When to go to Istanbul
When is the best time to go to Istanbul in terms of weather, prices, number of tourists? Features of the seasons, how to dress, air and water temperatures. What can be done in Istanbul in spring and summer, autumn and winter, where to go – found out Eurotraveler.ru.
Istanbul is a large and very touristy city. However, in the eyes of Russian vacationers until recently it was more an add-on, rather than an independent destination.
Here it was customary to rush for a day or two, so as not to give themselves finally sour on the beaches of Antalya or Kemer. To run through the central streets at a brisk pace, to visit the palaces and gardens of Topkapi with the guide’s quick conversation, to take a ride on a motor ship on the Bosphorus … and then come back. To the “all-inclusive” and measured, undisturbed rhythm of rest.
Someone, of course, came to the city on the border between East and West and purposefully. And before that they meticulously studied the existing sights and weather conditions, made routes and far-reaching plans.
In short, I figured out the best time to go to Istanbul to be charged with maximum impressions. Without getting exhausted by the tourist crowds and going broke on tickets and hotels.
- Such travelers, however, were in the minority
The coronavirus pandemic, as is becoming clear today, changed the established trend. Turning Istanbul from a popular day-trip destination into a self-sufficient destination. It is in demand both at high, i.e. the summer season, and outside it – the local weather in May is so good that there is no shortage of tourists.
In addition, with all evidence, it suddenly became clear that the winter in the Turkish metropolis is quite decent climatic conditions. And therefore the meeting of the New Year in Istanbul – which people have not thought about in the age of open Tallinn and Riga, Prague and Paris – has turned from a never-before-seen in something very promising .
In short, love and love. Having announced the birth of a new direction with multimillion potential and year-round prospects, we will move on to a statement of more pragmatic matters. Namely, the facts!
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It’s time to look at the map and realize that ex-Constantinople is located at 41 degrees north latitude. That is, somewhat south of even Rome. And much closer to the equator of such highly sought after in the colder months destinations as London and Paris, Munich and Milan, and other Venice.
This promises you if not a carefree existence with your jacket wide open, then a considerable number of distinctly warm (by the standards of northerners, of course) days. And a lot of opportunities for interesting pastime.
From tours of the old town to trips to the neighborhood, both near and far. Yes, you’ll probably need to rent a car for that, but so what – it’s not too costly!
All in all, you can’t help but think about visiting Istanbul in winter. Unless, of course, you like to wander around and sit for a long time looking at the water or the sky.
You know a lot about visiting not only famous museums, but also seemingly unassuming structures and semi-ruins. At the same time you are easy going – you can go from Istanbul for a day to many places. And in the absence of mass tourists simply must!
Usually synoptic forecasts for December promise the Turkish metropolis +7-+17 degrees of heat during the day. The order of 70-90 mm (that’s a lot!) of precipitation in the form of rain and even wet snow. Plus strong winds, with excitement literally undressing tourists with unreasonably easy dressing.
Sunny days are not too much – 7-8 during the whole month. And in general you have the right to question the feasibility of the trip. Especially because in Turkey in December you can find much more promising in terms of climate.
But we recommend taking a risk. Because a little later, in January, Istanbul becomes less attractive. The energy that was imparted to the city in the warm autumn fades! And the energy of the inhabitants spills out during the New Year vacations without a trace.
The snow that falls overnight no longer tends to melt at any cost by the afternoon. And temperatures are not inclined to unbridled optimism and try not to go beyond +10.
The length of daylight hours on paper is increasing. But it is more difficult to feel it than at the beginning of winter – the sun is carefully hidden in a misty haze.
As for prices, they are on a historically low level. And will gladden the bank account of even a little earning traveler. Except for a few pre- and a dozen post-Christmas dates.
In December and January, a room in the popular Basileus Hotel in Fatih district (7-10 minutes to Sultanahmet Square) can be grabbed for 1.5-2 thousand rubles per night. It is for two people and with a refundable rate!
- In May and June it costs the standard 3.5 thousand…minimum.
It is cozy, centrally located, has a great view terrace and Angel’s Home Hotel. In winter you can also expect a 40-50% discount from the standard rates.
In theory, not bad and considered by many as a kind of transitional month to spring. But in fact, Istanbul February is not much different from January. And in 2021 it was even marred by a week and a half of failure to near zero. In 2022, though, the weather was much warmer!
