All About Turkey: Geography, Climate, Best Time to Travel
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About Turkey

The bridge between Europe and Asia

The Name Origin

The word “Turkey” has been used and recorded in diplomatic archives since the 13th century. The Old French word Turchia meaning “the land of the Turks” was formerly used by the Europeans to name Magyars (Uralic-Ugric-Turkic tribes), which later on was adopted by the Anatolian Peninsula. After the declaration of the republic, the name was then officially transformed into The Republic of Turkey.

What was Turkey called before it became Turkey?

Turkey (the land of the Turks) was known as the Ottoman Empire from the 1300s to 1922 when the capital city of it was Istanbul (prev. Constantinople), and the republic was officially proclaimed on 29th October 1923 in the new capital city of Ankara.

Turkey on World Map

Geographical Location

The Republic of Turkey is a vast country spread over a surface area of 814,578 kilometer square (314,500 square miles) with a coastline with a beautiful coastline of 8333 km (5178 miles). Since Turkey is more of a transcontinental country; it is located in both the continents of Europe and Asia. The absolute location of the country is at latitude 38.9637451, and longitude 35.2433205, where only %3 is in Europe (Thrace), and the remaining %97 is in Asia at a large peninsula called Anatolian Plateau.

Stretching from the beautiful Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe to the historical Anatolia in Western Asia, Turkey borders Georgia and Armenia on the northeast, Azerbaijan, and Iran on the east, Iraq, and Syria on the southeast, Bulgaria and Greece on the northwest.

  • Local TimeGMT+3
  • Population83,836.040
  • CapitalAnkara
  • CurrencyTurkish Lira: TRY or TL

The Beautiful Lanscape

Turkey is majorly a mountainous country, and the Asian side of the country; high plateaus of Anatolia is somewhat confined to the coastal edges. Around %20 of the surface has an elevation above 4.000 feet (1.200 meters), while %40 lies below 1.500 feet (460 meters).

The Koroglu and Pontic mountain ranges surround the northern part of the country, and the Taurus Mountains lie through the southern region. The highest peaks exceeding 7.500 feet (2.300 meters) are instead in the Eastern part of Turkey bordering Armenia and Iran. Mount Ararat (16.945 feet or 5.165 meters) remains as the highest mountain of Turkey.

In the southeast, Uludoruk reaching 15.563 feet (4.744 meters), Demirkazik Peak 12.320 feet (3.755 meters), and Mount Aydos 11.414 feet (3.479 meters) are the next highest peaks of the country.

The European area is surrounded by Thrace plane and Strandzha mountain, separated by Anatolia (Asia Minor) by the Black Sea, Marmara Sea, Bosphorus Strait, Dardanelles Strait, and the Aegean Sea on the west.

Turkey Map

Regions of Turkey

Climate of Turkey

Turkey is divided into seven geographical regions considering each region’s topography, climate, location, flora & fauna, agriculture, and some other factors. These are; Eastern Anatolia, Southeastern Anatolia, Central Anatolia, Black Sea, Marmara, Mediterranean, and Aegean.

Bordering all these beautiful neighbors with different mountain ranges and climate, Turkey also enjoys different weather conditions in each region, some of which also have a shore of different seas. So, it is hard to make a fixed list for average temperatures for the country as a whole.

Still, if it is to summarize or generalize regions; since Marmara and Aegean regions enjoy the Mediterranean climate while Central Anatolia enjoys a desert climate. Eastern Turkey has sunny summers, and some cities are similar to Central Anatolia for its cold winter.

Northwest of Turkey (Marmara Region)

The inland sea that divides Asia and Europe (home to the largest city of Istanbul) is a beautiful connection between the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea. Due to this beautiful location, the area enjoys a continental climate that can be considered as the chillier days of the Mediterranean.

Western Turkey (Aegean Region)

Covering %11 of the country; the Aegean Region enjoys a lush spring, hot and humid summers, warm autumns and mild winters. With such soft weather conditions, this region allows you to enjoy the area throughout the year.

Southern Turkey (Mediterranean Coast)

If you are heading further down to the south along the coast, the Mediterranean climate will take over with its natural weather conditions of pretty hot summers with mild and rainy winters. Antalya, located in the center of the coastline, is home to some crystal clear beaches and is the most visited destination of the region.

