SD › Turkish Mediterranean Coast When To Go
Updated: March 17, 2020
When is the best time to visit Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast?
The best time to visit Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast is April to mid-May and mid-September to October-end. These periods avoid the summer heat and humidity, peak tourist crowds, and Turkish school holidays, while still offering warm and dry weather. Attractions are less crowded and flights and accommodations are not that expensive.
Turkey is blessed with 3 extended coastlines across the Black Sea, Aegean Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea along the south coast. The latter – also called the Turquoise Coast – stretches from Marmaris, where the Aegean and Mediterranean meet, to Alanya and beyond.
- Best Time for Good Weather: April to October, but June, July, and August can be uncomfortably hot and humid, and made worse by the huge crowds.
- Best Time for Honeymoons: April to mid-May, and mid-September to October-end. Weather is pleasant, not too hot, while also avoiding large crowds on the beaches and around the ancient ruins during the peak summer months.
- Best Time for Nightlife: April to October. The narrow streets and extended marinas are packed with outdoor bars and bistros, and during the tourist seasons, the nightclubs are open every night.
- Best Time for Saving Money: Avoid the peak months of June, July, and August and a week or two either side. During these times, hotel rates peak, airfares are overpriced and, often, overbooked, and bargains at the bazaars are very unlikely. So, the optimal time for saving money is the off-season, November to February.
- Best Time for Sightseeing: The prime times are April to mid-May and mid-September to the end of October. This avoids the oppressive heat when the beaches are absolutely teeming with sunbeds and visiting the ancient ruins, which are usually vast and shade-less, can be tiring.
- Best Time for Shopping: Unsurprisingly, bargains are difficult to find during the peak times of mid-May to the end of September, 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, so the best time for a wider range and lower prices is April to mid-May, i.e. before the summer rush.
- Best Time of the Day for Sightseeing: During the peak times (mid-May to September-end) crowds 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 some ancient ruins can be unpleasant. So, come just after opening or around 4pm (but check the closing times).
- Best Time for Beaches: The sea is generally acceptable 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, only minimal protection from flimsy umbrellas, so take necessary precautions.
- Best Time for Water Activities: From mid-May to mid-October, the sea is fine for activities such as windsurfing, scuba diving, and snorkeling. From around mid-April to the end of October, all marinas along the coast are jam-packed with yachts and other boats, but remember, some trips for tourists and island ferries may stop running or reduce schedules from October to April.
Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast Travel Seasons
- High Season (mid-May to September-end): Almost guaranteed dry and hot weather every day for several months, but June, July, and August can often be too hot and humid for even laying on the beach, let alone visiting the ancient ruins. Most beaches are hopelessly overcrowded, many archaeological sites teem with tour buses, and the narrow lanes around the old towns swarm with visitors. What’s more, airfares and hotels are overpriced and, often, overbooked, so plan way ahead. Not long after the end of the Turkish school holidays (mid-June to mid-September), crowds start dropping off and hotel prices become more competitive.
- Shoulder Season (mid-March to mid-May, October, and November): During these times, avoid the 3 factors that usually make hotels full and flights expensive: countrywide school holidays (mid-June to mid-September), the hottest weather, and the largest influx of tourists (June to August). Maybe not hot enough for a show-off suntan, but still good for water-sports and ideal for exploring the many archaeological sites, most of which are vast and offer little or no shade.
- Low Season (December to mid-March): Fewer hotels and tourist businesses here close during the off-season than the Aegean Coast because along the Mediterranean Coast, the weather remains reasonably mild during winter and the coast is still visited by Turks from cold Istanbul and Ankara. During the off-season, prices are lower and crowd smaller, but schedules for buses, trains, and planes may be significantly reduced. Hotels get busier and dearer during the Christmas/New Year period (around 20 December to 5 January).
Turkish Mediterranean Coast Weather by Month
The coastline along the Mediterranean Sea with tourist facilities stretches about 700km (435 miles) by road, so climates do vary, especially at places with sheltered coves and/or mountainous backdrops. Descriptions below are for Marmaris, where the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts meet, and Antalya, the region’s largest city about halfway along the Turquoise Coast.
- Mediterranean Coast Weather in January: Marmaris remains quite mild and dry compared to Istanbul and major cities inland where it’s very wintry. Average daytime/overnight temperatures are 15°C/8°C. Wettest month of the year but no snow expected here or anywhere along the Mediterranean Coast. Average temperatures and amount of rainfall in Antalya are very similar to Marmaris. Expect rain on about 12 days.
- Mediterranean Coast Weather in February: More or less the same average temperatures, rainfall, and amount of daily sunshine as January for Marmaris. In Antalya, the average daytime/overnight temperatures are similar to January: about 16°C/10°C. About half as much rain as the previous month, falling on about 11 days on average.