Against the background of frequent rain, strong winds and few clear days, all this does not look very optimistic, of course. But those who will not save the “black economy” and stay in the historic center of Istanbul, will be able to turn this minus in a plus.
They will simply go from the mosque to the museum and from there to the cisterns. They will pay a lot of attention to the bazaars and stores. They will buy a mountain of food, things, and “valuable” gifts that it makes sense to bring from Turkey.
This in itself is an optimistic time. It promises changes for the better and prepares the mind for the coming summer.
It is different everywhere, but in the former Constantinople it is exactly so. In fact, already in March and April you will enjoy the honest-to-goodness warming sun. At times not just unzipping your quilted jacket, but taking it off altogether.
Without fanaticism, of course – Bosphorus winds are strictly forbidding unwise people to relax, but you will feel warmth. And along the way you will see how few tourists there are at this time.
Western Easter (April 16 in 2023) can theoretically be an exception. But in general, until the final month of spring, the main Turkish metropolis does not see crowds of idling foreigners.
But it becomes very beautiful. And tulips blooming in lush gardens and parks only add to its charm.
Does the weather in Istanbul for May holidays promise something incredible? It depends on how you look at it – if you are happy with +20-+22 then yes! Rains are relatively rare, sun and light are plentiful.
At the same time it becomes hot only closer to the end of the month. And you can feel it up to +30.
We will be subjective and even somewhat original. Because we intend to dissuade you from going to Istanbul even in June. Not to mention other summer months.
For it will be hot – at times sultry – and often stuffy. Instead of gazing around in search of beauty, you’ll look for air conditioning.
You will try to stay longer in cool places. And linger in the underground of the Basilica Cistern for clearly longer than you need to look around.
Yes, boat trips on the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus go down a treat during these months. Partly because the weather in Istanbul in August is too hot! And everyone tends to cool off first and then have a peaceful look.
In summer to Istanbul go from Alanya and Antalya – the whole tour groups. And apparently not suffer much – in the Turkish south at this time even harder to stay.
But with this time of year is exactly the opposite – you should definitely go. And not only with the purpose to look diligently and for a few days in Istanbul. But also with another, not at all worse, – then move to Bodrum or Marmaris.
Or, let’s say, to go to the south there in general. And that there is nothing difficult – the distance from Istanbul to Antalya allows not even spend the night on the road!
As for the weather, at first it seems as if she did not notice the onset of a “dismal time”, as he called it the great Russian poet. And why should it be? The beginning of September in Istanbul is really luxurious because the air gets up to +30 and higher and the sun is shining as if nothing had happened7!
And then during the second and third decade of the month the picture changes not too much: up to +23-+27 – during the daytime hours. And only a few degrees lower at nights.
When you get acquainted with such forecast you want not only to walk but also to bathe! There are plenty of places to do that near Istanbul. At Kumkoy or Şile on the Black Sea or on the Prince Islands.
October and November
October does not bring anxious anticipation of winter and the local October. It’s still warm: up to +20-+24. But you don’t want to take a dip – the wind is becoming too piercing at times.
But you want to spend a lot of time in the air and get stuck on the observation sites. After all the air at this time is so transparent, that all the time it seems as if at last we have sharpened.
And there are enough weather days for literally everything. Including, for example, a trip from Istanbul to Cappadocia. A region that also enjoys clear, mostly cloudless and warm weather during this period.
And sees hardly more balloons overhead than at the peak of the season, in the summer!
We advise you to consider a trip to Istanbul in early November. For the final chord of autumn in this point on the world map does not sound sad. On the contrary, it is very optimistic.
Anyway, at first you can make photos against the background of the Bosporus in a light jacket or even a T-shirt. And in the second half of the month you’ll be able to walk along the promenade not in a down jacket – there’s no reason for that!
When to go to Istanbul
Learn about the weather in Istanbul by month. When is the best time to go for excursions and beach holidays? Water and air temperature, weather conditions at different times of the year. Tourist reviews.
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Look for interesting excursions on Sputnik and Tripster sites. Individual and group, without crowds of tourists and in Russian.
When to go to Istanbul
Lovers of sightseeing and shopping come to Istanbul all year round. Especially beautiful city in the spring, when the streets and parks of tulips bloom.
