Turkey, with its vibrant cities, serene beaches, majestic mosques, and casual yacht cruises, offers a unique blend of experiences. The country's diverse climates and rich cultural nuances add to its charm. Whether it's the heat of summer or the chill of winter, each season brings new adventures. When it comes to trying to decide what to wear in Turkey, thoughtful preparation can help travelers navigate these varied landscapes and experiences with ease.
Keep reading to learn more about what to bring and what to wear on your trip to Turkey.
Turkish Dress Code
There is no dress code you have to follow in Turkey so feel free to wear your usual clothing. Turkey is a multicultural country geographically spread over a wide area. Turkey experiences four seasons at the same time. There are different temperatures in different parts of the country every season of the year.
For example, while coats are still worn in Erzurum, people can swim in Antalya. While making a packing list, prepare according to your travel plan, that is, you should bring clothes suitable for the city you are going to and take seasonal conditions year round into consideration.
Seasonal Attire & Turkey Packing List
Winters are quite harsh, especially in the east and north of Turkey. You can choose thick clothes, sweaters, sweatshirts, thermal underwear, waterproof shoes, and boots, being prepared for rain, snow, and storm. Autumn and spring are very suitable times to visit Turkey because warm and pleasant weather welcomes you in these seasons. It is a good time to take a long walk in the city, to enjoy the parks and the beach.
However, keep in mind that the summer season can be very, very hot in the Aegean and Mediterranean regions. You can take your summer clothes, summer dresses, shorts, t-shirts, and shorts with you, and don't forget your flip-flops, sandals, and sneakers. Be sure to include sunscreen in your bag.
In summer (June-September) wear cool cotton clothing, a hat, and sunblock lotion, but have a light sweater or light cardigan for cool evenings. Rain won't be a big problem, although you may encounter it along the Black Sea coast and in the East. In the Southeast and along the Turkish Riviera, be prepared for hot, hot weather.
In winter (December-March) you'll need warm woolen clothing and rain gear, even though many days will be sunny. In general, weather is warmer along the seacoasts and in the Mediterranean coast and Southeast, cooler at higher elevations.
For current Turkish weather, look at the Turkish Meteorological Service 5-day Forecast (in English).
In the City
In Turkish cities, shorts and T-shirts are acceptable. Female tourists wear their usual clothing. There is no problem wearing shorts for comfort, except when you visit mosques. As for Turks, most of them will be wearing "smart casual" clothes: sleeved summer dresses or sleeved tops and skirts for women, short-sleeved shirts and long trousers for men. Footwear can be shoes or sandals. Much like in other countries city life, dress at dinner is generally "smart casual," (tidy informal clothes) though you may want a dress or jacket in the fancier hotels and restaurants.
Mosque Dress Code
Turkey is a secular but predominantly Muslim country. Although there are no official dress codes, you will be more comfortable dressing more conservatively in central and eastern Turkey. You can choose to dress modestly when traveling to more conservative cities in central Turkey such as Konya or Kayseri and observe Northern Turkey dress etiquette in cities like Rize, and Trabzon.
However, this does not mean that women must wear a headscarf. You can choose to wear pants instead of shorts, and a T-shirt instead of a crop top. By adopting a more modest dress, you can avoid any unwanted attention.
For visiting a mosque or religious sites, dress neatly as you would visit a church (no shorts or sleeveless tops, and wear socks to walk on the carpets). Modest clothing is expected so avoid wearing tank tops or short skirts and wear a head covering before entering. As you need to remove shoes to enter the mosque, you can pack socks or just leave your shoes at one of the racks near the entrance. For more information on the Blue Mosque dress code and what to wear in Turkey when visiting religious sites, see Mosque Etiquette and What Women Should Wear in Turkey.
At the Beach
At Turkish beaches, anything goes. Most women wear clothing as they would in Europe or their home countries. Shorts, T-shirts, and flip-flops or bare feet are perfectly fine. More modest clothing is also perfectly acceptable.
You can enjoy your summer vacation in coastal cities and dress however you want. Mini dresses, denim shorts, short strappy t-shirts, bikinis, swimwear, linen shirts, flip-flops, sandals. Especially at beach resorts, many people wear shorts and sleeveless shirts, and tank tops or swimwear.
The azure blue and clean water you will see will blow your mind in coastal cities such as Çeşme and Alaçatı in İzmir, Kaş, Kemer, Manavgat, and Alanya in Antalya, Bodrum, Marmaris, and Datça in Muğla. There are many ancient cities and ancient ruins in Turkey, and there are also quaint stone houses, bougainvillea in full bloom, and magnificent views in the holiday resorts.
For exploring ruins, it's recommended to pack sturdy shoes and wear jeans or long pants to protect your legs if you plan to visit places that are more off the beaten path and a long-sleeved cotton shirt to protect your skin from the sun.
As at the beach, anything goes on yacht cruises. Shorts, T-shirts, sleeveless tops, bikinis, and the like. Bring sunblock, a hat, soft-soled shoes or flip-flops for deck wear, and your own beach towels for swimming and sunbathing. Linen pants which are lightweight and breathable are also comfortable. Note that storage aboard most Turquoise Coast yachts is limited, so bring soft luggage that can be folded and stowed after you've unpacked.
What to Wear in Turkey: Top Tips
One of the most important pieces of advice that can be given to those who visit Turkey is to either leave some space in your suitcase without filling it completely or bring an additional bag with you. You will definitely want to return from Turkey with souvenirs. You will either be impressed by what you eat and want to take some Turkish coffee and fresh spices with you, or you will buy handmade lamps, copper pans, wicker baskets, and so on.
Also, whenever you are traveling to Turkey, wear shoes that are the most comfortable for walking around the city or sightseeing. While visiting metropolitan cities such as Istanbul and Ankara, there will be so many places to see that your feet may hurt at the end of the day. You will thank us for choosing a very comfortable sneaker by following our advice while visiting ancient cities such as Side and Ephesus as well.
Although Turkey is often thought of as a Muslim and conservative country, visiting Turkey you will find that most Turkish women, particularly younger women in major cities, as well as tourists, dress in Western clothing. There is no Istanbul dress code or requirement to dress conservatively. Women generally wear their everyday clothes as they would in their home countries. When visiting rural areas in Eastern and southeast Turkey, as well as when visiting mosques, it's a great idea to wear respectful clothing.
No matter where you go, plan for the seasons and pack comfortable shoes and pack appropriate clothing, whether it's for the summer heat or cold winter months. Wear the clothing that will be the most comfortable to you and enjoy your travels!