May in Turkey: Weather & Events

Last Updated on March 31, 2024

May (Mayıs) is the last month of spring and usually brings perfect weather throughout Turkey, with long sunny days and not much rain. However, it also brings tourists to the country.

May is the business month for individual tourists who like to travel on their own or in small-group tours and stay in boutique hotels, so prices are highest, and advance reservations are essential.

Where to Travel in May?

May has the perfect conditions in Turkey, with warm and sunny days. It is also the beginning of the high season in Turkey, and the number of tourists starts increasing shortly.

However, the sea is warm, and the beaches are vacant compared to the summer months. It is the perfect time to enjoy a beach holiday in a coastal city in the Aegean and the Mediterranean regions. Cities like Antalya, Izmir, Çeşme, and Bodrum are among the popular choices.

Popular Activities in May

May is ideal for those who want to enjoy a beach holiday in Turkey. The weather is perfect, and the number of tourists is lower than other summer months. The most popular activities in May include:

  • Enjoying blue flag beaches
  • Water sports such as surfing and rafting
  • Strolling through lively city nights.
  • Taking tours of historical sites
  • Attending festivals and local events
  • Taking a Blue Voyage yacht cruise

Visiting the torrid Southeast of Turkey while it is still chilly in central-east and northeast Anatolia compared to the Aegean and Mediterranean regions

Common Events, Festivals, and Holidays in May

Festivals in May

There are many festivals and holidays to enjoy during this month. Light shows at the Blue Mosque in Istanbul start in May and last until October.

The Istanbul Tulip Festival may still be affording wonderful splashes of floral color throughout the metropolis. Also, the Hıdrellez Festival, held in Ahırkapı during the first week in May, is the modern expression of an age-old Anatolian celebration of spring.

National Holidays in May

Atatürk Remembrance and Youth & Sports Day (Atatürk’ü Anma ve Gençlik Spor Bayramı, May 19th) is a national holiday commemorating Atatürk‘s birthday (1881) and his arrival in Samsun in 1919 to begin the War of Independence that resulted in the foundation of the Turkish Republic.

Celebrations on May 29th, Istanbul Conquest Day, recall the conquest of the city by the Ottomans from the Byzantines in 1453.

Percentage of Tourists in Turkey in May

The tourist season begins in earnest in May, increasing throughout the summer. It is important to plan ahead and book your room in advance.

What Do You Need to Know Before Traveling to Turkey in May

May has warm and sunny days. Using a 30 SPF or higher sun blocker and staying hydrated during the morning is important. 

Also, May 1st is traditionally the unofficial Labor/Workers’ Day in Turkey. Istanbul‘s Taksim Square is a major traditional locus of commemorations. The authorities routinely limit access to the Taksim area, and even most of Beyoğlu, by street and public transport on May 1st, making access to hotels in the Taksim area difficult.

Visit Turkey in May

As May has the perfect weather, averaging 68 F (20 C) degrees with long and sunny days, it is the start of the high season in Turkey. So, it is the last chance to take advantage of the low masses and visit Turkey for a beach vacation.

There are also many activities and festivals to attend during this time. Remember to plan your vacation and make your reservations well in advance!

—by Tom Brosnahan, updated by Can Turan

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