What is the best time to visit Istanbul?

March to May and September to November are considered the best times to visit Istanbul. The Turkish city experiences spring in the former months and autumn in the latter. A patch of blue sky will follow you everywhere if you’re vacationing in either of the two seasons. During these seasons, the city is blessed with a spell of good weather. The climate in Istanbul is by and large a juxtaposition of oceanic, humid subtropical and Mediterranean. There are three different climate zones in the city, owing to its large size. That being said, Istanbul encounters four distinct seasons, namely the autumn season from September to November, the winter season from December to February, the spring season from March to May and finally the summer season from June to August. July is the hottest month in the year, while December is considered as the wettest period. Thunderstorms in the summer are usually followed by drizzling. The light spells of rain will certainly not derail your travel plans.

Weather in Istanbul

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Upcoming Istanbul Weather




Monthly Weather in Istanbul

Month Avg. Minimum (°C) Avg. Maximum (°C)
January 1 6
February 4 10
March 6 13
April 7 17
May 13 21
June 17 25
July 21 29
August 22 29
September 18 26
October 13 20
November 9 15
December 2 7

Istanbul in High Season / Peak Season

Istanbul experiences high season in the month of May (spring) and September (autumn). During this period, the weather is pleasant, and the humidity is bearable. It is the best time for sightseeing, visiting beaches like True Blue and enjoying a Bosphorus cruise. If you plan to visit Istanbul in late May, which is the peak tourist month, make sure to pre-book your flights and hotels. Also, be prepared to meet queues outside popular tourist attractions and bazaars packed to the brim.

Istanbul in Shoulder Season

The shoulder season in Istanbul falls in March-April (spring) and October-November (autumn). The tulips are in full bloom by the month of April, and the weather starts to get a bit warmer. However, from October onwards, there is a nip in the air. Just to be clear, you will not find deserted beaches and cafes in the shoulder season. The tourist footfall is slightly lesser during this time as compared to peak season. You can expect short or no queues outside cafes. It would be best if you ideally visited an attraction early in the morning to avoid crowds. Make the most of your time by attending a concert or a festival. Those who are travelling on a budget should aim to visit Istanbul during the shoulder season. You will be able to snag flight seats and hotel rooms at much cheaper rates.

Istanbul in Off Season

December to February (winter) and June to August (summer) are offseasons in Istanbul. The city experiences a cold, damp winter and a sweltering, humid summer. If you’re someone who fawns over off-season discounts and enjoys their peaceful getaway to a relatively uninhabited destination, an Istanbul trip in the offseason is tailor-made for you. Just make sure to carry sunblock if you’re travelling the summer and pack your rain gear if you’re travelling in the winter. Do not step out of your hotel in the winter without a raincoat since rainfall is unpredictable in the winter season. Check the weather online before planning your day. You will score the best flight and accommodation deals in the offseason.

Istanbul in January

The weather in Istanbul in January is cold and wet. The daily temperature range falls between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius. If you’re staying in the part of the city that is far away from the sea, the chances are that you will experience colder nights with temperatures sometimes dropping below 4 degrees Celsius. You may even get snowed in. You will only receive 3 hours worth of sunshine daily this month. The skies are typically overcast, and light showers are common phenomena. Make sure to check the weather forecast before planning any outdoor activities. Istanbul kicks off the New Year on the 1st of January with spectacular firework displays and restaurants offering great deals and discounts.

Istanbul in February

Weather
The daily temperature range in February falls between 3 and 8 degrees Celsius. The weather continues to be bitterly cold. It is common for temperatures to drop below freezing in the night — this month experiences around 4 to 5 snow days. The mornings are typically foggy, and the visibility is low. If you’re not an experienced driver, avoid taking your car out in the morning. On good days, you will be treated to clear skies with patches of sunshine.

Events & Festivals in February
Istanbul Social Dance Festival is a 3-day event that is held on the 1st of February. If you’re a dance enthusiast, this is not something you should miss. Bachata, Kizomba and Salsa workshops are conducted for both kids and adults by world-renowned instructors. Istanbul Independent Film Festival is held in Istanbul for ten days, starting from February 15. Several notable films are screened across movie halls in the city.

