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Best Time to Visit Turkey | When to Go & Travel Tips

Best Time to Visit Turkey | When to Go & Travel Tips

Make Turkey the next epic destination you cross off your travel bucket list. This beautiful country borders the Meditteranean Sea, the Black Sea, and the Marmara Sea for enviable coastal views from nearly any direction. 

Turkey experiences all four seasons, making it a year-round travel destination. However, there is a best time to visit Turkey to take advantage of the good weather, fewer crowds, and moderately priced hotels. 

Schedule your epic adventure during the best time to visit Turkey and embark on an unforgettable journey. Keep reading for local advice about when to visit Turkey, what to pack, answers to FAQs, and more. 

Why You Should Visit Turkey

Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul during sunset

Akimov Konstantin/Shutterstock

Turkey is an exceptional destination to add to your travel bucket list. One of Turkey’s notable features is that it boasts all four seasons. Enjoy springtime blooms, the summer heat, autumn colors, and winter activities. 

Turkey has an incredible history with exciting archeological sites and museums worth visiting. This country has jaw-dropping landmarks like the Hagia Sophia mosque and the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul. 

Central Turkey has Mount Erciyes, a towering volcano worth laying eyes on. Kayseri also boasts unique museums like the Museum of Seljuk CivilizationEastern Turkey has sights worth flying for.

Erzurum is a beautiful destination in eastern Turkey that holds natural wonders like the Tortum Waterfall.

Or, take in the historical sites like the Yakutiye Medresesi, which was built in 1310. There are wonderful things to do and see in Turkey any time of the year. Keep reading for the best, cheapest, and least busy times to visit.

Read Next: Is Istanbul Safe to Visit in 2022?

Overall Best Time to Visit Turkey

Tortum Waterfall in Uzundere during the best time to visit Turkey

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The best time to visit Turkey is during the spring or the fall. The weather in Turkey is pleasant between March to May and September to November, and the summertime crowds have dispersed.

You’ll find mid-range hotel rates and cheaper flight prices during these shoulder seasons. 

Spring 

Istanbul in the spring is a beautiful experience. This picturesque city has high temperatures between 62 to 71 degrees Fahrenheit in April and May.

April sees an average of ten days of rainfall throughout the month, so bring an umbrella with you on your explorations. May is the driest month of the year, so you’ll likely have better chances with the weather. 

In central Turkey, spring is also an amazing time to visit. Kayseri, Turkey, experiences highs of 64 degrees Fahrenheit in April and 72 degrees Fahrenheit in May.

However, April sees about 13 days of average rainfall, and May is Kayseri’s wettest month, with nearly 14 days of precipitation. On the east side of the country, Erzurum boasts beautiful springtime weather.

Beat the summertime crowds and explore this part of Turkey when temperatures have highs of 53 degrees Fahrenheit in April and 62 degrees Fahrenheit in May. Expect some rain, with April and May getting five to eight days of rain on average. 

Fall 

Between September and November, experience the best of autumn in Turkey. By September, summertime crowds have dispersed, and you’ll have better-priced hotel rates and more availability. 

Istanbul, the largest city in western Turkey, sees highs of 77 degrees Fahrenheit in September and drops to a high of 59 degrees Fahrenheit in November. September in Istanbul gets an average of seven days of rain.

Bring an umbrella with you in October and November because these months see 11 and 13 days of average rainfall throughout the month. Central Turkey also sees fewer crowds in the fall than during the busy summertime season. 

Kayseri has high temperatures of 80 degrees Fahrenheit in September. By November, the highs drop to 54 degrees Fahrenheit. In central Turkey, you’ll find four average days of rainfall in September.

In October and November, Kayseri gets eight and nine days of average rainfall, respectively. Eastern Turkey boasts autumnal weather with a crisp chill in the air. September in Erzurum has highs of 72 degrees Fahrenheit. October reaches highs of 59 degrees Fahrenheit.

By November, you’ll need cozy clothes because highs are 42 degrees Fahrenheit this month. September, October, and November see an average monthly rainfall of two, six, and four days. 

