February is still the coldest month in Istanbul after January, and with an average temperature of 8°C and precipitation 78 mm. Although you will face low temperatures, you can be sure that there are not much snow and it rarely gets below freezing in Istanbul. The snow and rainfall is also lower than January.
City Life & Weather
You can also see the sunshine half of the month. As it is a cold winter month in Istanbul, we recommend you to explore and enjoy indoor places like museums, palaces, exhibitions, art centers, concert halls, etc. We recommend you to bring a winter coat and portable umbrella when traveling to Istanbul in February.
Insider Advice: Kickstart your Istanbul adventure with the Istanbul E-Pass or Istanbul Tourist Pass. These passes provide free access to around 70+ top attractions, tours and essential local services in the city with around 70% savings.
The days are shorter than the summer months, the sun set around 18:00.
(Average Max Temp.: 8°C – Average Max Temp.: 3°C)
Public holidays, Festivals & Events
You can follow the calendar of exhibitions and events of our pick of top Istanbul venues from below.
- Istanbul Museum of Modern Art in Beyoglu (art, exhibition, film)
- Pera Museum in Taksim (art, exhibition, film)
- Sakip Sabanci Museum in Emirgan (art, exhibition, film)
- Salon IKSV in Beyoglu (concert)
- Bomontiada in Sisli (concert, theater)
- Akbank Sanat in Taksim (art, exhibition, film, concert)
- Zorlu PSM in Besiktas (concert, musical)
Istanbul’s February Top 10 Attractions
Things to do in Istanbul are endless and it is not possible to mention all the best attractions in Istanbul. We just put together below the most fascinating ones that best suit for February. We also recommend you check out our Istanbul attractions opening hours & admissions, one day Istanbul itinerary or 3 day Istanbul itinerary to have a better idea before you plan your days in Istanbul.
1. Visit Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace & Basilica Cistern Trio
Explore the Grandeur of Hagia Sophia
As the former basilica-turned-mosque-turned-museum, Hagia Sophia stands as an architectural marvel and symbol of Istanbul’s rich history. In December, explore this iconic structure, which has once again been converted into a mosque, and admire its intricate mosaics, grand domes, and awe-inspiring interior.
It’s like stepping into the holy world of Christianity and Islam, merged on the shell-like apse and under an impressive dome, in a mysterious and mystical ambiance, and a wide range of architectural and art works coming from thousands of years. Such as the golden Christian mosaics and colorful frescoes from the Byzantine era.
No Regrets Booking Advice
- Visit early in the morning to avoid long queues.
- Dress modestly and be respectful of the mosque’s customs.
Uncover the Secrets of Topkapi Palace
Delve into the opulent history of the Ottoman Empire at Topkapi Palace. This sprawling palace complex offers a glimpse into the lavish lifestyle of sultans and the treasures they amassed. In December, explore the palace’s exquisite courtyards, ornate rooms, and the legendary Harem.
This is a magnificent oriental palace and one of the world’s greatest architectural works. Once a residence of the Ottoman Sultans, it is also one of world’s richest museums. It houses the finest samples of seal, book binding, jewelry and box craftsmanship as well as inscriptions, as well as the finest collection of Chinese porcelain in the world.
- Allocate several hours for your visit to fully appreciate the palace.
- Don’t miss the breathtaking views from the palace terraces.
Explore the Enigmatic Basilica Cistern
Basilica Cistern Museum is one of the most impressive and mystical buildings in the city. The two Medusa Heads, which are used as supports under the two columns at the northwest edge of the cistern, take the most interest and attracts the visitors.
Descend into the depths of Istanbul at the Basilica Cistern Museum – A Subterranean Marvel, an ancient underground reservoir dating back to the 6th century. The cistern’s hauntingly beautiful columns and the legendary Medusa heads create an otherworldly ambiance. This is one of the most impressive and mystical buildings in the city.
- Visit early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
- Capture the atmospheric reflections on the water’s surface.
We highly recommend you to visit and see all these three museums at once. It would take about 3 hours total. And you should get Skip-the-line-tickets to save yourself from the long queues.
Combo Tickets: Hagia Sophia + Topkapi Palace + Basilica Cistern
This is a great combo ticket. Our favorite. You can visit the above top 3 most visited sights in Sultanahmet with this combo ticket, with skip the lines access. Great value for money. Book your tickets online in advance as they are selling out quickly.
Click the red button to buy Combo online tickets and skip the lines.
Our website visitors will get 5% extra discount.
