Best time to visit Turkey

+129
Turkey

Best time of year to visit Turkey

For some travelers, the best time to visit Turkey is early summer in May–June when you can enjoy a beach vacation with smaller tourist crowds, or go trekking. This time usually is about Ramadan celebrations, so you can learn more about Muslim traditions. July and August might be too hot and too crowded. September is also great as it’s still warm enough for a seaside and cool enough for exploring the cities. Others prefer early winter, namely December—no heat, fewer tourists, and great traditional hamams. This season is also good for watching whirling dervishes at the Mevlana Festival and attending the camel wrestling events with famous camel sausages on sale.

16 THINGS TO DO IN TURKEY (DECEMBER 09 - DECEMBER 18)

Whirling Dervishes at Mevlana Festival

Whirling Dervishes at Mevlana Festival

early December–December 17 • event

Though ecstatic whirling ceremonies might be experienced in many cities of Turkey, the rite's birthplace city of Konya is unmissable one

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

Camel Wrestling

Camel Wrestling

late December–late March | 2nd or 3rd Sunday of January (Selçuk) • event

Two boys fighting for a girl—that old scenario works in animal world too,—it's enough to parade a cow in front of two bulls and recently calm camels are already determined enemies

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!

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

Wild Strawberries (Koca Yemiş)

Wild Strawberries (Koca Yemiş)

November–December • food

Unlike usual strawberry, this rare type grows only in the mountains, on a strawberry tree

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

Skiing Season

Skiing Season

December–April | late January–early March (heliskiing) • activity

Turkey is not one of world's top skiing destination, yet it has a dozen of decent resorts and even heli-skiing available

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

Camel Sausages

Camel Sausages

late November–March • food

Camel wrestling festivals cannot do without the stalls lavished with Turkish "deve sucuk"—actually, this snack is mostly eaten during the camel wrestling season

Ayva (Quince) Season

Ayva (Quince) Season

October–December • food

A fruit that is believed to have originated in Anatolia comes in lots of varieties and boasts a wide use in Turkish cuisine

Balıklı Göl (Abraham Pool)

Balıklı Göl (Abraham Pool)

mid-September–April • activity

A sacred pool of fish with a biblical history

Wolves and Other Wild Animals

Wolves and Other Wild Animals

December–February • nature

Wild animals could still be observed at some of Cappadoccia's valleys

Persimmon Season

Persimmon Season

November–February • food

In Turkey, it's hurma or "cennet hurması" meaning "paradise fruit"—perhaps, we have confused the true forbidden fruit?

35 THINGS TO DO OUT OF SELECTED DATE RANGE

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

Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival

Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival

September 05–12, 2020 • event

A unique occasion to enjoy world's best classic repertoire in likewise best-preserved ancient amphitheatre

Cappadocia Ultra Trail

Cappadocia Ultra Trail

October 17–18, 2020 • event

Join for the three different races organized in a UNESCO heritage site of Cappadocia!

Cycling

Cycling

April–November • activity

Discover Cappadocia's lush valleys while cycling on two wheels

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey

2021 (TBA) • event

Thousands arrive in Turkey especially to witness professional competition and the rest of the world follow the race on popular sport channels

Pamukkale (Hierapolis) Thermal Pools

Pamukkale (Hierapolis) Thermal Pools

April–mid-June • nature

Charming and relaxing. Cotton castle welcomes everyone to enjoy bathing in its stunning pools

Spring Flowers in Goreme

Spring Flowers in Goreme

April–June • nature

Visit town of Goreme in spring to see the multitude of colours and feel the amazing flower scents

Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling

Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling

June 29–July 05, 2020 • event

The world's longest-running sport besides the Olympics was initiated by Ottoman warriors who once started a wrestle in a camp just out of boredom but took it too seriously to give in and fought to death

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

Turkish Sticky Ice Cream (Dondurma)

Turkish Sticky Ice Cream (Dondurma)