Central Turkey (Anatolia)

Except for some cities, the majority of the region has pretty cold winters and continental climate in both summer and winter. The temperature changes between day and night drastically, and unlike other areas of the country, the inland is less foresty. It does not support the vegetation growth as also the moist air from any coastal areas gets blocked by the mountains.

Northern Turkey (Black Sea)

The beautiful 1700 km of coastline is pretty fertile with a humidity of %72, which might confuse one before traveling there. It is better to check the latest updates before packing. The year-round rainfall is higher than anywhere else, reaching up to 780 mm some years. So, the best time to visit the area is inevitably summer when it is the peak time for tourism. If you don’t like crowds like many of our guests, then it might be ideal for keeping in touch and seeing if the weather conditions are good enough to visit in late Spring or early Autumn.

Eastern & Southeastern (Anatolia)

Both regions have almost similar temperatures with an average of -13 Celcius degrees during harsh winters with heavy snow and 17 Celcius degrees of hot, dry summers. Several dam projects to help with the irrigation changed the climate a bit, but still protecting its main character. The highest temperatures experiences were around -43 Celcius degrees in winter and approximately 46 Celcius degrees over the banks of the beautiful rivers Tigris and Euphrates.

Average Monthly Temperatures

Destination ☀ °C ☀ °F ☂ (mm) ☂ Days
Istanbul 6 43 100 14
Ankara -1 30 60 6
Cappadocia -3 27 30 10
Ephesus 8 46 126 12
Pamukkale 3 37 112 10
Antalya 10 50 180 11
Bodrum 12 53 73 10
Trabzon 7 45 90 13
Erzurum -7 19 29 11
Gaziantep 3 38 98 12
Destination ☀ °C ☀ °F ☂ (mm) ☂ Days
Istanbul 6 43 70 12
Ankara 1 34 40 6
Cappadocia -1 30 27 9
Ephesus 9 48 95 11
Pamukkale 4 39 84 8
Antalya 11 51 130 10
Bodrum 12 53 70 8
Trabzon 7 45 66 12
Erzurum -6 22 33 11
Gaziantep 5 40 79 12
Destination ☀ °C ☀ °F ☂ (mm) ☂ Days
Istanbul 8 46 50 13
Ankara 5 41 30 9
Cappadocia 5 41 33 12
Ephesus 11 52 77 10
Pamukkale 6 43 76 7
Antalya 13 55 80 9
Bodrum 6 43 64 6
Trabzon 8 47 58 14
Erzurum -1 30 42 13
Gaziantep 8 47 79 13
Destination ☀ °C ☀ °F ☂ (mm) ☂ Days
Istanbul 12 54 60 11
Ankara 10 50 60 12
Cappadocia 10 50 48 13
Ephesus 15 59 47 9
Pamukkale 10 50 43 5
Antalya 16 60 80 8
Bodrum 17 63 30 6
Trabzon 12 53 56 15
Erzurum 5 42 62 15
Gaziantep 13 56 51 13
Destination ☀ °C ☀ °F ☂ (mm) ☂ Days
Istanbul 16 61 40 9
Ankara 13 55 50 12
Cappadocia 14 57 48 10
Ephesus 19 66 29 6
Pamukkale 14 57 33 4
Antalya 20 68 20 6
Bodrum 21 70 12 5
Trabzon 15 60 58 13
Erzurum 10 50 77 17
Gaziantep 18 65 31 11
Destination ☀ °C ☀ °F ☂ (mm) ☂ Days
Istanbul 22 72 30 6
Ankara 17 63 40 9
Cappadocia 17 63 33 8
Ephesus 24 75 11 4
Pamukkale 19 66 15 2
Antalya 25 76 10 3
Bodrum 25 77 14 1
Trabzon 20 67 57 11
Erzurum 14 57 49 11
Gaziantep 24 75 6 3
Destination ☀ °C ☀ °F ☂ (mm) ☂ Days
Istanbul 24 75 30 3
Ankara 20 68 20 5
Cappadocia 20 68 6 3
Ephesus 26 79 6 7
Pamukkale 21 70 5 0
Antalya 28 82 10 1
Bodrum 29 83 10 3
Trabzon 22 72 42 8
Erzurum 18 65 24 7
Gaziantep 28 82 1 1
Destination ☀ °C ☀ °F ☂ (mm) ☂ Days
Istanbul 24 75 20 4
Ankara 20 68 10 4
Cappadocia 20 68 7 3
Ephesus 26 79 5 6
Pamukkale 21 70 5 1
Antalya 6 43 10 1
Bodrum 28 82 10 1
Trabzon 22 72 57 9
Erzurum 18 65 17 6
Gaziantep 28 82 2 0
Destination ☀ °C ☀ °F ☂ (mm) ☂ Days
Istanbul 21 70 50 8
Ankara 17 63 20 5
Cappadocia 17 63 6 5
Ephesus 23 73 15 5
Pamukkale 18 64 20 2
Antalya 25 76 10 2
Bodrum 26 78 10 1
Trabzon 20 67 85 9
Erzurum 14 58 20 5
Gaziantep 24 75 3 4
Destination ☀ °C ☀ °F ☂ (mm) ☂ Days
Istanbul 16 61 60 10
Ankara 11 52 30 8
Cappadocia 11 52 30 9
Ephesus 18 64 41 6
Pamukkale 13 55 53 4
Antalya 20 68 90 6
Bodrum 21 69 30 4
Trabzon 16 60 120 13
Erzurum 8 47 48 10
Gaziantep 17 63 32 9
Destination ☀ °C ☀ °F ☂ (mm) ☂ Days
Istanbul 12 54 100 13
Ankara 5 41 40 9
Cappadocia 5 41 36 7
Ephesus 14 57 84 9
Pamukkale 9 50 84 6
Antalya 15 58 180 8
Bodrum 16 60 79 7
Trabzon 13 55 109 12
Erzurum 2 35 44 9
Gaziantep 10 51 56 7
Destination ☀ °C ☀ °F ☂ (mm) ☂ Days
Istanbul 8 46 100 17
Ankara 1 34 50 9
Cappadocia 0 32 27 10
Ephesus 10 50 144 13
Pamukkale 5 41 122 10
Antalya 12 53 210 12
Bodrum 13 55 108 10
Trabzon 9 49 93 13
Erzurum -4 25 31 11
Gaziantep 6 42 95 11

