When is the Best Time to Visit Turkey?
The best time to travel to Turkey depends on the kind of holiday you are planning. Turkey is around three times the size of the UK, and has a diverse range of landscapes, so its climate can vary significantly throughout the year. But whichever month you go, there is always a good reason for travelling.
If you are planning a beach holiday and want the highest temperatures, warmest seas, and most lively nightlife — and you don't mind crowds — then aim to visit resorts such as Kuşadasi, Bodrum, and Fethiye between June and August. For pleasantly warm temperatures, more space on the beach, and quieter visitor attractions, April, May, September, and October are the best times to visit Turkey. In autumn and winter, these destinations have mild temperatures and reasonable levels of sunshine.
Conditions in Istanbul are ideal for city breaks most of the year, although some people might prefer to avoid sightseeing at the height of summer, when temperatures hit the high 20s. However, even in the middle of winter, daytime temperatures often reach double figures, and rarely drop below freezing at night, making it a pleasant time for exploring. Aim to travel to Cappadocia from April to October, when temperatures rarely drop below 0°C at night — although visiting in winter means the landscape has a beautiful dusting of snow.
January weather in Turkey
Istanbul welcomes in the new year with night-time temperatures around 3°C, rising to 8-9°C during the day. The city has 10 hours of daylight per day, although only around two hours of sunshine, and there is precipitation, including some snowfall, one day in two. Bodrum, on the southwest coast of Turkey, has maximum temperatures around 15°C, dropping to about 8°C at night. Rain falls on one out of every three days on average, though you are likely to see around five hours of sunshine per day. In the Göreme National Park in Cappadocia, January is a cold month, with daytime temperatures reaching peaks of around 4°C, while at night they plunge to lows of about -7°C. Expect rainfall on one in every three days, while snow tends to fall on nine days of the month, making the otherworldly landscape even more dramatic. Turkey's mountains can be bitterly cold, but the ski resorts are open and the best snow conditions are from December to April.
February weather in Turkey
Conditions in Istanbul are like those of January, with usually a little more sunshine. It is still cold in Cappadocia, although the daytime and night-time temperatures rise by a couple of degrees from January. Precipitation levels remain about the same. Conditions in Bodrum are also largely unchanged from January, with a slight reduction in rainfall. Along the south coast, cities like Antalya and Adana have similar weather to Bodrum.
March weather in Turkey
The coming of spring is marked with Nevruz celebrations across the country on 22 March, while the annual tulip festival brings colour to the streets of Istanbul late in the month. Temperatures in the city rise to around 11°C by day, and drop to 4°C at night. Snowfall levels are usually half those of January and February, while Istanbul experiences around 13 days with rain. There are 12 hours of daylight and an average of more than four hours of sunshine per day. Temperatures on the Turkish Riviera, including Bodrum and Antalya, can reach 18°C during the day, and drop to around 9°C at night. Rain falls on fewer than one in three days, while you can expect six or seven hours of daily sunshine. In Cappadocia, daily temperatures reach double figures, while at night they dip to around -1°C. There are about six days of snowfall in the month, while it rains on one in three days, and there are usually five hours of sunshine per day.
April weather in Turkey
April temperatures in Istanbul tend to reach the mid-teens by day, and fall to around 7°C at night, while rain falls on one in three days, snowfall is negligible. There are usually about six hours of sunshine per day. Expect temperatures in Bodrum and Antalya to reach up to 21°C, while overnight minimums of 13-14°C are common. Seven or eight days of the month see rainfall, and you can expect around seven hours of daily sunshine. Cappadocia has pleasant daily maximum temperatures of around 17°C, while night-time minimums of 3°C are normal. Rain falls on about 12 days of the month, while there are still some snow showers. The sun shines for an average of six hours per day, so it's a perfect time to go hot-air ballooning over the region's spectacular landscape.
May weather in Turkey
In Istanbul, May is the beginning of high season, but the city is not too busy yet. Temperatures reach about 20°C by day, and fall to around 12°C at night. It usually rains on about seven days in the month, and you can expect eight hours of daily sunshine. Temperatures in Bodrum and Antalya rise to around 26°C by day, and do not usually fall below 15°C at night, while rain falls on five or six days in the month, and you can expect nine hours of sunshine per day. The scuba-diving season has begun, and sea temperatures reach a pleasant 21°C. Daily temperatures in Cappadocia range between 22°C and 7°C, while there is rain on one in three days, and about eight hours of sunshine per day.
