May in Turkey: Weather & Events

Last Updated on May 2, 2019

MAY (Mayıs, mah-YUHSS)

May usually brings perfect weather throughout Turkey, with long sunny days and not much rain.

It also brings tourists: May is the businest 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.

The Istanbul Tulip Festival may still be affording wonderful splashes of floral color throughout the metropolis.

Also in Istanbul, the Hıdrellez Festival, held in Ahırkapı during the first week in May, is the modern expression of an an age-old Anatolian celebration of spring. More…

May Day (May 1st)

May 1st is traditionally the unofficial Labor/Workers’ Day in Turkey. Istanbul‘s Taksim Square is a major traditional locus of commemorations, and in recent years has been the scene of confrontations between various groups and police—sometimes violent. 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—plan ahead!

Though May is the perfect time to take a Blue Voyage yacht cruise or visit the torrid Southeast, it’s still chilly in central-east and northeast Anatolia.

The tourist season begins in earnest in May, and thus also do the sound and light shows at the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. They last until October.


The holy month of Ramazan begins on 15 May and lasts until 14 June 2018, with the three-day Ramazan Bayramı holiday following. It will affect your travel plans, so you need to know about it. More…

May Holidays

Atatürk Remembrance and Youth & Sports Day(Atatürk’ü Anma ve Gençlik Spor Bayramı, May 19) 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 29, Istanbul Conquest Day, recall the conquest of the city by the Ottomans from the Byzantines in 1453.

—by Tom Brosnahan



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