Index


Introduction



In Turkey, there is a noticeable variety of climates, with considerable differences between the areas, and also with some microclimates due to the different exposure of slopes and coasts.
The coastal areas have generally a mild climate, but the coast of the Black Sea is colder than that of the Mediterranean. The interior has a continental climate, with cold, snowy winters and hot, dry summers, though nights remain usually cool.
Summer is dry and sunny throughout the country, except on the north-east coast. In all the inland and south-central regions, the driest months are July, August and September.
The map below shows the climate zones of Turkey.

Climates in Turkey

1- Eastern Thrace


Edirne

In this area of Turkey, south-east of Bulgaria, where the city of Edirne (the ancient Adrianople) is located, the climate is slightly continental: winters are quite cold, with a January average around 3 °C (37.5 °F), and summers are hot, though tempered by the breeze. Here, cold spells with snow and frost may occur in winter as well as heat waves in summer.
Here are the average temperatures in Edirne.
Edirne - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-10371215171713951
Max (°C)791319252932322720148
Min (°F)303237455459636355484134
Max (°F)454855667784909081685746

Precipitation in Edirne is not abundant, but it is well distributed throughout the year, with a relative minimum in summer, when, however, brief thunderstorms may occur. Here is the average precipitation.
Edirne - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)605050455045302535557070585
Prec.(in)2.4221.821.81.211.42.22.82.823
Days1310101110864581114108

The sun in Edirne is rarely seen in winter, while in summer the sky is normally clear. Here are the average sunshine hours per day.
Edirne - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours245681011108532

2- Istanbul and northern coast



In the area of Istanbul and Bursa, in the small portion of European Turkey and in the area beyond the Sea of Marmara and the Straits of Bosphorus and Dardanelles, the climate can be described as transitional Mediterranean, with relatively cold winters and hot and quite sultry summers.

Istanbul

In Istanbul, the average temperature in January is around 6.5 °C (43.5 °F), but sometimes cold air masses from the Balkan Peninsula or Russia reach this area, bringing some cold and rainy days, and even snow (in Istanbul, there are about 15 days per year with snow, mostly from December to March). Summer, when the average temperatures are around 24.5 °C (76 °F) in July and August, is the least rainy season, and August is the driest month, while autumn and winter are the rainiest seasons. Here are the average temperatures.
Istanbul - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)435813182020171386
Max (°C)9912172226292925201511
Min (°F)393741465564686863554643
Max (°F)484854637279848477685952

The sun in Istanbul is rarely seen in winter, partly because fog can sometimes form, while in summer, the sky is often cloudless.
Istanbul - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours234681010108532

The sea in Istanbul, very cold in winter, becomes warm enough for swimming in July and August, as we can see in the following table.
Istanbul - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)988101520232422191411
Temp (°F)484646505968737572665752

In the southern part of this climatic zone, the ruins of ancient Troy are found.
Along the coast to the east of Istanbul, winter is slightly milder, while summer becomes progressively rainier as you move to the east.

Trabzon

For example, in Trabzon, the monthly average temperature ranges from 7.5 °C (45.5 °F) in February to 23.5 °C (74.5 °F) in August. Here are the average temperatures.
Trabzon - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)5469131720211814107
Max (°C)111112161924262724201613
Min (°F)413943485563687064575045
Max (°F)525254616675798175686155

In Trabzon, 830 millimeters (32.5 inches) of rain fall per year, with a summer minimum of 35 mm (1.4 in) in July and 45 mm (1.8 in) in August. Here is the average precipitation.
Trabzon - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)90706055555035458011010080830
Prec.(in)3.52.82.42.22.221.41.83.14.33.93.132.7
Days109109888588910102

In Trabzon, the sun does not shine very often, as can be seen in the following table.
Trabzon - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours334467665543

In Trabzon, the sea is slightly warmer than in Istanbul and is warm enough for swimming from July to September.
Trabzon - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)1099111621242523201612
Temp (°F)504848526170757773686154

Trabzon

3- North-east Coast



In the easternmost part of the Turkish coast of the Black Sea, east of Trabzon, from Rize to the border with Georgia, the climate can be defined as almost oceanic: the average temperature is similar to that of Trabzon, but the rains are abundant in all seasons, so that even more than 2,000 mm (80 in) of rain fall per year. However, the summer rains are not continuous, but they are concentrated in periods of bad weather which last a few days.