June weather in Turkey
June temperatures in Istanbul usually hit 25°C, and don't really drop below 16°C at night. Expect rainfall on seven days in the month, and nine or 10 hours of sunshine per day. On the Turkish Riviera, temperatures hit the low 30s during the day, and drop to about 20°C by night. Rain falls on two or three days of the month, and there are about 11 hours of sunshine per day. Sea temperatures reach the mid 20s. Expect daytime temperatures that reach about 26°C in Cappadocia, with lows around 10°C. It rains on about eight days of the month, and there are around 10 hours of sunshine each day. Be aware that maximum daytime temperatures during heatwaves can exceed 40°C in many parts of Turkey between June and August.
July weather in Turkey
It's peak season in Turkey, with the country experiencing its highest temperatures. In Istanbul, the daily maximum tends to be around 27°C, while night-time lows of 20°C are usual. Rainfall levels are at their lowest, with some rain recorded on four or five days of the month. Expect 10 hours of sunshine per day. Temperatures in Bodrum and Antalya hit the mid-30s during the day, while nights can be very warm, not dropping below around 23°C. There may only be the occasional rain shower during the month, while the sun shines for about 11 hours per day. Sea temperatures reach about 27°C. Temperatures in Cappadocia usually top 30°C in July, while at night the mercury falls to about 12°C. Rain falls on only a couple of days in the month, while you can expect 11 or 12 hours of sunshine per day — perfect conditions for the Cappadocia Balloon Festival.
August weather in Turkey
During August, temperatures in Istanbul usually hit a maximum of 27°C, while they stay above 20°C at night. It tends to rain on four or five days during the month, while it is sunny nine hours per day. Temperatures on the Turkish Riviera tend to reach about 34°C and don't fall below 23°C at night. Rainfall levels in Bodrum and Antalya are about the same as July's. Expect 10 hours of sunshine per day, and sea temperatures of 27-28°C. Temperatures in Cappadocia are like those of July, while rainfall levels are at their lowest of the year — expect a couple of days with rain during the month. The sun shines for 11 hours a day on average.
September weather in Turkey
In September, daily temperatures in Istanbul tend to range between 16 and 24°C. Rainfall is up on August, with rain recorded on around eight days of the month, while you can expect about eight hours of sunshine per day. In Bodrum and Antalya, temperatures reach 30°C by day, while at night they fall to about 20°C. The sun shines for about nine hours per day, while rainfall levels are slightly up on August — expect precipitation on two or three days of the month — while sea temperatures of 27°C are normal. It is still warm in Cappadocia, with daytime highs of around 26°C and night-time lows in the region of 7°C. On average, rain falls on four days of the month, while you can expect about nine hours of sunshine per day.
October weather in Turkey
October daytime temperatures in Istanbul usually reach a pleasant 19°C, and fall to around 13°C at night. It tends to rain on 12 days in the month, while you can expect five hours of sunshine per day. Maximum temperatures of 26°C are common in Bodrum and Antalya, dropping to about 16°C at night. It tends to rain on five or six days of the month, and the sun shines for seven or eight hours per day. The sea is still pleasant, with water temperatures of 25°C normal. Expect October temperatures to reach 20°C in Cappadocia, falling to 3-4°C at night. On average, the sun shines for 6-7 hours per day, while it usually rains on about eight days in the month.
November weather in Turkey
In November, Istanbul usually experiences highs of around 14°C and lows of 8-9°C. It rains on about one in two days during the month, while occasionally there may be a few snow flurries. The sun shines for about three hours each day on average. The Turkish Riviera experiences pleasant daytime highs of 20-21°C, and night-time lows of around 12°C, while it is normal for rain to fall on eight or nine days of the month in Bodrum and Antalya. Expect up to six hours of sun per day, and sea temperatures of 21-22°C. In Cappadocia, temperatures reach 12-13°C by day and drop to about -1°C at night. Rain falls on one in three days of the month, while snow usually falls on about three days. You can expect, on average, 4-5 hours of sunshine per day.
December weather in Turkey
If you visit Istanbul in December, you can expect temperatures ranging from 5-10°C, while it rains on at least 50% of days. Two or three days see snowfall during the month, while there are usually only a couple of hours of sunshine per day, out of nine hours of daylight. Average highs are around 16-17°C in Bodrum and Antalya, while lows of about 8-9°C are common. Rain falls on about 12 days of the month, and the sun shines for 4-5 hours each day. December is a chilly month in Cappadocia, with temperatures rising to 6-7°C by day and dropping to around -4°C at night. You can expect rainfall on about 11 days and snow on eight days during the month, while the sun shines for 2-3 hours per day.
Before travelling, be sure to check out our travel guide to Turkey.
Indulge in Turkey's best foods
Study up on customs and safety in Turkey
Plan what to see in Marmaris
And see our tips for the best archaeological sites in Turkey
Ready to get started? Check out Travelzoo's latest deals on holidays to Turkey.
Nick Elvin contributed to this post.