2. Get Lost in the Grand Bazaar
Grand Bazaar – A Shopper’s Paradise, with its labyrinthine alleys and over 4,000 shops, beckons for exploration. In October, embrace the thrill of haggling while discovering unique treasures, from textiles to ceramics and jewelry.
- Approach shopping with a sense of adventure and curiosity.
- Be prepared to spend time navigating the bustling market.
3. Visit Forum Istanbul Shopping Mall and visit Sea Life Aquarium inside
Forum Istanbul is the largest Shopping and Residential Center in Europe. 495.000 m2, 286 domestic & international brands. Cinemaximum Movie Theaters, Funlab Entertainment World, Atlantis Bowling, Tiox Entertainment Center, Flyride Helicopter Simulation and Sand Castle apart from large-scale and tailor-made playgrounds. In addition, the famous Sea Life Istanbul Aquarium, which house the largest shark family in Europe, and the Legoland Discovery Center in Turkey also situated in Forum Istanbul.
Sea Life Istanbul Aquarium is the 5th largest aquarium in the world. Visitors may experience and enjoy the lovely sea creatures, the largest collection of sharks in Europe, the Digital Aquarium, the Turtle Hospital where you may see the injured turtles are getting healed, thematic zones, school trips, birthday parties and much more.
4. Visit Istanbul Modern Art Museum
Istanbul Museum of Modern Art is the first private museum of Turkey to organize modern and contemporary art exhibitions. A great place for modern art lovers. hosts a broad array of interdisciplinary activities that include permanent and temporary exhibition galleries, a photography gallery, and spaces for educational and social programs. Continue reading…
5. Visit Dolmabahce Palace
One of the most glorious palaces situated on the banks of Bosphorus in Besiktas. The whole palace building is breath taking. The palace houses more than 50,000 objects along its hundreds of rooms. The interior of the palace reflects the grandeur of the epoch, and designed like the luxurious European palaces.
6. Historical Turkish Bath (Hammam) experience
This will is one of the one time experiences on your Istanbul visit. With a Turkish bath, also called Hammam, you can enjoy an authentic experience, relax your muscles, rest in a steam bath, refresh your body. It will a be unique experience, as well as you will be freshened up. There are many historical hammams in Istanbul where you can enjoy a relaxing steam bath and invigorating scrub by expert attendants.
7. Mystical night out with Whirling Dervishes Show
Whirling Dervishes Show is one of the most visited Istanbul attractions with the tourists. It is because that this ceremony is a very unusual event for the tourists and when they hear about it, majority of them try to catch this one hour show and witness the miracle of the whirling dervishes.
There are two popular venues that you can watch this show. Book your tickets online in advance as they are selling out quickly.
8. Visit Istanbul Aquarium and Aqua Florya Shopping Mall
Istanbul Aquarium, located in Florya district of Bakirkoy, is one of the best theme parks in Istanbul. With its 6,000 square meters area, a special-themed and 1,2 km long travel route originating in the Black Sea towards the Pacific, the fish species, rain-forest, a gift shop with an area of 470 square meters, 1 restaurant having the Panama Canal view on one side and the sea view on the other, it is also one of the best aquariums and theme parks in Europe. You can also enjoy a great leisure time in the Aqua Florya Mall.
9. Enjoy the lively atmosphere at Istiklal Street
Istiklal Street is probably the most famous street and entertainment area of the city. It is a long colorful pedestrian street full of all kind of shops, restaurants, cafes and street shows. You can visit the fantastic Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, the amazing St. Anthony of Padua Church and Pera Museum there.
In between strolling the Istiklal Street and enjoying the lively atmosphere, you can have a lunch/dinner/snack in one of the pretty restaurants along the way.
10. Enjoy Istanbul’s lively nights with its bars, pubs and clubs
Entertainment in Istanbul revolves around many of the entertainment venues that the city has to offer. The nightlife in Istanbul has really come alive in recent years and the locals will all tell you that the nightlife spreads out in all directions throughout the city.
With its numerous rooftop restaurants and cafes, music clubs, bars or pubs, cafes, night clubs, music venues and restaurants of Istanbul, you can easily spend the night bouncing from one venue to the next.
Warm Up with Turkish Delights at Istanbul’s Cafes
Café Culture – Cozy Retreats: November is the perfect time to explore Istanbul’s thriving café scene. Seek refuge from the chilly weather in the city’s charming cafes, where you can enjoy traditional Turkish delights, pastries, and hot beverages like Salep and Sahlep.
- Visit historic districts like Beyoğlu and Kadıköy for the best café experiences.
- Try the iconic Turkish dessert, Baklava, paired with a steaming cup of Turkish tea.