Top Festivals & Events in Istanbul (2023 Calendar, Venues, Prices)

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

Istanbul International Film Festival (annual, April)

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.

2023 dates not announced yet

Istanbul’s International Film Festival is 12 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

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

2023 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

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

2023 dates not announced yet

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 on 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.

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Summer festivals & events in Istanbul

Istanbul International Music Festival (annual, June)

2023 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

Chill-Out Festival Istanbul (annual, June)

2023 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

Istanbul International Jazz Festival (annual, July)

2023 dates not announced yet

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.

Bosphorus Cross Continental Swim Race (annual, July)

35th on 20 August 2023

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

Autumn festivals & events in Istanbul

Istanbul International Biennial (biennial, September-November)

2023 dates not announced yet

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

Istanbul Coffee Festival (annual, September)

2023 dates not announced yet

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

Akbank Jazz Festival (annual, October)

2023 dates not announced yet

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

Istanbul International Puppet Festival (annual, October-November)

2023 dates not announced yet

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

Istanbul International Book Fair (annual, November)

2023 dates not announced yet

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

Istanbul Marathon (annual, November)

2023 dates not announced yet

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. 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

Istanbul International Theater Festival (biennial, November-December)

2023 dates not announced 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

Winter festivals & events in Istanbul

Istanbul International Gastronomy Festival (annual, December)

2023 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 Eyup Culture & Art Center in the Eyup district of Istanbul. It is also a joint organization 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

New Year’s Eve 2023 (annual, 31st of December)

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. Continue reading…

Akbank Short Film Festival (annual, March)

2023 dates not announced yet

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

Museum Visits

Istanbul is a treasure trove of history, having hosted various cultures over centuries. Take advantage of the quieter autumn days to visit the city's numerous museums. Explore art, history, and culture while enjoying a culturally enriching weekend.

We highly recommend the below Museum Passes to make the most of your museum visits with discount.

Free cancellation with a FULL REFUND up to 24 hours in advance



You can also enjoy Istanbul's autumn by indulging in some retail therapy. You can find great shopping scene at the fantastic shopping malls of the city. But if you fancy a more historic shopping experience, the streets of Beyoğlu offer a delightful alternative. Here, you can enjoy a pleasant shopping experience, with quaint boutiques and local shops set against the backdrop of historic buildings.

Grand Bazaar Shopping Spree

Wrap up your autumn adventure with some retail therapy at the Grand Bazaar. As the weather cools, the bustling alleys and stalls of this historic market become even more inviting. Explore the labyrinth of shops, find unique souvenirs, and savor the aromas of Turkish spices and delights.

Spice Up Your Day at the Spice Bazaar

Immerse yourself in the intoxicating aromas of the Egyptian Bazaar, also known as the Egyptian Bazaar. This bustling market is the ideal place to shop for exotic spices, dried fruits, sweets, and Turkish delights. It's a sensory journey that captures the essence of Istanbul's culinary heritage.

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, 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.

Wanna learn more about Istanbul Aquarium?

Shopping on Bagdat Avenue

Bagdat Avenue is one of Istanbul's most prominent shopping districts, known for its upscale shops, chic cafes, and restaurants. It's an ideal location for a day of shopping and dining.

Visiting Boutiques in Nisantasi

Nisantasi is a fashionable neighborhood known for its luxury boutiques, designer stores, and sophisticated dining options. Exploring its boutiques is a must-do for fashion lovers.

Don't Miss: Camlica Tower - Highly Recommended

Discover Istanbul like never before from its most spectacular vantage point – Camlica Tower. This iconic tower will offer you a breathtaking 360-degree city panorama that will leave you in awe.

You are able to have great dining experience here with a range of optional delights – choose from breakfast, lunch, or dinner to complement your experience. While the tower is situated on the Asian side of the city, uphill along Uskudar, there is also private hotel transfers in air-conditioned luxury.

Book Your Seat and Meal + Transfer

Book Online in Advance


Night-time Attractions

Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on a Private Yacht

You can enjoy an exclusive sightseeing experience on the Bosphorus from the private deck of your yacht on a 2 to 3 hours private cruise past some of Istanbul’s most famous sites. You’ll admire the beautiful scenery with 360 degree views from the spacious upper fly-bridge, or enjoy relaxing in comfort on the sun deck or in the comfortable outdoor and indoor lounges.

During the cruise, you’ll just sit back and unwind as you enjoy a cup of tea, coffee or enjoy sipping an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage or cocktail. A comfortable option than the Bosphorus day cruises, especially during hot these autumn days.

We recommend the below ticket options for the great value for money.

Enjoy Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Entertainment

Istanbul in June 2023 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)

This is one of the most popular night time entertainments in the city. Mostly preferred with the tourists who want to experience a unique attraction specific to Istanbul. Typical dinner cruises start from the Kabatas pier daily at about 20:00 pm and goes for about 3 hours.

Wanna learn more about Bosphorus Dinner Cruise?

Mesmerizing Whirling Dervish Show

Experience the mesmerizing Sufi tradition with a Whirling Dervishes Show. The tranquil yet captivating dance is a spiritual ritual that allows you to witness a unique cultural expression of faith. Check local listings for performances happening during your stay.

There are two popular venues that you can watch this show. Book your tickets online in advance as they are selling out quickly.

Buy Whirling Dervishes Show Tickets at Hodjapasha Culture Center

Buy Whirling Dervishes Show Tickets at Orient Express Hall

Wanna learn more about Whirling Dervishes Show?

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 have some essential information first, before arriving Istanbul. Make sure you read our pages below.

* You can explore the majority of the sights and sounds of the city on foot. You will mostly need to take a tram as for transportation in between old and modern city.

* So get an IstanbulKart as you can have access all the public transportation network of Istanbul.

* There are also guided tours with professional local guides that you can save yourself from the beggars, and people coming beside and ask for helping with guidance around or for money.

* We recommend you buy your attraction tickets online. This is by far the easiest and great value for money.

Tours & Tickets

* When planning an Istanbul visit, weekend break, getaway or holiday, there are always plenty of tours, attractions, deals, offers, packages and events to choose from and enjoy in the city. You may explore Istanbul via daily tours made by the local travel agents with professional guides. It is a very good option if you don't want to go through the hassle of making all the arrangements including the tickets, waiting at the long queues and 2-ways transportation by your own.

See All Popular Tours & Tickets

Tourist Passes & Discount Cards

* Istanbul has several 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. Below you can see our recommendations.

Istanbul E-Pass

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, etc.

  • Saving Guarantee: If you visit less then you paid, get refund of the rest amount.
  • Flexible Travel: Passes are valid 2 years from the date of purchase
  • Contactless Entry: All in one digital pass. Show your pass and get in.
  • Top Attractions: Free Admission to top Istanbul attraction and tours

Buy Your Istanbul E-Pass

Istanbul Tourist Pass

Istanbul Tourist Pass is a digital travel discount card that provides entrance and transportation tickets to many of Istanbul's top tourist attractions along with several guided museum tours with skip-the-line access. Rather than paying for each item individually, the pass allows you to choose from 100+ things to do in Istanbul so you can pack as much into your stay as possible for a single set price. You'll get valuable discounts of up to 80%.

After you purchase the pass, it will be delivered to mobile phone and will be ready to use at upon arrival. There are four types of Istanbul Tourist Pass (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10-Day).

Buy Your Istanbul Tourist Pass Online Now

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