Best time to visit Istanbul

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Istanbul

Best time of year to visit Istanbul

Due to moderate temperatures and room rates, March to May and September to November are considered to be the best time to visit Istanbul. During this period, you won't be wrestling with crowds while rejoicing in a bicycle ride or enjoying the sunset Bosphorus cruise. June through August is the time when the city steps into a peak season known for inflated prices. Hot weather conditions is another con, but cold ayran and famous sticky ice cream know how to deal with the heat. The period between December and February is the coldest and the wettest one, so you can't go wrong packing layers and an umbrella. However, a trip during these months can be advantageous as winter is the right season to visit traditional Hammam and the cheapest time to stay in Istanbul.

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Warm up in Traditional Hamam

Warm up in Traditional Hamam

November–February • activity

Want to feel like Sultan Süleyman or his beloved Hürrem? Centuries-old hamams and professional masseurs and masseuses do miracles

Pomegranate Fresh Juice

Pomegranate Fresh Juice

September–February • food

Istanbul is truly the city of pomegranate delight.

Salep Drink

Salep Drink

December–February • food

A hot drink made from milk and wild orchids' roots powder is hard to find outside of Turkey

Boza

Boza

December–February • food

Don't get scared if you hear a street vendor crying out "Booozaaa!"—this tradition, as well as the recipe, has survived since the Ottoman Empire!

Whirling Dervish Sema Ceremony

Whirling Dervish Sema Ceremony

all year round • event

Spinning prayers pave their way to the divine and pass on newly established spiritual treasures to spectators

Sailing

Sailing

June–August | December–February • activity

Sailing in the Bosphorus means comfortable yachts, scenic minarets towering afar, and the pleasant company of gulls and dolphins

Fish Sandwich (Balık-ekmek)

Fish Sandwich (Balık-ekmek)

July–September | November–January • food

Mouth-watering fish sandwiches are traditionally made of mackerel, grilled, and served right on the boat

Football: Süper Lig

Football: Süper Lig

mid-August–mid-May • activity

It is not a good idea to cheer 'away' teams playing in Istanbul,—Turkish Süper Lig is both exciting and safe to watch

Call to Prayer between Blue Mosque & Hagia Sophia

Call to Prayer between Blue Mosque & Hagia Sophia

Five times a day • activity

Ezan, or call to prayer, takes on great dimensions when the chants of the Blue Mosque alternate with those of the Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya)

Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya)

all year round • activity

This gem of Byzantine architecture was once a Christian basilica, later an imperial mosque, and today is the most outstanding museum in Istanbul and a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Barbunya (Red Mullet)

Barbunya (Red Mullet)

October–January • food

The attractive, reddish, crispy skin of fried Barbunya covers this incredibly palatable and delicate meat

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Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim

Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim

August 23, 2020 • event

Swimming from one continent to another—sounds challenging but it's a totally real accomplishment

Istanbul Marathon

Istanbul Marathon

November 08, 2020 • event

The world's only marathon that begins in Asia and ends in Europe offers a unique experience for adventurous runners.

Princes’ Islands

Princes’ Islands

April–October • activity

Riding in a horse-drawn carriage among 19th-century mansions encased with splendid greenery makes for a peaceful weekend

Tulips

Tulips

late March–early May • nature

Millions of flowers in Istanbul's valleys are proof that Turkey is the real world capital of tulips

Sugar Feast (Ramazan Bayramı)

Sugar Feast (Ramazan Bayramı)

May 13–15, 2021 • event

The abundance of Turkish sweets, illuminated mosques, and traditional puppet plays highlight the end of Ramadan

Iftar

Iftar

April 23–May 23, 2020 • event

Sucuk, pastirma, börek, kuzu tandır, hünkar beğendi, mantı, güllaç, şerbet, ayran—the list of Ramadan dishes goes on and on

Traditional Turkish Puppet Shadow Theater: Karagöz & Hacivat

Traditional Turkish Puppet Shadow Theater: Karagöz & Hacivat

April 23–May 23, 2020 • event

The fights between uneducated yet witty Karagoz and literate Hacivat used to make even the very Sultan laugh

Cold Ayran on a Hot Day

Cold Ayran on a Hot Day

April–October • food

If you are hot and bored, Ayran will help

Bicycle Tours

Bicycle Tours

April–October • activity

Biking routes in Istanbul vary from peaceful rides along the seashore to extreme mud-biking in the Belgrade forest

Judas Tree in Bloom

Judas Tree in Bloom

April–May • nature

Glorified throughout history, the shy but graceful Judas trees adorn the city of Istanbul

Green Plums or Erik

Green Plums or Erik

mid-April–May • food

Small, tart "erik" is a real passion of Istanbulites, who eat them raw and add them to soups, stews, sauces, and salads

Green Almonds

Green Almonds

April–May • food

Spring delicacies of Istanbul prove that the human body can get used to anything—food adventurers will rejoice here.