Rize

Here is the average precipitation in Rize.
Rize - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)22018015095951401451852402902502452235
Prec.(in)8.77.15.93.73.75.55.77.39.411.49.89.688
Days121416161514141515161415176

In Rize, winter is milder than in the area of Istanbul, with less frequent snowfalls. Here are the average temperatures.
Rize - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)435812172020171385
Max (°C)111012162024262724211613
Min (°F)393741465463686863554641
Max (°F)525054616875798175706155

In Rize, the sun does not shine very often, even in July and August, when there are only 5 hours of sunshine a day.
Rize - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours234467555432

4- West Coast



Along the west coast of Turkey, overlooking the Aegean Sea, where the remains of ancient Greek cities like Pergamum and Ephesus are found, the climate is Mediterranean, with mild, relatively rainy winters and hot and sunny summers.

Izmir

In Izmir (or Smyrna), winter is mild, with an average in January around 9 °C (48 °F); cold waves may still occur, but they are shorter and rarer than in the area of Istanbul. There are on average only 3 days with snowfall per year.
Summer is sunny and hot: the maximum temperatures are around 30 °C (86 °F) along the coast, and they rise to 34/35 °C (93/95 °F) towards the interior, in the western valleys where cities like Pamukkale are found. High-temperature records are around 40 °C (104 °F). Summer, however, is tempered by the breeze along the coast of the Aegean Sea, though at times the breeze is replaced by a strong and persistent wind from the north, called Meltem. Here are the average temperatures.
Izmir - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)66711151922221814118
Max (°C)121316212631333329241814
Min (°F)434345525966727264575246
Max (°F)545561707988919184756457

The sun in Izmir shines regularly in summer, while in winter there is an alternation between cloudy and sunny days.
Izmir - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours45671011121110754

Owing to the north wind that prevents the sea from warming in summer by mixing the water layers, the sea near Izmir is never very warm.
Izmir - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)151515161822232322201816
Temp (°F)595959616472737372686461

The amount of rainfall on the west coast goes between 700 and 1,000 millimeters (27 and 40 inches) per year, with a maximum in winter and a minimum in summer, when it almost never rains.

5- South Coast



Along the southern coast of Turkey, and in the short stretch of coast north of Syria, the climate is still Mediterranean, though warmer than on the west coast, and even more so than on the Black Sea coast. Winters are quite mild, with average highs around 15 °C (59 °F), while in summer, the maximum temperatures are definitely hot, ranging between 30 and 35 °C (86 and 95 °F). Rainfall is concentrated from mid-October to mid-April, when it can be abundant, and can sometimes be torrential, particularly on the slopes facing west and southwest.

Antalya

In Antalya, about 1,000 mm (40 in) of rain fall per year, but it almost never rains from June to Spetember, while the rains are abundant in winter. Here is the average precipitation.
Antalya - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)245160904530112313501052751029
Prec.(in)9.66.33.51.81.20.40.10.10.524.110.840.5
Days1196431001461257

In Antalya, the monthly average temperature ranges from 10.5 °C (51 °F) in January to as high as 28 °C (82 °F) in July.
Antalya - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)66811151922221915118
Max (°C)151518212531343431262117
Min (°F)434346525966727266595246
Max (°F)595964707788939388797063

In Antalya, the sun shines quite often even in winter, except in periods of bad weather, while in summer the sky is normally clear.
Antalya - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours5678101212118865

Near Antalya the sea is warmer than in the north and west coast, and it's warm enough for swimming from June to October.
Antalya - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)171716182024262726242118
Temp (°F)636361646875798179757064

6- Anatolian Plateau



In the vast inland plateau, the climate is continental, with significant variations both between night and day and between winter and summer. Precipitation is scarce, around 300/500 mm (12/20 in) per year, with a maximum in winter and minimum in summer, which is normally sunny. In this area, the climate is fairly uniform, and varies mainly with altitude, however, it becomes progressively more continental when going towards the east.