Best Time to Visit Turkey

Month by Month Guide

Cildir Lake, Kars in Eastern Turkey in January

Visiting Turkey in January

As a mountainous country, Turkey offers numerous skiing activities in January for those who travel this month specifically for this activity. Uludag in Bursa, Kackar Mountains for heliskiing, Erciyes in Cappadocia, and Kartalkaya near Istanbul are among the most popular ones. The rates will be way lower than peak season, and you will be able to enjoy free upgrades and almost no lines at all museums and sites. Too cold? It depends on the year, but a Turkish Bath (Hamam) experience is always available to warm up, and why not enjoy a nice hot Sahlep during the day with the beautiful snowy views and wine in the evening by the fireplace in your room?

Events & Festivals

  • New Year’s Day – 1st January is a public holiday; however, shops, museums, and other touristic activities will still be available and less crowded.
  • Orthodox Christmas – Celebrated on 6th January (Armenian) and 7th January (Greek); most churches in Istanbul get visited by religious travelers and Patriarchs blessing the crowds.

Spice Market, Experience Turkey in February

Visiting Turkey in February

February is similar to January but will get a little colder, especially around central and Eastern Turkey compared to the coastal destinations. While packing, be prepared with warmer clothing and always check the updated weather forecast. While February is not a peak time for events & festivals, there are still some fun activities you can benefit from.

Events & Festivals

  • Valentine’s Day – It is not something historically traditional to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Turkey, but enjoyed pretty much all around the country now with a dining-out, classically a jewelry gift for the loved one and so on. When it is about romance, Turkey has numerous things to offer.
  • International Istanbul Gastronomy Festival – International Istanbul Gastronomy Festival, organized by the Cooks and Chefs Federation of Turkey (COCFED), aims to combine the cuisines of Turkish and the world. Bringing all the world’s beautiful tastes to Istanbul, chefs from different cultures compete for over 70 different categories.
  • !f Istanbul Independent Film Festival – Since 2002 and lasting for about ten days, the festival aims to showcase the best contemporary film based on various themes hosting renowned filmmakers and thousands of film buffs from all over the world.
  • Datca Almond Blossom Festival – This brand new, activity-oriented festival offers almond-made delicacies as the main theme, then wine tastings, photo tours, and many others in Datca’s beautiful town, known as “the city with two seas” in ancient history.

Lake Salt in Turkey in March

Visiting Turkey in March

March is a perfect time for those who don’t like it too cold or too hot. While it is the coolest period of the early spring, most of the month will still be warm enough to enjoy the day. While it will not be as cold as other winter months, make sure you bring some waterproof coats and boots. Include some warm sweats as well so that you can layer your day and evening clothing.

