The best times to visit Istanbul are from March to May and between September and November, when the crowds at the city’s attractions are manageable, room rates are average and daytime temperatures are generally in the 60s and 70s.In the high season, from June to August, temperatures rise to the 60s and 80s, and accommodation prices increase to meet the demand of incoming tourists.
Meanwhile, December to February are the cheapest months to visit, but Istanbul’s rainy, snowy and cold conditions (temperatures range from 30 to 50) mean you will need to wear cold weather clothes and carry an umbrella during your stay.
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When is the best time of the year to visit Istanbul?
- Best time to visit: Spring and autumn are the best times of the year to visit Istanbul. Although spring is the high season in Istanbul, the crowds do not reach their peak until the end of May.Many feel that spring is the best time of all, and particularly in April, when the whole city is in bloom for the month-long International Tulip Festival, yet autumn is the time when the city comes alive in a range of colors, both dark and bright, while the light rain and glorious sunsets create a kind of impressionistic painting.When visiting in spring, summer or autumn, the most pleasant time to experience Istanbul’s main sights is early in the morning, shortly after opening or late in the day.the popular Topkapi Palace is best visited on Monday mornings, when it is generally quieter.in winter, you can usually arrive at any time and not find a queue or crowds.Summer is quite the opposite, possibly the worst time to visit because of the sweltering heat, the large number of people visiting the city and the lines of attractions and other tourist sites.
- Best time to cruise on the Bosphorus: September may be the best time of year for a Bosphorus cruise as the weather is typically warm and the winter blasts have not yet settled in. May is the next best option and a good time to be aware of the three different species of dolphins that inhabit the Bosphorus: bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins and harbour porpoises.That said, a cruise on the Bosporus is a year-round attraction. While the weather can occasionally cause a cancellation, if you’re going during the short winter days, take the morning cruise for the best chance of sunshine.
- Best time to shop: Istanbul is a popular shopping destination, offering a wide variety of world-famous brands along with high quality local designs.In addition to all the major international luxury brands, the city’s local fashion industry is booming, so looking for non-chain stores will often reveal great finds. There are no specific dates for sales, but the first week of July usually brings the best of summer bargains. By mid-August, sales will have peaked.The winter sales begin between mid-December and early January, with discounts of 30 to 50 percent. While unsold items can be discounted by up to 70 percent in April, selections will be scarce at that time. Fall is the time to get that deal at the Grand Bazaar, while summer, when vendors have many customers, is the worst.Some argue that buying the bazaars in the morning is better for good business, as the sellers have the rest of the day ahead of them, while others recommend going just before closing time, as the sellers have reached their daily profit goals and everything else is just a good extra.
- The best time for smaller crowds: As with many tourist destinations, the largest crowds arrive in summer.winter sees the fewest visitors, particularly in January and February.In May, the crowds have returned and begin to dwindle again in early October.to enjoy the best of both worlds, come in late April, when you won’t have to bump into each other, the tulips are blooming and the weather is pleasantly warm.no matter what time of year you visit, the popular sites are usually busiest in the early afternoon, so you’ll want to plan to arrive early in the morning to avoid hordes of tourists (before the tourist groups arrive) or in the late afternoon.The worst day to visit the Blue Mosque is on Friday, as it is closed on Friday mornings and just after lunch, when the doors open to visitors, the queue is usually very long.weekends and holidays are also usually quite busy, making non-holiday days the best days of the week for thinner crowds in most places.
- High season (late May to September): The high season from spring to early autumn is the high season in Istanbul, with June, July and August considered its peak.the climate is hot and sometimes quite humid, accommodation rates are higher and crowds and long queues are the worst all year round, especially when cruise ships arrive.On the other hand, this is a good time to enjoy an outdoor meal at a Bosphorus seafood restaurant, or Turkish coffee at a sidewalk café.it is also the best season to visit beaches in the area such as True Blue: during the summer it hosts many concerts and live events.in May, June, July, August, September and early October, the best hotels in Istanbul must be booked months in advance.
