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When is the best time to visit Turkey?

Written by
Melania Siriu, Alex Carey, Murray Mitchell & Hanna Fischer

The best time to visit Turkey largely depends on what it is you’re looking to get out of your vacation.

If you’re looking to kick-back and relax on the Mediterranean or Aegean coastline, visit in the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn. The months of April to May and October to November are also perfect for exploring Istanbul’s fascinating heritage without the crowds.

If you’re keen on taking to the skies in one of Cappadocia’s hot air balloons, then visit between April and October when winds are low and temperatures pleasant. To see a fairy-tale version of this epic landscape, visit from December to February when the whole region is blanketed under a beautiful layer of snow.

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The best time of year to go to Turkey

As Turkey is such a vast country, the best time of year to visit Turkey depends on which region it is you’re planning on visiting. Istanbul and the European side of Turkey experience scorching hot summers and biting cold winters; to avoid the extremes, the best time of year to go is either in spring (from April to May) or autumn (from September to mid-November). During these two shoulder seasons, Istanbul and its surrounding regions enjoy pleasant temperatures with fewer tourist crowds. 

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If you’re planning on venturing further out towards the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, the whole year is fair game. With a typically Mediterranean climate consisting of mild winters and hot summers, destinations like Bodrum have made their mark as year-round getaways. Heading further inland, the climate becomes far more extreme. In popular destinations like Cappadocia, temperatures can reach as high as 35°C in July and August and fall to as low as -10°C from November to March. Visit from May to October for pleasant weather, and an increased likelihood of being able to take to the skies in a hot air balloon.  

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The best time of year to go to Turkey for...

Apr - Jun, Oct - Nov

Beach breaks

In a country so enticing, it’s no surprise that Turkey’s coastline draws in hundreds of visitors during its peak season. The Turkish Riviera’s beautiful beaches are, understandably though, best enjoyed without the crowds. To experience the Aegean and Mediterranean in relative seclusion, visit in either spring or autumn. In July and August, temperatures can become uncomfortably hot, so the shoulder seasons offer a welcome respite from the extreme weather. The crowds are thinner too, and Indian summer like temperatures continue well into October and November. Keep in mind that many hotels close for the winter at the end of October, so you’re best off visiting towards the beginning of autumn rather than the end.

Dec - Mar

Fairytale landscapes

Although Turkey is often thought of as a summer getaway, it’s also the perfect destination for a magical winter. In Istanbul, sites like Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace are wonderfully deserted and there’s even opportunities to go skiing just a couple of hours outside of the city. In Cappadocia, although you may miss out on riding in a hot air balloon due to the weather conditions, you’ll still be mesmerised by the entire valley of fairy chimneys covered in a beautiful dusting of white snow. Whilst beach resorts are mostly closed during the winter season, the wintry months from December to March are the ideal time to explore Istanbul and Cappadocia.

Mar - May, Oct - Nov

Culture & heritage

Istanbul is a city like no other - just over 15 million people live here, and this melting pot is filled with tons of fascinating culture and heritage. From the 16th century Süleymaniye Mosque to the once Greek Orthodox Hagia Sophia, there’s so much to discover here. This buzzing metropolis can easily be a year-round destination, but if you really want to avoid the crowds, then the best time to go is in the depths of winter. From December to February, main sites like the Grand Bazaar are blissfully empty and temperatures, although chilly, are far from unbearable. If you’d prefer slightly warmer temperatures, visit in the shoulder seasons of March to May and October to November, when temperatures tend to climb into the 20s and the crowds are beginning to disperse.

Apr - Oct

Cappadocia’s hot air balloons

A region of Turkey that is around 8,000 years old, Cappadocia is one of the most fascinating parts of the country. A large part of the area’s allure is the infamous hot air balloon rides, with as many as 150 balloons taking flight each day. These incredible rides are subject to weather conditions though, so they’re never guaranteed. If you’re keen not to miss the opportunity to float above the fairy chimneys, it’s worth planning on staying a few days in Cappadocia. For the best chances of taking to the skies, visit between April and October when winds are low and temperatures pleasant.

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