When to travel to Turkey, the best seasons and weather
Turkey’s climate is characterised by extremes, with temperatures varying greatly from season to season in the country’s different regions. You’ll find climatic conditions in Turkey range from the mild in the coastal regions to hot summers and cold winters in the inland Anatolia plateau.
Spring and autumn are the best times to visit, as the climate is still hot,but not unbearable.
The Black Sea region has a subtropical oceanic climate in the east (thanks to the protective shield effect of Caucasus mountains), and a colder oceanic climate in the west. The climate in is wet – it rains winter and summer due the precipitation of the humid weather from the Black Sea – and humid (summer 23°C, winter 7°C).
While Turkey’s coastal areas enjoy milder climates, the inland Anatolian plateau experiences extremes of hot summers and cold winters with limited rainfall. The Northern Black Sea Mountains and Caucasian Mountain hold the rain clouds, and so the area is affected by a continental climate with distinct seasons, particularly long and very cold winters.
In Eastern Turkey the climate can be harsh and unpredictable; summers tend to be hot and extremely dry. The Anti-Taurus Mountain region of eastern Turkey particularly can be quite inhospitable. Mountainous, rugged and chilly, eastern Turkey is an elemental place where temperatures drop to -43°C (-45°F) in deep winter, and rise to 38°C (100°F) in summer, though the annual average is just 9°C (48°F).
South Eastern Anatolia records the country’s hottest summer temperatures, averaging about 30°C (86°F) in July and August. The southeastern region near the Syrian border has a desert-like climate, temperature is constantly above 40°C during summers with no rain. Down near Syria on the banks of the rivers Tigris (at Diyarbakir) and Euphrates (near Sanliurfa) it’s hot most of the time: up to 46°C (115°F) in high summer (and occasionally a low of -12°C (10°F) some winters).
The Anatolian Plateau in central Turkey has a continental climate with hotter summers and colder winters than those along the shore. In Eastern Anatolia and South Eastern Anatolia there is a long winter, and snow remains on the ground from November until the end of April (the average temperature in winter is -13°C and in summer 17°C).
The climate of the Anatolian plateau is a steppe climate (i.e. there is a wide temperature difference between day and night). The average annual temperature is 8–12°C (46– 54°F), and annual precipitation is only 30–75 cm (12–30 in). The little precipitation there is on the central plateau tends to be concentrated during the late autumn and winter months. The plateau has cold winters, often accompanied by high winds. Ankara, located on the plateau, has an average temperature range of -3° to 4°C (26° to 39°F) in January and 15° to 30°C (60° to 86°F) in July. In Central Anatolia (Cappadocia) there is a considerable variation between day and night time temperatures, with summer peaking at around 26°C.
In Western Turkey, the climate is milder
In Western Anatolia, there is a mild Mediterranean climate with average temperatures of 9°C in winter and 29°C in summer. Burdur and Isparta provinces, behind the Taurus Mountains to the west, are the transitional regions between the Mediterranean and terrestrial climate.
The Mediterranean and Aegean coastal regions up to an altitude of 800 m inland are characterized by the Mediterranean climate. In this climate summers are hot and arid while winters are mild and rainy, when the coastal towns more or less shut down between October and April.
South of Istanbul the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts have a typical Mediterranean climate with dry and hot summers (24-36°C) and mild winters (4-16°C). Marmaris has a perfect winter climate, you can still swim and get a tan and it is quite inexpensive. Even in autumn, the sea stays warm, and the air temperature can reach averages of up to 26°C only falling to about 21°C in November.
Around Izmir and Ephesus the climate is warmer still, with average summertime temperatures occasionally exceeding 30°C. Although summer temperatures are high, this is tempered by the low humidity inland and the sea breezes along the coast. Further south on the Mediterranean Fethiye has a mild winter for a few months and long hot summers with 30°C average.
The region around the Sea of Marmara, including Istanbul, also has some kind of Mediterranean climate, but it can rain, albeit a little, during summer (as showers which tend to last for 15-20 minutes) and winters are colder (winter 4°C and summer 27°C); in winter the temperatures can drop below zero. Istanbul, located on the Bosporus, has an average temperature range in January of 3° to 9°C (37° to 48°F).
Most of the coastal areas have a high level of relative humidity during most of the year which makes hot weather be felt hotter and cold weather be felt colder than it actually is.
Late spring brings warm, settled weather with the daily average rising to about 22°C inland and about 24°C on the Southern coast and typically 10 hours of sun a day.
As far as Turkey’s rainfall is concerned, the Eastern Black Sea Region (Trabzon and Rize) is the wettest region with warm summers and warm winters; the Central area (Ordu) is relatively dry, and is more similar to a Mediterranean climate; and the western region (Zonguldak and Sinop) has dryer weather still.
Climate in Turkey
Fahrenheit and centigrade, inches and millimetres, average values.
|Average High |
|Average Low |
|Average Monthly Precipitation (Inches)||4.3||4.4||2.7||2.5||1.5||0.8||0.2||0.2||1.0||3.1||4.5||4.3||2.5|
|Average High |
|Average Low |
|Average Monthly Precipitation (mm)||110.0||111.0||69.0||64.0||39.0||21.0||5.0||6.0||26.0||80.0||114.0||108.0||62.75|
|Average Relative Humidity (%)||80.0||78.0||71.0||69.0||66.0||66.0||63.0||61.0||67.0||72.0||77.0||79.0||70.75|