park - Kastamonu
Overlooking the city of Kastamonu, Ilgaz Mountain stands in its splendid glory as a wonder of nature of epic proportions. Standing tall as the highest peak of the western Black Sea region, Ilgaz Mountain is the perfect place for adventure seekers in the winter. Compared to the other mountain ranges in Anatolia, Ilgaz Mountain is much wilder as it is untouched by man and technology as it is a national park. If you want to wake up to an extraordinary view, it is best to set up your tent on Kırkpınar Plateau, which is at height 1,800 meters. The plateau features a small lake that is surrounded by the hills of the mountain.
Cappadocia - Nevşehir
If you made up your mind for camping in the winter, it does not mean you have to climb a mountain. Cappadocia, the land of fairy chimneys, is a beautiful place in every season; however, the land is even more beautiful when it is adorned in the colors of fall and winter.
The only drawback of camping in Cappadocia is that the campsites require an entrance fee hence finding the right spot is a bit tricky.
The most talked about campsite is the one in the Red Valley. You can also choose to stay in Göreme as it is close to the camp sites.
Saklıkent - Antalya
It is always sunny in Antalya. In summer, it is hot as hell and snowfall is a rare occurrence. But Saklıkent, located on the Bey Mountains west of the city, is a place where you can enjoy one of the highest peaks of the city and a little bit of snow. In winter, you can experience two seasons in one day: You can sunbathe on Belek's beaches and then drive for 45 minutes and arrive at Saklıkent where there is a gentle winter breeze. You can go up to Bakırlı Hill, the highest point of the region and see the heavenly bodies at the TÜBİTAK National Observatory.
Mount Erciyes - Kayseri
Here is the last winter camping destination and perhaps the best one. Located in Kayseri, Central Anatolia, the Mount Erciyes is a place frequently visited by campers, both in the summer and winter. Erciyes is also an important ski resort that gets flocked by winter sports enthusiasts all throughout the winter season.
As the saying goes, "All good things come at a price" and likewise, if you want to camp at the best site, your feet will have to suffer a little. The camping sites are a four to five hour hikes away. If you want to reach the top of the mountain a little easier, you can reach the chair lifts after an hour-long walk. The most ideal camping site is the Sütdonduran Plateau.