Top Festivals & Events in Istanbul 2019

Jazz in the Parks - iksv.org

Istanbul’s yearly calendar offers variety of lovely festivals and events that has something for everyone. Here on our guide, you can find out and experience the most popular festivals and events in Istanbul, including what they offer, venues, festival programs and more.


Spring festivals & events in Istanbul

1. Istanbul International Film Festival (annual, April)

Top Festivals & Events in Istanbul 2019

38th Istanbul Film Festival, Dates: 05-16 April 2019
(2020 dates not announced yet)

Istanbul’s International Film Festival is 11 days long film festival, organized by Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV). At this city’s leading film festival in Istanbul in April, you can discover and enjoy remarkable local and international films in competition, at the several culture centers and cinemas in the Beyoglu and Kadikoy districts. Other highlights include, various activities and workshops throughout the city. More information on film.iksv.org/en

2. WTA Tennis Tournament: TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup (annual, April)

Dates: 22-28 April 2019
(2020 dates not announced yet)

This International WTA Tennis tournament, is biggest international one that is held in Turkey. Tennis lovers may enjoy the tournament and see many stars from all over the world. The tournament takes place in Spor Toto Tennis Park in Esenkent neighborhood. More information on www.istcup.net

3. Istanbul Tulip Festival (annual, last 3 weeks of April)

Top Festivals & Events in Istanbul 2019

Tulips are very important for the Ottoman Empire and Turkish culture. And to celebrate both spring and this fact, this annual festival takes place at the city’s most famous parks, such as the Gulhane Park in Sirkeci, Sultanahmet Square in Sultanahmet, Yildiz Park in Besiktas, Emirgan Park in Emirgan in the European side, and Fethi Pasa Grove and Camlica Hill in Uskudar, Cubuklu Hidiv Grove in Cubuklu and Beykoz Park in Beykoz ain the Asian side. This is a free festival and visitors may enjoy billions of tulips in 120 different types that blossoms in April, as well as several culture and art activities that are organized in the Emirgan Park and Sultanahmet Square. There is also a tulip photo contest and the winners are awarded.


Summer festivals & events in Istanbul

4. Istanbul International Music Festival (annual, June)

Top Festivals & Events in Istanbul 2019

47th, Dates: 11-30 June 2019
(2020 dates not announced yet)

Istanbul’s International Music Festival is about 3 weeks long music festival, organized by IKSV. At this top music festival in Istanbul in June, you can enjoy remarkable performances of the leading international and local artists, as well as classical music performances inc. Philharmonic Orchestras, baroque music inc. Bach, Vivaldi and Handel and many others, at the several great historical venues such as Hagia Irene Museum, Sureyya Opera House, Rahmi Koc Museum and more. More information on muzik.iksv.org/en

5. Chill-Out Festival Istanbul (annual, June)

Top Festivals & Events in Istanbul 2019

14th Chill-Out Festival, Dates: 15-16 June 2019
(2020 dates not announced yet)

Istanbul’s Chill-Out Festival is 2 days long dance, electronic and pop festival, held at Garden Fiesta, located in the Sariyer district. Chill-Out festival is Turkey’s leading music festival, you can enjoy the the refined style of Lounge FM 96 to life with its lovely ambiance, elaborate musical selection of artists focusing on different genres, stages of various concepts, joyful activities, workshops and delicious catering alternatives. The Chill-Out Festival also take place in Bodrum and Cesme. More information on www.chilloutfest.com

6. Istanbul International Jazz Festival (annual, July)

Top Festivals & Events in Istanbul 201926th, Dates: 29 June – 18 July 2019

Istanbul’s International Jazz Festival is a 3 weeks long music festival, organized by IKSV. At this top music festival in Istanbul in July, you can enjoy a showcase of the leading international jazz, soul and blues artists in the city, at the several great venues. Other highlights include night out jazz parties, jazz boat and FREE jazz in the park concerts, offering some of the best attractions over the city. Read more >>

7. Bosphorus Cross Continental Swim Race (annual, July)

31st, Date: 21 July 2019

It is an international swimming race, as well as a very fantastic and one of the unique events in the world that consists of crossing the Bosphorus from Asian side to European side by swimming, and organised by the Turkish Olympic Committee. The event on a 6.5 km. course starts from the Kanlica coast on the Asian side, and ends at the Kurucesme coast (near Ortakoy) on the European side. Thousands of foreign and local swimmers participate the event. If you are in Istanbul on these dates, you can watch the fantastic event with various celebrations on the coasts. More information on bogazici.olimpiyatkomitesi.org.tr

Autumn festivals & events in Istanbul

8. Istanbul International Biennial (biennial, September-November)

Top Festivals & Events in Istanbul 2019


16th, Date: 14 September – 10 November 2019

Istanbul’s International Biennial is about 2 months long international contemporary art biennial, organized by IKSV every two years. It is one of the best ones in the world together with the ones in Venice, Sao Paolo and Sydney. Admission to the biennial is FREE of charge. You will enjoy the most popular showcases of the contemporary art exhibition in more than 30 venues throughout the city. More information on bienal.iksv.org/en

