When to Visit Turkey
Visiting Turkey is an unforgettable experience! It’s a country that straddles the line between East and West, with a culture, a cuisine, religions, and traditions informed by both Europe and the Middle East.
Turkey is steeped in thousands of years of phenomenal history; here, you can visit ancient ruins and cities of a legend like the fabled Troy – a city with mythology larger than itself. Full of scenic beaches and rich food culture, there’s something for everyone in this fascinating country.
Choosing when to visit Turkey can be challenging, it’s a country that experiences burning hot and humid summers and biting cold and even snowy winters. All of this means that planning what you want to get up to ahead of your trip is more than a good idea: it’s honestly imperative to ensure a successful trip.
Of course, this means that high season for Turkey travel falls in the spring and autumn months when people flock to catch that perfect temperate weather which is neither unbearably hot nor uncomfortably cold. In the high season, airfare prices go up and both hotels and tours get booked up quickly.
This means we have to ask the question: are these really the best times to travel? Turkey’s weather is a variable beast so let’s go through when, exactly, you should be travelling to Turkey, what you can do in those off-seasons, and how to potentially save a lot of money.
Bear in mind, through all of this, that your personal preference when it comes to weather and temperature will, of course, factor in.
Turkey in Spring
Spring is one of the best seasons for sightseeing in Turkey; you’ll get long days to explore and it’s still off-season so things are cheap. That’s one of the biggest draws to Turkey in the spring months: cheaper flights and hotels. After all – and this is very important – saving money on flights and hotels by travelling in the months before tourist season really kicks in means you have more time and money to spend on doing more fun things, like travelling between the cities.
Speaking of, this is the perfect time to visit Cappadocia: the desert haven of rocky caves, famous as the filming location for Tatooine in the original Star Wars. Visiting during the spring means that this area is dry but the stifling heat hasn’t hit yet. It’s the best time to visit one of the most beautiful areas of Turkey.
Also, if you visit Turkey in April, you’ll have the delightful bonus treat of seeing the tulips in bloom.
The weather can be a bit breezy but will be safely in the mid-to-upper teens, which is a warm but refreshing weather condition to wander the suburbs and country areas and really revel in the atmosphere that the tulips in bloom gloriously create. Although you may get some rain in March it’s generally gone by April apart from a few days of light showers, so just bring a thin raincoat and get ready to explore the colourful land that spring offers!
Turkey in Summer
Very much high season for Turkey travellers as people flock to catch the gorgeous hot weather, lounge on the beautiful beaches, go swimming and meander the coastal cities.
Exploring the ruins in Ephesus and enjoying the tea gardens or riverside street food carts of Istanbul is extra intoxicating during those long summer days.
Some of the best beaches to visit in turkey during the summer are Kabak Beach, Blue Lagoon, and Cleopatra’s Beach although as this is the high season you may find them to be quite busy, make sure you get to the beach early for a perfect spot.
This is also an ideal time to take a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia (or go photograph them) since there’s little chance of winds cancelling any flights and the most balloons are in the air.
You’ll also be able to catch some excellent music festivals around the country towards the end of summer. Make sure you try dondurması in the summer, Turkey’s famous ‘ice-cream of the city’.
Turkey in Autumn
This is very much one of the high seasons for Turkey travel and with good reason! With mild temperatures (usually between 18°C and 24°C) and gorgeous, temperate, sunny days which make wandering the historic sites or cruising down the Bosphorus a truly magical experience.
What’s perfect about doing one of the more popular tourist activities during the autumn months, like a cruise around the wild waters of the country’s coastline, is that the summer crowds have started to dwindle but the glorious Turkey weather means everything is still enjoyable – moreso, in fact, because there’s now no danger of painfully dry summer days.
For an alternative activity, try taking a sailing trip around Turkey is very popular doing this season and highly recommended! The odds of rain start increase in October so make sure you take a raincoat or umbrella with you.
Turkey in Winter
Yes, Turkey can get cold in winter (temperatures can drop to around 4°C or 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit ) but it actually isn’t nearly as dark and depressing as other countries can be at this time.
You’ll still get blue skies and crisp weather that can be really enjoyable and it has a new charm in the snow — the snowy scenes over Istanbul or Cappadocia are absolutely breathtaking and very much worth seeing. Just watch out for those icy winds!
Did you know there’s a big skiing scene in Turkey?
Some of the biggest resorts are in Uludag (in Bursa), Kartepe (in Izmit), Palandoken (Turkey’s highest peak)but there are many more dotted around and rates are much cheaper than destinations like Switzerland or Austria. The views are incredible and you’ll get to enjoy turkey in an alternative way.
As a bonus, throughout the cities and towns, you’re also going to get the least crowds and a more relaxed experience in general – tours will be quieter, and rates will be discounted. If you like shopping you’ll find plenty of winter sales in December and January so pick up a bargain!
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