SD › Turkish Aegean Coast When To Go
Updated: March 16, 2020
When is the best time to visit Turkey’s Aegean Coast?
The best time to visit Turkey’s Aegean Coast is April-May and mid-September to October-end. These periods avoid the summer heat and humidity, peak tourist crowds, and Turkish school holidays, and offer sunny, dry weather. Temperatures range between 9°C to 28°C. Beaches and attractions are not very crowded and flights and hotels are inexpensive.
- Best Time for Good Weather: April to October though June, July, and August can be uncomfortably hot and crowded.
- Best Time for Honeymoons: April, May, and September. The weather is still pleasant, unlike the summer with its heat and crowds.
- Best Time for Nightlife: May to September. The narrow streets and extended marinas are packed with outdoor bars, bistros, and nightclubs that are open every night.
- Best Time for Saving Money: Avoid the peak months of June, July, and August, when hotel rates peak, airfares are overpriced and, often, overbooked, and bargains at the bazaars are unlikely. The cheapest time is the off-season (December to mid-March) but the cold weather is less inviting.
- Best Time for Sightseeing: April, May, and mid-September to October-end. This avoids the heat and crowds of June, July, and August, when the beaches are absolutely teeming with sunbeds and visiting vast and shade-less sights like Troy and Ephesus can be very tiring.
- Best Time for Shopping: Unsurprisingly, bargains are difficult to find during the peak season, when traders overcharge and rarely offer discounts. During winter, some stalls in the bazaars and shops along the main streets may close or offer considerably fewer products for sale, so the best time for a wider range and lower prices is April and May, i.e. before the summer rush.
- Best Time of the Day for Sightseeing: During the peak summer months (June, July, and August) crowds everywhere can be overwhelming – from the lines for buffet breakfast to the sunbeds lined head-to-toe along the beaches. Distant from sea breezes and with little and, often, no shade, visiting major sights such as Troy and Ephesus in summer can be unpleasant. So, come just after opening or around 4pm (but check the closing times). Also bear in mind that residents of major towns like Bodrum and Izmir flock to coastal villages and beaches on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
- Best Time for Beaches: The sea is generally fine for swimming from around mid-May to mid-October, but outside temperatures can be unpleasantly hot during June, July, and August. Few beaches offer natural shade; there’s only minimal protection from flimsy umbrellas.
- Best Time for Water Activities: From mid-May to mid-October, the sea is fine for activities above or below the water, while scuba-diving and, to a lesser degree, snorkeling are possible for a little longer. From May to September, the marinas all along the coastline are jam-packed with yachts and other boats utilizing the optimal weather. And remember, many boat trips for tourists and some island ferries may stop running or reduce their schedules from October to April.
Turkey’s Aegean Coast Travel Seasons
- High Season (mid-May to September-end): Almost guaranteed dry and sunny weather every day for several months, but July and August can be too hot and humid for even laying on the beach, let alone visiting the inland sights. Crowds during these 4.5 months can be big, packing out the beaches and numerous archaeological attractions, while the narrow lanes around the old towns swarm with tourists, cars, and buses. Also, airfares and hotels are overpriced and, often, overbooked, so plan way ahead. By the time the Turkish school holidays (mid-June to mid-September) finish, crowds start dropping off and hotel prices are more competitive.
- Shoulder Season (mid-March to mid-May, October, and November): During these times, avoid the 3 factors that make hotels full and flights expensive: the countrywide school holidays (mid-June to mid-September), hottest weather, and the largest influx of tourists (June to August). While not the ideal time for a suntan, it is perfect for exploring the many archaeological sites, most of which are vast and offer little or no shade. Note that some hotels and tourist-related businesses may close for the winter from around October-end to mid-April.
- Low Season (December to mid-March): Although warmer than Istanbul and the mountainous regions inland, much of the tourist-oriented coastline is eerily quiet as some hotels and businesses close and many bars and cafés may only open on weekends. Prices overall are lower and crowds non-existent, but schedules for buses, trains, and planes may be significantly reduced, and some island ferries and boats for day trips stop running. Hotels get busier and dearer during the Christmas/New Year period (around 20 December to 5 January).
Turkey’s Aegean Coast Weather by Month
The coastline along the Aegean Sea stretches over 600km (375 miles) by road, so climates do vary, especially at places with sheltered coves and/or mountainous backdrops. Descriptions below are based on the north coast from Troy to Izmir and the south coast around Bodrum.