May–September • food

A Turkish ice-cream man is a kind of a troll—you'll be involved in a lasting trick show until he finally hands you the treat

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

Cappadox Festival

Cappadox Festival

June 2020 TBA • event

The celebration of music, arts, gastronomy, and outdoor activities in the beautiful setting will capture all your senses

Kurban Bayramı or Feast of the Sacrifice

Kurban Bayramı or Feast of the Sacrifice

July 31–August 03, 2020 • event

Tables will bend under the weight of meat dishes during the four festive days

Dried Apricots

Dried Apricots

June–August • food

Turkey is known to be one of the biggest exporters of dried fruit. Cappadocia is one of the largest regions that produce sun-dried apricots in a unique​ way

Cold Ayran on a Hot Day

Cold Ayran on a Hot Day

April–October • food

If you are hot and bored, Ayran will help

Beach Season (Aegean & Mediterranean Coasts)

Beach Season (Aegean & Mediterranean Coasts)

May–October • activity

In Turkey's southern coastline summer arrives earlier than in its northern counterpart and leaves later as well, so you have a plenty of time to enjoy the extended beach season

Grape Harvest

Grape Harvest

mid-August–late October • food

Cappadocia is known as one of the oldest and the best wine centers in Turkey

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

Trekking & Hiking

Trekking & Hiking

April–June | October • activity

From the Black Sea coast up and across Taurus mountains, then down through to Anatolian plateau and again up to Kaçkar range, and down to the Mediterranean coast—Turkey is a great area for hiking

Aşure or Noah’s Pudding

Aşure or Noah’s Pudding

August 30, 2020 • food

On the tenth day of Muharram, every Turkish household is preoccupied with cooking Aşure,—imitating the dish the very Noah once cooked in his ark at the Mount of Ararat

Raisins

Raisins

October • food

Try delicious sun-dried raisins—a true specialty of Cappadocia

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.

Fresh Figs

Fresh Figs

May–September • food

Local produce must be enough to feed half of the world if not less, as Turkey is renowned as the world's largest producer of figs

Paragliding

Paragliding

April–October • activity

Turkey's beautiful landscapes are even better when viewed from above

Cornelian Cherry (Kizilcik)

Cornelian Cherry (Kizilcik)

August–September • food

Locals name this fake cherry "kizilcik" or more mystically "Şeytan aldatan ağaci"—the tree that deceived Satan

Kiteboarding

Kiteboarding

mid-April–mid-October • activity

Pure waters and perfect winds make Turkish beaches a great kiting destination

Beach Season (Black Sea)

Beach Season (Black Sea)

June–August • activity

Common chill and rain are replaced with semi-tropical heat during summer months making for a perfect beach holiday

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.

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

April–May • nature

If you travel around Turkey in spring, prepare for lots of forced stops, flowered landscapes are too captivating not to take a few snapshots

Ramadan (Ramazan)

Ramadan (Ramazan)

April 24–May 23, 2020 • activity

Ramadan drummers traditionally wake up the neighborhood at dawn for an early meal, and the next meal is to happen only after sunset

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.

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

Birdwatching

Birdwatching

April–November • activity

Turkey lies on a migration route of many birds making their journey between Europe and Africa. Amazing birds complete unique Cappadocian​ landscape with their colour and beauty

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

Turkey weather in January

6.9/10 score
Good
8° average
average temperatures
11 mm
precipitation
6h 24m
daylight duration
In January, the weather depends substantially on the region. In the area of the Black Sea and Istanbul, January is chilly and wet. During the day, the temperature may rise to 9°C (48°F), but it drops if the wind blows from the Balkans or the north. Days are foggy and rainy, with two hours of sunshine and snow falling occasionally. Moving from the Black Sea area to the south along the coastline, the weather gets milder. Generally, mornings are cold, but, at noon, the temperature reaches over 15°C (59°F). Make sure to carry an umbrella as it might rain. In the inland areas, temperatures are lower, and winter feels more distinctively. Snow doesn’t melt immediately, and if you go to the mountains, you can ski or snowboard. But beware of the Eastern Anatolia Region, where freezing -20°C (-4°F) are not that rare.

