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The Best & Worst Times to Visit Turkey in 2024 (Our Take)

The Best & Worst Times to Visit Turkey in 2024 (Our Take)

What's the best time to visit Turkey?

The best time to visit Turkey is in the spring and early summer (April to June), offering pleasant weather and fewer crowds, along with more affordable hotel and flight prices.

Cities like Istanbul and Kayseri experience mild temperatures and moderate rainfall during these seasons, making it ideal for exploring. Summer (June to August) in Turkey is hot and sunny, but also the busiest and most expensive time, requiring advance bookings for travel.

Turkey, or Türkiye, is one of the most fascinating countries to visit in the Middle East with its incredible history spanning millennia, iconic cities to explore, and colorful, noisy markets and bazaars to wander. Learn the best time to visit Turkey to see the country at its best below! 

Where else can you take in the stunning sights of 10,000 year-old ruins, ornate domed mosques, historic palaces and megalithic sites, and modern cities with remarkably-preserved Old Towns, like Sultanahmet in Istanbul?

Whether you’re up for donning an archaeologists’ hat and venturing out to ruins and ancient sites or just want to meander the country’s vibrant cities for markets, food, and landmarks, knowing the right time to go is essential to avoid bad weather, crazy crowds, and sky-high prices. 

Let’s take a look at the overall best, cheapest, least busy, and worst times to visit Turkey and give you some pointers to make the most of your trip to this storied Middle Eastern country! 

The Overall Best Time to Visit Turkey

Aerial view of Kaputas Beach with blue water pictured up against the blue water on the coast of Antalya in Turkey during the area's best time to visit

Artem Evdokimov/Shutterstock

The overall best time to visit Turkey is from April to June, bringing mild to hot temperatures that are pleasant enough to enjoy Turkey’s diverse landscapes and destinations, from Istanbul to Ankara. 

Between April and June, you’ll appreciate good weather that hovers in the 60s and 70s during April and May, reaching the 80s and low 90s once June rolls around. Rain is sporadic, but showers are typically brief and won’t interfere with your sightseeing plans too much.

Here’s a look at the average high temperatures this time of year across Turkey:

  • April: 61-69°F; 5-7 rainy days
  • May: 70-79°F; 3-7 rainy days
  • June: 79-92°F; 1-5 rainy days

Turkey transforms during this season, starting with mild temperatures, wildflowers, and fields of tulips in April and May, shifting to lush greenery and bustling city parks, festivals, and concerts as May turns into the summer kick-off month of June.

We’ve compiled and analyzed nightly rates around Turkey from Google Hotels data to find the average price you’ll pay per night between April and June:

  • April: $124/night
  • May: $133/night
  • June: $129/night

For the most incredible weather, ample opportunities to sightsee and explore, and smaller crowds than the looming late summer peak season, you really can’t beat a trip to Turkey between April and June. 

Turkey’s high season is July and August, when beach tourists arrive seeking hot temperatures on the country’s Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. This causes a brief uptick in prices, especially around the coasts, from July to September. 

Hiking, sightseeing, and beach trips are ideal during the April-June period, with the best beach conditions in June across the western and southern coasts. City visits are especially nice without scorching temperatures and plenty of cultural festivals happening:

  • Istanbul Film Festival (Apr.): Turkey’s oldest and original film festival that features filmmakers, actors, and directors from around the world screening films and hosting Q&As and workshops
  • Istanbul Tulip Festival (Apr.-May): Istanbul’s Emirgan Park, Sultanahmet Square, and Camlica Hill come to life with over 30 million colorful tulips in bloom across vast fields, bringing thousands to come see the springtime wonder
  • Anzac Day (Apr. 25): Annual festival in Çanakkale honoring Allied soldiers and their sacrifices at Gallipoli during WWI
  • Hıdrellez (May): Spring festival with ancient roots honoring prophets Elijah and Al-Khidr with “bhat acma” luck rituals and big ceremonies in small towns 
  • Istanbul Music Festival (May-Jun.): International festival when 60+ artists gather to perform on 18 different stages at venues around the city with huge concerts scheduled over 17 days
  • International Bursa Festival (Jun.): Musicians and bands perform, artists display photography and artwork, and people come together to celebrate Turkey’s diverse cultures in the city of Bursa

This is a great time to head to Izmir on the Aegean coast (formerly Smyrna), where you can explore Roman and Ottoman-era ruins, archaeological sites, and the Velvet Castle with nearby beaches like Kum Denizi Plajı and Bostanlı Coast.

It’s also a nice time of year to sightsee, browse markets, and dine or drink on outdoor patios and rooftop settings in Istanbul. By June, conditions are perfect for swimming and water sports on the Mediterranean coast or visiting the eastern highlands. 