It is also a  pleasant month for hikers and cyclists interested in exploring the coastal routes. Depending on your arrival time, you can enjoy watching dolphins on their way to the northwest towards the Black Sea region.

Events & Festivals

  • Canakkale Victory and Martyrs’ Day – 18th March is an important date for Turkey commemorating the heroes of Canakkale who lost their lives to defeat the Allied battleships for her freedom. While it is not considered a public holiday for the country, many will still share their feelings by hanging a flag or visiting memorials of the Gallipoli Campaign of the First World War, which took place from 17th February 1915 to 9th January 1916.
  • Akbank Short Film Festival – Organized by Akbank Sanat; its purpose is to inspire and support filmmakers to deliver better short film productions. The event also has other highlights such as workshops, interviews, master-classes connecting cinema professionals and the audience. The festival is FREE to the public and organized at the Akbank Sanat Art Venue in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul.
  • Camel Wrestling – While it is known to be a two-centuries-old tradition, some acclaims that the first-ever camel wrestling was done during the reign of Mahmut II, an Ottoman sultan, in Tire and its neighborhood. Either way, the Turkic tribe tradition today is organized in Selcuk, Kusadasi, on the west coast near Ephesus, and the most recent wrestling had over 120 camels hosted around 20.000 audiences. The wrestling involves two male camels fighting for the female, as this is their mating time. Organized in 4 different categories; foot, middle, under the head and the head; a camel can win if they can make the other retreat, scream, or fall.

Istanbul Tulips in April

Visiting Turkey in April

Well-worthed some light or heavy rain depending on the region you are in; April is a great month to see the blossom of the wildlife when you can also enjoy the Tulip Festival at various parks of Istanbul decorated with millions of tulips with different colors.

If you are in the coastal areas such as the Aegean or Mediterranean, you will be able to see that the swimming season is already on, and this is the time where you can get reasonably rated hotels, resorts, and blue cruise.

Compared to Marmara and the south coast, it will be fairly cooler in the Black Sea, Central Anatolia, Southeast, or Eastern Turkey. Depending on how much it snowed already within the winter months, April might feel like already spring or still too early for eastern areas.

Events & Festivals

  • International Film Festival – The 11 days long film festival, organized by Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV), offers a chance to see the best art-house films in one place where the industry is boosting and amazing movies from all around the world. Other highlights include various activities and workshops throughout the city.
  • Istanbul Tulip Festival – Starting from 1718, the Tulip Era of the Ottoman Empire was a cherished time that the sultans and public enjoyed for over 12 years of festivals and ceremonies. It was not anymore about conquers or defeats, but tulips and streets lits with thousands of lanterns. Today, to celebrate both the arrival of the spring season and the Tulip Era, every April, millions of tulips are planted at Gulhane Park, Emirgan Park, Fethi Pasa Grove, Sultanahmet Square, Yildiz Park, Camlica Hill, Cubuklu Hidiv Grove and Beykoz Park on the Asian side. In addition to tulips, some other activities also occur, such as live music performances, painting, sculpture and glass-furnace, which is a great alternative for travelers with children.
  • Anzac Day Dawn Service – On 25th April each year, the Anzac Day Dawn Service is hosted by New Zealand and Australia at the Anzac Commemorative Site on the Gallipoli Peninsula as an anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915.
  • Istanbul Half Marathon – First organized in 1987; The Istanbul Half Marathon is one of Europe’s most popular marathons, running majorly around on the Marmara Sea coast and the European side of Istanbul. Promising perfect weather in April, the start-finish lines are at Golden Horn in Balat.
  • The Orange Blossom Carnival in Adana – Located on Turkey’s Mediterranean edge, Adana welcomes the early spring in April with this astonishing carnival named after the scent of the orange blossom. Also famous for its kebab, Adana opens its door wide open for millions of people from all around the country to entertain the beautiful crowd with hundreds of events and activities.
  • Spring Flowers in Cappadocia – After the snow melts and the beautiful wildflowers of Cappadocia starting to blossom, it creates beautiful backdrops while hiking or enjoying some sightseeing.
  • Birdwatching – Turkey is located on the migration route of numerous bird species that enjoy their journey between Europe and Africa. Manyas National Park, Lake Bafa, Lake Kuyucak, Cappadocia and the Black Sea are among the top-listed ones. Pack your best camera and book your private birdwatching tour led by experts.
  • Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey – First organized as a national Marmara tour in 1963; the international road cycling competition gained a special interest and declared a presidential tour in 1965. Today, the full week race welcomes hundreds of professional cyclists from all around the world. The main cities on the race map include Istanbul, Cappadocia, Konya, Alanya, Fethiye, Marmaris, and Selcuk.
  • National Sovereignty and Children’s Day – Following the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, opening after all the struggles began on 19th May 1919, Ankara was declared the Republic of Turkey’s capital city on 13th October 1923. On 23rd April 1929, Ataturk proposed the date to be dedicated to the children as 23rd April. Since 1979, the day gained an international value and recognized as an international event and the world’s children’s day by UNICEF.

