There is something special about December. This time of the year feels exceptionally different from the rest of the months. There is a festive spirit in the air, peppered by optimism for the New Year. Additionally, December is a great time to travel due to the cozy weather or wintry holidays in many places. Turkey in December feels oddly charming with the cold winds whipping through the destination and the north regions clad in white sheets of powdery snow. New Year’s Eve and Christmas in Turkey might seem like a strange idea, but it is a very interesting experience. Istanbul is a great option for holiday vacationers who want to enjoy chilly Turkish vibes during the festive season in less crowded spaces. Check out the awesome things you can do in Istanbul that may convince you to visit this destination for your Christmas and New Year’s holiday.
Christmas and New Year in Istanbul
By comparison with the West, a Turkish Christmas will seem more modest. Turkey, however, prides itself on being a secular state and celebrates Christmas in the same way it does any other holiday. Even with a small Christian population, it still celebrates Christmas enthusiastically. Istanbul, the most popular city in Turkey, gets buzzing with the festive essence and is illuminated in a beautiful way for the festival season. Amidst gorgeous illuminations, visitors can also explore the city’s heritage sites and rustic wonders. As the week nears its end, the fervour intensifies as the city prepares to ring in the New Year in a grand style. New Year and Christmas in Istanbul is an offbeat yet wonderful idea for a festive holiday. The ambience, ardency, and attractions of this breathtaking city are worth witnessing during December.
The best things to do in Istanbul during Christmas and New Year are :
- Wander and discover the beauty of Istanbul’s festive flair
If you are wondering where to celebrate Christmas in Istanbul, starting from the Old Town would be a great idea. The most renowned landmark attractions, the streets, and alleys of Istanbul get decked up in Christmas illuminations. Check out Nisantasi Quarters and Taksim Square which are extravagantly adorned in lights and buzzing with festive excitement. Stroll around the city to enjoy the beauty of the city in a chilly, intimate breeze. Additionally, if you wish to attend Christmas masses, the historic churches of Istanbul, especially the Church of St. Anthony of Padua hold them where you can even listen to Christmas hymns, say a prayer, and light a candle.
- Visit the Turkish Christmas Markets
As mentioned before, Christmas is quite a modest celebration in Turkey. So, when you go out searching for a festive retail therapy, chances are you will end up at makeshift Christmas markets that are run by local retailers. There isn’t much hype or advertising of big brands and the noise of festivities are also mellow compared to big cities. The Feriya Palace bazaar and the Grand Bazaar are a must-visit during a December visit. There are plenty of weekday markets also that pop up during this time of the year offering the freshest produces and the finest products Turkey has to offer to its visitors.
- Enjoy Istanbul’s food fiestas
Your New Year and Christmas in Turkey 2021 trip would definitely miss a significant element if you do not check out the extravagant food scene during the holiday season. How can you possibly stay away from the insanely delicious Turkish food assortments during the holiday season? Istiklal Street is one of the famous places to visit in Istanbul to go shopping and explore Turkish treats. Likewise, Christmas and New Year pop-up dining and party events are a great rage in the city. You can add a dash of opulence to your Turkey winter holiday with a stay at luxurious hotels that host exquisite gala dinners and brunches for New Year’s Eve in eloquent festive settings. There are lots of waterfront restaurants and rooftop dining venues where you can savour scrumptious food and enjoy the atmosphere of the festivity in Istanbul.
- Hop onboard the Bosphorus Cruise
Last but not the least, take in the mesmerizing view of Istanbul from far away while meandering on the Bosphorus Strait. Join the celebration in welcoming the New Year with spectacular fireworks on New Year’s Eve onboard the Bosphorus Cruise. The celebration starts with a New Year dinner cruise and continues well into the early hours of the new year. It will turn out to be an unforgettable night filled with delicious food, Turkish dances, and entertainment.
Before we wrap up, here’s a bit of trivia for you. Did you know that Turkey celebrates Christmas in January as well? orthodox communities across Turkey recognize January 6th as the date on which Jesus Christ was born and celebrate Christmas according to the Julian calendar. So even if you visit Istanbul in January or plan to extend your holiday after the New Year’s Eve in the city, you will be surprised to find ornate pine trees and Christmas decorations still adorned on the shops and streets of the city. The vibes of festivities linger on for a long time in Istanbul and that makes it such a special place to visit.