Istanbul in March

Weather
March signals the end of a bitter winter and the birth of spring. The daily temperature range in this month falls between 5 and 11 degrees Celsius. There’s still a nip in the air, but the weather slowly and consistently begins to warm up. The days start to get longer and the nights become shorter. By the end of March, the cold winds completely subside. Brief spells of rain are not uncommon during this month.

Events & Festivals in March
TanGO TO Istanbul is a four-day dancing festival held from March 6 to March 10. The event draws dance lovers from far and wide. The Eurasia Lift Fair, held from March 20 to March 23, has all the stakeholders of the Turkish elevator industry in full attendance. This event coincides with IDMA Istanbul, an exhibit which showcases tech products invented by Istanbul entrepreneurs.

Istanbul in April

Weather
The spring season in April is accompanied by warmer, longer days. The drop in the night temperature is not as significant as it was in March. The daily temperature range in this month falls between 8 and 16 degrees Celsius. The parts of the city closer to the coast experience warmer weather as compared to the parts inland. However, Istanbul continues to experience wet and windy weather. It receives 9 hours of sunshine daily, making April a suitable time for pursuing water sports and sightseeing.

Events & Festivals in April
Istanbul Film Festival, an 11-day international film festival kicking off on the 6th of April, brings celebrities, filmmakers and artists from across the world to Istanbul. It offers people a chance to see art-house movies featuring the city, directorial and acting debuts by local talent, as well as movies from around the world. The city witnesses a riot of colours during Istanbul Tulip Festival, which is celebrated throughout April, more specifically the last three weeks. To get a glimpse of tulips in full bloom, you should visit Yildiz Park, Emirgan Park and Gulhane. April 21 is a public holiday on account of Easter Sunday (Western). All government offices remain closed on this day. TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup, the biggest international tennis tournament, is held from April 22 to April 28. National Sovereignty and Children’s Day is celebrated all over Istanbul on the 23rd of April. The festival dedicates the birth of the Turkish Republic to the native kids. April 28 is a public holiday on account of Easter Sunday (Orthodox).

Istanbul in May

Weather
May marks the near-end of the spring season. The day temperatures begin to rise, and the weather is warmer than usual. The daily temperature range in May falls between 12 and 20 degrees Celsius. If you want to sunbathe on the beach, now would be an ideal time. Since it is the peak tourist month, you should plan your visit to the beach in the early morning to avoid the afternoon crowd. The evenings are pleasant and the nights are cooler. The skies are clear and sunny. You will receive around 9 hours of sunshine daily during this month. Istanbul only receives 40 mm of rainfall in May. It usually drizzles in the night for an extremely short while.

Events & Festivals in May
International Theatre Festival is an annual event held in the second week of May. It usually stretches until the second week of June. You have a chance of witnessing both domestic and international theatrical events. The entry is often free in the theatre workshops that they conduct in liaison with the event. Conquest Celebrations is another annual festival that falls on May 26 - May 31. Make sure to catch the light and laser show on Golden Horn. This festival commemorates the capture of Constantinople. Marching bands and military marches are other distinct features of the event. There’s something for music fans too. Istanbul hosts an International Music Festival from May 29 - June 21. The festival has witnessed performances by some of the most celebrated world artists in the past. May 1 is a public holiday on account of Labor Day. All government institutions remain closed on this day. Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, falls on the 5th of May. Atatürk Commemoration and Youth Day, held on May 19 every year, features citywide sports events.

Istanbul in June

Weather
June marks the onset of the summer season in Istanbul. The city receives little to no rainfall in this month. Thunderstorms are known to occur infrequently in some parts of the region. The daily temperature range in June falls between 17 and 26 degrees Celsius. The weather is hot, dry, and severely humid. The city receives 11 hours of daily sunshine. Reapply sunblock after every few hours to prevent your skin from being burnt. The weather is conducive for fishing and other outdoor activities.

Events & Festivals in June
Cappadox, the international 6-day music and cultural festival, is held in mid-June every year. The event invites globally renowned musicians and artists. This event coincides with the two-week International Jazz Festival, which takes place around late June. The festival hosts jazz and blues artists from all over the world. Past performers include Alicia Keys and Paul Simon. Istanbul also hosts its very own music festival throughout June. It is a month-long event which draws tourists from far and wide.