Summer

Summertime in all of Turkey is hot and sunny. Between June, July, and August, you’re very likely to get clear skies and warm temperatures no matter where you go.

The downside is that this is the busiest time to travel in Turkey. Summertime sees larger crowds, higher hotel rates, and less availability. If you plan to travel during this high season, book in advance. 

Cheapest Time to Visit Turkey

Winter shot from Istanbul at Galata Tower during the cheapest time to visit Turkey

Aslan Ozcan/Shutterstock

The best time to visit Turkey and take advantage of the low hotel rates is between late October and February. The winter season in Turkey when temperatures are at their lowest.

The low temperatures deter travelers, which encourages hotels to lower their rates to attract visitors seeking a good deal in a beautiful place. 

While the temperatures are cold during the winter season in Turkey, this country is beautiful to see dusted in a fresh layer of snow. Typically snow doesn’t last long, so appreciate it while it lasts! 

Winter

The cheapest time to visit Istanbul is between December and February (avoiding holidays). This is when the city is rainy and cold, and there’s a chance you’ll see snow. 

In December, Istanbul experiences highs of 51 degrees Fahrenheit and lows of 41 degrees Fahrenheit. January is even colder, with highs of 48 degrees Fahrenheit and lows of 37. December is the wettest month in Istanbul, with an average of nearly 14 days of rainfall.

January is slightly less rainy, with an average of 13 days throughout the month. The cheapest time to visit central Turkey is during the winter months. Central Turkey is even colder in the winter than Istanbul.

Kayseri in December and January reaches lows of 23 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit and highs of only 43 and 39 degrees Fahrenheit. The average monthly rainfall in December, January, and February are 12 days. The cheapest time to visit eastern Turkey is also in the heart of winter.

January is the best time to visit Erzurum to get a good discount; at the price of wearing a jacket, scarf, and gloves every time you go out. 

Erzurum is the coldest in January, with a high of 22 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of -2 degrees Fahrenheit. January only sees four days of average rain, but there is also a high likelihood of snow. 

Least Busy Time to Visit Turkey

A bunch of pillows above the river in Istanbul during the least busy time to visit

Lepneva Irina/Shutterstock

The best time to visit Turkey and avoid crowds is during the winter, but you can also find fewer crowds during the spring and the fall. 

Winter

Winter in Istanbul, Kayseri, and Erzurum is cold and wet. Many travelers choose to vacation where they can enjoy the sun during their winter vacations. This makes winter a great time to visit Turkey to avoid crowds. 

Hotel rates are cheaper in the winter off-season. Another plus is that tourist destinations are significantly less crowded during January and February. The downside is that you’ll wear a winter jacket in your photos. 

Spring/Fall

Fall and spring are the travel shoulder seasons in Turkey. This is a great time to travel because the weather is more favorable than in winter.

Yet, the busy summer travel season has tapered out. But, of course, the good weather in spring and fall means you’ll find more crowds during the shoulder seasons than in the winter. 

Worst Time to Visit Turkey

Winter view of Eskisehir Porsuk River with a trolley below the snow during the worst time to visit Turkey

Tanner Eristi/Shutterstock

Turkey is a year-round destination, but there are times of year that locals say are the worst times to visit. The two main ones are the winter and summer because of the freezing cold and the sweltering heat.

Winter

For many travelers, the worst time to visit Turkey is in December. Across the country, December is cold and wet and sees boosted holiday prices for flights and hotels.

Wintertime in areas near the Sea of Marmar and the Black Sea experience snow, while the rest of the country sees heavy rain. Traveling to Turkey in the wintertime means you’ll need to be prepared with warm clothes, waterproof shoes, an umbrella, and extra socks. 

Summer

Another unfavorable time for many travelers is during the summer. July and August see the highest amount of tourists, and temperatures also reach their peak.

For those who don’t like the heat and crowds, avoid visiting Turkey during the busy summer season. Traveling to Turkey in the summertime means you’ll need to pack sunscreen, bug repellant, sunglasses, and a hat.