Cheapest Time to Visit Turkey

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

Aslan Ozcan/Shutterstock

The cheapest time to visit Turkey is from January through March, with hotel rates and airfare at their lowest point of the year during these cooler months. 

Turkey’s winter season is chilly, rainy or snowy, and less favorable for some of the country’s most popular sights and attractions. As a result, prices on hotels and flights take a nosedive during the winter season, especially January, February, and March. 

With highs in the upper 30s to low 60s and up to 9 rainy/snowy days each month, it’s not the time to lounge on Turkey’s beaches or trek into the wilderness to see ancient ruins (unless you’re interested in seeing these places in snow). 

  • January: 38-53°F; 5-9 rainy/snowy days
  • February: 43-55°F; 5-8 rainy/snowy days
  • March: 51-61°F; 6-8 rainy/snowy days

January’s chilly temperatures lead to higher chances of snow around the country, especially around central and eastern Turkey (1.6″ to 3.1″ of snow on average this month). While February and March see a little less snow (0.3″ to 1.9″), rain takes its place and makes for less-ideal city exploration and sightseeing. 

The plus side to all this is the country-wide decrease in prices for hotels and airfare from the United States. You’ll find the lowest airfare between January and March, with March being the absolute cheapest (round trip from $433), according to Skyscanner data.

And when you factor in the lower hotel rates (under $100/night on average) this time of year, it becomes a prime time to visit if you’re on a budget. Here’s a look at the average hotel prices from Google Hotels data around Turkey from January to March:

  • January: $96/night
  • February: $62/night
  • March: $63/night

Another plus side? This is the season for winter sports in Turkey’s highlands and mountains around Kayseri and Erzurum, with skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing being popular activities for winter visits.

While peak season skiing trips are going to be pricier than visiting Turkey’s other destinations (like Istanbul or Antalya) in their off seasons, it can still be an awesome way to enjoy your trip this time of year. 

Attending local festivals and cultural events is another way to liven up a winter visit, and many of Turkey’s most popular events are free! Here’s a look at what’s happening in January, February, and March:

  • Greek Orthodox Epiphany (Jan.): Turkey’s Greek Orthodox community celebrates the baptism of Jesus Christ on January 6 with a cross-throwing ceremony and divers retrieving symbolic crosses from the Bosphorus Strait
  • Selçuk Camel Wrestling Championship (Jan.): Annual event as male Tülu camels “wrestle” to win over a female in heat after being decorated and led in a procession through town with music
  • Datça Almond Blossom Festival (Feb.): Held in Datça, this annual festival celebrates the arrival of almond blossoms on the nut trees in the region which stand as a symbol of spring’s fast-approaching arrival
  • Newroz (Mar.): The Persian celebration of the New Year that aligns with the Spring Equinox with festivals, parades, games, and competitions among the Kurdish people in cities like Istanbul and Ankara
  • İzmir European Jazz Festival (Mar.): Annual festival bringing jazz musicians from Turkey, Switzerland, Poland, France, Italy, Austria, and Slovakia together in Izmir for weeks of performances at venues around the city

January through March is the perfect time to visit underground sites like the The Basilica Cistern under the streets of Istanbul, visit the 17th-century Blue Mosque or the minarets and mosaics of the 1,600 year-old Hagia Sophia Mosque, or wander the covered Old Bazaar in Antalya’s Old Town.

You’ll also find it a magical time to see the snow-dusted “fairy chimney” rock formations carved as entrances to underground cities in the Cappadocia skiing region around Monks Valley with cave homes, churches, schools, and more deep under the snowy ground. 

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 least busy times to visit Turkey are in April and May. During this time, you’ll avoid big crowds, as these months see the lowest tourist numbers of the year.

April and May are in between Turkey’s two high seasons: Winter (for skiing and snow sports in the highlands and mountains) and late summer (for beaches and coastal resort towns on the Mediterranean and Aegean seas). 

Visiting during these less-crowded shoulder season months in spring will reward you with wide-open hotel and flight availability, lower prices, and nice weather that’s continually warming up as summer approaches:

  • April: 61-69°F; 5-7 rainy days
  • May: 70-79°F; 3-7 rainy days

With highs in the low 60s to upper 70s and sporadic rainfall (up to 7 rainy days throughout each month), spring is a delightful time to visit Turkey and lets you experience the country in a more laid-back, peaceful atmosphere before the summer arrives. 

As far as the pricing this time of year, a look at Google Hotels data shows that the springtime rates are nice and affordable compared to the summer months, though not as cheap as winter:

  • April: $124/night
  • May: $133/night

Overall, it’s not just the least busy time of year to visit — it’s also one of the best overall and a prime time for events and festivals taking place around the country in the warm, balmy weather. 