Turkey weather in February

7.1/10 score
Very good
8° average
average temperatures
10 mm
precipitation
6h 24m
daylight duration
The cloudy sky brings continuous rains and snowfalls in Istanbul. Although the temperature is not that low, it’s pretty damp, windy, and nasty outside. Thus, February is not the best time for sightseeing in the city. The same is fair for Ankara. The city would welcome you with snow and freezing wind, especially when it blows from Russia. Being in these areas, put on your warmest apparel. On the contrary, the west and south cities such as Izmir and Antalya indulge visitors with sunshine and a cozy warmth. You don’t need more than a jacket or sweater to feel comfy.

Turkey weather in March

7.3/10 score
Very good
10° average
average temperatures
10 mm
precipitation
6h 24m
daylight duration
In March, the temperature starts rising throughout the country. Mornings in Istanbul are still chilly, but during the day, the weather becomes milder and sunnier. It is difficult to avoid rain showers, so carrying an umbrella won’t be excessive. The weather in the areas of the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas is sunny, and you can easily spend an entire day outside. It’s not that warm, though, and don’t be misled by the sunshine. Meanwhile, Central Anatolia, including Ankara, still lives in the conditions of winter, with the grey sky and low temperatures.

Turkey weather in April

8.1/10 score
Excellent
14° average
average temperatures
8 mm
precipitation
6h 24m
daylight duration
The area to see pure spring in Turkey is along the Black Sea coast and in Istanbul. Here, mornings and evenings are fresh, but, generally, the weather gets better. It’s not that cloudy, and the showers are rare, so April is a good time to stop by Istanbul if you want to discover the city not too crowded by tourists. The weather in the west and south gradually approaches summer. No clouds interrupt the sunshine, and you’ll need a jacket only for the evening walks. It’s not the time for sunbathing, but the sea warms up daily and gets ready for the upcoming beach season. On the plateau, April is sunny, yet fresh: the sky is clear, but the temperature is relatively low. So, no walking in a T-shirt yet.

Turkey weather in May

8.7/10 score
Excellent
19° average
average temperatures
9 mm
precipitation
6h 24m
daylight duration
Late spring in Istanbul brings sunny days and fresh breeze from the sea. The weather is alike in Ankara: the temperature rises to 18-20°C (65-68°F), and rains are doubtful to bother you. Hence, spending the whole day outside could be your choice. Cities on the coast of the Aegean and the Mediterranean Seas offer even more pleasing conditions. The sun usually shines all day long, the temperature increases gradually, but it’s not hot yet. And the crucial point is that the sea is warm enough for swimming. Officially, the beach season is open. The only territory where the weather is not perfect yet is in the eastern plateau.

Turkey weather in June

8.4/10 score
Excellent
24° average
average temperatures
9 mm
precipitation
6h 24m
daylight duration
In June, it’s an ideal time for visiting Turkey, regardless of the region. Days are sunny and warm, yet not sizzling, and precipitation levels are low. The water is heated in all the seas washing the coasts of the country. The Mediterranean Sea is the one warming up first, but the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara are also warm enough for swimming. The coolest one is the Black Sea. Besides, the surrounding area experiences rains that might last for several days. Also, in Istanbul, a brief thunderstorm may interrupt your walk. In Ankara, the weather is dry, and you could feel the heat approaching. Still bearable for tourist activities, the heat drops abruptly by dusk, and nights might even seem cold.