- Aegean Coast Weather in January: Along the north coast and closer to Istanbul, the average daytime temperatures are the year’s lowest: 10-12°C and a chillier 5°C overnight. This is the second-wettest month of the year when some rain is expected to fall for about 13 days. At Bodrum, further down the coast, temperatures are about the same. January also has the second-highest rainfall for the year, made worse by fierce winds. Snow is rarely seen anywhere along the Aegean Coast during any month.
- Aegean Coast Weather in February: To the north, there’s little change in average temperatures or amount of sunshine from January, but there’s a significant drop in total rainfall and number of days with some rain (9). Along the south coast, expect the same temperatures as January but a lot less rain – falling over about 12 days. The strong winds continue.
- Aegean Coast Weather in March: Still wintry in the north with average daytime temperatures of 13-16°C and a still-cold 6-8°C after dark. Oddly, a slight increase in rain from the previous month but only for about 9 days. At Bodrum, average temperatures increase slightly to about 15°C/8°C (day/night) but March still receives the third-highest rainfall. A changeable month that could be nice for exploring but certainly not warm enough for anything beachy.
- Aegean Coast Weather in April: An unsettled month in the north as spring takes over from winter. More pleasant at 18-20°C on average during the day but still a coolish 9-12°C overnight. Expect plenty of sunshine during the 6-odd days when rain is not recorded. Average daytime temperatures in Bodrum rise markedly to a mild and comfortable 20°C but fall to 10°C overnight. Massive drop in rainfall to about one-quarter of the previous month.
- Aegean Coast Weather in May: Along the north coast, summer has taken over. Expect 20-25°C during the day, but a lot less overnight (12-15°C), along with a significant increase in water temperature (17°C), which could still be too chilly for some, especially in the first half of the month. Significant reduction in average rainfall, which is usually spread across only about 5 days. Technically, it’s still spring, with the worst of the heat not yet arrived, but Bodrum is already hot at around 25°C, which is made more uncomfortable by the increased humidity. Still a little chilly in the sea: 18°C.
- Aegean Coast Weather in June: To the north, average temperatures have significantly increased during the day to 26-30°C and 16-20°C after dark, while the water temperature is an inviting 21°C. Expect about 15 hours of sunshine per day and only 2 days with any rain. The heat continues in the south around Bodrum where daytime averages are 30°C but can get much higher for several days. Over 21°C in the sea and rain is rarely recorded.
- Aegean Coast Weather in July: July and August are the peak months for heat, humidity, and crowds along the north. Average daytime temperatures are the highest for the year (29-33°C), made more uncomfortable by the humidity, but more pleasant (20-23°C) overnight. Most number of hours of sunshine per day and equal highest water temperature (23°C). Almost no rain. Along the south coast, the heat, humidity, and sunshine continue, and 37°C days are not uncommon. Also, the most number of hours of sunshine per day for the year and maybe only one day with some rain. Very inviting 22°C in the sea.
- Aegean Coast Weather in August: Just as dry, hot, and humid as July in the north. The weather can be unpleasant as temperatures can exceed 37°C on some days, made worse by crowds on the beaches and at the sights inland (where shade is minimal or non-existent). Around Bodrum, the summer continues with very little change from June and July. Similar highest daytime temperatures as July, 31°C on average and often much higher, while the water temperature peaks at 23°C. Third continuous month of almost no rain.
- Aegean Coast Weather in September: In the north, a noticeable drop in summery weather and the size of the crowds. Average daytime temperature is a pleasant 25-28°C and a mild 17-19°C overnight, while the water remains swimmable at 21°C. Still dry, with the same amount of rain as May spread over only 3 days on average. In the south, it’s a wonderful time to visit as the heat and crowds have abated. Temperatures on land drop a little to a more comfortable 28°C/18°C during the day/night and to a pleasant 22°C in the sea. Slightly more rain for the month but nothing to affect travel plans.
- Aegean Coast Weather in October: Averages continue to drop but it’s still a pleasant time to visit the north coast. Expect 20-22°C during the day and an increasingly coolish 12-14°C after dark. At about 19°C, the water may be too chilly for swimming by now but still decent enough for water-sports. About twice as much rainfall as September. Also, a changeable month along the south coast: 23°C during the day, which is perfect for exploring the inland sights, and with a water temperature of about 21°C, it’s still swimmable for the first half of October. Negligible rain.
- Aegean Coast Weather in November: Winter has truly arrived by now along the north. Average daytime temperatures of 15-17°C and 10°C overnight. Significant increase in rain; it’s the second-wettest month of the year and rains for around 10 days. No snow likely. Also colder and wetter along the south coast – drops to a mild 17°C during the day but a chilly 10°C overnight – and a marked increase in rain to the year’s third-highest, falling across about 15 days. The sea is now too cold for swimming and too windy for anything else on or above the water.
