Map from Google - Turkey

In Turkey there is a noticeable variety of climates, with considerable differences between the areas, and also with some microclimates due to the 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 and snowy winters, and hot and 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

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 of about 3 °C (37.5 °F), and summers are hot, though tempered by the breezes. In winter, cold spells may occur, with snow and frost, as well as heat waves in summer.
Here are the average temperatures in Edirne.
Average temperatures - Edirne
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.
Average precipitation - Edirne
Prec. (mm)605050455045302535557070585

In Edirne the sun is rarely seen in winter, while in summer the sky is normally clear.
Sunshine - Edirne
Sun (hours)245681011108532

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 fairly sultry summers. In Istanbul, the January average is around 6.5 °C (43.5 °F), but sometimes cold air masses from the Balkan Peninsula or Russia move over 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.
Average temperatures - Istanbul
Min (°C)435813182020171386
Max (°C)9912172226292925201511
Min (°F)393741465564686863554643
Max (°F)484854637279848477685952

In Istanbul the sun is rarely seen in winter, partly because sometimes fog can form, while in summer the sky is often cloudless.
Sunshine - Istanbul
Sun (hours)234681010108532

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.
Sea temperature - Istanbul
Sea (°C)988101520232422191411
Sea (°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 becomes slightly milder, and summer progressively more rainy. For example in Trabzon, the average temperature of February is 7.5 °C (45.5 °F), that of August is 23.5 °C (74.5 °F).
Average temperatures - Trabzon
Min (°C)5469131720211814107
Max (°C)111112161924262724201613
Min (°F)413943485563687064575045
Max (°F)525254616675798175686155

In Trabzon, 830 millimetres (32.5 inches) of rain per year fall, 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.
Average precipitation - Trabzon
Prec. (mm)90706055555035458011010080830

In Trabzon, the sun does not shine very often, as can be seen in the following table.
Sunshine - Trabzon
Sun (hours)334467665543

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


3- North-East Coast

The easternmost part of the Turkish coast of the Black Sea, east of Trabzon, from Rize to the border with Georgia, has a climate that 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 per year fall, although actually the summer rains are not continuous, but are concentrated in periods of bad weather which last a few days.
Here is the average precipitation in Rize.
Average precipitation - Rize
Prec. (mm)22018015095951401451852402902502452235

In Rize, winter is milder than in the area of Istanbul, with less frequent snowfalls. Here are the average temperatures.
Average temperatures - Rize
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.
Sunshine - Rize
Sun (hours)234467555432

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 located, the climate is Mediterranean: on the coast 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. In Izmir (Smyrna), there are on average only 3 days with snow per year.
Average temperatures - Izmir
Min (°C)66711151922221814118
Max (°C)121316212631333329241814
Min (°F)434345525966727264575246
Max (°F)545561707988919184756457

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.
In Izmir the sun shines regularly in summer, while in winter there is an alternation of cloudy and sunny days.
Sunshine - Izmir
Sun (hours)45671011121110754

At Izmir the sea is never very warm, because in summer the north wind prevents the sea from warming up much.
Sea temperature - Izmir
Sea (°C)151515161822232322201816
Sea (°F)595959616472737372686461

The rainfall amount in the west coast goes between 700 and 1,000 millimetres (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 in the west coast, and even more so than in the Black Sea coast. Winter temperatures 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 in the slopes facing west and southwest. In Antalya, about 1,000 mm (40 in) of rain per year fall, but it almost never rains fromr June to Spetember. Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation - Antalya
Prec. (mm)245160904530112313501052751029

Here, the average of January is 10.5 °C (51 °F), that of July is as high as 28 °C (82 °F).
Average temperatures - Antalya
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.
Sunshine - Antalya
Sun (hours)5678101212118865

At Antalya the sea is warmer than in the north and west coast, and is warm enough for swimming from June to October.
Sea temperature - Antalya
Sea (°C)171716182024262726242118
Sea (°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. Rainfall 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 towards the east.
The capital of Turkey, Ankara, is located in the centre of the plateau, about 900 metres (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 torrid 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.
Average temperatures - Ankara
Min (°C)-3-2161013161612820
Max (°C)571217222730302620126
Min (°F)272834435055616154463632
Max (°F)414554637281868679685443

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

In Ankara the sun is rarely seen in winter, while in summer it shines regularly.
Sunshine - Ankara
Sun (hours)245641011109642

In this area, at about 1,100 metres (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 has 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 torrid days.