Some manage to combine sightseeing in Istanbul with a beach holiday. When is the best time to go? The bathing season begins in late May and lasts until early October. The summer months are hot. At the height of the day the thermometer rises to +30. +35°С. If you want to swim, go to the Princes’ Islands.
In October the weather is still warm, but in November it’s not so nice to go to Istanbul. In late autumn in Turkey, it is cool, windy and damp.
Weather in Istanbul by Months
Water and air temperature. In the middle of winter, the air temperature in Istanbul is +8. +9°С. The sea water is cold +12 ° C.
Weather conditions. In January, there are only 9 sunny days. The rest of the time the sky is covered with dense clouds. The amount of rainfall is 90 mm. Half of the month it rains, but they are not long.
Tourist reviews . There is no low season in Istanbul. In their reviews, tourists note the bonuses of winter holidays in Turkey. After the New Year holidays, tour prices fall, hotels offer great discounts, and there are no crowds of sightseers on the streets. Visit famous mosques, palaces and museums and have a cup of hot Turkish coffee between excursions!
Kapalı Çarşı Grand Bazaar in Istanbul (Photo: unplash.com / @omar_dc)
Water and air temperature. Temperatures in February are around +6. +8°С. On some days the thermometer rises to +10. +14°С. The temperature of sea water +11. +12 °С.
Weather conditions. Although the number of days with rainfall decreases to 12 in late winter, it is damp and cloudy in Istanbul. On the sea side there are piercing sea winds. Do not forget to take a windproof jacket, a sweater, gloves, and a warm hat!
Tourist Reviews. There is no shortage of people who want to visit Istanbul in February! The cool weather in no way hinders excursions, shopping, visiting museums and choosing souvenirs in the colorful Turkish bazaars.
The Marco Polo Experience. We went to Istanbul in February – it was mostly cold and dank, but when the sun peeked out, it got hot. The museums are cool too, dress warmly.
Water and air temperature. In March, the weather in Istanbul is pleasantly spring-like. It is getting warmer: up to +12. +The temperature during the daytime and at night is +8. +9°C. The sea water temperature remains mostly unchanged. The sea water temperature remains unchanged +12 °С.
Weather conditions. At the beginning of spring there are a lot of sunny days. Daylight hours rise to 12.5 hours. In the month there are only 3-4 days with precipitation and humidity reaches 75%.
Tourist reviews. March is the month when it is best to go to Istanbul for excursions and walks. Tourists like to get acquainted with historical sights, relax in parks and spend time in Turkish cafes.
Water and Air Temperature. The temperature rises to +16. +17°С. The sea is still cold +13°C.
Weather conditions. In April the number of sunny days rises to 16. It is very beautiful in Istanbul. The flowers bloom, the birds sing, the trees look green. The precipitation is a lot – 60 mm, but the rains do not spoil the spring mood.
Tourist reviews. In windless weather, it is nice to go on a little cruise along the Bosphorus Strait and feed the seagulls on the embankments. Tourists love the Tulip Festival, which is held in April in the streets and parks of the city.
Spring boat ride on the Bosphorus (Photo: unsplash.com / @reo)
Water and air temperature. In May, the air temperature is +20°C and the sea water is +16. +18°С. The most adventurous can go for a swim!
Weather conditions. The weather in May in Istanbul is good for walks and excursions. There is no winter dampness anymore, but the summer heat is not yet here. The sunny days rise to 22 for the month. There’s not a lot of rain and the humidity is moderate at 70%. Probably the best month to visit Istanbul!
Tourist reviews. The high season in Istanbul starts at the end of the month. All hotels are open, restaurants, cafes, bars, attractions and entertainment centers work. The prices of tours to Istanbul in May are high. It is not possible to save money! Tourists enjoy taking part in the colorful Spring Festival, which the Turks spend May 5-6.
Water and air temperature. When the weather gets really hot in the seaside resorts of Turkey, no one in Istanbul suffers from overheating. The air temperature is +25. +27°С. The sea water is moderately warm +19. +21°С.
Weather conditions. Daylight hours rise to 15 hours. Almost the whole month bright sun shines. Only 22 mm of rainfall during the month.
