When to go to Turkey
When to go to Turkey
Our Guide on When to Visit Turkey
Turkey is a country that should be on every traveller’s bucket-list with its impressive mix of cultures as a place where East meets West. The ancient landmarks are fascinating, and the landscapes are incredibly diverse. with everything from beautiful white sandy beaches and hot springs to remarkable rock formations and spectacular mountain ranges. All you need to know is the best time to go!
Turkey sits high enough in the northern hemisphere to experience all four seasons distinctly. Generally speaking, the country is good to visit year-round: city and cultural destinations such as Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus, and Konya will be equally staggering whenever you visit! However, with the summers stiflingly hot (and holiday season in full swing along the coast), and winters often bitterly cold, we would typically encourage our guests to visit in the prime seasons of spring or fall.
The spring months of April and May see balmy temperatures, clear skies, and gorgeous blossoms – this is the ideal time for a full cultural tour of Turkey. Should be prioritizing time on the coast then Fall months of September and October just about get the nod, with residual heat from the summer peak giving that extra boost to sea temperatures and sun-bathing.
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Best time to go to Turkey
Weather patterns do vary, this is just a guide based on historical patterns and data.
April - May
The months of April and May are considered a “shoulder” season which can be an ideal time to visit Turkey. The weather is typically quite pleasant with mild temperatures averaging in the low 70s °F (about 20° C) in Istanbul. While there is a possibility of rain, the month of May sees just over 1.5 “(40mm) on average, typically in the form of occasional light afternoon showers.
Although you won’t be able to avoid the crowds entirely in the capital city as it’s one of the world’s most popular destination, they won’t be at their worst, and in other areas, it’s unlikely to be too busy. Flowers will be starting to bloom across the country, and you may be able to find some discounts on accommodation and airfare too.
Good to Know: If you’re planning to visit the Turquoise Coast, May is your better bet to ensure the water will be warm enough for swimming and that the hotels/resorts will have opened for the season.
June - August
Summer is the high season in Turkey. While it’s not the best time for exploring inland areas due to the stifling heat, it’s perfect for a beach escape in Bodrum. The hot weather (averaging in the low to mid 30s° C) is tempered by the sea breeze along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. This is the time for swimming, with the water warm and rainfall rare. In Istanbul’s trendy village of Bebek in the Bosporus district, evenings are lovely enjoyed in the many outdoor cafes.
As the summer months are the busiest time of year, you’ll want to book your accommodation, airfare and other reservations/tickets well in advance and be prepared to pay the highest prices of the year. If you hope to visit major attractions, aim for early morning hours or late in the day to avoid the longest lines and biggest crowds.
Good to Know: There are some fabulous summer festivals, like the three-week-long International Jazz Festival featuring big-name jazz artists in Istanbul in July. This is also an ideal time for sailing and cruises on the Bosporus.
September - October
In early September, it will still be hot and dry but as the month progresses, the heat will fade with temperatures taking a significant dip. The average afternoon high is quite pleasant at 77°F (25°C) and there is very little rain now, although in late September you may experience some wet weather. The beaches along the Turquoise Coast will be especially enjoyable with the crowds diminishing and the sea still warm. By October, things usually change, with hotels and resorts starting to shut down for the season as the autumn breeze blows in and rain increases, making it feel much cooler.
October can be a great month for hiking and exploring the country’s ancient heritage. While Istanbul is always bustling, waiting in line won’t be nearly as uncomfortable as it is in the summer. You’ll also have a better chance of finding some discounted room rates and airfare.
Good to Know: The Cappadocia region may best be known for its unique rock formations, but it’s also renowned for its picturesque vineyards. September/October is great for wine enthusiasts who can the grape harvest season with its multiple wine events.
November - March
Late fall through winter is generally the low season in Turkey, with snow a possibility in many areas other than the southeast around Antalya. It’s very likely in Cappadocia, particularly in January or February. In Istanbul, temperatures will be at their coldest of the year in January, with highs averaging around 46°F/8°C, dipping to just above freezing at night. This obviously isn’t the best time to visit for a beach getaway, and many of the hotels and resorts will be shut down anyway, but it is ideal for skiing in the mountains at popular places like Kartepe or Erzurum.
For those who want to take in Istanbul’s sights without enduring the long lines and crowds of summer, and don’t mind bundling up, winter can be a great time to come as the city will be at its quietest. It’s also the best period to visit for a more budget-friendly trip, with prices at their lowest of the year.
Good to Know: While Turkey is a Muslim country, there are Christmas markets in Istanbul that reflect its eclectic infusion of cultures, including some selling traditional items like mulled wine along with baklava.
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