Wonderful View of Cappadocia in May

Visiting Turkey in May

Pleasant weather, lots of festivals, city sightseeing, outdoor activities, and beautiful clouds… Yes, this is May, which is considered one of the best months to visit Turkey. When it comes to weather, as mentioned earlier, it is quite sunny, yet cool enough to wander around and explore it all in little details.

Events & Festivals

  • Labor and Solidarity Day (1st May) – Also known as International Worker’s Day, different parties of workers will celebrate the day dancing to traditional folk music, organizing demonstrations for better conditions for all workers. These groups mostly are not welcomed by the policemen, and it is advised to stay away from any demonstrations in general.
  • Ramadan (12th – 15th May) – The Ramadan Feast is an official and religious holiday that mostly lasts 3 to 4 days. During this holiday, most people will take their time off to visit their home city to see family members, relatives, or friends. While most museums will operate in the afternoon on the first day of the feast, other places might get closed for a longer time, such as Grand Bazaar or Spice Market. Please check with your travel advisor before sealing your travel dates.
  • Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth & Sports Day (19th May) – This public holiday commemorates Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s landing at Samsun on 19th May 1919, which led to the beginning of the Turkish War of Independence.
  • International Istanbul Theater Festival – Consisting of independent and classical productions, this theater festival exhibits some foremost global and local theatrical events and hosts free-to-attend workshops.

Beach Time Turkey in June

Visiting Turkey in June

June is the time when the summer sun takes over the spring and shines over the beautiful Mediterranean and Aegean regions. This is the beginning of the perfect time for the most beautiful beaches, sunbathing, delicious Mediterranean cuisine by a seaside restaurant, chartering a private yacht, or strolling around the beautiful streets of Alacati that is also an excellent location for windsurfing. As the first half of the month is warming up with one or two days of rain (maybe more in the Black Sea), the second half might get very hot. For this reason, it makes touring the ancient sites a little harder than other months, yet it allows you to enjoy the half-day touring when it is cooler yet and spend more time at the beach or poolside and enjoy the quality time with your family.

Events & Festivals

  • Istanbul Music Festival – June is a great time for music lovers to visit Istanbul. You can enjoy the events with cultural venues, historical sites, concert halls, parks, and gardens hosting around 600 local and international artists, including some celebs in classical, opera, and bullet.
  • One Love Festival – This is a weekend-long festival held annually in mid-June at Life Park Istanbul, featuring performances of alternative local and international bands.
  • Cappadox Festival – Started in 2015, the event offers attendees a great mixture of contemporary art, music, gastronomic experiences, and outdoor activities at various valleys and other beautiful locations of Cappadocia. Cappadox Festival had a break for the moment, but it is planned to be available soon.
  • Bozcaada Wine Festival – Bozcaada, somewhat locally, but pretty famous for its wines that have its door wide open for those interested in wine tasting. The festival is organized every June on the last four days of the month by four wineries on the island: Talay, Camlibag, Ataol, and Gulerada. In addition to this, Corvus and Amadeus welcome guests interested in wine, either amateur or professional.
  • Istanbul Jazz Festival – The first festival was organized in 1994, and soon after, it became one of the most popular events in the city. Held for 3 weeks long between June and July, the festival features classical and modern jazz, Latin and Nordic jazz, combining electronic music and jazz, and other genres such as rock, reggae, pop, funk and world music.

