Best Times to Visit Istanbul
The best times to visit Istanbul are from March to May and between September and November. That's when crowds at the city's attractions are manageable, room rates are average and daytime temperatures generally sit in the 60s and 70s. Peak season – from June to August – sees temps soar into the low 60s to low 80s, and accommodation prices increase to match the demand from incoming tourists. December through February, meanwhile, are the cheapest months to visit, but Istanbul's rainy, snowy and chilly conditions (temps are in the high 30s to high 50s) mean you'll have to don cold weather attire and lug an umbrella during your stay.
Weather in Istanbul
Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center
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Visitors will be greeted by comfortable daytime temperatures (between the high 50s and high 70s) and affordable prices on hotels and airfare, making this three-month window one of the best times to explore the city. October and November regularly experience rain showers, but budget-conscious travelers will appreciate the drop in room rates that comes as the season progresses. Various festivals also take place at this time.
Although rain is frequent throughout the bulk of the year, you should probably bring an umbrella and a poncho (plus a warm coat) if you plan to visit in the winter. This time of year is the wettest and coldest season, so expect fog, rain and even snow. The weather is not great, but it is certainly bearable (and the cheap deals and ample elbow room at attractions might make up for the soggy climes).
Istanbul is slow to warm up. Daily highs won't average above 70 degrees until May (and even then the average high is barely above 70). But this season comes with its perks. Visitors will find some lingering winter specials on airfare for March, and the chance of rain decreases as summer approaches.
Daytime temps will rise into the high 70s or low 80s, but you'll think it is much hotter. The humidity is atrocious, and hustling through a dense crowd at a bazaar or waiting outside to enter a mosque doesn't help. You most likely won't have to worry about rain, but brace yourself for muggy conditions and expensive room rates.
Popular Times to Visit Istanbul
Tourism volume is estimated based on in-market destination search query interest from Google and on travel.usnews.com in 2015-2016. Hotel prices are sourced from a sample of U.S. News Best Hotels rates through 2015-2016.
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