9. Istanbul Coffee Festival (annual, September)

Top Festivals & Events in Istanbul 2019

6th, Date: 19-22 September 2019

Istanbul’s Coffee Festival is about 4 days long kind of a carnival, bringing coffee from all over the world to the coffee-lovers’ taste. The festival is held in the KüçükÇiftlik Park venue, located in Macka, close to Taksim. You can have a fantastic day out and taste coffee from numerous stands, as well as participate to coffee workshops, seminars, playground events and competitions. More information on www.istanbulcoffeefestival.com.tr/en/

10. Akbank Jazz Festival (annual, October)

Top Festivals & Events in Istanbul 2019

29th, Date: 17-27 October 2019

Akbank’s (a prestigious bank in Turkey) Jazz Festival is a 10 days long music festival, organized by Akbank Sanat Art Venue. At this top music festival in Istanbul in October, as well as in Turkey, you can see some famous and fine jazz artists from all over the world in the city, at the several great venues with low prices. Other highlights include panels, workshops, movies, etc. Being a member of the European Jazz Network, the Akbank Jazz Festival reached a very important position as its not only being an event for vis-à-vis jazz-enthusiasts, but also for enthusiasts of other genres. The Festival takes place in such attractive venues including Akbank Sanat, Hagia Iirene Museum, Babylon, Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall, and Zorlu Center PSM. More information on www.akbanksanat.com/en

11. Istanbul International Puppet Festival (annual, October-November)

Top Festivals & Events in Istanbul 2019

21st, Date: 24 October – 04 November 2019

Istanbul’s International Puppet Festival is a 11 days fantastic festival for art and puppet lovers, that is held every year, at the various venues located in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul, plus Naval Museum in Besiktas. You can enjoy the puppetry brought from all over the world, variety of events including puppet shows, film shows, video shows, conversations, puppet making workshops, etc. More information on www.istanbulkuklafestivali.com/en/

12. Istanbul International Book Fair (annual, November)

Top Festivals & Events in Istanbul 2019

38th, Date: 02-10 November 2019

Istanbul’s International Book Fair is a 8 days great fair for book lovers, that is held every year in association with the Turkish Publishers Association, at the TUYAP Fair Convention and Congress Center in the Buyukcekmece district of Istanbul, with an average of half a million visitors per day. During the fair, you can buy books from the 800 exhibitors from Turkey and abroad, and enjoy variety of events, book signings and some cultural activities. More information on www.istanbulkitapfuari.com/en/

13. Istanbul Marathon (annual, November)

41st, Date: 03 November 2019, at 09:00 am.

Istanbul’s Intercontinental Marathon is a unique event and also the only one in the world that is made in between two continents. Volunteers need to be registered. Registration fee for 2019 is 50 TL. There is also a Fun Run starting under the Altunizade Bridge on the Asian side and finishing in between the Besiktas Stadium and the Dolmabahce Palace. More information on www.maraton.istanbul

14. Istanbul International Theater Festival (biennial, November-December)

22nd Istanbul Film Festival, Dates: 17 November – 04 December 2018
23rd 
Istanbul Film Festival will be held in 2020 (dates not declared yet)

Istanbul’s International Theater Festival is 2 weeks long festival, organized by IKSV every two years. At this city’s leading art festival in Istanbul in November, art and theater lovers can enjoy the remarkable local and international productions and theatrical events, several side events, dance and performance events and some free workshops, at the several venues in the Beyoglu, Besiktas, Fatih, Uskudar and Kadikoy districts. More information on tiyatro.iksv.org/en

Winter festivals & events in Istanbul

15. New Year’s Eve 2019 (annual, 31st of December)

Top Festivals & Events in Istanbul 2019

Like in all major cities in the world, the new year celebrations in Istanbul is also fantastic that the city becomes very lively and colorful with variety of celebrations, fireworks, parties and more. Both locals and tourists welcome the new year by participating the celebrations at the tourist zones, neighborhoods or squares, or on a memorable dinner, Bosphorus cruise or night out.

16. Istanbul International Gastronomy Festival (annual, February)

Top Festivals & Events in Istanbul 2019

16th, Date: 22-25 February 2019
(2020 dates not announced yet)

Istanbul’s International Gastronomy Festival is 3 days long festival for gastronomy and world cuisine lovers, organized by Cooks and Chefs Federation of Turkey, at the TUYAP Fair Convention Center in the Buyukcekmece district of Istanbul. It is also a joint organisation with the World Association of Chef Societies (WACS). Visitors may find and taste world’s different tastes together with Turkish cuisine. It also offers a competition by bringing new chefs in gastronomy as well as chefs from around the world and Turkey, about more than 2000 chefs from 30 countries. More information on tiyatro.iksv.org/en

17. Akbank Short Film Festival (annual, March)

Top Festivals & Events in Istanbul 2019

16th, Date: 16-26 March 2020

Akbank’s Short Film Festival is a 10 days long film festival, organized by Akbank Sanat (Art). At this one of the leading arts and culture events in Istanbul in March. The aim of the festival is to encourage short film production, to deliver these short films to the audiences, to support new filmmakers and to champion short film internationally, by providing a debate platform and establishing a festival atmosphere for cinema-lovers for FREE. Other highlights include various workshops, interviews, master classes and experience-sharing platform between cinema professionals and visitors. The Festival takes place at the Akbank Sanat Art Venue, in the Beyoglu district. More information on www.akbanksanat.com/en