Festivals and Events in Istanbul 2020


The List of Festivals in Istanbul

The List of Festivals in Istanbul 2020

Istanbul is lively and colorful all year long since it is home to cultural and art activities and numerous festivals. 2019 will be no different than the past years as this year also has a lot to offer in terms of festivals. Therefore, we’ve made a list of festivals in Istanbul to join in 2019. Don’t miss them!

Some of the prominent festivals in Istanbul are movie, book and music festivals. In addition to these major festivals, food and dance festivals are also highly popular. Below, you can find a festival or more festivals that you may enjoy this year.

The List of Festivals and Events in Istanbul

Here is a list of Istanbul festivals and events updated for 2020.

I could not find clear information about the dates of some festivals. So I added the dates of previous year in order to give you a general idea about it. Hence I marked them with ??? Have fun!

  • Istanbul Puppet Festival

Istanbul International Puppet Festival has been held every year since 1998 and it aims to make the puppet traditions more familiar and promote Turkish puppet tradition to the rest of the world.

So far, Istanbul has hosted more than 300 puppet groups and more than 2,500 puppeteers and every year the festival offers new shows to puppet lovers. By attending the festival, you will get the chance to watch puppet shows from Russia, France, China, Hong Kong and many other places around the world.

In addition to enjoying puppet shows, you can join puppet-making workshops and make your own puppet.

Dates: 24th October to 4th of November 2019

Istanbul Puppet Festival in October


Istanbul Puppet Festival

  • Istanbul International Dance Festival

Istanbul International Dance Festival will be held in March this year. Dance lovers from both abroad and Turkey will have a chance to attend workshops that dance instructors from around the world will organize.

The last Turkey Dance Championship and Istanbul International Dance Festival “Salsa Dance event” was held in Silence Istanbul Hotel & Congress Center from March 28 to April 2, 2018.

Dates: 27 March to 1st of April 2019

Istanbul Dance Festival in April

istanbul dance festivals

Istanbul International Dance Festival

  • Istanbul Film Festival

You can watch masterpieces, classic and recently aired movies at Istanbul Film Festival which is organized by Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV).

There are many sections of the festival that have become classics in years, such as Young Masters, Mined Zone, Antidepressant, and Midnight Madness. Moreover, some more amazing movies are displayed at the festival’s special section.

Dates: 5th April to 17th of April 2019

Istanbul Film Festival in April

istanbul festivals april

Istanbul Film Festival

  • Istanbul Bibliopole Festival

40 bibliopoles all around Istanbul gathers at Haydarpasa Railway Station at Kadikoy every year.

The first Istanbul Bibliopole Festival was held in 2017 where rare books, magazines, records, second-hand books, and old maps could be found.

Dates: 11th February to 22 February 2019

Istanbul Bibliopole Festival in March

istanbul festivals may

Istanbul Bibliopole Festival

  • Istanbul Jazz Festival

Istanbul Jazz Festival has been organized by Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Art for 23 years and it aims not only bringing music lovers and artists together but also it supports the works of Turkish artists.

The festival is not limited to jazz music. Other different genres where electro music and join come together or rock, pop, blues, reggae, funk and world music are also included in the festival.

Dates: 29th of June to 18th of July 2019

Istanbul Jazz Festival in June and July

istanbul festivals june

Istanbul Jazz Festival

  • Istanbul Theatre Festival

The 22nd Istanbul Theatre Festival will be held in November 2018 and it aims to underline the similarities between different cultures and the common points of art among countries.

Istanbul Theatre Festival creates various education programs and supports them at the same time and you can enjoy around 100 dance performances, other stage performances and theatre performances from artists both abroad and Turkey. The plays are performed at 14 stages, most of which are on Europe side.

Dates: 17 November to 4th of December 2018 ???

Istanbul Theatre Festival in November

istanbul festivals july

Istanbul Theatre Festival

  • Istanbul Coffee Festival

The 2nd Istanbul Coffee Festival was held at Haydarpasa Rail Station and the 3rd one was held in Kucukciftlik Park. In both years, the festival attracted huge interest from coffee lovers.

Numerous types of coffee from all around the world are presented with amazing performances of foreign and Turkish baristas during the festival. Moreover, you can learn tips to make good quality coffee at your home and taste the coffee of boutique coffee sellers. Best coffee shops in Istanbul article might attract your attention.

Dates: 20 September to 23 of September 2018 ???

Autumn Events in Istanbul

istanbul festivals august

Istanbul Coffee Festival

  • Filmekimi – Istanbul Movie Festival

Filmekimi is held by Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Art (IKSV) every October and premiere nights of countless movies are also included in the schedule of the festival. Filmekimi is not limited to the audience in Istanbul. The festival is held in Edirne, Ankara, Eskisehir, Izmir, Bodrum, and Diyarbakir after Istanbul.

As in any other festival, the tickets of the festival are sold before it starts and you can enjoy movies from Europe and Far East Cinema. Due to high interest from the audience, additional sessions are included during the festival where movie lovers can enjoy watching a lot of great movies.

