Best time to visit Turkey

temperature & rainfall

Locations: Istanbul | Ankara | Antalya
With a 7,200km coastline and wildly varying terrain, the best time to visit Turkey depends on where you want to go and what you want to do. June to August is hot almost everywhere. The west and south coasts have mild winters, while central Anatolia is colder – as is Istanbul. Summer is great for activities like kayaking, rafting, canyoning or diving – but not so good for crowds at major cultural sites. Sunny spring and autumn days offer fine temperatures for walking and cycling. And don't forget winter for snow-shoeing in magical Cappadocia or skiing through majestic peaks.

When to visit Turkey and when not to

A month by month guide

    Heading to Turkey in January or February finds the country hunkering down from rain and cold with eastern and central areas, such as Anatolia, covered in snow and experiencing freezing temperatures.

    Cyclists and hikers will be pleased to learn that things are starting to look up weatherwise during March and April, especially on southern coastlines, and there's every chance of spotting dolphins heading northwest towards the Black Sea.

    April and May are often the best months to visit Turkey as although you may get a couple of rainy days there's an abundance of wild flowers and blossom turning the countryside into a cornucopia of colour alongside milder temperatures and fewer crowds on walking trails both inland and along the coast.

    June is commonly considered the start of the summer in Turkey and as such the resorts along the Mediterranean and Aegean will start to become busier as land and sea temperatures start to rise. The holy month of Ramadan will take place in May and June until 2019 so please take this into consideration when making travel plans throughout Turkey.

    As July and August are the hottest months of the Turkish calendar most visitors tend to hit the coast which leaves cities and hiking trails often bereft of crowds and accommodation prices a little lower.

    Moving out of summer and into autumn, Turkey still promises plenty of blue skies and warm temperatures although as September turns to October start to expect shorter days and more showers.

    As the winter months of November and December come into play it's often down to luck as to what weather conditions you'll find in Turkey and towards the end of the year things will have cooled down considerably which won't necessarily be all bad for cyclists tackling steep ascents.

    In general, the best time to visit Turkey is either side of the summer if you're looking to cycle, trek or explore archaeological sites however, heat-loving cultural travelers wishing to combine classical highlights with a few days on the beach will find June through to September absolutely ideal.

Best time to visit Turkey recommends

Heinrich Hall from our supplier Peter Sommer shares his views on the best time to visit Turkey for different places and experiences:
“Turkey is a large country with a very varied climate. The best periods to visit are probably late April to June and September to October, but that's a very broad generalisation. July and August are the hottest times, with temperatures often reaching the upper 30s. At the end of the day, it depends on what you are looking for. The west and south coasts have a mild winter climate but hot summers. The Central Anatolian plateau has hot summers and cold winters, as does Istanbul. And winter can have sun sparkling on turquoise waters and snow capping the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia!”

Festivals & events in Turkey

Our cultural pick from the Turkey calendar

Did you know about...?

Mevlana Festival (Konya) - December 10th-17th
A celebration of the whirling dervish orders founded by 13th century Sufi poet and mystic philosopher Jelaluddin Rumi - aka Mevlâna ('Our Guide'). A million people visit the vibrant city of Konya to witness days of dervish dancing and music, culminating in the major performance of unique trance-like forms on December 17 (the day Rumi died in 1273).
Photo credits: [Temp chart background - tomb ruin: Warren Talbot] [Rt recommends: Peter PZ]
Written by Norman Miller
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