Weather in Istanbul 2019
Weather in Istanbul for Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter
Istanbul is a fascinating holiday destination, which appeals to travellers looking for a unique cultural experience, a romantic retreat or a cosmopolitan city break. If you’re planning to visit Istanbul, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the weather forecast. The changing seasons can bring variable conditions, and some excursions and activities are better suited to dry, warm weather than cool, rainy days.
Istanbul enjoys defined seasons when it comes to the climate and weather conditions. From soaring temperatures in the summer to chilly climes in the winter, this is a city that sees everything from snow and ice to sweltering sunshine. If you plan to take a trip to Istanbul, here’s a useful guide to the local weather.
Istanbul Weather in Spring
Spring is arguably the best time to visit Istanbul. At this time of year, temperatures start to rise, the skies tend to be bright and clear, and visitors can enjoy the sunshine without having to endure intense heat and humidity.
Spring is a wonderful time to visit Istanbul, as good weather is almost always guaranteed. This is peak tourist season in the city and there’s plenty going on. The Tulip Festival is a highlight for many visitors.
Showcasing dazzling displays of tulips across the city, this festival dates back 300 years. If the weather is good, and the sun is shining, it’s also a fantastic idea to visit the Prince Islands. This collection of nine small islands lies just south of Istanbul, and provides the perfect base for basking in the sun, enjoying scenic views, hiking, swimming, and trying water sports.
Istanbul Weather in March
Average temperatures start to climb slowly, reaching around 10°. There is still a fair amount of rain around during the month of March, with an average monthly rainfall of 70mm, so it’s best to prepare for the odd shower.
Istanbul Weather in April
Temperatures continue to creep up in April, a largely dry month, which sees plenty of warm sunshine. With a maximum daytime temperature of around 18°, this is a really pleasant time to see the sights and watch gardens and parks spring into life.
Istanbul Weather in May
May is drier and warmer than March and April, and it’s a perfect time to enjoy blue skies and soak up the sun without worrying about getting too hot. Temperatures usually reach around 22° by the end of the month.
Packing Tips for Istanbul’s Spring
If you’re visiting Istanbul in the spring, pack lightweight clothing, a sun hat and a cotton or linen jacket or shawl for the evenings. It’s also a good idea to pack a waterproof jacket if you’re visiting in March.
View of Topkapi Palace Gardens in Spring
Istanbul Weather in Summer
Summer is generally regarded as a time to visit the popular holiday resorts located on the West and South coastlines, rather than Istanbul, which tends to be very hot and humid. While June is tolerable, July and August in the city can be overbearing. During the summer months, there is very little rain, and the mercury rises significantly.
The summer is not ideally suited to sightseeing, and it’s best to head to the coastal resorts at this time of year to enjoy lower temperatures and a refreshing breeze. If you are passing through Istanbul in the height of the summer, take to the water and go boating or sailing or visit the Prince Islands, which tend to be substantially cooler.
Istanbul Weather in June
Early June is a good time to visit if you don’t mind exploring attractions with the sun on your skin. Temperatures can reach up to 25°, which may be a little too high for some visitors.
Istanbul Weather in July
July is a hot, dry and humid month in the centre of Istanbul. It’s not unusual for forecasts to predict heatwaves and temperatures of over 30°.
Istanbul Weather in August
The weather in Istanbul in August is very similar to July, with scorching days and very warm nights.
Dressing for Istanbul’s Summer
Opt for loose, light, comfortable clothing in the summer. Cotton, jersey, and linen shorts, skirts, dresses, tops and trousers will work perfectly. Don’t forget to stock up on sun cream too.
View of Hagia Sophia in Summer
Istanbul Weather in Autumn (Fall)
Istanbul weather in autumn is very pleasant and mild, and this is why many visitors choose to book a holiday at this time of year. Temperatures start to tail off from August onwards and the humidity also becomes less intense.
The weather in autumn is ideal for exploring the beautiful, rustic, labyrinth-like streets of Istanbul. Meander at your leisure or take a guided walking tour. Look out for street art, as well as traditional symbols of eras gone by, such as intricate, ornate mosaics and tiles.
The Istanbul marathon usually takes place in November, but if you don’t fancy taking part, there are plenty of less gruelling running and hiking routes around the city’s parks and forests. A day trip on the Bosphorus also comes highly recommended.
Istanbul Weather in September
In September temperatures start to fall to a maximum of around 24° and rainfall increases slightly. The evenings and nights are also cooler.
Istanbul Weather in October
The weather in October is fresh, but pleasant, with plenty of clear days and temperatures reaching up to 20°. Rain showers start to become more commonplace at this time of year.
Istanbul Weather in November
Temperatures drop in November, but there’s still plenty of sunshine around and average temperatures should reach around 17°.
What to Wear in Istanbul’s Autumn
If you’re packing for an autumn holiday in Istanbul, take clothing suitable for warm weather and some layers to keep you warm when the sun fades and temperatures drop slightly.
View of Golden Horn in Autumn
Istanbul Weather in Winter
The weather in Istanbul in the winter is a stark contrast to the hot summer days. It’s cold, there’s a lot more rain around, and there is a chance of snow.
Winter may not be everyone’s favourite time to visit Istanbul, but there are perks of seeing the city during the low season. At peak times, tourist attractions can get busy, and in the winter, you can peruse museums and stroll through the narrow streets without getting stuck.
If you’re lucky enough to see snow, you’ll also be bowled over by the beauty of the city under a crisp, white blanket. Winter is an excellent time to indulge the taste buds and take a tour of restaurants serving traditional delicacies and bars serving raki.
If it’s grey and wet outside, you can also head for a hammam and relax in the warm, soothing waters. Shopping in Istanbul is another great way to pass the time on a cloudy, cold afternoon.
Weather in December
December is the wettest month, with an average rainfall of 119mm. Temperatures can fall as low as 5°.
Weather in January
January is the coldest month, and it’s not uncommon for the mercury to plunge to near-freezing. Expect some wintry showers too.
Weather in February
Temperatures are usually very slightly higher in February, but it’s still very cool, with the temperature struggling to get above 10°.
View of Blue Mosque in Winter
What to Pack for Istanbul’s Winter
As temperatures drop significantly in the winter, you’ll need to take plenty of warm clothing and some sturdy footwear. Don’t forget to pack a warm, waterproof coat, as well as some jumpers, sweaters and long trousers, and a hat, scarf and gloves.
When is The Best Time to Visit Istanbul?
The weather in Istanbul varies hugely according to the time of year. There are clearly defined seasons, and some months are much more popular than others. The best times to visit to enjoy sun-drenched days without having to withstand oppressive heat are spring and autumn.
During these peak seasons, visitors can expect pleasant temperatures and plenty of sunshine. The summer tends to be too hot and humid for many, while the winter can be incredibly cold and wet.
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Written by Serhat Engul