The Best Time to Visit Turkey: Open All Seasons
Knowing when the best time to visit Turkey is, depends on where you plan to go and what you want to do because the country has seven different climate zones. While this might sound like a big surprise, it covers such a vast amount of landscapes. Hence weather conditions vary from border to border. For example, in June, people in the Mediterranean swim, sunbath and lap up sunshine, but at the same time, communities of the northeast Kackar mountains wrap up warm amid low, cold temperatures.
What you plan to do is another factor. Turkey’s vast array of tourist attractions and historical landmarks are a delight to explore, but during the hottest months of July and August, uncomfortable is an understatement. Likewise, if you want to lie down on gorgeous stretches of sand, visiting smaller beach resorts between November to March will cause disappointment.
It is also worth mentioning the typical tourism season. The majority of flights occur from May to October, known as the prime season. During these months, airports see the most amount of arrivals. But watch this space because Turkey wants to become a year-round destination by promoting out of season activities like skiing, city breaks and winter destinations that become the fairy tale landscape.
Best Time to Visit Turkey
Best for Beach Holidays in Turkey
Beach holidays are big business in Turkey, and most people head to the Aegean and Mediterranean coast to places like Antalya and Fethiye regions, Marmaris, Bodrum, Altinkum and Kusadasi. Officially starting their season in May, you can visit in April, although quiet resorts and cold sea temperatures change the atmosphere considerably.
Temperatures rise and peak in July, August and September when swimming, sunbathing and relaxing are top of the agenda. A word of warning though because temperatures can reach as high as the mid-40s, so sun cream and copious amounts of water is a must. During these months, Turkish holidays also occur, and crowded beach resorts need patience, so for space on the sand, go in May, June or October.
Istanbul, Turkey’s number one tourist destination is open all year round, but from December to March, temperatures drop so wrap up warm. The rainy season is January and February and snow also occurs. When this happens, transport schedules are affected. This includes the Bosphorus ferries who sell cruises to view landmark buildings of the shorelines like castles, mosques and Yali mansions.
Since exploring Istanbul involves much walking to see main attractions and sites, we avoid it from June to September and instead, visit in either October, November, March, April or May. Read more about the shopping, nightlife and things to do in our Istanbul guide.
Time Your Visit to Cappadocia
Cappadocia, a tourism hub, spot is likewise open all year round; however, as another destination that receives snow in winter, weather can hamper plans if they call off the top must-do activity of a hot air balloon ride. Far spread out attractions in Cappadocia like Goreme Open Air Museum, Ihlara Valley and Derinkuyu underground city involve much walking so we love to visit in Spring and Autumn instead.
Beautiful Antalya for Christmas and New Year
With higher temperatures than the rest of Turkey, Antalya is a perfect year-round destination. While it is on full throttle during the beach season, things wind down from November to April, but in the city centre, life carries on. Many golfers visit Belek in these months because getting out and about on the world championship golf courses is a lot easier when the hot Mediterranean sun isn’t shining down.
Many expats and Turks also book Christmas and New year holidays in Antalya. Other benefits of visiting out-of-season include fewer crowds and saving money. January and February are the rainy months, but otherwise, Antalya receives roughly 300 days of sunshine a year so enjoy! Read more about planning a trip there, in our Antalya Travel guide.
Spring and Autumn
To take part in adventure sports, walk trails like the Lycian way or explore significant attractions like Ephesus ancient ruined city and Pamukkale calcium pools, Spring and Autumn are fantastic months. Photography fans should also visit then because landscapes become vivid colour blankets. Although cooler nights mean wearing a thin jacket and more indoor dining, perfect daytime temperatures attract those who don’t like intense heat.
So that is our advice on the best time to visit Turkey, but if you are still to plan where to go and what to do, find bucket loads of inspiration in our Turkey travel blog section. Talking about top destinations, well-known attractions, historical sites, culture, traditions, food and advice, it will help you plan the perfect trip.