The 5 Best Cities in Turkey to Have Unforgettable Memories in New Year’s Eve

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Happy New Years you all! We are writing this article just a few hours before we enter the new year. So, we wish 2020 be a better year than in 2019.

New Year Eve is one of the most popular holidays in Turkey. The New Year’s Eve traditions in Turkey country include so many traditions. Some of those are family dinner, a national lottery drawing and a countdown to midnight. New Year’s Eve falls on December 31 in the Gregorian calendar.

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New Year Eve is one of the most popular holidays in Turkey.
New Year Eve is one of the most popular holidays in Turkey.

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Unlike what people mostly think, New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest celebration days in Turkey. And so, you’ll be able to find plenty of events going on all around the country. Whether it’s a seven-course dinner at a fancy hotel in the city or a cosy night in a ski hotel in the mountains, we have some great suggestion for you for entering the new year.

What do Turkey’s People Do in New Year’s Eve?

Many people in Turkey start celebrating New Year’s Eve with a large family dinner. The main course is traditionally a roasted turkey. Variety shows on television begin in the late afternoon and continue until the early morning of the next day. Many people play games while waiting for the clock to strike midnight. State TV channels announce the winning numbers of a New Year’s national lottery just before midnight. Many people in Turkey try to buy a New Year’s lottery ticket because it promises a large sum of money to the winner. Many people also congratulate each other, toast to a New Year and exchange small gifts at midnight between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

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New Year's Eve panoramas in Istanbul.
New Year’s Eve panoramas in Istanbul.

Hotels, restaurants and nightclubs offer special entertainment programs on New Year’s Eve. Most places require early reservations. Some people go to city centres late on December 31 to watch the traditional fireworks. New Year’s Eve ends with a countdown to announce the arrival of a new year, and celebrations continue until the morning of January 1.

Public Life in New Year’s Eve in Turkey

Although many workers get half a day off, New Year’s Eve is not an official holiday in Turkey. Administration buildings, schools and post offices may be closed in the afternoon of December 31. Supermarkets may also close earlier than usual. Many people celebrate New Year’s Eve in city centres, so traffic may be intense in the evening of the end of the year.

After these general pieces of information on Turkey’s New Year’s Eve, here now we are going to list you the 5 most famous and much-frequented places in Turkey. Check it out before planning your Turkey trip in New Year’s Eve!

Bursa Uludag is a good destination for New Year's Eve.
Bursa Uludag is a good destination for New Year’s Eve.

5. Uludag, Bursa

For those who associate the new year with skiing and snow, make sure to head to one of Turkey’s most popular ski resort towns. Spend a day on the slopes. And then enjoy a special NYE program at your hotel. And here are some recommendations for the hotel:

(In the meantime, you can check our article related to The Best 15 Ski Resorts in Turkey for ant further information).

Every year Uludağ’s Grand Yazıcı Arena also holds a special concert with Turkey’s major musical artists, where locals party past midnight.

You should consider Antalya as an option in NYE.
You should consider Antalya as an option in NYE.

4. Antalya

Antalya is another great place to enjoy the sea (as well as the beautiful mountains!). The city may not be the first place that comes to mind for the New Year, but that’s exactly what makes it so unique. Book a room at one of the many five-star hotels and make sure to take part in the New Year’s Eve programs that include dinner and live music. You’ll also be happy to know that the streets of Antalya also become quite lively when it’s time to welcome the new year.

Here are some advises to stay during your visit to Antalya:

Cesme Alacati is one of the best places in Izmir and a wonderful option for NYE.
Cesme Alacati is one of the best places in Izmir and a wonderful option for NYE.

3. Cesme, Alacati – Izmir

For a New Year celebration by the sea, head to the small town of Alaçatı. This small town has become quite famous for its street party. Parties take place annually to celebrate the coming of the new year. Enjoy some sun and sea and then head to the bar street in the evening for a nice Aegean dinner. Later on, drink at one of the many bars that open especially for this evening (since they are mostly closed for the winter).

Here are some advises to stay during your visit to Alacati:

Ankara, as Turkey's capital, is waiting to welcome visitors from all around the world.
Ankara, as Turkey’s capital, is waiting to welcome visitors from all around the world.

2. Ankara

Ankara is Turkey’s capital city and it also offers special New Year’s Eve menus at its restaurants and large hotels much like Istanbul. Some of them are Sheraton Ankara, Wyndham Ankara, Ankara Hilton, or the JW Marriot Ankara. If you really want to mingle with the locals and see the fireworks, then you should head to Kızılay where the party takes off after midnight. Kızılay, bu the way, is the main central location of Ankara just like Beyoglu in Istanbul.

You can see some advices below for places to stay;

Istanbul is the best option for NYE with an amazing panorama of the city.
Istanbul is the best option for NYE with an amazing panorama of the city.

1. Istanbul

It is no surprise that Istanbul takes the 1st place on our list. As Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul celebrates the new year as big as it could be. A great tip is to call your favourite restaurant in advance to ask if they have a special New Year’s Eve menu prepared, and chances are they probably do.

You can choose and enjoy restaurants such as MitteSunsetUlus29, or Spago. They also have a bar, which means after dinner, there will be plenty of partying with cocktails. There is also another great option which is booking an NYE evening with Istanbul’s major hotels such as Çırağan Palace KempinskiFour Seasons by the BosphorusSwissotel Bosphorus, or Raffles Istanbul.

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