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Tom’s Turkish Travel Almanac

Last Updated on February 14, 2024

Our month-by-month account of weather, holidays, festivals, special events, and the best places to be when you travel in Turkey.

Also, see our short list of national holidays to plan better, as they might affect your plans.

JANUARY

January is the second winter month in Turkey, so it is rainy and cold everywhere. It is the perfect time for a winter vacation with snowboarding and resting alongside Turkey's snowy, majestic mountains. 

While Eastern Turkey, the capital Ankara, and the rest of Central Anatolia may be covered in snow, most cities along the Mediterranean shore will not. So, you can take advantage of the low season and visit these popular beach towns without the crowds. 

Festivals and Holidays in January

New Year's Day (January 1st) is celebrated with street decorations, local parties, and festivals.

FEBRUARY

February is the last winter month, yet most cities are still rainy and chilly. Many people go to Turkey for skiing on Mount Uludağ near Bursa, Mount Erciyes near Kayseri, and Palandöken near Erzurum

Also, the world-famous Touristic Eastern Express and the magical city of Mardin are other popular tourist attractions gaining popularity during winter. 

Festivals and Holidays in February

February is the time for Valentine's Day in Turkey. While there aren't any festivals to celebrate, you can expect to find some couple deals.

MARCH

March is the first month of spring in Turkey, and with temperatures averaging 13°C (55.4°F), it is still rainy many days in much of the country, perhaps with some snow, though there may be some good periods on the south Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. 

Since most hotels are preparing for the summer period in Turkey, it is the perfect time for taking advantage of low masses and visiting popular historic sites, such as Cappadocia, Ephesus, and Side, without a hassle. 

Festivals and Holidays in March

Ramadan, the one-month fasting period for Muslims, starts on March 11th, 2024, and March 1st, 2025.

Also, you can spot the Istanbul Dancing Festival and Istanbul Tulip Festival if you visit Istanbul.

APRIL

April can be delightful, with temperatures averaging 16°C (60.8°F); it is the last month before the high season in Turkey. Foreign tourists start flocking to the cities, but crowds are not witnessed as much compared to the summer period in Turkey. 

In April, gorgeous nature returns, and everything is covered in greenery. It makes it the perfect time for visiting coastal towns such as Bodrum, Çeşme, and Kaş, as well as taking tours of historical sites such as Aphrodisias, Alanya Castle, and Ephesus.

Festivals and Holidays in April

National Sovereignty Day (Ulusal Egemenlik Bayramı) is celebrated on April 23rd and might affect your travel plans. 

Also, ANZAC Day, dawn services at Gallipoli remember the 500,000 men who died or were wounded here during World War I, occurs on April 25th.

MAY

May usually brings perfect weather throughout the country, with long sunny days and little chance of rain. Though May is the ideal time to take a Blue Voyage yacht cruise or visit the torrid Southeast, it's still chilly in the central east and northeast. 

Keep in mind that May is one of the busiest months for individual tourists wanting to stay at boutique hotels. 

Festivals and Holidays in May

May has two holidays that might affect your travel itinerary. 

Atatürk Remembrance and Youth & Sports Day (Atatürk’ü Anma ve Gençlik Spor Bayramı) is celebrated on May 19th. Istanbul Conquest Day is celebrated on May 29th.

JUNE

June is the first month of summer in Turkey. The weather is perfect throughout the country, with long days and temperatures averaging 25°C (77°F) in coastal cities, and it gets hotter as June progresses. 

As a result, people go to seaside towns on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, such as Antalya, Kaş, Bodrum, and Kemer.

June is a good time to be on a Blue Voyage yacht cruise, relax on the Blue Flag beaches, and enjoy the country's entertainment industry at its peak.

Festivals and Holidays in June

While it will not affect your plans, The Istanbul Music/Jazz Festival is held in June. However, Kurban Bayramı (Feast of Sacrifice) is a public holiday and will affect your travel plans if not accounted for.

JULY

July is the second summer month. The weather is hot, averaging 28°C (82.4°F). During July, the sky is blue, the sea is warm, and the cities empty out to the beaches, crowded with Turkish and foreign vacationers, including Blue Voyage yacht cruises, which are the most expensive now. 