Ankara

The capital of Turkey, Ankara, is located in the center of the plateau, about 900 meters (3,000 feet) above sea level. Here, winter is cold and snowy, with a January average of 1 °C (34 °F), but the temperature drops with relative ease to -20 °C (-4 °F) during cold air outbreaks from Russia. Summer is hot and dry, sometimes scorching during the day, when temperatures can reach 38/40 °C (100/104 °F) in the worst moments, while nights remain generally cool. Here are the average temperatures.
Ankara - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-3-2161013161612820
Max (°C)571217222730302620126
Min (°F)272834435055616154463632
Max (°F)414554637281868679685443

In Ankara, annual precipitation is around 360 mm (14 in), so it's not abundant. Here is the average precipitation.
Ankara - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)35403535503013820203045360
Prec.(in)1.41.61.41.421.20.50.30.80.81.21.814.2
Days88777521356968

The sun in Ankara is rarely seen in winter, while in summer it shines regularly.
Ankara - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours245641011109642

In this area, at about 1,100 meters (3,600 feet) above sea level, we find the region of Cappadocia, where lies the city of Goreme, famous for the "fairy chimneys" or "earth pyramids". Here, the climate is similar to that of Ankara: the average January temperature is just below freezing (0 °C or 32 °F), and snow is quite frequent (the landscape of this region takes on an even more magical appearance under the snow), while the average in July and August is around 22 °C (72 °F), with highs around 29 °C (84 °F), but with possible scorching days.
Goreme

7- Eastern Plateau



In the easternmost provinces, near the border with Georgia, Armenia and Iran, the climate is really harsh, not only because of the higher altitude, which generally ranges between 1,200 and 1,600 meters (3,900 and 5,200 feet), but also because of the proximity to Russia, from which cold air masses can arrive; in fact, during winter this is one of the coldest areas not only of Turkey, but of the entire Europe. Lake Van, at 1,600 meters (5,250 feet) above sea level, is large enough to temper a little the climate, especially in winter, when the average temperature along its banks is around -4/-2 °C (25/28 °F), but further to the north, in the provinces of Erzurum and Kars, the January average drops to nearly -10 °C (14 °F) at 1,500 meters (5,000 feet).

Van

These are the average temperatures of Van, located near the lake of the same name.
Van - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-7-6-2381216151261-4
Max (°C)23713182428282417105
Min (°F)192128374654615954433425
Max (°F)363745556475828275635041

The rainfall pattern in the eastern part of the plateau is similar to that of the central-western part: precipitation is not abundant, there are snowfalls in winter, while summers are dry. Here is the average precipitation in Van.
Van - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)352550603515528504035360
Prec.(in)1.4122.41.40.60.20.10.321.61.414.2
Days989108211177770

In Van, as often happens in Turkey, the sun shines regularly in summer, while in winter there is an alternation between cloudy and sunny days.
Van - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours5567912121210764

Erzurum

In Erzurum, a city of 360,000 inhabitants in the north-east of Turkey, 1,700 meters (5,600 ft) above sea level, the average temperature in January is -8.5 °C (16.5 °F), so it's colder than in a northern Europe city like Helsinki. The absolute cold record is -40 °C (-40 °F), and that of April is still -17 °C (1 °F). Summer is quite warm during the day, but nights remain cool, and sometimes even cold. There are, however, also hot days with peaks of 30/33 °C (86/91 °F). Precipitation is not abundant, only 440 mm (17.3 in) per year, with two minima in summer and winter and a maximum in spring. During winter, however, snowfall occurs quite often, and it can sometimes be abundant.
Erzurum - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-13-12-7058111172-3-10
Max (°C)-4-32111721262722157-1
Min (°F)91019324146525245362714
Max (°F)252736526370798172594530

8- High Mountains



In Turkey, there are several mountainous areas, where the altitude exceeds 2,000 meters (6,500 feet). For instance, in the northwest, near Bursa, in the Olympus of Mysia (Uludag), you will find the most famous winter sports resorts of the country. In addition, there are much higher mountains in the north-east (Pontus), in the south-west (Taurus), and in the eastern region, where we find Mount Ararat, which stands out with its 5,165 meters (16,945 feet). In the map above, we colored the mountainous areas in brown. Here, the climate is Alpine, and of course the temperature decreases with altitude. At higher altitudes, for instance on Mount Ararat, glaciers are found.