Feedback from tourists. June is the time when it is better to fly to Istanbul with children. In early summer, the city is not hot, a lot of greenery and fresh air. According to the reviews of parents, children are satisfied with visiting the Miniature Park, the luxurious Topkapi Palace, the huge Istanbul Aquarium, Legoland, the Toy Museum and sea walks on the Bosphorus.
Water and air temperature. At the height of summer the temperature in the city is +29. +30°С. The sea is comfortable for swimming +21. +23°С.
Weather conditions. There are almost no clouds in July. The weather is sunny and hot. The sun burns from morning to evening, and at the end of the month the temperature rises to +33. +35°С. Although the humidity doesn’t exceed 65%, it is stuffy in the streets.
Tourist feedback. Because of the heat in July in Istanbul is not too comfortable. Tourists advise to spend the daytime hours in museums, temples, palaces and shopping centers. It is not a bad solution to wait out the heat of the day on the beach or at a cafe on the shores of the Bosphorus.
Hagia Sophia Cathedral (Aya Sofya) (Photo: unsplash.com / @william_bossen)
Water and air temperatures. The end of summer in Istanbul is hot. In the morning the thermometer shows +27. +28 ° C in the morning and +33. +35°С. The sea water is very warm +23. +25 ° C.
Weather conditions. There are only 3 cloudy days in August. It rains rarely. The hot weather is not too suitable for excursions and walks.
The feedback from the tourists. Tourists are forced to spend a lot of time in air-conditioned rooms. In order not to overheat and not get heat stroke, we advise to go out in the sun before 11:00 and after 16:00.
The Marco Polo Experience. Even for us, accustomed to the heat, it was unbearably stuffy in Istanbul in August. It is difficult to walk around the city because it is hilly. We recommend that you spend your hottest time in the museums! Take a boat ride – the sea breeze is refreshing.
Water and air temperature. In early autumn the temperature drops to +26 ° C during the day and +22 ° C at night. The sea is warm +22. +23°С.
Weather conditions. In September, there are fewer sunny days and the amount of rainfall increases to 35 mm. Tourists enjoy warm and clear skies, but the autumn weather can give unpleasant surprises in the form of heavy rains.
Reviews of tourists. If you do not know when it is better to fly to Istanbul with children, choose September. The velvet season in Turkey is mild and pleasant. Go to the Prince’s Islands – there are beaches, you can swim.
Sultanahmet Mosque (Photo: unsplash.com / @Sultanahmet)
Water and air temperatures. Compared to September, it’s getting cooler in Istanbul. The air temperature drops to +19°C during the day and to +12°C at night. The sea water cools to +18 ° C. It is cool to swim!
Weather conditions. The middle of autumn in Turkey with rain and high humidity of 80%. Sometimes the weather is happy with warm, windless days. To avoid miscalculation, take warm clothes and a jacket to travel!
Tourist feedback. October is the first month of the low season. The flow of tourists decreases and the tours get cheaper. There comes a time when it is better to go to Istanbul for lovers of sightseeing, gastronomy and shopping.
Water and air temperatures. In November, the temperature during the daytime is +14 ° C and at night it is +9 ° C. During the daytime it is comfortable in a sweater and a windbreaker but in the evenings it is better to wear a jacket! The sea water temperature of +16 ° C is warmer than the air.
Weather conditions. In November, the daylight hours are shortened to 9.5 hours. The sun is not much, it rains every other day or two, and the humidity rises to 80%.
Tourist feedback. The last month of autumn gets a lot of negative feedback from tourists. They complain about the inclement weather in Istanbul, dank winds and dampness. Vacationers are few, so small hotels close for a break. Tour prices are the lowest of the year.
Cappadocia in winter. Photo: LoggaWiggler / pixabay.com.
Water and air temperature. At the beginning of winter, the air temperature does not exceed +11. +12 ° C. The sea water is just as cool.
Weather conditions. In December in Istanbul, the weather is rainy and piercing winds blow. In a month there is 80 mm of precipitation. The number of sunny days is reduced to 11.
Tourist reviews. In the last month of the year the weather in Istanbul is suitable for excursions to historical monuments, visits to museums and exhibition halls, shopping in malls and bazaars. During the second half of the month, the flow of holidaymakers increases. Tourists rush to Istanbul to meet the New Year’s holidays.