- Aegean Coast Weather in December: Average temperatures in the north drop to 11-13°C during the day and lot more at night (6-8°C), made worse by bone-chilling winds and dense fog. It’s the wettest month of the year but not as many days of rain (12) as in January. Winter has truly taken hold in the south but it’s not as cold as the north coast: daytime temperatures plateau to 15°C/9°C during the day/night with minimum daily sunshine. Also, the wettest time of the year with 5 times more rain than October but snow is unlikely.
Turkey’s Aegean Coast Holidays, Events, and Festivals by Month
Although overwhelmingly a Muslim country, the major Islamic festivals are unlikely to affect visitors along the tourist-oriented coastline of the Aegean Sea. Dates of these festivals vary each year and a few are public holidays when banks and government offices close, but very little else does. Şeker Bayrami (known as Eid al-Fitr elsewhere) celebrates the end of Ramadan for 3 days, with the first day a public holiday. The massive festival of Kurban Bayrami (Eid al-Adha) is also a public holiday. Because of its historical ties with, and proximity to, Greece and its numerous adjacent islands, some locals are Christians who adhere to the Greek Orthodox Church. The Orthodox calendar differs by about 2 weeks from the calendar used in Turkey and Europe. Festivals, of course, include Christmas and Easter, but others are dedicated to patron saints of villages and churches.
Aegean Coast Events in January
- New Year’s Day (1st) – Quiet, reflective time when many locals stay at home, probably after a big night out, or visit friends. Public holiday, so some amenities like public transport are limited, but almost all tourist sights are open (and busy).
- Orthodox Christmas (usually 7th January) – May not be obvious in tourist regions, but will be celebrated by some, especially in villages, from the previous evening to the day after.
- Camel Wrestling Festival (near Kuşadasi; changeable, third weekend of January) – Fights involving 2 male camels clashing over a female in heat. Many such events along the coast from December to March, but particularly popular and accessible at the beach at Pamucak, about 13km (8 miles) north of Kuşadasi.
Aegean Coast Events in February
- Gundogan Sucuk & Wine Festival (Bodrum; last Saturday of February) – plenty of drinking and devouring of the spicy Turkish sausage sucuk/sujuk, as well as traditional music.
Aegean Coast Events in March
- Izmir European Jazz Festival (changeable, first half of March) – Impressive line-up from across Turkey and Europe, with the added aim of instilling ‘peace and friendship’. Also, workshops spread over a couple of weeks or more.
- Bodrum Bitter Herb/Weed Festival (changeable, early March) – Favorite among foodies, with a focus on local cuisine, as well as workshops and family entertainment. At Ortakent, about 10km (6 miles) along the peninsula from Bodrum.
- Mesir Macunu Festival (near Izmir; changeable, late March) – Traditional 4-day festival recognized by UNESCO. Celebrates the health benefits of the mesir macunu herbal paste with various sporting, musical, and cultural activities coinciding with Nevruz (see below). At Manisa, about 40km (25 miles) northeast of Izmir.
- Nevruz (22nd and 23rd ) – Many Turks, especially those in rural regions, celebrate the traditional New Year and oncoming of spring with plenty of singing, folk dancing, and bonfires. Children also decorate hard-boiled eggs and everyone eats too much.
- Orthodox Easter (changeable, March-April) – Celebrated over several days by the Turkish Christian minority who trace their ancestry to Greece.
Aegean Coast Events in April
- Alaçati Herb Festival (Alaçati/Çeşme; changeable, early April) – Popular event over a couple of days when thousands of locals partake in competitions and visitors collect herbs and enjoy foods prepared with them.
- National Sovereignty and Children’s Day (23rd) – Celebrates the first parliament of modern Turkey in 1920. Public holiday with parades, patriotic songs and performances by children, and laying of wreaths at monuments for Turkey’s founder, Atatürk.
- International Bodrum Folk Dance Festival (changeable, late April to early May) – For about 1 week at various venues across the city with a focus on performances by children.
Aegean Coast Events in May
- Labour and Solidarity Day (1st) – Major celebrations across the world and a local public holiday. Usually, just a quiet time with family and friends.
- Hidrellez Day (6th) – Traditional event celebrating the first day of spring with ancient traditions and Gypsy music. Celebrated more these days in the villages than the cities.
