Best time to visit Istanbul

11 days
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr


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

Salep Drink

December–February • food

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


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

All year • event

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

Pomegranate Fresh Juice

September–February • food

Istanbul is truly the city of pomegranate delight.

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

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


June–August | December–February • activity

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

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

Barbunya (Red Mullet)

October–January • food

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


Bosphorus Cross Continental Swim

July 22, 2018 • event

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


May 16–June 14, 2018 • event

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

Princes’ Islands

April–October • activity

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

Sugar Feast (Ramazan Bayramı)

June 14–17, 2018 • event

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

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


late March–early May • nature

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

Traditional Turkish Puppet Shadow Theater: Karagöz & Hacivat

May 15–June 14, 2018 • event

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

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

April–May • nature

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

Cold Ayran on a Hot Day

April–October • food

If you are hot and bored, Ayran will help

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

early June–mid-September • activity

This strategic waterway divides the continents and links the seas

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.

Cumhuriyet Bayramı or Republic Day

October 28–October 29 • event

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

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

Istanbul Marathon

November 11, 2018 • event

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

İstanbul Film Festival

April 07–17, 2018 • 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

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

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