Istanbul in May 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)

May can be considered as the unofficial start of the summer in Istanbul, and with an average temperature of 20°C and precipitation 34 mm. May is great for city sightseeing and museum hopping, staying outdoors, and a good month for some popular festivals and events.


You can enjoy sunny and clear days. We recommend you to bring shorts, dresses, t-shirts for warm afternoons. Also take long pants for some cooler nights, and umbrella just in case. The days are started to get longer than the winter months, the sun set around 20:15. (Average Max Temp.: 20°C – Average Max Temp.: 12°C)

Istanbul 5 Days Weather Forecast

ISTANBUL Weather

Public holidays, Festivals & Events

  • Labor and Solidarity Day (National holiday – 01 May 2020)
  • Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth & Sports Day (National holiday – 19 May 2020)
  • Ramadan Feast’s Eve (Religious Holiday – half day – 23 May 2020)
  • Ramadan Feast (Religious Holiday – goes for 3 days – 24-26 May 2020)
  • International Istanbul Theater Festival (May-June, biennial)

Top 10 Things to Do in Istanbul in May 2020

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 May.

1. Historic Day Out in Sultanahmet

Istanbul in May 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)

For the ones who are a true enthusiast of history and want to see the city’s historic sites, we highly recommend you to visit and see Sultanahmet neighborhood. It is the best way to get the most out of the city’s sights, sounds, and scents. Sultanahmet hosts about all of the most visited historical and tourist sites in Istanbul, such as the Sultanahmet Square (Hippodrome)Hagia SophiaTopkapi PalaceBlue MosqueBasilica CisternIstanbul Archaeology Museums and Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts are situated here and all can be explored by walking. Continue reading…


Guided Sultanahmet Tours via Get Your Guide Book Sultanahmet Day Tours via Viator

2. Take a Bosphorus Cruise

Istanbul in May 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)

Bosphorus Cruise is one of the more popular and fantastic forms of entertainment on your Istanbul visit. Typical Bosphorus Cruises begin slightly to the east of the famous Galata Bridge and continues to Anadolu Kavagi which is the Bosphorus’ entrance to the Black Sea making numerous sightseeing stops along the strait. Continue reading…

Take Bosphorus Cruise via Get Your Guide Book & Enjoy Bosphorus via Viator

3. Explore the city on the Hop-on Hop-off Tourist Bus

Istanbul in May 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)

BigBus Istanbul tour is a cheap way to discover and explore the popular zones of Istanbul which you just couldn’t walk to and see in one day. It drives through the popular sights along the interesting and different districts and neighborhoods of Istanbul and offers informative pre-recorded commentary that is available in 8 languages. The open topped double decker tourist bus really looks cool. Continue reading…

Take Big Bus Istanbul via Get Your Guide Book Big Bus Istanbul via Viator


4. Mystical night out at the Whirling Dervishes Show

Istanbul in May 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)

Whirling Dervishes Show or Ceremony (“Sema” in Turkish) is one of the most visited attractions in Istanbul 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. The best performances take place at the Hodjapasha Culture Center in Sirkeci, Eminonu. Note that as this show is very popular among the majority of the tourists, you should buy your tickets at least 2 or 3 days before the show. Continue reading…

Book Whirling Dervishes via Get Your Guide Book Whirling Dervishes Ceremony via Viator

5. Enjoy the lively atmosphere at the Istiklal Street

Istanbul in May 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)

Located in the Taksim neighborhood, Istiklal Street (Istiklal Avenue) is probably the most famous street and entertainment area in Istanbul. It is a long colorful pedestrian street full of all kind of shops, restaurants, cafes, street shows and more. Continue reading…

Book Istiklal Street Tours via Get Your Guide Guided Istiklal Street Tours via Viator

6. Visit the charming Museums of Istanbul

Istanbul in May 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)

For the ones who are a true enthusiast of culture and art, Istanbul museums offers the best of the city’s historical heritage, culture and modern art. Istanbul hosts more than 80 museums and many art galleries showcase all the culture, arts and history; including painting, sculpture, photography and more. Istanbul Archaeology Museums, Hagia Sophia Museum, Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul Modern, Rahmi Koc Transport Museum and Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts are amongst the best museums in Istanbul that won’t want to miss. Continue reading…

Get 5 Days Guided Museum Pass via Get Your Guide Buy 5 Days Museum Pass + Boat Tour via Viator

7. Explore the city’s popular sights on bike

Istanbul in May 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)

September is a great month to be outdoors and touring the popular tourist spots on bike is definitely a great attraction. Wind through the historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sultanahmet. Explore the Golden Horn, the hub of culture and entertainment in the Beyoglu district. Navigate the maze of vendors selling Turkish rugs, spices and lamps in the Grand Bazaar. Marvel at the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and the Hagia Sophia. Continue reading…

