Best time to visit Turkey

Updated: 06th March 2018

Cappadocia and poppies - Best time to visit Turkey - On The Go Tours

Seasons and Weather

Istanbul and European Turkey experience hot summers and cold winters with snow being a common feature. Spring and autumn, from April to May and from September to mid November respectively, are the ideal times to visit Istanbul and the inland regions when temperatures are pleasant and the skies are clear. Istanbul’s location near the sea means it can be quite a windy city, especially in the winter.

The Aegean and Mediterranean coasts both enjoy a typical Mediterranean climate characterised by mild winters and hot summers, which makes the beach resorts of Marmaris and Kusadasi popular year-round destinations. The majority of rainfall occurs in winter along the coast so the summer months remain hot and dry, perfect for topping up that tan. As you travel further east in Turkey the extremes in climate become more pronounced with very hot and dry summers reaching highs of 40°C and bitterly cold winters with heavy snowfall. Spring, autumn and the shoulder months of summer are the best times to visit the region when temperatures are mild and pleasant and it tends to stay relatively dry.

Climate | Istanbul

Temp Min °C323712161819161395
Temp Max °C8911162125282824201511
Rainfall (mm)109927246383434305881103119

Climate | Cappadocia

Temp Min °C-8-7-23710121384-2-5
Temp Max °C451318222731312721136
Rainfall (mm)283151675632323223293546

Climate | Fethiye

Temp Min °C556913172121171397
Temp Max °C141417192429313128241916
Rainfall (mm)21616096462611772480139233

Festivals and Events

As Turkey's cultural capital the cosmopolitan city of Istanbul is host to a number of arts festivals throughout the year while the coastal resorts are home to fun events including sand sculpture competitions and kite contests. Here's our selection of the best.

Istanbul Film Festival

Originating in 1982 this 10-day-long event celebrates the best of national and international film with awards given to documentaries made in Turkey amongst others. It's the largest film event held in Turkey with over 200 titles appearing in the programme. The festival takes place in April each year.

National Sovereignty and Children's Day

Back in 1920 on the 23rd April Turkey's Grand National Assembly first gathered with Ataturk supposedly dedicating the Turkish Republic to the children of the country. For this reason children take seats in parliament with a president elected to address the nation on TV. Festivals are held throughout the country with schoolchildren invited from around the world to spend a week with a Turkish family.

Sun Splash Festival

This music festival started in 2009 and is held in Bodrum showcasing international jazz, soul, funk and bossa music artists and DJs. Previous artists include Gilles Peterson and the festival's location in Bodrum means it can easily be combined with a beach break.

International Sand Sculpture Festival

Beginning in 2006 this annual festival sees hundreds of sand sculptures created by sculptors from across the globe. Occupying a large area at Lara Beach in Antalya the exhibition is one of the largest sand events in the world. The theme changes each year with previous themes including wonders of the world and Hollywood films.

The Side Culture and Art Festival

Showcasing a number of world famous orchestras, musicians and dancers, this summer festival takes place in the city of Side with free, open-air concerts performed in the ruined amphitheatre and temple of Apollo.

Antalya International Folk Music and Dance Festival Competition

This festival usually kicks off in August and runs through until the following January with various performances of folk music and dance from across Turkey and around the world. Local traditions and folk heritage are promoted with colourful performances taking place across multiple venues in Antalya.


Every year thousands of visitors flock to Gallipoli to pay their respects to those that died during the fateful ANZAC campaign. The day begins with a dawn service where veterans and their families would stand in silence for two minutes with the remainder of the day spent visiting the battlefields.

Istanbul Music and Jazz Festivals

Over the summer two separate festivals are held in Istanbul for the appreciation of classical and jazz music. Organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, the two festivals have seen some of the world's most prestigious orchestras, ensembles and jazz performers play across a variety of venues from open-air stages in public parks to museums and concert halls.


As a predominantly Muslim country Turkey observes the Islamic holy month of Ramadan with 30 days of fasting during daylight hours and a carnival atmosphere in the evenings when people are able to eat and drink again.

Republic Day

Commemorating the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 on October 23rd, this day is a public holiday with traditional processions held to celebrate. Flags are carried through the streets accompanied by marching bands with performances held in local stadiums and fireworks at night.

2018 Calendar

To help plan your visit to Turkey here's an overview of the festivals and events taking place in 2018:

April 7th-17th - Istanbul Film Festival (Istanbul)
April 23rd - National Sovereignty and Children's Day (countrywide)
April 25th - ANZAC Day (Gallipoli)
May 15th - June 14th - Ramadan (countrywide)
May 23rd - June 12th - Istanbul Music Festival (Istanbul)
June 4th - November 14th - International Antalya Sand Festival (Antalya)
June 19th-24th - Antalya International Folk Music and Dance Festival Competition (Antalya)
July 4th-20th - Istanbul Jazz Festival (Istanbul)
July 23rd - September 17th - Side Culture and Art Festival (Side)
October 29th - Republic Day (countrywide)

Before planning a trip around a festival, please verify the festival dates on the festival's website or with a local tourist information office as dates can change.

There's also a number of national holidays in Turkey and on these dates many businesses and some tourist sites will close for the day so plan your visit accordingly.

Tourist Site Closure dates

Popular sightseeing spots in Istanbul are closed on specific days. Please plan your visit accordingly.

Topkapi Palace - Closed Tuesday
Blue Mosque - Closed during all prayer times. Please be advised that the Blue Mosque is currently under renovation and it's not possible to visit the interior at this time.

Spice Bazaar and Grand Bazaar closed closed on 15th June, 21st August and 29th October 2018.

All museums, palaces and touristic sites closed until 1pm 15th June and 21st August 2018

See Also

Take a look at our handy travel resources to further help plan your trip to Turkey:

Best Places to Visit - the top spots to include in any itinerary
Tourist Visas - what you need to know to enter the country
Top Travel Tips - useful information on currency, health and shopping
Travel Alerts - current travel advice for Turkey
Traveller Reviews - what our passengers say about our Turkey tours