Dates: (for Filmekimi) 5th of October to 14th of October 2018 ???

There is also another film festival which is called Istanbul International Film Festival. This one lasts from 5th of April to 16th of April 2019. This is also organized by IKSV same as the Filmekimi.

Istanbul Events in October

istanbul festivals october


  • International Istanbul Tulip Festival

The flower that this festival is named after once gave its name to a period during the Ottoman Empire and it was held in 2006 for the first time. Over 120 different types of tulips that blossoms in April make Emirgan Park, Gulhane Park, Yildiz Park, Beykoz Park, Big-Little Camlica, Fethipasa Park, and Hidiv Cubuklu Park colorful and they create quite a spectacle.

During Istanbul Tulip Festival, various cultural and art activities are organized at Emirgan Park, Goztepe 60th Year Park, and Sultanahmet Square. Furthermore, the biggest tulip carpet is laid at Sultanahmet Square. This tradition started three years ago for the first time.

While marbling artists perform live shows, 50 photographers who take the best tulip photos are awarded as part of The Most Beautiful 50 Tulips Contest. You can also buy tulips at Istanbul Tulip Festival.

Dates: 1st of April to 30th of April 2019

Istanbul Festivals in April


Istanbul Tulip Festival

  • Istanbul Shopping Festival

Istanbul Shopping Festival is organized and supported by Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Governorship of Istanbul, Turkish Exporters Assembly, Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, and Istanbul Development Agency.

You can do shopping at Istanbul Shopping Festival with special discounts of famous brands.

Istanbul Shopping Festival is the third festival that attracts the most attention following shopping festivals in Dubai and Singapore. The festival is held at nine shopping malls and Grand Bazaar.

Dates: 30th of June to 16th of July 2017 ???

Istanbul Festivals in June


Istanbul Shopping Festival

  • International Istanbul Book Fair

Istanbul Book Fair is co-organized by TUYAP (Tuyap Fair Convention and Exhibition Center) and Turkish Publishers Association and it is held every fall to meet book lovers. It began to be named “international” in 2005, but the festival was held in 2000 for the first time.

International Istanbul Book Fair is home to around 650 publishers from both abroad and Turkey and half a million book lovers visit the fair every year. In addition to buying books, visitors also have the chance to have an autograph of their favorite authors.

Dates: 2nd of November to 10th of November 2019

Istanbul Festivals in November


International Istanbul Book Fair

  • International Istanbul Gastronomy Festival

Istanbul Gastronomy Festival is held by Turkey Cooks and Chefs Federation and it is the biggest gastronomy contest and festival of Turkey.

The festival is co-organized with WACS (World Association of Chefs’ Societies) and gastronomy society is hosted in Istanbul on an international level.

Istanbul Gastronomy Festival brings new chefs in gastronomy as chefs from around the world and Turkey compete in over 70 categories.

Dates: 22nd of February to 25th of February 2019

Festivals in Istanbul in February

best events in istanbul

International Istanbul Gastronomy Festival

  • International CNR Book Fair

International CNR Book Fair will be held at Yesilkoy, Istanbul where 350 publishers from 20 countries will be present. The fair will be held in October 2019.

This year’s theme is “Read”. Therefore, the fair will emphasize the importance of reading and the power of books in our lives during the activities.

The fair will be held on a huge 25,000 sq. meters areas and more than 450,000 visitors, including teachers, students, librarians, translation offices, newspapers, authors, and editors, are expected to visit International CNR Book Fair this year.

Dates: 9th of March to 17th of March 2019

Istanbul Festivals in March

istanbul events calendar

International CNR Book Fair

Festivals and Events in Istanbul By Serhat Engul

  • Avatar



    Please includes dates…..not helpful for tourists planning trips.

    • Serhat Engül

      Serhat Engül

      Hello Bob, yes you are right to say that. Yet it’s very difficult to keep 150 posts updated. I think I have been a little lazy lately. Now I have added the dates I could find. I hope you enjoy it. Cheers!

  • Avatar




    Congratulations for the website, it’s really helpful.

    We want to go in Istanbul during the New Year Eve 2020. Do you have any “”clues” for us? Where can we best enjoy of the fireworks? There is any party in the street?

    Thank you,

    • Serhat Engül

      Serhat Engül

      Hi Bogdan, thank you for your kind words about my blog. New Year Eve parties held in two neighborhoods every year: Taksim Square (in Beyoglu district) and Nisantasi (in Sisli district). However there is no official announcement yet. The public celebrations had been cancelled a few times in the recent years due to security concerns.

      So I am not sure if they would organize it this year or not. But I recommend you to be somewhere nearby Bosphorus shores, so that you can see the fireworks. I assume Ortakoy neigborhood would be a good choice.

      Perhaps you can go to Nisantasi celebrations to begin. And you can walk towards Bosphorus area (Ortakoy) to see the show. The public celebrations in the Istiklal Avenue is usually too crowded. Nisantasi is more comfortable for a couple.

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