8. Visit Grand Bazaar and make shopping

Istanbul in May 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)

The world famous Grand Bazaar (Kapalicarsi) is one of the greatest historical malls in the world, with its more than 4000 shops. You can find anything here from boots and slippers to gold and silver jewelry. Continue reading…

Get Guided Grand Bazaar Tours via Get Your Guide Book Guided Grand Bazaar Tours via Viator

9. Fun day out at the Istanbul’s Theme Parks

Istanbul in May 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)

Istanbul offers great theme parks ranging from huge ones with variety of great thrills and rides to aquariums, dolphinariums, themed museums and more. Amusement and theme parks are not only the places for fun, but also great places for your kids’ learning and imagination development. We recommend you to visit the Isfanbul (formerly Vialand), Aquarium Sea Life Istanbul and Istanbul LEGOLAND Discovery Center. Continue reading…

Skip-the-Line Theme Parks Tickets via Get Your Guide Skip-the-Queue Theme Parks Tickets via Viator

10. Enjoy Istanbul’s lively nights with its bars, pubs and clubs

Istanbul in May 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)

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 bars, pubs, cafes, night clubs, music venues and restaurants of Istanbul, you can easily spend the night bouncing from one venue to the next. Continue reading…

Istanbul Night & Pub Crawl Tours via Get Your Guide Istanbul by Night Tours & Bar Crawl via Viator

Insider Tips for First Time Visitors

For time visitors to Istanbul should check and well plan the area to stay, best time to visit the city, best places to see and top attractions, how to save money, where to go for eating and shopping, airport transfer and public transportation, etc. to make the most of their Istanbul visit easy, budget, convenient, and safe.

We recommend you to read our articles in the First Time Visitors section of our website before you plan your visit.

We also put together the top travel eases below that you can benefit from your trip. Check them out!

Where to Stay?

First time visitors should stay in the city center, better to be near city’s top attractions and within easy reach to public transport. Sultanahmet, Galata-Karakoy or Taksim would be your best choice. Continue reading...

Tourist Discount Cards

Istanbul has two major tourist discount cards. You'll have access to variety of major Istanbul attractions and services with a fixed price and save a lot. This is by far the most practical and cheapest way to explore Istanbul, as well as get airport transfer, public transportation card, unlimited internet, etc.

Istanbul Welcome Card Deluxe

Istanbul in May 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)This is a travel discount card that is delivered to your hotel for FREE upon your purchase online, and will be ready to use at your arrival. You can also receive it from its stand in both two Istanbul Airports.

Istanbul Welcome Card Deluxe comes with Pass for 12 Museums, 3 Tours by Historian Guide, 20 Rides with IstanbulKart (Public Transport), Bosphorus Cruise, Digital Guide Book and Map.

Notice: Our website visitors will get 5% extra discount. Just click the red button below and make sure you see the discounted price on the official page.

Buy Your Istanbul Welcome Card Deluxe

Tip: This discount card also gets you 20% for all the other attractions and services on their shop like guided museum tours, dinner cruise, theme parks, airport transfer, unlimited mobile internet, etc., and is a jewel to tourists with a lot to see.

Istanbul Tourist Pass

Istanbul in May 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)This is a digital travel discount pass that is delivered to your phone upon your purchase online, and will be ready to use at your arrival. It includes 30+ attractions and services including skip the line access and guided museum tours, dinner cruise, hop-on & hop-off Bus, airport transfer, unlimited mobile internet, etc.

Buy Your Istanbul Tourist Pass


Airport Transfers

Istanbul has two international airports. You'll find all the transportation opportunities such as Airport Shuttle, Metro, Train, Taxi, Private Shuttle, etc. from the airports to the city center and vice versa from our pages below. If you are a group or a family with kids or having lots of luggage with you, than we highly recommend you to take private shuttle transfers for your hotel as they offer a fixed rate, comfortable and safe transfer that include meet-and-greet airport pickups and luggage assistance to your hotel from the airports or vice versa.

This is a good option as while the Airport Shuttles or Public Buses will bring you only to the city center and you’ll need to take a taxi to reach your hotel which will seem to be harder for you, private shuttles will drive you just to the entrance of your hotel.

As for private shuttle transfers, we can recommend Kiwi Taxi as we recently tested them and had a great trip to our hotel. We didn't see any bad comments on internet. They have large selection of comfortable taxis, minivans, luxurious cars and 6-19+ passenger minibuses.

You can check and book your transfer from the below widget.


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