7- Eastern Plateau

In the easternmost provinces, near the border with Georgia, Armenia and Iran, the climate becomes really harsh, not only because of the higher altitude, which generally ranges between 1,200 and 1,600 metres (3,900 and 5,200 feet), but also because of the proximity to Russia, from which cold air masses can arrive, so that during winter this is one of the coldest areas not only of Turkey, but of the entire Europe. Lake Van, at 1,600 metres (5,250 feet) above sea level, is large enough to temper a little the climate, especially in winter, so that the average in January along its banks varies between -2 and -4 °C (28 and 25 °F), but further north, in the provinces of Erzurum and Kars, the January average drops to nearly -10 °C (14 °F) at 1,500 metres (5,000 feet).
These are the average temperatures of Van, located near the lake of the same name.
Average temperatures - Van
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, therefore precipitation is not abundant, with winter snowfalls and dry summers. Here is the average precipitation in Van.
Average precipitation - Van
Prec. (mm)352550603515528504035360

In Van, as often happens in Turkey, the sun shines regularly in summer, while in winter there is an alternation of cloudy days and sunny days.
Sunshine - Van
Sun (hours)5567912121210764

In Erzurum, a city of 360,000 inhabitants in the north-east of Turkey, at 1,700 metres (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, snowfalls can quite often occur, which can sometimes be abundant.
Average temperatures - Erzurum
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 metres (6,500 feet). They range from the Olympus of Mysia (Uludag), in the northwest, near Bursa, where you will find the most famous winter sports resorts of the country, to the much higher mountains of the north-east (Pontus), of the south-west (Taurus), and of the eastern regions, where we find Mount Ararat, which stands out with its 5,165 metres (16,945 feet). In the map above, we coloured 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 metres (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, in which temperatures can exceed 45 °C (113 °F).
In Diyarbakir, at 680 metres (2,200 feet) above sea level, the average in January is 2 °C (35.5 °F), while the average in July is 30 °C (86 °F), with highs around 38 °C (100 °F). The lowest recorded temperature is -21 °C (-6 °F), the highest is no less than 47 °C (117 °F).
Average temperatures - Diyarbakir
Min (°C)-2-12711162221161040
Max (°C)791420273338383325169
Min (°F)283036455261727061503932
Max (°F)45485768819110010091776148

Here too the 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.
Average precipitation - Diyarbakir
Prec. (mm)70706570408113305570480

In the south-east of Turkey too, the sun shines regularly in summer, while in winter there is an alternation of cloudy days and sunny days.
Sunshine - Diyarbakir
Sun (hours)45671012121210754

Further south, in Cizre, at 400 metres (1,300 feet), near the border with Syria, the average maximum in July is no less than 41 °C (106 °F), while the daily average in January is 6.5 °C (43.5 °F), so winter is usually quite mild. Here the rains are a bit more abundant, around 730 millimetres (29 inches) per year, given the proximity to the mountains, but here also in summer it rains very rarely. Here are the average temperatures.
Average temperatures - Cizre
Min (°C)2471115202322191484
Max (°C)111317222936414036281913
Min (°F)363945525968737266574639
Max (°F)52556372849710610497826655

when to go

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.

For a beach holiday, along the north and north-east coast the best months are July and August, but remember that east of Istanbul, summer 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 we have seen, the sea 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, 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, warm clothes, sweater, jacket, raincoat or umbrella. In Istanbul, warm clothes, down jacket, scarf and hat for cold spells; in Antalya and the south coast, spring/autumn clothes, sweater, jacket, raincoat or umbrella. In Ankara and the plateau, very warm clothes, down jacket, hat, scarf, gloves.
In summer: on the west and south coast (Izmir, Antalya), light clothes, light sweatshirt for the evening, 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, a raincoat or umbrella. In Ankara and the plateau, light clothes for the day, sun hat, 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, lightweight clothing, of natural fibres, desert turban, possibly a sweatshirt for overnight stays outdoors.
For the reef, equipment for snorkeling, water shoes or rubber soled shoes.
To visit mosques, you must have your shoulders and legs covered, and bare feet.
For women, it is best to avoid shorts and miniskirts in rural and non-tourist areas.