- Mediterranean Coast Weather in March: The mild weather in Marmaris continues with a slight increase in average temperatures: 18°C during the day and 12°C overnight. Significantly less rain than the previous 2 months as spring takes over by the end of March. Also reasonably pleasant in Antalya: almost identical temperatures as Marmaris and a continual reduction in the amount of rainfall and number of rainy days (9).
- Mediterranean Coast Weather in April: By now, temperatures in Marmaris are ideal for sightseeing, especially around the ancient ruins, but not yet warm enough for swimming or sun-tanning. Expect about 21°C on average but still a coolish 13°C overnight. Continued reduction in rainfall in both Marmaris and Antalya to the point that it will rarely affect travel plans for the next 6 months. Also, comfortable temperatures in Antalya, so some tourists start their holidays early to avoid other tourists.
- Mediterranean Coast in May: Hot and dry weather, therefore, crowds start a little earlier along the Mediterranean Coast than the Aegean. In Marmaris, the average daytime temperatures rise considerably to a warmish 26°C and a mild 17°C after dark. Minimal rainfall is expected – about the same as April – but spread over fewer days. Most importantly, the water is an inviting 20°C. Around Antalya, the rainfall reduces further to half that of April, while the average daytime/overnight temperatures increase to 26°C/17°C. Almost the same amount of average sunshine per day as the next 3 months and the water, now at 21°C, is good enough for swimming.
- Mediterranean Coast Weather in June: Peak time for weather and crowds in Marmaris. Daytime temperatures average 31°C but consecutive +35°C days are not uncommon. Increasingly warm overnight at about 22°C and a sharp increase in water temperature to 23°C. Very little rainfall and virtually none for the next 2 months. Also at Antalya, almost no rain this month (or July and August) and hot, sunny days when the average temperature of 30°C can be exceeded many times during the month.
- Mediterranean Coast Weather in July: In Marmaris, July and August are the peak of the busiest tourist season for temperatures and crowds. Average daytime temperatures are an uncomfortable 35°C, often reaching higher, and still very warm overnight (26°C). Virtually no rain is recorded during this month or the next. July rivals August in Antalya for heat, though crowds are more in July. About 34°C during the day on average but often considerably hotter, and still quite warm overnight at 24°C.
- Mediterranean Coast Weather in August: Almost the same average temperatures in Marmaris during the day and night as July. Also, virtually no rain and the highest average water temperature for the year. The uncomfortable weather is made worse by the crowds that pack the beaches and ancient ruins (many of which have little or no shade). At a degree on average higher than July, August has the hottest daytime and overnight temperatures for the year at Antalya.
- Mediterranean Coast Weather in September: While the Aegean Coast becomes milder during the second half of the month, Marmaris remains quite hot at 31°C on average as the crowds start reducing by mid-September. A little more rain than the previous 3 months, but not enough to affect any plans for sightseeing and sunbathing. Water temperature also remains pleasant. Slight drop in average daytime temperatures in Antalya to 29°C and increase in rain (from virtually nothing the previous 3 months). Ideal time to visit and still great for swimming and water-sports.
- Mediterranean Coast Weather in October: Significant reduction in average temperatures in Marmaris but usually still pleasant – 26°C during the day and a mild 18°C overnight – but more rain than any month since February. Perfect for exploring the ancient ruins and still warm enough for swimming and sunbathing during the first week or two. In Antalya, about 27°C on average during the day and increasingly cooler at 17°C overnight, but more rain – about the same as March and falling on about 7 days.
- Mediterranean Coast Weather in November: While some tourist businesses close or reduce hours along the Aegean Coast and residents of Istanbul and Ankara shiver, Marmaris remains mild – about 22°C/15°C on average during the day/night – but it’s no longer suitable to swim or sunbathe. Surprisingly, only a little more rainfall than the previous month, so it’s still okay for exploring the many attractions along the coast. In Antalya, the mild weather continues, with rain on about 9 days. It’s still good enough for sightseeing but not for anything beachy.
- Mediterranean Coast Weather in December: Winter has now taken over but no snow or really wintry weather is expected anywhere along the Mediterranean Coast. In Marmaris, December has the third-highest rainfall for the year but it’s still mild at 17°C during the day on average and not too cold at 11°C overnight. Temperatures in Antalya are about the same but it’s the year’s wettest month, with some rain expected on about 13 days.
Turkish Mediterranean Coast Holidays, Events, and Festivals
Although overwhelmingly a Muslim country, the major Islamic festivals are unlikely to affect visitors along the tourist-oriented coastline. 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 a public holiday. The massive festival of Kurban Bayrami (Eid al-Adha) is also a public holiday.
Mediterranean 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).
Mediterranean Coast Events in February
- Datça Almond Flower Festival (near Marmaris; changeable, early February) – New event celebrating the onset of spring when local almond trees blossom early. It’s held at Datça, about 70km (45 miles) along the peninsula from Marmaris, with a nature walk, wine-tasting, and stalls selling food and jewelry.
