I appreciate your input, tourism is something that I definitely want to avoid, especially the excess tourism tailored to westerners. I'm looking at places in the southern region near Antalya (like Egirdir) to travel to for hospitable, genuine Turkish culture and experiences. Warm climate is not essential, but we'd like to avoid extremely cold weather and lots of snow.
It sounds like Eastern Turkey is very cold in January, but what about the south near Syria? Some place like Harran, Sanliurfa, Gaziantep?
So here is my dilema, I have already bought the plane tickets to Turkey, so that is where we are going. I'm willing to compromise in a few areas, but I do really want to avoid ugly tourism. I'm seriously considering flying in Gaziantep instead, because I hear that the best time to visit the southeast region of Turkey is between Dec and Feb. However, all the weather and climate reports I can read seem to indicate that it will still be fairly cold and harsh.
Is it possible to still go the Antalya region and avoid the ugly foreign tourist industry? I want to find some out of the way spot.
Antalya is your best shot for the weather. And to spend a honeymoon I think it is one of the best places in Turkey...top quality hotels and service, loads of sights to visit, in January really few tourists and reasonable prices. I don't think you can top that in any other part of the country at that time of the year.
[ Edit: Edited on Dec 27, 2006, at 5:55 AM by inthemerde ]
Whew, we just got back from our honeymoon trip to Turkey, and it was amazing! The weather was better then I could have expected for the 2 weeks that we were there. We had drizzle for a few hours one morning, overcast clouds for 2 days, and sun with blue skies the rest of the time! It was unseasonably nice, we really lucked out.
Here is a quick run down of what we did. We arrived in Istanbul Jan 3rd and spent our first three days there adjusting to the 7 hour time difference, walking around, and exploring. We stayed in Sultanahmet, went to a Turkish bath in Uskudar, toured the Haghia Sophia, visited Taksim Squre, Grand Bazaar, Egyptian spice bazaar, and the Rustem Pasa mosque. Uskudar was quite different then the other parts of Istanbul, much less tourism. The Haghia Sophia was interesting, quite impressive, the Grand Bazaar was just huge, and more then a little overwhelming, but the Egyptian Spice Bazaar was much more managaeable. It felt quite intrusive to visit a working mosque, so we didn't go to any others. I was surprised how quiet Istanbul is.
Then we flew down to Dalaman, and were picked up and taken to the Fulya Pension in Koycegiz. That was delightful, we stayed 3 days in Koycegiz with our new friends and had a wonderful time at the Fulya, I highly recomend it as a pleasant, quiet, and friendly place to stay. The weather there was perfect, 60+ degrees, and a warm strong sun. We spent a lot of time relaxing and sipping tea, plus we visited Dalyan and the hot springs nearby.
Then off to Selcuk by bus. It was much noiser, especially around where we were staying. We met a friend Erkan and saw some sights with him. He took us to the tomb of the 7 brothers, and dropped us off at Ephesus. That was incredible, absolutely amazing. We also managed a short evening visit to Sirence, what a beautiful little town. We tasted wines made from Apple, Blueberry, Blackberry, Strawberry, Cherry, Quince, Peach, Pomegranite, and others. I'm glad our four bottles survived the flight back in our checked in luggage.
From there we flew out of Izmir back to Istanbul for the last 2 days. We saw the Sunken Cistern which was well worth seeing, did some shopping, and sent off a few more postcards before flying out on the morning of the 15th.
So the trip was a great success, we managed to avoid the awful tourism, experienced wonderful weather, saw some great sights, relaxed, met some new friends, and most importantly, enjoyed ourselves.
We want to go back sometime, to return to our favorite places including Ephesus, Koycegiz, and head out east to see more 'real' Turkey.
Thanks for everyone's contributions!