9- Southern semi-desert areas



In the south-eastern provinces, near the border with Syria and Iraq, from Diyarbakir and Batman towards the south, the altitude ranges between 400 and 700 meters (1,300 and 2,300 feet). Here, the winter is quite cold, averaging a few degrees above freezing, but with possible snowfalls and frosts, which are more frequent in the northern part, but the main feature of this area is the hot summer, when temperatures can exceed 45 °C (113 °F).

Diyarbakir

In Diyarbakir, 680 meters (2,200 feet) above sea level, the average temperature ranges from 2 °C (35.5 °F) in January to 30 °C (86 °F) in July, when highs are around 38 °C (100 °F). The lowest recorded temperature is -21 °C (-6 °F), while the highest is no less than 47 °C (117 °F).
Diyarbakir - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-2-12711162221161040
Max (°C)791420273338383325169
Min (°F)283036455261727061503932
Max (°F)45485768819110010091776148

Here too, precipitation is not abundant and is concentrated in the cold half of the year, while in summer, it rains very rarely. Here is the average precipitation.
Diyarbakir - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)70706570408113305570480
Prec.(in)2.82.82.62.81.60.3000.11.22.22.818.9
Days141313131031017101499

In the south-east of Turkey too, the sun shines regularly in summer, while in winter, there is an alternation between cloudy days and sunny days.
Diyarbakir - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours45671012121210754

Cizre

Further south, in Cizre, at 400 meters (1,300 feet), near the border with Syria, the average maximum in July is as high as 41 °C (106 °F), while the daily average in January is 6.5 °C (43.5 °F), so winter is usually quite mild. Here are the average temperatures.
Cizre - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)2471115202322191484
Max (°C)111317222936414036281913
Min (°F)363945525968737266574639
Max (°F)52556372849710610497826655

Given its proximity to the mountains, the rains in Cizre are a bit more abundant, around 730 millimeters (29 inches) per year, but here too, in summer it rains very rarely.

Best Time



Almost the whole of Turkey, except the north-eastern coast, enjoys a dry and sunny summer, but it can be hot, even on the coast. So, in general it is preferable to visit the country in spring and autumn: already in April along the west coast (see Izmir); in May, June and September in Istanbul; in May, June and September in the Anatolian Plateau and Ankara (with a preference for the month of May, and remembering that nights can be a bit cold); in April, May and the first half of October along the southern coast and in the semi-desert areas of the south-east; in June and September in the eastern highlands; in July and August in high mountains.

The best months for a beach holiday are July and August along the north and north-east coast, but remember that the summer to the east of Istanbul is not very sunny and can be rainy, especially in the areas most exposed to the westerlies (while bays such as that of Samsun are relatively sheltered). In the easternmost part of the coast, it goes even worse and the rain may be abundant even in summer.
Along the west coast, the bathing season runs from June to September, the temperature is high and the sun shines. However, as previously mentioned, the sea in this area is slightly cooler, and sometimes the Meltem, the northern wind, blows.
Along the southern coast, summer is very hot, so you may prefer the months of June and September in order to avoid the period of the most intense heat, which beyond a certain level, can be felt even at the beach.

What to pack



In winter, on the north and west coast (Izmir and Trabzon), and in the south on the border with Syria, pack warm clothes, such as a sweater, a jacket, and a raincoat or umbrella. In Istanbul, pack warm clothes, such as a down jacket, and a scarf and a hat for cold spells. In Antalya and the south coast, spring/autumn clothes, a sweater, a jacket, and a raincoat or umbrella. In Ankara and the plateau, very warm clothes, such as a down jacket, a hat, a scarf, and gloves.
In summer: on the west and south coast (Izmir, Antalya), pack light clothes, a light sweatshirt for the evening, and a scarf for the breeze. On the north coast (Istanbul, Trabzon), you can bring a sweatshirt or sweater for safety; in the eastern part of the Black Sea coast, you can ass a raincoat or umbrella. In Ankara and the plateau, bring light clothes for the day, a sun hat, and a sweatshirt or sweater for the evening; in the eastern part of the plateau, you can add a jacket for the evening. In the south, on the border with Syria, bring lightweight clothing of natural fibers, a desert turban, and possibly a sweatshirt for outdoor overnight stays.
When going to the reef, you can bring snorkeling equipment, including water shoes or rubber-soled shoes.
When visiting mosques, you must have your shoulders and legs covered, and take off your shoes.
It's better for women to avoid shorts and miniskirts in rural and non-tourist areas.

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