- Shoulder Season (mid-March to early May, October to mid-November): As Istanbul has become one of the most popular destinations in the world, traveling here in the shoulder season will not allow you to avoid the crowds completely, but it certainly won’t be at its worst.the mild spring and autumn weather makes the city one of the most ideal places to visit during this season, and you may also be able to get airfares and hotel rates a little cheaper.
- Low season (mid-November to mid-December, early January to mid-March): Winter is the low season in Istanbul. This is the best time of year to visit for local experiences, great discounts and few crowds, but you will need a raincoat, waterproof shoes and a windproof umbrella.You will see a significant drop in hotel rates, especially in January and February, and with the exception of the Blue Mosque, you will be delighted to discover that you will not have to wait in line to visit almost anywhere in Istanbul.When you are ready to escape the cold and wet weather, immerse yourself in a hammam (Turkish bath), which is especially lovely in the winter as the perfect way to warm up.
The weather in Istanbul by month
- The weather in Istanbul in January: January is the peak of winter in Istanbul.Temperatures are colder and days are shorter, with the sunset around 4:45 p.m. at the beginning of the month, dropping about 35 minutes later at the end of January.The month tends to bring about four days of snow each year, so there may even be a few inches of snow on the ground, as Black Sea lake-like snow is fairly common.the chances of rain are much greater, with about 100 mm of precipitation expected during 14 days of the month.showers are usually light but prolonged, so it’s a good time for indoor activities.bring cold weather clothing, such as a warm coat, sweaters, hat, scarf, and gloves.Waterproof shoes can make a big difference if you are cold, wet and miserable or relatively comfortable.(Average maximum temperature: 8°C. Average rainfall: 102mm.)
- Istanbul weather in February: since February is still mid-winter in Istanbul, you should pack as you would for January, as there is little difference in temperature, although there is a little less rain, with 70mm falling in 12 days.On average, the month sees about 4 or 5 days of snow each year, and foggy/cloudy days are common in most mornings. days get longer, with daylight lasting until about 6 p.m. in late February. Average rainfall: 71 mm.)
- Istanbul weather in March: although it can still be cold and wet in March, temperatures gradually increase as spring begins, with a noticeable difference of 3°C, which heats up to 11°C. Towards the end of the month, the change of seasons has come, and you will feel much warmer and drier, with 50mm of rain in 13 days.you will still need a raincoat and those waterproof shoes, but it is unlikely that you will need to wrap up as much as you would have done last month.Days are brighter and longer, with a sunset around 7:30 pm by March 31.(Average maximum temperature: 11°C. Average rainfall: 70 mm.)
- Istanbul Climate in April: In April, days are longer with the sunset at 8 pm. at the end of the month and warmer, although the summer heat has not yet arrived with temperatures typically pleasant during the day and falling after dark.it is likely that all you need to keep comfortable is a waterproof jacket and waterproof shoes.relatively high average rainfall of 60 mm over 11 days means you can expect light and infrequent showers on some days of the month.the city can be at its prettiest, with the famous tulips blooming and filling the long corridor of the Bosporus Strait.(Average maximum temperature: 16 ° C. Average rainfall: 51 mm.)
- Istanbul Climate in May: At the end of May, summer is here, with the month generally seeing pleasant and warm temperatures, a decrease in rainfall and a gradual increase in the number of sunny hours with the sun until almost 8:30 p.At that point, you should feel quite summery, and you can even enjoy sunbathing on the beach. 40 mm of rain is produced during the 9 days of the month, and although you will probably experience occasional showers, they are usually light and of short duration.You will most likely need sunglasses, sunscreen and light clothing, but plan to wear some layers to throw or pile on as the weather changes, as it can be hot one day and cool the next. (Average maximum temperature: 20°C. Average rainfall: 33mm.)