Sunset Bosphorus Cruise

Sunset Bosphorus Cruise

early June–mid-September • activity

This strategic waterway divides the continents and links the seas

İstanbul Film Festival

İstanbul Film Festival

postponed • event

It began in 1982 as a Film Week, the following year it grew wider to Istanbul Filmdays, and 1989 brought it world-wide recognition and its modern title

Cumhuriyet Bayramı or Republic Day

Cumhuriyet Bayramı or Republic Day

October 28–October 29 • event

The community rejoices, celebrating the birthday of their country through parades and torchlight processions.

Victory Day or Zafer Bayramı

Victory Day or Zafer Bayramı

August 30 • event

To celebrate the end of the War of Independence, the Turks hold extravagent parades across the city streets

Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth & Sports Day

Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth & Sports Day

May 19 • event

The holiday celebrates the beginning of the Turkish Republic and its future, embodied by the country's lively energetic youth

Grape Season and Turkish Wine Tasting

Grape Season and Turkish Wine Tasting

August–October • food

Istanbul offers all the pearls of the Turkish millennial wine industry, including world-known sorts and local exclusives.

National Sovereignty and Children’s Day

National Sovereignty and Children’s Day

April 23 • event

For one day a year, kids are allowed to sit in parliament and rule the Turkish Republic

Last updated:
jan
6.9
feb
7.1
mar
7.3
apr
8.1
may
8.7
jun
8.4
jul
7.6
aug
7.1
sep
8.1
oct
8.6
nov
8
dec
7.2

Istanbul weather in January

6.9/10 score
Good
8° average
average temperatures
11 mm
precipitation
6h 24m
daylight duration
Istanbul in January demonstrates the days at their shortest and the temperatures at their coldest, which makes the hit of the winter a reasonably cheesy time to visit the city. The average temperatures are cold in the middle of the day, and they are even cooler overnight. January brings gloomy weather, at least four snow days, and half of the month of rain. Downpours are ultimately longstanding, however, not that hefty. After all, if you chose January to be your right time for a trip to Istanbul, make sure you pack warm clothes like sweaters, coat, scarf, hat, and gloves along with waterproof boots and warm socks. Fair heat breaks no bones!

Istanbul weather in February

7.1/10 score
Very good
8° average
average temperatures
10 mm
precipitation
6h 24m
daylight duration
Like January, February in Istanbul offers cold throughout a day and freezing cold at night. You'll face slightly fewer downpours, still, it will be quite wet for most of the time. As the spring approaches, the days are getting longer by the end of February with around seven sunshine hours. This month sees mostly foggy mornings and approximately five snow days each year. Temperatures in February usually drop below zero, and you might witness few inches of snow on the ground. Being challenging to forecast, the lake-effect snow from the Black Sea is not uncommon throughout this month. To ease you a packing process to Istanbul in February, the main thing will be about stocking up with clothes for cold weather such as warm and waterproof coat and shoes as well as a favorite hat, scarf, and gloves to protect you from the freezing cold and wind.

Istanbul weather in March

7.3/10 score
Very good
10° average
average temperatures
10 mm
precipitation
6h 24m
daylight duration
Even though it can be cold and wet outside in March, temperatures in Istanbul gradually rise during this period. The days are longer and brighter as the spring kicks off, and the closer to the end of the month we move, and warmer and drier it gets. The skies are mostly cloudy, and rainfalls still can occur in March. However, the snow can hardly ever happen in Istanbul throughout a month, as the temperatures rarely drop below freezing. During your visit to Istanbul in March, you will probably need a raingear along with warm waterproof boots. The good news is that you are unlikely to have to wrap yourself up a lot. However, it won't be enough to pack your favorite warm hoody along with a scarf and a hat.

Istanbul weather in April

8.1/10 score
Excellent
14° average
average temperatures
8 mm
precipitation
6h 24m
daylight duration
The days get longer and warmer as April digs in, with the city being at its prettiest while swimming in these stunning flowers blooming. However, Istanbul can also be a bit windy and wet throughout April. Typically, the temperatures are pleasant and mild during the day and dropping as the sun goes down. Infrequent showers are expected for several times in the month. Moreover, the sun is too low in April, accompanied by haze. That's the reason why Istanbul suffers from the lack of bright sunshine in April. A pair of waterproof shoes and a light rain poncho will be your right companions and will protect you from getting wet. Another advice is to bring a warm sweatshirt with you for a comforting evening.

Istanbul weather in May

8.7/10 score
Excellent
19° average
average temperatures
9 mm
precipitation
6h 24m
daylight duration
Summery May is here to welcome you with relatively dry weather and gradually rising temperatures of Istanbul. Although the bright sunshine is absent throughout a month, a decrease in rainfall will definitely cheer you up, and you might even have a rare chance to sunbathe. Even though the morning can be a little foggy and periodic downpours might also happen, they will hardly affect your trip being sharp and short. May is high time to pack sunglasses for your trip to Istanbul, not to mention sunscreen and light clothing. However, a few layers to shed yourself won't hurt. And it is obviously a bliss to have a warm jumper for cooler evenings.