Keep in mind that visiting mosques and religious sites require you to be covered, which can be pretty uncomfortable amidst the crowds in the summertime heat. 

Things to Consider

Gorgeous and thin woman holding her hands up overlooking the hot air balloon festival during the best time to visit Turkey

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As with all places, there are key points to remember when planning your amazing vacation to Turkey. 

All Four Seasons

Turkey experiences all four seasons with snowy and cold winters, hot summers, and warm springs and autumns. Pack clothes appropriate for the season to ensure you’re comfortable on your trip. But, leave room in your suitcase for souvenirs and extra clothes you pick up along the way.  

Language Barriers 

Turkey is a majority Turkish-speaking country, with under 20% of the population being proficient in English. Learn some key Turkish phrases before traveling and download a translation app to help you navigate streets, order food, and communicate with locals. 

Common Greetings 

In Turkey, it is common to greet one another with a kiss on both cheeks. Don’t be alarmed if someone you’re acquainted with greets you in this way. You can shake someone’s hand if they offer it without coming off as disrespectful. 

Dress Code 

Turkey does not have a strict standard for clothing but is known for being modest. Be sure to wear modest clothes with no shoulders or knees exposed and cover your head when visiting mosques or religious buildings. 

Safety

As with any other destination, Turkey is a moderately safe destination for tourism as long as you take normal precautions. Store valuable items in your hotel safe while out on tours or exploring.

Keep an eye on your personal items when using public transportation or in crowded areas. Major cities like Istanbul have a booming nightlife, so you can feel safe being out after dark. Just be aware of your surroundings and stay with your travel buddies when out late. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Hot air balloons at sunset in the Goreme village during the best time to visit Turkey

Givaga/Shutterstock

Find the answers to your top questions about visiting Turkey below. 

What are the top things to do in Turkey?

The top things to do in Turkey include tasting delicious Turkish food, exploring historical and religious sites, and relaxing like royalty. Check some of these top things to do in Turkey off of your travel bucket list when you visit: 

How long should I spend in Turkey?

Spend a minimum of five to ten days exploring Turkey’s top sights. Turkey is brimming with culture and fun things to do, so the more time you have, the better. If traveling to Turkey from the United States, be sure to schedule extra vacation time to accommodate the 13+ hours of travel time.

What is the local currency in Turkey?

The local currency in Turkey is the Turkish lira. One hundred kuruş makes up one Turkish lira. You can use Euros in some Turkish stores, but you’re more likely to get a better deal if you pay in the local currency. Keep in mind that if you can pay in foreign currency, you’ll receive change back in Turkish liras.

What language is spoken in Turkey?

The national language of Turkey is Turkish. Be sure to brush up on your Turkish before traveling because most locals don’t speak English fluently. You’ll find more English speakers in tourist areas, but don’t expect everyone to communicate with you in your language.

What is the best way to get around in Turkey?

Turkey has a fantastic infrastructure for getting around the country via public transportation like busses, trains, or Dolmus (mini-busses). However, if you are on a tight travel schedule, take short flights between major destinations like Istanbul to Ankara to save time.

What is the population of Turkey?

As of 2022, Turkey has a population of 89 million people. This gorgeous country is visited by over 50 million tourists each year.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Turkey?

The best time to visit Turkey depends on what your preferences are for weather and crowds. The shoulder seasons of the spring and fall are the ideal time to travel to Turkey and experience great weather, fewer crowds, and moderate hotel prices.  

If you want to enjoy the hot heat of the summer, then visit Turkey during June, July, and August but expect crowds and high hotel rates. 

Some travelers prefer the cheapest rates possible, despite the weather. If this is you, then book your Turkey vacation in the wintertime. You’ll need to bundle up, but you’ll save a bundle. 

As you can see, there’s no bad time to visit Turkey because every part of the year has its pros and cons. So now that you know more about Turkey’s seasons, you can decide when is the best time to visit Turkey for your exciting vacation. Happy travels!