Traveling to Istanbul and wondering when would be the best time for you? Here with our guide, you can find out all the necessary information on what you can expect in each season help you decide your trip to Istanbul, one of world’s best cities.
Best time to visit Istanbul will depend on your reason for traveling, such as whether you like mild temperatures or hot, whether you look for popular cinema and music festivals or just to enjoy the popular sights and sounds of the city.
Best time to visit Istanbul for travelers’ choice of:
- Sightseeing & Museum Hopping: May, June, September, and October
- Staying Outdoors: mid April to July, and September to November
- Cinema and Music Festivals & Events: April, May, June, July, October
- Honeymooners: April, May, September and October
- Budget Travelers: November, December, January and February
- Shopaholics: January, February, and July
Best Season To Visit Istanbul
Istanbul in Spring
As spring comes, you will see the city becomes lively on the shore, outdoor cafes and terrace bars, enjoying the weather, parades and festivals. Great for strolling and exploring in the city. The sun is mild, the weather has cooled down but still it is not time for summer dressings. The greengrocers starts to sell fig, green plum and strawberry. Parks and garden becomes very beautiful with tulips, variety of flowers and with locals in a festive mood.
Festivals & Events during Spring
- Easter (April, the Hagia Yorgi Church in the Princes’ Islands – Buyukada is visited)
- International Istanbul Film Festival (from late March to mid-April, in the numerous cinemas)
- Istanbul Tulip Festival (April, in Emirgan Park)
- National Sovereignty and Children’s Day (National holiday) (23rd of April)
- Labor and Solidarity Day (National holiday) (1st of May)
- Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth & Sports Day (National holiday) (19th of May)
- Ramadan Feast (Religious Holiday – goes for 3 days) (Sunday, 24 to Tuesday, 26 May 2020)
- International Istanbul Theater Festival (May-June, biennial)
Istanbul in Summer
Istanbul enjoys the sunny days during summer season, till October. From mid-July till late August, the weather becomes hot, about an average of 28 °C in July and in August. Summer, from July to August, can be hot and muggy, though it is the best time for spending the time in the beaches around Istanbul. The extra humidity in July and August make the temperature seem even hotter. If you decide to visit Istanbul in July or August, you should make sure to choose a hotel room with air conditioning. Summer is also time for outdoor concerts, parades, and variety of music concerts and festivals. The city becomes very crowded and busy with the tourists and with the locals in all around the Bosphorus shores, squares, beaches, parks and gardens. We can say that summer season is the best season to experience Istanbul.
Festivals & Events during Summer
- International Istanbul Music Festival (June, in the several historical venues)
- Istanbul International Jazz Festival (July, in several venues)
- Sacrifice Feast (Religious Holiday – goes for 4 days) (31 July Monday to 3 August 2020)
- Victory Day (National Holiday) (30th of August)
Istanbul in Autumn
Autumn in Istanbul is mostly cloudy, rain starts in early October. Temperatures go down and the weather becomes very ideal for strolling and exploring the city. And according to the most of the locals, September is also one of the best season of Istanbul. Autumn can be considered as a shoulder season, which is perfect for travelers wishing to explore Istanbul without so much crowds and queues.
Festivals & Events during Autumn
- Republic Day (National Holiday) (29th of October)
- Akbank Jazz Festival (October, in several venues)
- International Istanbul Biennial (October-November, several avant-garde exhibits in such historical sites like Basilica Cistern, Hagia Irene)
- Commemoration of Ataturk’s Death (National Holiday) (10th of November, ceremonies in all over Turkey)
- Efes Pilsen Blues Festival (early November, in several venues)
Istanbul in Winter
Winter is usually mild and rainy, but sometimes it can get a bit cold and it can snow. Winter is the coldest season, with an average of 8 °C in January and in February. Istanbul is one of the perfect destinations in Europe and Turkey to celebrate and enjoy the New Year festivities and fervor without very heavy and snowy weather like in many other European cities. Foreign expats in Turkey also celebrate the Christmas. The markets and shopping malls become lively with sales.
Festivals & Events during Winter
- Seb-i Aruz (17-24 December, the death anniversary of by Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi (1207-1273), a world famous Islamic mystical poet, theologian and a spiritual master (Sufi), ceremonies at the Galata Mevlevi Lodge)
- Christmas (late December)
- New Year Festivities (31st of December)
Note: You can read about weather and climate month by month on our Weather and Climate in Istanbul page.
Summary of All
* We can say that, the best time to visit Istanbul is from late April to early September as the weather will be good for the ones to enjoy sightseeing, beaches, outdoor events and festivals.
* If your focus is only sightseeing without so much crowd and queues, than March to May, and September to November will be good time for you as tourists are fewer and queues shorter.
* If you are budget traveler, than from November to March is very ideal, but you will have to give up the sunny weather and outdoor activities.
* Summer season between June and August is the most crowded, expensive and hottest in Istanbul. Some of the popular festivals and events are held during this summer season.