Istanbul in July

Weather
July is the hottest month of the year in Istanbul. The daily temperature range in this month falls between 19 and 28 degrees Celsius. The city receives approximately 12 hours of daily sunshine. The humidity levels are at an all-time high too. Make sure to keep yourself hydrated by sipping drinks served by local vendors on the beach.

Events & Festivals in July
Istanbul Shopping Festival is a month-long event which is kicked off on July 1. Several malls across the city host fashion shows and outdoor movie nights encouraging buyers to indulge in retail therapy. July 15 is a public holiday on account of Democracy and National Unity Day. People take to the streets as ceremonies to commemorate the event are hosted on a national level.

Istanbul in August

Weather
The daily temperature range in August falls between 19 and 28 degrees Celsius. The month continues to be hot, dry and humid. Istanbul receives 11 hours of daily sunshine. This is the peak tourist season. You will come across queues outside popular attractions and eateries. There is a slight drop in the humidity level around this time. The inland parts of the city may experience foggy mornings on rare days.

Events & Festivals in August
August 10 - August 14 are public holidays on account of Sacrifice Feast Days (Kurban Bayrami). It takes place 70 days after Ramadan ends. The four days-long Muslim festivals is celebrated by feasting with family members. August 30 is celebrated as Victory Day in Turkey. All government institutions remain closed on Victory Day.

Istanbul in September

Weather
September marks the beginning of autumn and the end of a hot spell of summer. The daily temperature range in this month falls between 16 and 25 degrees Celsius. The day temperatures begin to drop, and cool winds start blowing in Istanbul. The skies are overcast on some days and clear on others. Foggy and wet mornings are reserved for the northern part of the city. There is a marked increase in the average amount of rainfall this city receives. If you have outdoor activities planned, make sure to carry an umbrella with you at all times.

Events & Festivals in September
Istanbul Biennial -- a world-renowned international contemporary art event -- is held from September 14 - November 10. The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and the Arts has been organising the event since the year 1987. Istanbul hosts a one-day dance festival by the name of Chill Out Festival on the 15th of September that dancing lovers shouldn’t miss out on. Dance music ranges from electronic to pop. Istanbul Music Week, held from September 18 to September 23, celebrates emerging pop musicians from Turkey. During this fest, music performances are conducted across different parts of the city.

Istanbul in October

Weather
The daily temperature range in October falls between 12 and 19 degrees Celsius. The days are wet, and the skies are overcast. Rains are usually accompanied by thunderstorms and a marked rise in humidity. Once the rain ceases, the sun peeks out from behind the clouds. The weather is overall pleasant in this month. Early mornings are foggy, but they will certainly not hinder your travel plans.

Events & Festivals in October
October 28 - 29 are public holidays on account of Republic Day Eve and Republic Day. Republic Day is marked by fireworks, processions, and dance and music performances held across Istanbul.

Istanbul in November

Weather
November marks the near-end of autumn. The days are typically colder and wetter. The evenings are quite chilly. The daily temperature range in this month falls between 9 and 14 degrees Celsius. The days get shorter and the nights become longer. The city receives around 5 hours of daily sunshine. On average, the city receives 100 mm rainfall for 13 days of the month. You can expect a downpour now and then.

Events & Festivals in November
Akbank International Jazz Festival takes place from November 3 - November 19. The tickets are on the cheaper end. The finest international jazz artists gather onstage to show you a great time.

Istanbul in December

Weather
December officially marks the beginning of winters. The daily temperature range in December falls between 6 and 10 degrees Celsius. On average, the city receives 100 mm rainfall for 17 days of the month. It is the wettest month of the year in Istanbul. The daily sunshine duration in this month is estimated to be a little less than 3 hours. There are a few chances of snow. You can make use of this opportunity by going on a ski trip or making snow angels with your kids. Be prepared for all kinds of weather inclemencies and pack accordingly.

Events & Festivals in December
Istanbul Short Film Festival takes place in mid-December every year. Several locally and internationally-acclaimed short films are shown in movie halls across the city. Christmas and New Year’s Eve are celebrated on the 25th of December and the 31st of December respectively. Various restaurants and cruises in Istanbul feature Christmas dinners and special buffets on their menu on the 25th. You can let your hair down on the New Year’s eve by attending the famous Bosphorus cruise party.

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