Abbreviated as IST by abbreviationfinder, Istanbul is the most populous city in Turkey. It is also the only city on earth that is partially located in both Europe and Asia.
The city of Istanbul has about 15 million inhabitants and has grown rapidly over the past century. It is one of the 15 largest cities in the world. However, there is no exact count of the population.
The city on both continents is so sprawling that even the locals don’t know where to go. The city continues to grow, developing mainly in the north along the canal, as well as in the south along the coast.
The location of Istanbul has always been strategically valuable, which is why the city can look back on an eventful history under different names, one of which was the old Constantinople. For the Greeks as well as the Romans – today’s Istanbul has always been the center of culture and trade.
The geopolitical transit situation becomes even clearer if one takes a closer look at a map of Europe and Asia. There is the Black Sea, which separates the Asian continent and the European continent. In the south of the Black Sea, however, there is the Bosphorus Canal, which connects the inland sea with the Mediterranean Sea, and Istanbul is on both sides of this canal. The city lies like a bridgehead and has made use of this position over the centuries.
Climate in Istanbul
Istanbul’s climate is Mediterranean, mild and humid. Typically for the region, the winters are comparatively wetter, but always quite mild. Frost and snow are the exception, but have happened again and again in recent years. Normally, the daytime temperatures in Istanbul reach around 10 degrees Celsius even in December and January. With the spring, the temperatures rise steeply.
Already in mid- April, the 20 degree mark is constantly cracked. In summer it becomes very warm in the urban area, whereby the winds (Meltem from the north and the Scirocco from the south) can influence the perceived temperatures. Similar to cold periods in winter, longer lasting heat waves are therefore also possible in summer and have occurred more frequently in the recent past in particular. Autumn in Istanbul is mild with daytime temperatures between 20 and 24 degrees and around 7 hours of sunshine.
When is the best time to visit Istanbul?
Istanbul has a lot to offer in every season, which is why it is difficult to describe an explicit time as the best travel time. Still, spring through fall is the best half of the year for most travelers. Since it can get very hot in the middle of summer, especially in the city center, we recommend the months of May and June as well as September and October as the best travel time.
Basically, the spring months of March and April are ideal for sightseeing and tours with a cultural focus, despite the slightly cooler temperatures. Only the wetter winter months in mid- November until the end of December should not be classified as the perfect travel time, as the weather can now be unpredictable and sometimes unpleasant.
Temperatures, precipitation, sunshine
|Daytime temperature||9 ° C||9 ° C||12 ° C||17 ° C||22 ° C||27 ° C||29 ° C||30 ° C||25 ° C||20 ° C||15 ° C||10 ° C|
|Night temperature||3 ° C||3 ° C||5 ° C||8 ° C||13 ° C||18 ° C||21 ° C||21 ° C||17 ° C||14 ° C||9 ° C||5 ° C|
|Water temperature||9 ° C||12 ° C||13 ° C||15 ° C||21 ° C||22 ° C||23 ° C||24 ° C||22 ° C||22 ° C||17 ° C||13 ° C|
|Precipitation in mm||59||71||61||44||39||23||31||38||45||72||87||101|
|Hours of sunshine||2||3||5||6||9||10||11||10||8||6||4||3|
The annual average temperature is 15 ° C. For comparison: Munich reaches an average of 8.6 ° C, in Berlin it is 9.6 ° C. The warmest month is August (25.4 ° C), coldest month of January with mean values of 5.9 ° C. The maximum water temperature is 24 ° C. Comfortable bathing is possible at these temperatures. The months of May, June, July, August, September and October have a water temperature of at least 17 ° C. Bathing is then possible to a limited extent. The months of June, July, August, September and October have a water temperature of at least 21 ° C and are therefore suitable for a beach holiday.
The annual precipitation is 671 mm on 92 days with precipitation. For comparison: In Munich, 967 mm, in Berlin 570 mm, precipitation is measured annually. There is no rainy season, i.e. months with more than 175 mm of precipitation. In the months of January, February, March and December snowfall is possible.
As our climate table shows, July is the sunniest month with an average of 11 hours of sunshine per day. On average over the year the sun shines for 6.3 hours per day. For comparison: In Munich and Berlin, the sun shines an average of 4.7 hours per day throughout the year.
The following larger towns are nearby and have a similar climate: Umraniye, Maltepe, Gebze and Çayırova.
Sights & attractions
Istanbul has many sights and a wealth of cultural assets from many eras. The main attractions include the Hagia Sofia and the Topkapi Palace. The Hagia Sofia, or Sofienkirche, is a once Byzantine church, which was then Orthodox, Catholic and later adapted into a mosque. Today it is a museum. Due to its architectural uniqueness, it is considered a total work of art without a model. It stands out as the last large late-antique church that was built in the Roman Empire. It was built on a gigantic scale. The laying of the foundation stone goes back to the year 532.
Hagia Sofia has a dome with a diameter of 31 meters. It is one of the most outstanding buildings of late antiquity, which is still preserved today. The Hagia Sofia is partly 1500 years old, other parts are younger. Not far from Hagia Sofia, facing the strait of the Bosphorus, is the Topkapı Palace. It also shows the high level of architecture and culture of the past. The palace was the seat of the sultans for many centuries and was also the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire.
The Topkapi Palace is not a single building, but a whole area of buildings with designed open spaces. Overall, the palace is divided into 4 courtyards, each separated by a gate. The beginning of the palace is given as 1453. The breathtaking Cisterna Basilica is also one of the marvels of late antique architecture that you shouldn’t miss. The basilica is sometimes referred to as a sunken palace and served as a water reservoir. The cistern is 145 meters long and 65 meters wide. It was created in the 6th century AD, so it has parallels to Hagia Sofia. The capacity of this underground structure is around 80,000 liters. A mood comparable to 1001 nights.
Istanbul weather in March, April and May
Average daily temperatures between 12 ° C and 22 ° C can be expected over the next three months. In Istanbul it gets warmest in May, while March is noticeably cooler.
Do you want to go on a beach holiday? The water temperatures are in March, April and May 13-21 ° C.
In March, at about 10 days can be expected precipitation in April at about 7 days, and in May at about 7 days.
In the period from March to May, the sun shines an average of 5 to 9 hours a day. The sunniest weather is in May in Istanbul, but with less sun you have to get by in March.