Lavender Kuyucak Turkey in July

Visiting Turkey in July

July is regarded as the mid-season, just like June and August when the temperatures peak around most historical sites, yet even more beautiful on the coastal destinations where you can enjoy lots of activities such as a boat ride around the Dalyan Delta, sea kayaking around the sunken city of Lycia, afternoon naps on a hammock on the beach and many more. You can enjoy the delicious Mediterranean food in the evenings by the beach and stroll around the bars in Bodrum known for its nightlife.

If a beach vacation is not among your usual favorites, visiting Cappadocia for two nights to enjoy the ballooning in the early morning, driving up to the peaks of Kackar Mountains to enjoy the wonderful breeze at the plateaus of the Black Sea region, and discovering some of the hidden gems of Eastern Turkey might work the best for you.

Events & Festivals

  • Electronica Festival – Gathering an audience of 150,000 each year, the Electronica Festival is organized explicitly for electronic music lovers in addition to its sub-genres of both popular names and some younger talents.
  • Maritime Day – Celebrated on July 1, the Maritime and Cabotage Day indicates our independence at Turkish sea borders. Almost any ship line up on Bosphorus and other coastal cities have different celebrations and activities.
  • Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim – A traditional open water swim with challenging conditions, welcoming more than 2000 competitors and a limited number of supporters. Operated by SwimTrek, you can also apply through the Turkish Olympic Committee to join this iconic event.
  • Festa 2200 Bicycle Festival – Welcomed more than 300 cyclists from all around Turkey to cycle up to Mt. Erciyes; the festival seems promising that offers camps for lodging at an altitude of 2200 meters at the second-highest mountain in Turkey.
  • Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Festival – The ancient sport was first organized in 1346 and became one of the traditional sports of Turkey. Today, it is held in Edirne in the northwest, and wrestlers from all around the country are welcomed to the event. More than 2000 candidates at different age groups compete to get the golden belt along with $20,000 to $100,000 cash.
  • Chill-Out Festival – Called “happiest weekend of the season,” the festival is organized in Istanbul, Bodrum and Cesme, offering a blissful ambiance, extensive and great quality of different music genres, workshops, activities, tasting, and some other joyful activities.
  • Feast of the Sacrifice (20th – 23rd July) – Celebrated in fellowship by slaughtering an animal (typically a cow or a sheep) to thank God and share 2/3 of the meat with the poor. Like Ramadan as another public holiday, museums and sites on the first half-day of the holiday, some bazaars, banks and any other official services will be closed for 3-4 days. Since the majority of Turkish people will use this time to travel out of big cities to their hometowns or beaches, make sure to plan your trip well and, if possible, pick a less popular spot till this traffic is over. 

Gulet Trip in Turkey in August

Visiting Turkey in August

Unless you are visiting the Black Sea region, which gets cooler by the end of August most of the time, this is still a peak month of the summer season and temperatures will remain or slightly be higher compared to June and July. If you are traveling to coastal cities, plan ahead of time and make sure you get high-quality sun protection packed and ready before leaving home.

Gokceada might be another great option for those looking for some peaceful moments away from the city crowd.

If there is almost nothing appeal to you, then planning a trip from the northwest down to the Mediterranean and then finally back to Istanbul might be a better plan.

Events & Festivals

  • Victory Day – Commemorating the victory of the Turkish Army against the Greek forces at the Dumlupinar Campaign in 1922.  The day signifies the Turkish nation’s victory, which led to the end of The Turkish War of Independence and the beginning of The Republic of Turkey.
  • International Ballet Festival – Bodrum has always been one of the first choices for art lovers and this number has been growing rapidly. The first, yet still the only ballet festival in the country, has been recognized globally and has some of the greatest ballets of all time performed at the historic castle of the Knights of St John.

Sunken City, Kekova in September

Visiting Turkey in September

Autumn still does not arrive in Turkey in the most recent years, and the early weeks of September can still be hot and humid. However, starting from mid-September towards October, it will get even more pleasant, especially to travel to historical sites.

The temperatures will be around 25°C to 30°C for most around the country, and if you are traveling to the coast, the beaches will be less crowded.

Events & Festivals

  • Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival – Being the first and only festival awarded the “Best Quality Management Certificate,”; Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival was first organized in 1994. Performed at the stunning 2000 years old Aspendos Theater, the audience enjoys the same quality of sound from every corner thanks to its impeccable design.
  • Antalya Film Festival – Previously known as Antalya Altin Portakal (Golden Orange) Film Festival, is one of the most important film festivals first held in 1963 and became an international event in 1978.
  • International Istanbul Biennial – Organized every two years since 1987, Istanbul Biennial is the meeting point of contemporary art exhibitions of artisans from different cultures and the audience. The IKSV brings new trends following a different model rather than a national representation model.
  • Akbank Jazz Festival – Since it was first launched in 1991, it has been home to not only the leading jazz figures but also next-gen artists performing at astonishing venues in Ankara, Izmir and Istanbul.