Istanbul weather in June

8.4/10 score
Excellent
24° average
average temperatures
9 mm
precipitation
6h 24m
daylight duration
As the start of summer, June brings hotter, drier, and, of course, longer days to Istanbul. The rainfall is occasional and short-lived throughout a month, which makes it a fantastic time to visit the city. The days are mostly bright and full of sunshine Afternoons can be rather hot, and the nights are mild. The air temperatures are rising day after day, and the sea temperatures also begin to increase. As the weather reminds more cloud nine, all you'll need to pack summery breathable clothes in light colors along with a hat to keep the sun off your face. Comfortable shoes or sandals will be a good idea for both men and women.

Istanbul weather in July

7.6/10 score
Very good
26° average
average temperatures
8 mm
precipitation
6h 24m
daylight duration
Taking its position in the middle of the summer, July announces the long days of sweltering heat and clear skies in Istanbul. The sea is warm enough to swim, and the sun is pleasant enough to sunbathe. It is humid and dry for most of the time. However, the word drought isn't entirely suitable for Istanbul. Even though the chance of rain is low, the occasional sharp showers might sometimes happen, especially in the northern parts of the city. The overnight temperatures remain pleasant for the night walk. Just two words: lightweight clothes. This is what you need the most during your trip to Istanbul in July. Another good idea will be to pack comfortable sandals along with sunglasses, sunscreen, and a wide-brimmed hat.

Istanbul weather in August

7.1/10 score
Very good
27° average
average temperatures
9 mm
precipitation
6h 24m
daylight duration
Relatively warm at night, extremely hot throughout the day—that's how the August in Istanbul can be characterized in few words. The weather is sunny and dry. The temperature never drops during this time, and you'll have a lot of sunshine hours mixed with pleasant cool breezes to cheer you up during your trip. The probability of rain is the lowest throughout the month. However, the northern regions can be much wetter. While packing for a trip to Istanbul in August, check if you took breathable, lightweight clothes and a pair of comfortable sandals or shoes. Other essentials are a pair of sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat to cover you from the sun.

Istanbul weather in September

8.1/10 score
Excellent
24° average
average temperatures
10 mm
precipitation
6h 24m
daylight duration
September puts an end to the summer in Istanbul. At the start of the month, the weather remains hot and dry, but the closer it moves to October, the more rapidly temperatures drop. The chance of the rainfall, along with the cold fall breeze, is high, so it feels much more refreshing. But even though the days are getting shorter, you will still are in for a great deal of sunshine. You can fully enjoy the pleasant temperatures throughout a day, but you'd better carry a light jumper overnight. Packing light raingear, along with the summer essentials like light clothes, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat, will be your best option. Comfortable sandals or shoes are more than desirable.

Istanbul weather in October

8.6/10 score
Excellent
17° average
average temperatures
10 mm
precipitation
6h 24m
daylight duration
Even though the weather in Istanbul can be generally warm and pleasant throughout October, mind that the fall has come, so the temperatures can fall dramatically at any moment by the end of the month. This is when the heavy ongoing rainfall arrives in Istanbul, accompanied by significant humidity. In October, the days get considerably shorter, and the temperatures at night might be much cooler. So if you are planning to visit Istanbul in October, don't forget to throw warm clothes into your suitcase. It's also a good idea to have rain gear and waterproof shoes with you.

Istanbul weather in November

8/10 score
Excellent
14° average
average temperatures
10 mm
precipitation
6h 24m
daylight duration
Marking the end of the fall in Istanbul, November demonstrates much colder and wetter weather. The start of the month boasts with warmth and sunny days. However, the days get much shorter, and the temperature drops to the low by the end of the month. The closer it gets to winter, the more the level of precipitation increases. And most of the time, the showers are prolonged and hefty. It is slightly warmer in the south of the city, but cooler and wetter in the northern parts. It's never a bad option to dress in layers if you chose November for a trip to Istanbul. Waterproof poncho and shoes will also be your friends if you'll let them.

Istanbul weather in December

7.2/10 score
Very good
9° average
average temperatures
11 mm
precipitation
6h 24m
daylight duration
December usually brings shorter days and high humidity to Istanbul. Moreover, the beginning of winter is inseparable with cold and foggy weather. The parts of the city which are further from the sea experience see a more substantial drop in temperature overnight. Generally, it's not a big surprise if the temperatures fall below freezing, and a few inches of snow will appear on the ground. Along with the rare snow, expect about half of a month of rainfall, which is usually sprinkling but longstanding. During your trip to Istanbul in December, you will obviously need a pair of waterproof shoes as well as a warm raincoat. Wrapping up in layers doesn't sound like a bad idea at all. Pack a hat, scarf, and gloves to feel comfortable.