When to Travel in Turkey

What’s the best time for a trip to Turkey?

Spring is the best time to visit Turkey, autumn is next, then summer, last winter.

Spring

Spring (MarchAprilMay, through mid-June) is prime because the weather is moderate throughout the country and the days are long. (April can be rainy, though.) This is high season for Istanbul and Cappadocia, with many boutique hotels fully booked, and prices at their highest. It’s the off-season for Aegean and Mediterranean beach resorts.

Autumn

Autumn (mid-September through October) is second best with mostly mild weather, but the days are shorter, and rain may begin again in October. This, too, is high season for Istanbul and Cappadocia, with many boutique hotels heavily booked at their highest prices. At beach resorts, the water is still warm, crowds are smaller, and prices lower.

Summer

Summer (mid-JuneJulyAugust, through mid-September) is quite hot in five of Turkey’s seven distinct climatic regions, though usually rainless, and cool inland in the evenings. Seaside resorts are crowded and prices are at their peak, but the cities are less so—Istanbul is a bargain, with smaller crowds and shorter lines for admission to sights. Cappadocia is cheaper and more comfortable as well.

Winter

Winter (NovemberDecemberJanuaryFebruary) can be chilly and rainy, with occasional cold but sunny days, everywhere except the southeast, which remains temperate, but lower prices and fewer tourists are compensations. I often travel to Turkey in March and November to benefit from the lower prices, better availability of hotel rooms, and smaller crowds.

Weather & Climatic Regions

Turkey has seven distinct weather and climate zones. You need to know a bit about them in order to pack the right clothes. More…

Tom’s Turkish Almanac

Each month of the Turkish year, month by month, with climate, holidays and special events. More…

Official National Holidays

The shortlist.

Islamic Holidays

They’re 11 days earlier every year, and they will change travel patterns, so you need to know about them. More…

Special Events

Football finals, rock concerts, film festivals—these can fill hotels and make travel difficult (if not impossible) for short periods.

Airfares & Flight Times

Check the flights you might want to take. More…

What to Wear & Pack

According to the season, itinerary, and which of Turkey’s climatic regions you’ll be traveling in. More…

Turkish Time Zone

And comparative times in other cities and countries of the world. More…

—by Tom Brosnahan


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