- Pedasa Festival (Bodrum; changeable, early/mid-May) – Based in the ancient city of Pedasa in the hills above Bodrum with guided tours, dance competitions, and concerts at Bodrum Castle.
- Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth, and Sports Day (19th) – Public holiday with plenty of sporting events and parades to commemorate a special date linked to independence. Also celebrated as the birthday of Atatürk, founder of modern Turkey.
- International Bodrum Latin Dance Festival (changeable, late May) – Four days of hip-swinging action, workshops, and competitions. One of four annual festivals in Bodrum organized by the local dance club.
Aegean Coast Events in June
- International Izmir Festival (usually late May and all of June) – Major festival, started over 30 years ago, with concerts and stalls across the city, especially along Kordon (esplanade). Extends to Çeşme and Ephesus.
- Vanishing Tastes Festival (Alaçati/Çeşme; changeable, mid-June) – Two-day event showcasing the varied cuisines from across the region that have often disappeared in recent times.
- International Ephesus Culture & Art Festival (Ephesus and Selçuk; changeable, mid-June) – Celebrates Turkish history and culture with traditional music and dance concerts for about 5 days among ancient ruins.
Aegean Coast Events in July
- Democracy and National Unity Day (15th) – Public holiday commemorating an unsuccessful coup attempt in Turkey as recently as 2016.
- Chill-Out Festival Bodrum (changeable, mid-July) – Showcasing house, lounge, and trance music for those who can tell the difference. Over 2 days with a variety of food, beverages, workshops, and other activities. Also hosted in Istanbul in June.
Aegean Coast Events in August
- International Bodrum Ballet Festival (changeable, from early August) – For over 2 weeks at the Bodrum Castle and other historic sites. Attracts top international companies and stars.
- Electronica Festival (Çeşme; changeable, mid-August) – First and biggest of several festivals of modern music in a vibrant beach area.
- Bodrum Music Festival (changeable, late August) – About 1 week with concerts of and films about classical music in beautiful locations around the old town of Bodrum and the nearby coast.
- International Ephesus Opera and Ballet Festival (changeable, late August to early September) – New event offering a range of performances, perhaps more about the incredible setting among the ancient ruins.
- Festival of Storks and Natural Life (Selçuk; usually late August) – For centuries, storks have migrated to this town from early March until late August. This event encourages awareness of wildlife and promotes conservation efforts.
- Zafer Bayrami/Victory Day/Armed Forces Day (30th) – Public holiday celebrating the victory over invading Greek armies during the 1922 War of Independence. Patriotic time with military parades, speeches, and ceremonies.
Aegean Coast Events in September
- Bozcaada Wine Festival (Bozcaada Island; changeable, early September) – For centuries, this gorgeous island has been renowned for its grapes and wine. Expect lots of drinking and loud parties.
- Independence Festival (Selçuk; 8-10th September) – One of several festivals during the first half of the month along the coast to commemorate independence from Greece. Largest at Selçuk, featuring concerts, food stalls, and lots of fun.
- If Istanbul Independent Film Festival (Izmir; changeable, late September) – Smaller version of the eclectic festival held earlier in Istanbul. Linked to the internationally-renowned Sundance Festival, it showcases the finest in Turkish and international film.
Aegean Coast Events in October
- Akbank Jazz Festival (Izmir; changeable, from mid/late October) – Range of local and international performers of traditional jazz, along with workshops and jam sessions. Starts in Istanbul, then usually continues to Izmir.
- Filmekimi (Izmir; changeable, late October) – Well-regarded festival premiering local and international films. Held in Istanbul before moving to Izmir.
- The Bodrum Cup (changeable, late October) – Educates wannabe sailors and showcases yacht production. Also, a chance to get aboard during a race. Other activities include concerts and competitions in cooking and photography.
- Republic Day/Cumhuriyet Bayrami (29th) – Celebrates the proclamation of an independent Turkey in 1923. Somber, patriotic time, when families enjoy parades, fireworks, and various events on the day (which is a public holiday) and the evening before.
Aegean Coast Events in November
- Atatürk Remembrance Day (10th) – Death anniversary of the founder of the Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Variety of activities, including speeches, exhibitions, and concerts.
Aegean Coast Events in December
- Christmas (25th) – Not celebrated by most Turks. Those who adhere to the Greek Orthodox Church normally celebrate 2 weeks later according to the old calendar.
- New Year’s Eve (31st) – Celebrated in major towns and tourist regions. Turks usually gather for a large meal and exchange presents. Expect fireworks in and around Bodrum and Izmir and special activities organized by the larger hotels.
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