- Istanbul weather in June: In early June, summer is in full swing, bringing long, hot and dry days.the highest temperature ever recorded here in June is 41°C, and temperatures often reach over 30°C for several days.June also hosts the longest day of the year, with the sun up to 8:40 pm during the second half of the month.Bring lightweight, breathable clothing, preferably in light colors, as well as a wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun off your face. Most Turkish women wear summer dresses with sleeves or a blouse and skirt with sleeves, while men wear short-sleeved shirts and jeans or long, lightweight pants.Comfortable, open-toed shoes are a good idea for both men and women, as are sneakers and stylish casual shoes.it is unlikely that rain will be a problem, but you may want a light sweater for cool evenings. Average rainfall: 30 mm.)
- Istanbul’s weather in July: in July the weather is stifling, the days are long and dry, the sea is warm and the coast is full of tourists and locals.The average high is 26°C, two degrees higher than last month, while low temperatures drop at night to around 17°C, making a summer night ideal for relaxing outdoors. In the Bebek area, in the Bosphorus district, you will find exceptional cafes and restaurants to avoid humidity and enjoy the gentle breeze, and the best place to enjoy it is from the Galata Bridge or one of the waterfront cafes on Büyükada, the largest of the nine Princes’ Islands. (Average maximum temperature: 28°C. Average rainfall: 24 mm.)
- Istanbul’s climate in August: the level of rainfall is the lowest and temperatures are still high, with no noticeable difference from July, except for a slight increase in humidity.You are unlikely to experience much rain with only about 20mm falling on four days this month on average.nighttime minimums are 19°C, so it is still quite hot even after the sun goes down, which is about 7:40pm in late August.the good thing is that many of Istanbul’s clubs are outdoors, ideal in summer, taking advantage of the cool breeze blowing.(Average maximum temperature: 28 ° C. Average rainfall: 32 mm.)
- Istanbul weather in September: in early September, it is still hot and dry, but by the end of the month, temperatures drop significantly, the autumn breeze blows and rain increases, making you feel much cooler.Even so, there is an average of nine hours of sunshine, although days are gradually shortening and the sun sets just before 7 p.m. by September 30. Bring your summer attire and a light rain jacket, and plan to wear layers in case temperatures rise or fall more than expected (average maximum temperature: 25°C. Average rainfall: 46 mm.)
- Istanbul weather in October: Autumn is here, and although it is still quite hot, it is much cooler and wetter than in the summer months. Typically, October begins with very good weather, with autumn rains coming during the second half of the month. Expect high humidity (usually around 80%) and at least some rain, although it is usually not too heavy or prolonged.The afternoons are much cooler than last month, with nighttime minimum temperaturs around 12°C, and days are significantly shorter at the end of the month. The sun sets around 6:30pm in mid-October, but because the clocks are set back an hour, sunset is at 5pm by 31st.)
- Istanbul Climate in November: At the beginning of the month, you may be pleasantly surprised by the warm days and sunshine, although there will be a noticeable hint in the air.as the month progresses and winter approaches, expect much cooler and wetter weather.wearing layers, waterproof shoes and having at least one lightweight rain jacket on hand is optimal for comfort, as the rain increases to 100 mm in 13 days in November.The days are much shorter, with only five hours of sunshine a day on average, and with the temperature dropping to 9°C at night, you will feel cold after dark and during the early morning hours. (Average maximum temperature: 14°C. Average rainfall: 91 mm.)
- Istanbul weather in December: December in Istanbul is typically cold and wet.Instead of heading to the coast, locals head to the mountains to enjoy the idyllic skiing conditions. Snow in Istanbul is not common, on average there are about two days of snow in December each year, and even then it is usually no more than a few inches.If it snows or not, with about 100 mm of rain expected for 17 days this month, you will need a waterproof jacket and waterproof shoes, as it is likely to be quite wet. December also marks the beginning of the shortest day of the year, with the sunset as early as 4:36 pm on December 1 and waiting about 10 more minutes for New Year’s Eve.