As it is the hottest time of the year, you can go to beaches to swim, try watersports, and enjoy the nightlife to the fullest. Alternatively, you can take advantage of fewer city crowds to visit historical sites in Istanbul, Cappadocia, and around the Aegean and Mediterranean regions, such as Ephesus, the ruins of Side, the ancient city of Aspendos, Olimpos, and more. 

Festivals and Holidays in July

There are two major festivals during July: you can visit Kuşadası Gençlik Festival and the International Istanbul Jazz Festival, which is held through June and July.

AUGUST

August is hot and sunny all month, similar to July, and very crowded at the beach resorts. While you can hit the beaches, remember that this is the best time to be in Eastern Turkey, when the weather is fine, and crowds are smaller than along the western beaches

However, the Southeast is blazing hot; avoid going there in August if possible. 

Festivals and Holidays in August

Virgin Mary mass is held at the House of the Virgin Mary (Meryemana) near Ephesus on August 15th. Zeytinli Rock Festival is another festival well-known throughout Turkey that is held in August. 

Remember, Victory Day (Zafer Bayramı), celebrated as a public holiday on August 30th, may affect transportation and your plans.

SEPTEMBER

September is the beginning of the fall season in Turkey. However, the weather is still hot and fine, moderating a bit towards the end of the month, and Blue Voyage yacht cruises come down in price. 

Swimming is still good in the Aegean and Mediterranean regions, especially in Antalya, Bodrum, Kaş, Kemer, and Izmir. Also, you can take tours of Turkey's world-famous historical sites, such as Ephesus, the ruins of Side, the Ancient city of Aspendos, Olimpos, and more.

Since prices are lower in September, the crowds are still in evidence, and boutique hotels begin to fill up again. 

Festivals and Holidays in September

You can visit Antalya Food Festival to try flavors from the best chefs in Turkey.

OCTOBER

In October, the month begins with very good weather, averaging 20°C(68°F)) , but the rains usually start sometime in mid or late October. Even so, individual tourists travel through the cities. 

Beach vacations are still possible in coastal regions such as the Aegean and Mediterranean regions. Many people will visit Istanbul, the Black Sea region, and Cappadocia to glimpse at the amazing fall colors of Turkey. 

Festivals and Holidays in October

Republic Day (Cumhuriyet Bayramı) is a public holiday celebrated on October 29th, which might affect your plans and transportation. 

Also, it is World Coffee Day, meaning you can try local coffee festivals to try different coffees, especially the sweet Turkish Coffee.

NOVEMBER

Tourists visiting Turkey

November is the fall's last month, and the weather can be pleasant, averaging 15°C (59°F) in the Aegean and Mediterranean regions, with cool to warm days and chilly nights. Still, you will play cat and mouse with the rain.  

Swimming may still be possible and pleasant along the Mediterranean coast—or not (especially later in the month). If your luck holds, you can have a marvelous late-year beach vacation. Alternatively, you can visit Ephesus, the ruins of Side, the ancient city of Aspendos, Olimpos, and more historical sites in Turkey to breathe in the country's living history. 

Festivals and Holidays in November

November 10th, when Atatürk passed away in Istanbul's Dolmabahçe Palace Palace at 9:05 a.m. in 1938, is the most significant day of the month. On that day, at that hour, the nation still observes a moment of quiet. So, don't be surprised if you find yourself in Turkey on November 10th since the entire nation (even cars on the roadways) pauses for one minute. 

Also, you can take advantage of The Istanbul Marathon, sometimes called the Eurasia Marathon (Avrasya Maratonu), and Black Friday to have an even more special experience.

DECEMBER

December is the beginning of the winter season in Turkey. It is the perfect time for a merry snow holiday in Turkey. The weather is chilly throughout the country, though milder along the Mediterranean coast. 

There is snow in Bursa, Kayseri, and most other Anatolian cities, so it is possible to snowboard. Alternatively, you can take advantage of rarer masses in Istanbul to visit popular spots without a hassle or travel to Cappadocia to take a hot air balloon in the snow. 

Festivals and Holidays in December

For the first half of December, the Rumi Commemoration Ceremonies (Şeb-i Aruz) in Konya honor Jelaleddin Rumi (Mevlana).

The New Year, a fantastic period in Turkey, fills up the last part of December. Cities are decorated to welcome the new year, and numerous celebrations, including parties and other events, are held.

—by Tom Brosnahan, updated by Can Turan

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