Among coastal areas, İstanbul and the Sea of Marmara shores have a relatively damp, Balkan climate, with muggy summers and cool, rainy (though seldom snowy) winters. These areas get crowded between late June and early September, worth considering when deciding the best time to visit. The popular Aegean and Mediterranean coasts can be uncomfortably hot during July and August, especially between İzmir and Antakya; in spring or autumn, the weather here is gentler and the crowds thinner, while late October and early November see the idyllic pastırma yazı or “Indian summer”. Even during winter, the Turquoise and Mediterranean coasts are – except for rainy periods in January and February – still fairly pleasant. The Black Sea is an anomaly, with exceptionally mild winters for so far north, and rain likely during the nine coolest months, lingering as mist and subtropical humidity during summer.

Cut off from the coast by mountains, Central Anatolia is mostly semi-arid steppe, with a bracing climate – warm but not unpleasant in summer, cool and fairly dry in winter, from late November to late March. Cappadocia makes a colourful, quiet treat during spring and autumn – or even December, when its rock formations are dusted with snow. As you travel east, into Northeast Anatolia and around Lake Van, the altitude increases and conditions become deeply snowy between October and April, making late spring and summer by far the best time to visit. In the lower Euphrates and Tigris basin, a pronounced Middle Eastern influence exerts itself, with winters no worse than in Central Anatolia but torrid summers, without the compensation of a nearby beach.

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created 9/11/2013
updated 4/26/2021
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