Mediterranean Coast Events in March
- 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.
Mediterranean Coast Events in April
- Yeşilüzümlü Mushroom Festival (near Fethiye; usually first weekend of April) – Four days celebrating the universally loved morel mushroom. Lots of music, tastings, souvenir stalls, and activities for children. At Yeşilüzümlü/Üzümlü, about 20km (12 miles) northeast of Fethiye.
- 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.
- Marmaris DANCE Festival (changeable, from late April) – Popular 5-day event showcasing traditional and contemporary dances from across Turkey and Europe.
Mediterranean Coast Events in May
- Labour and Solidarity Day (1st) – Major celebration 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.
- 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 Marmaris Folk Festival (changeable, mid-May) – Variety of dances and songs performed by hundreds of participants from across Turkey and beyond. Lasts about one week.
- International Fethiye World Music Festival (changeable, late May) – For about 5 days, singers, dancers, musicians, and lovers of traditional music gather to promote Fethiye’s unique culture and music.
Mediterranean Coast Events in June
- Alanya International Tourism and Art Festival (changeable, mid-June) – Large event embraced by the whole town. Three days of concerts promoting local culture and traditions, as well as workshops and stalls. Many events held along the spectacular harbor.
- Caretta Caretta Dalyan Culture and Tourism Festival (Dalyan; changeable, from end of June) – Six days of dancing, folk music, and exhibitions in the town and along nearby Iztuzu Beach where the protected Caretta Caretta turtles nest.
- Akra Jazz/Caz Festival (Antalya; changeable, late June) – Held over about 10 days on outdoor stages at resorts along the beach.
Mediterranean Coast Events in July
- District 7 Music Festival (Kaş; changeable, early July) – New and exciting event for lovers of electronic music. Usually in spectacular outdoor settings.
- Democracy and National Unity Day (15th) – Public holiday commemorating an unsuccessful coup attempt in Turkey as recently as 2016.
Mediterranean Coast Events in August
- Zafer Bayrami/Victory Day/Armed Forces Day (30th) – Public holiday celebrating the victory over invading Greek armies during the 1922 War of Independence. Patriotic day with military parades, speeches, and ceremonies, particularly in Antalya and Fethiye.
Mediterranean Coast Events in September
- International Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival (near Antalya; changeable, from early September) – Long-standing event over 3 weeks featuring enchanting performances in the ancient theater at Aspendos, about 20km (12 miles) from Antalya.
- Antalya Fest (changeable, late September) – New and popular event over several days with folk music and traditional dance from across Turkey and Europe.
- Alanya International Jazz Days/Festival (changeable, late September) – Held in the iconic Kizil Kule tower/museum. Several days featuring renowned and up-and-coming artists from Tukey and beyond.
Mediterranean Coast Events in October
- Alanya International Triathlon (changeable, usually early October) – Swimming, running, and cycling events of various grades for different ages when the temperatures on the ground and in the water are ideal.
- Marmaris International Short Film Festival (changeable, mid-October) – One of many across the country with a focus on young and upcoming filmmakers. Screenings at several places across town.
- International Anyaliya Dance & Music Festival (Side; changeable, from late October) – Local and foreign singers, bands, choirs, and orchestras gather for 1 week, but be warned, events regularly involve the audience. At Side, easy to reach from Antalya and Alanya.
- Marmaris International Race Week (changeable, late October) – Long-standing and hugely popular event attracting hundreds of competitors from across the seas for several days. All sorts of fun available to everyone in the evenings.
- Antalya Film Festival (changeable, late October) – Prestigious week-long event particularly focused on documentaries. (Formerly known as the ‘Golden Orange Film Festival’.)
Mediterranean Coast Events in November
- International Alanya Stone Sculpture Symposium (most of November) – Attracting up to 100 sculptors from 35+ countries, the displays are always amazing.
- Ataturk Remembrance Day (10th) – Death anniversary of the founder of the Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Variety of activities, including speeches, exhibitions, and concerts.
- Alanya Fishing Tournament (changeable, early November) – Serious competition over a weekend attracting hundreds of anglers from all over Turkey and Europe.
- International Antalya Piano Festival (changeable, mid-November) – Two weeks featuring leading players accompanied by world-class orchestras from Turkey and across the globe.
Mediterranean Coast Events in December
- Alanya International Christmas Market (changeable, usually second Sunday) – All-day market enjoyed by everyone, regardless of faith. Food stalls, concerts, and fun for the youngsters.
- Christmas (25th) – Not commemorated by most Turks but still celebrated with events at major resorts.
- New Year’s Eve (31st) – Celebrated in towns and tourist regions with fireworks and special events at larger hotels. Turks usually gather for a meal and exchange presents, while some go out later for midnight festivities.
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