Cultural Tours in October

Visiting Turkey in October

Among some other destinations such as Portugal, Croatia, and Italy, Turkey is another option to travel in October. The temperature is pleasantly warm, around 20°C to 30°C, which makes the conditions perfect for exploring the ancient sites without any rush.

For beach lovers, the Mediterranean coasts, such as Marmaris, Fethiye, or Antalya offers great resorts with fewer crowds compared to peak months of the summer season.

Events & Festivals

  • Republic Day (29th October) – Following the War of Independence, the founder father of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, proclaimed the Turkish Republic in 1923. The official public holiday starts on 28th October afternoon, and the ceremonies will take place on the same day of 29th October throughout the day till late evening. As a traveler, to share the excitement of this event’s anticipation, you can join one of the ceremonies during the day or opt for a Bosphorus cruise to enjoy the fireworks or book a dinner table at a nice restaurant in Besiktas or Ortakoy.
  • Istanbul International Book Fair – A great opportunity to get books from over 900 exhibitors from Turkey and other countries if you are a book lover. The event is held every year, sometimes also by early November, at the TUYAP Fair Convention and Congress Center in the Buyukcekmece district of Istanbul.

Nemrut Sunset Turkey November

Visiting Turkey in November

November is a perfect time to visit Turkey for those who do not like to travel during too hot or cold weather. The average temperatures will be around 15°C to 20°C, which is warm enough for most places with a bonus of much fewer crowds. The coastal cities, especially Antalya, still welcome those who would like to enjoy the last days of the beach.

Events & Festivals

  • The Commemoration of Ataturk – Annually, on 10th November at 09:05, sirens wail across Turkey to mark the exact moment of Ataturk’s commemoration. The flags fly at half-mast and life will stop for the moment of silence to remember modern Turkey’s founder.
  • Istanbul Intercontinental Marathon – This is another unique event in Istanbul, thanks to its geographical location that cross from Asia to Europe over the Bosphorus Bridge and span into the beautiful streets of the European part of Istanbul. Over 4000 participants worldwide aim to complete a distance of 42 kilometers at any pace they want.
  • Formula 1 Turkish Grand Prix – After a long break since 2011, the Formula One motor race was brought back to Istanbul in style with a transcontinental trip across the Bosphorus Bridge. The latest event of 2020 was held at Intercity Istanbul Park on a 5.3 km track with over 58 laps.

Bursa Uludag, Turkey in December

Visiting Turkey in December

Reckoned as one of the coldest months of Istanbul, December is generally pretty quiet except for the Christmas travelers and those coming to Istanbul, especially for the New Year’s celebration. Central and Eastern Anatolia will be even colder while the Mediterranean will be rather rainy but warmer than anywhere else in the country.

Towards the last two weeks of December, you can expect rain and chill days around Istanbul and the Western coast, while it might be snowy and colder around inland and eastern cities.

Events & Festivals

  • Rumi Festival – Hundreds of people gather to commemorate the life and teachings of the 13th-century Persian poet and Sufi mystic Rumi, aka Mevlana (our master). The event is held in Konya between 7th-11th December, offering a great opportunity to see the whirling dervishes, a form of active meditation practiced in many other countries.
  • Istanbul International Short Film Festival – Organized since 1988, the festival is served to the public for free, displaying four different sessions daily where each film is shown more than once at different times of the day. The films, fictional, covering fictional, experimental, and animations, should be 33 mm or 16 mm with the optical sound that does not exceed 20 minutes.
  • Christmas Markets – Christmas isn’t celebrated in Turkey culturally. However, especially Istanbul makes it an excellent Christmas getaway when the city gets ready for the New Year celebrations with all the decoration, yet with almost no commercial components.
  • New Year’s Eve – Whether you are in Istanbul throughout the entire holiday, or you even decide to crown this trip with Cappadocia and Antalya, Turkey offers a lot of things to do during the New Years’ vacation.
The Imperial Capital


Unique Landforms


An Ancient Port City


Curative Waters


St Tropez of Turkey


The Legend




Turkey Tours