Turkey weather in July

7.6/10 score
Very good
26° average
average temperatures
8 mm
precipitation
6h 24m
daylight duration
The heat rises. In Istanbul, it gets hotter and drier; the temperature reaches up to 25°C (77°F), and clear sky promises no rains. The further south you move, the hotter it becomes. In Antalya or Alanya, the top locations for the beach holidays, thermometers may show up to 35°C (95°F), and the sea is 28°C (83°F). Although staying on the beach all day long is tempting, you’d better make a several-hour break around noon. Let the heat decrease and make sure you protect your skin properly and stay hydrated. By the Black Sea, there might be several rainy days, but on the rest of the coastline, you’re doubtful to need an umbrella. On the contrary, Ankara gets way too dry and too hot for sightseeing, and during the day, you’d better find a shelter to stay indoors.

Turkey weather in August

7.1/10 score
Very good
27° average
average temperatures
9 mm
precipitation
6h 24m
daylight duration
In August, the heat reaches its peak and becomes tiring. In the southern area, it could be uncomfortable to stay outside in the middle of the day, and the best choice is to take a nap at home or to hide in air-conditioned spaces. In the evening, the heat decreases, but you would feel it during the night too. For sunbathing and swimming, choose morning hours when the sun is not too bright. Anyway, don’t forget about sunscreen and hats when being under the direct sun rays. At the same time, the weather conditions are more favorable near the Black Sea: the water is suitable for swimming, but the heat is not that devastating. Central Turkey also goes through the hot days with temperatures up to 33°C (91°F). By dusk, the heat decreases, and it could get fresh enough for you to put on a light jacket. And beware of occasional thunderstorms.

Turkey weather in September

8.1/10 score
Excellent
24° average
average temperatures
10 mm
precipitation
6h 24m
daylight duration
September brings a perfect combination of warm sea and tolerable heat, which makes it the most popular month for beach vacations. In Turkey, it’s the best time for swimming and sunbathing along the coastline. However, the areas of the Black Sea and Istanbul are colder, more cloudy and occasional rain showers might intervene with your plans. Mild weather offers sightseeing and hiking as alternatives to sunbathing. September is an excellent time to explore central Turkey and to visit the mountain areas along with the eastern-most regions.

Turkey weather in October

8.6/10 score
Excellent
17° average
average temperatures
10 mm
precipitation
6h 24m
daylight duration
October marks the transition to winter. If you visit Istanbul, most likely, it’s raining there, the temperature is around 16°C (61°F), the entire city is foggy, and the sky is cloudy. The weather is unstable, and the sun interrupts gloomy days occasionally. Such conditions are still bearable for a visit, but you should better plan for some indoor activities. In some years, it could be warm and sunny, though. You’ll feel how the air in Ankara got colder, and further east, it gets even more chilly. Meanwhile, the south endures the last days of summer with 25°C (77°F) on the thermometer and cloudless sky. If you prefer refreshing swim to a lazy splashing in the waves, October allows you to close the season.

Turkey weather in November

8/10 score
Excellent
14° average
average temperatures
10 mm
precipitation
6h 24m
daylight duration
The temperature keeps on dropping. The western and southern coastal areas enter the mild autumn, with comfortably fresh mornings and still warm days. Humidity rises, and the chances for rain grow even in the south that was dry throughout summer. Istanbul and the Black Sea region have worse conditions than the rest of the coastline; here, rains are more often, fog covers the area, and the wind is chilly. Spending time here, you’d need warm clothes and a raincoat or an umbrella. The weather is even worse in central Turkey and, especially in the east. In some areas, snow falls occasionally.

Turkey weather in December

7.2/10 score
Very good
9° average
average temperatures
11 mm
precipitation
6h 24m
daylight duration
In Istanbul and the north, the weather worsens compared to November. You can still explore the area, but only appropriately dressed and ready for continuous rains. In Ankara, the conditions are unsuitable for outdoor activities too. Here, the temperature decreases and swings, and you’d need a shelter to hide from snowfalls. In the east, it’s already harsh winter, with snowdrifts and freezing wind. Meanwhile, the beginning of winter in the west and south coastline is mild. The sky is cloudy, but the sun is not rare; mornings and evenings are fresh, but the days are warm enough for walking. Occasionally it rains, but briefly.