When’s the best time to visit Istanbul?


There’s rarely a dull moment in vibrant Istanbul. The city’s historic attractions can be appreciated any time of year, but its vibe does change dramatically with the seasons, from wet and moody winters to sunny and sticky summers – and accommodation prices vary accordingly.

When planning a trip, it’s worth noting the upcoming dates of the two biggest Muslim holidays, Ramazan Bayramı (Ramadan, or Eid Al Fitr) and Kurban Bayramı (Eid Al Adha), which shift by about 10 days each year. Both are big travel periods in Turkey, comparable to Thanksgiving or Christmas in the United States, with corresponding effects on costs, crowds and vacation-related closures. Here are our picks for the best times to enjoy Turkey’s largest city.

Get more travel inspiration, tips and exclusive offers sent straight to your inbox with our weekly newsletter. Busy restaurant and bar scene at night in Taksim, Istanbul, Turkey on July 25, 2007. Taksim is a popular destination for tourists and locals of Istanbul. 26882794 bar, barcelona, beer, busy, capital, city, citylife, crowd, cuisine, customers, eat, enjoy, europe, food, fun, holiday, hot, island, istanbul, istiklal, latin, life, market, mediterranean, men, night, nightlife, noisy, outdoor, outside, pedestrian, people, person, restaurant, sitting, south, street, summer, table, taksim, tapas, terrace, travel, Summer is all about dining al fresco in Istanbul © paul prescott / Shutterstock

June to August is best for outdoor dining and concerts in Istanbul

Summer is peak tourism season in Istanbul. Many residents decamp for vacation or family homes elsewhere in Turkey, so costs for accommodations can be high and lines long at major attractions. The weather is hot and humid, but the sun sparkling off the Bosphorus is glorious, and a slew of outdoor seating at cafes, restaurants and bars makes for a…

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