April boasts the Istanbul Tulip Festival, Film Festival, and Music Festival, while nationwide Anzac Day (April) and Hıdrellez (May) are other great events to check out this time of year. Scroll up to the Overall Best Time to Visit section to learn more about the events happening in Turkey in spring! 

Hiking the scenic, historic Lycian Way in southwest Turkey is perfect this time of year. Trace the steps of the Lycian people through the Late Bronze Age and Roman Empire on mountain trails, beaches, and valleys lined with wildflowers, trees, and ancient cities. 

It’s a great time to visit Gobekli Tepe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and ancient ruin believed to be 10,000 years old (possibly older), or Catalhoyuk, a Neolithic city around 9,000 years old in southern Anatolia. 

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

The worst time to visit Turkey is November and December, two of the dreariest months with heavy rain, cold, snowy weather in some areas, and less favorable conditions for sightseeing. 

Don’t get us wrong — there are still reasons to come to Turkey during November and December (like the cool festivals and events held this time of year). But increased rain/snow combined with cooler temperatures and fewer things to do outdoors make it a bit of a let-down. 

  • November: 52-64°F; 5-8 rainy/snowy days
  • December: 42-56°F; 6-10 rainy/snowy days

Keep in mind that these are the average highs in November and December. Lows reach an average 27°F in some areas of central and western Turkey this time of year, and actual temperatures can sink to the single digits in the mountains.

That can be great if you’re headed to Turkey for skiing and snow sports, because although the snow totals are minimal compared to January, most of the ski resorts pump artificial snow on the slopes around November or December.

 The less-desirable (cold, wet, and/or snowy) conditions of this period also result in a drop in tourism outside of the popular ski resorts. That leads to lower pricing on hotels, as you can see from Google Hotels data during these 2 months:

  • November: $110/night
  • December: $118/night

Unfortunately, the holiday period sees lots of people hopping on planes for Thanksgiving and Christmas travel, leading to some of the highest airfare prices of the year from the U.S. to Turkey (only falling behind the busy July and August months). 

You’ll have some cool events and festivities to look forward to if you do visit during November or December, including:

  • Istanbul Marathon (Nov.): The world’s only bi-continental marathon features a marathon, 15km run, and a public run that anyone can join in Istanbul
  • Istanbul Theater Festival (Nov.): More than 20 performances from theater and dance troupes around Turkey and the broader world entertain locals and visitors with this annual festival
  • Bursa Karagöz Shadow Puppetry Festival (Nov.): Held every other year, this cultural festival features Turkish shadow puppetry exhibits, workshops, screenings, and displays across 8+ venues 
  • Istanbul Puppet Festival (Nov.): Over 10 classic Turkish shadow puppet shows are hosted in Istanbul by puppeteers hailing from Turkey and surrounding countries to audiences at multiple venues around the city
  • Konya Mevlana Festival (Dec.): Also known as the Whirling Dervishes Festival, this week-long event celebrates the founder of the movement, the mystic Mevlana, with performances, lectures, and events at the Mevlana Museum 

While the weather can be cold and unforgiving for spending lots of time outdoors or sightseeing, it’s a fine time to hit up a traditional Turkish bathhouse, or hamam, fed by natural hot springs, enjoy touring Old Towns and ancient sites on milder days, or explore Istanbul and its markets, restaurants, museums, and architecture. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Many colorful balloons over fairy chimneys in Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey


Visiting Turkey during the best time of year means getting all your info organized and having a good understanding of what you should expect when you go during any season. Take a look at the most frequently asked questions below to learn more! 

What is the best month to go to Turkey?

The best month to visit Turkey is May or June, which offer warm, dry weather for outdoor activities and cultural exploration.

Which month in Turkey is cheapest?

The cheapest month to visit Turkey is generally February when hotel prices are lower due to colder winter temperatures.

What is the best time to visit Istanbul?

The best time to visit Istanbul is during the mild spring shoulder season in May, ideal for sightseeing and enjoying the city's attractions.

What is the rainy season in Turkey?

The rainy season in Turkey occurs during the winter months, primarily from September to January, with a mini rainy season in spring from March to May.

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

The mild to warm period of April to June is the best time to visit Turkey overall, even encompassing the two least-busy months to visit (April and May).

January to March, however, is a much cheaper time to visit if you’re chasing bargains with hotels costing under $100/night on average across the country during the low season (outside of the ski resorts). 

If you can, avoid going during November or December, which we consider the worst months to visit Turkey with their cold weather, dreary rainfall and snow showers, and less-than-ideal conditions for sightseeing and exploration. 

No matter when you visit, the enchanting cities, architecture, and coastal regions of Turkey make it a phenomenal place to spend a week or two taking in the sights and culture of this long-standing country with thousands of years of history.