Best Time To Visit Turkey

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What is the best time to visit Turkey?

The best time to visit Turkey is April, May and September, October which as the temperature is warm and conducive to explore the ancient sites. However, Turkey is considered a year-round destination and the best time to visit depends on the places you wish to visit and the activities you want to indulge in. April and May (spring season) is the best time for outdoor activities like trekking and cycling or exploring the archaeological sites. June through September are typically hot and dry with temperatures being particularly high making it great for island hoppers and beach lovers. 

From late October,
the weather starts to cool off a bit. From November to March, the weather starts to get cold predominantly in interior areas of Cappadocia where the temperature drops to below 0°C. Winters can, however, be the best time to traverse the sites as they are less busy at this time of the year. 

The Aegean and Mediterranean coasts of Turkey have a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers.

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Seasons in Turkey

Turkey in High Season/Peak Season
The peak seasons to visit Turkey are Spring and Fall when the skies are almost clear, and the sun is warm. Mid-June through mid-September attracts a lot of crowd because of the moderate temperature and picturesque surroundings. Some rain can be expected during this time. The vibrant atmosphere and friendly people would unquestionably overwhelm your senses, but the exorbitantly high prices of hotels and other lodging options must also be considered when visiting during the peak season.

Turkey in Low Season
Winter months are very harsh in Turkey and hence only draw people who can brave the chilly weather. November through March remains cold although December through February are the coldest months with the temperature dropping as low as 8°C. But, lesser crowds means you have a better chance of sightseeing, drinking lots of pomegranate juice and unwinding in the Hamam. The south coast is, however, warmer and is comparatively peaceful than the summer months.

Turkey in Shoulder Season
The shoulder season in Turkey is between April to May and September to October. The weather is pleasantly warm and therefore is the ideal time to enjoy the spring festivals, hang out with the locals, learn to cook traditional food and have a better understanding of their culture. The hotel tariffs might not be as high as the peak season, but they are not cheap.

Turkey Spring Season (April - May)

Turkey Weather in Spring
April and May are the months when spring brings with itself moderate temperature and an abundance of blossom and wildflowers and hence considered as the best time to visit Turkey. If walking around the significant ancient and medieval sites in Istanbul is on your itinerary, then it is a perfect time to visit the country. Apart from the temperature which makes Turkey the ideal time to visit, April and May are also peak seasons for Tulips. Gardens and parks of Istanbul are filled with vibrant colours and attract people from far and wide. Being the most excellent time of the year to visit the country, hotels are pretty expensive for places like Cappadocia and Istanbul. However, hikers and cyclists would be pleased with the weather finally starting to look up especially on the southern coastlines. There’s a very high chance of spotting dolphins in these months heading northwest approaching the Black Sea.

Festivals and Events during the Spring Season
  • Istanbul Film Festival – This 10-day long Film Festival originated in the year 1982 and celebrates the best of films all over the world. Awards are presented to documentaries produced in Turkey. This is the largest film festival organised in April every year in the country with over two hundred titles appearing for the event.
  • Hidrellez Festival – The Hidrellez Festival celebrates the beginning of spring on the 5th and 6th of May. The lively festival includes performances by several traditional gipsy bands.

Summer in Turkey (June to August)

Turkey Weather in Summer
June, July and August are typically hot summer months, ideal for unwinding by the delightful Turquoise Coast and enjoying swimming in the Mediterranean. Cappadocia tends to be pretty quiet during these months and remains carpeted with beautiful wildflowers blooming throughout which makes it an excellent time to hike. The high temperatures, however, can make exploring the ancient heritage of the country a bit uncomfortable. The temperature reaches up to the maximum of 40 deg C in Istanbul and areas around it while the temperature in the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts is around 48 deg C. The summer months are also the peak seasons for cruises which make ancients sites like Ephesus and coastal resorts rather busy. Ramadan would take place in May and June in 2019, so you might want to consider that when travelling.

Festivals and Events in the Summer Season
  • Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival – Situated within the picturesque Aspendos Roman theatre, the International Opera and Ballet Festival hosts a plethora of performances by international opera and ballet companies in June and July.
  • Ramadan – Turkey being a predominantly Muslim country observes the Islamic Holy month of Ramadan. People fast for 30 days during the day, and in the evenings, there’s a carnival-like atmosphere when people gather together to break their fast and eat and drink together merrily.

Turkey in Autumn (September - October)

Weather in Turkey in autumn promises warm temperatures and blue skies though days start to get shorter. The beginning of September might still be hot, but it does start to get colder from mid-September although land and sea temperatures remain warm. This creates conditions which are similar to the months of spring but with shorter days. Autumn is a great time to explore the ancient sites, cities and the turquoise coast, as the crowds are fewer and the prices are lower. Prices for boutique hotels in Cappadocia and Istanbul remain high. Republic Day – Republic day is celebrated on 29th October across the country. Firework displays and several art events are organised in Istanbul.
International Wine Festival – The wine festival is held in Cappadocia annually towards the end of October where people get to taste wine from the local vineyards.

Winter in Turkey (January - March)

Turkey Weather in Winter
The months of November and December are chilly throughout except for the southeast that remains comparatively warm. Temperatures in Cappadocia and Konya can be cold, and snow is widespread in these places creating scenic splendour. Istanbul, however, remains rather quiet at this time of the year making it an excellent time to visit if you won’t mind the occasional rain and cold temperatures. The temperature in and around the areas of Istanbul varies from below freezing in mid winters while mountainous Eastern Turkey experiences temperature as low as -43 deg C. The Central Anatolia also sees extreme lows of -25 deg C. The beaches usually lack any activity and visitors during the time, thus the accommodation prices are lower.

January, February and March are relatively chilly in Turkey. Snow isn’t uncommon in January or even February. Central and eastern areas like Anatolia and Cappadocia remain covered in snow with freezing temperatures. The temperature starts to warm up a bit by late March. The cold months mean comparatively less crowd, and so you have a better chance to explore all the sites that this beautiful country has to offer pretty much on your own. Mevlana and Whirling Dervish Festival – This is a 10-day event organised annually in Konya and celebrates Rumi with many ceremonies and activities that are held in outdoor locations all around the city.

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