Holidays in Istanbul in Winter – If you have a few free days, pack your suitcase and go to Istanbul. After the New Year holidays there is a sharp drop in the price of travel. Prices for tourist services fall, seasonal sales begin, and the number of tourists decreases markedly. Almost all attractions, boat trips and gastronomic tours are available in winter.
In winter in Istanbul, the temperature drops, but it is still comfortable to stay in the city. The winter period is not cold here. The average temperature readings are fixed at +7 … +9 degrees, but depending on the month they can vary slightly.
The beginning of winter in Istanbul is comfortable, especially if you compare this period with Russian cities. The thermometer rises to +9 … +11 degrees. However, despite the fact that the sun often shines over the city, the air is not getting warm. The main reason for this phenomenon is the cold wind from the sea. Clear days can be occasionally replaced by cloudy ones with drizzle.
In the middle of winter the air temperature decreases slightly. On average, during the day the air is heated to +4 … +6 degrees. But at night there may be frosts to -2 degrees. Rains are a frequent phenomenon. Sometimes they are replaced by wet snow. But snow does not lie for a long time, usually not more than 2 days. Humidity of the air is increased. Cold winds continue to blow.
In February the thermometer is increasingly showing higher temperatures. During the day the air can be heated to +12 … +14 degrees. At night, of course, it is much cooler, but there is no minus in February. Sunny days are more and more. The last winter month is characterized by frequent changes of weather conditions. And all this happens abruptly. The sun is replaced by cloudy weather. Rain can change to sleet and snow. The area of the city that is closest to the Bosphorus Strait is exposed to the cold winds. The farther away from the Bosporus the more comfortable it is to be outside.
What clothes to bring?
Despite the fact that the temperature in Istanbul in winter is mostly plus, in fact it feels much cooler outside, and all because of the wind. Therefore, be sure to take insulated clothing with you. You will need warm sweaters, outerwear, hats and gloves. It’s also good to take sunglasses. The sun shines a lot in the city. It doesn’t hurt to bring an umbrella, because you never know if it’s going to rain or not.
What to see in Istanbul in winter?
The metropolis is known for its many attractions, and it is almost impossible to see them all in one trip. In the winter months the city is just as interesting as in the summer months. The only thing you can’t do is lie under the warm sun on the beach. In the period from December to February the metropolis pleases with its tranquility and lack of fuss. At the sights are not a huge crowd of tourists.
Weather in the winter months is quite unpredictable, so the route of the walks plan carefully. It is better to work out two options, think well, where you would go on a sunny day, and where you can go if the weather deteriorates sharply.
If the weather is good, take a walk through the streets of Istanbul, visit the main attractions (they work as usual), explore the local color, that is, devote a day to hiking. Alternatively, you can go to Beyoglu, walk around Taksim Square, Istiklal Street, see the Galata Tower. You can take a ferry to Kadıköy or Uksüdar. If the weather is not windy you can even sail to the Princes’ Islands.
Bad weather will require adjustments to your itinerary. Give preference to places where you can stay inside for a long time. It could be the Archaeological Museum, the Topkapi or Dolmabahce Palace, the Grand Bazaar. Each place can be visited for several hours. The Archaeological Museum is located next to the Topkapi Palace, so you do not have to spend time on long journeys. If you are lucky enough to be in Istanbul during the snow, be sure to go on a hike around the city. Seeing Istanbul in the snow is very rare, you are guaranteed to get a lot of positive emotions and incredibly beautiful photos.
So, what are the sights to see in winter in Istanbul:
- The Hagia Sophia Mosque is the most visited site in the city with centuries of history. At first it was a Christian temple, then it was turned into a museum, later the building became a mosque.
- Topkapi Palace. It was built in the 15th century. To explore all the architectural elements, you can spend a whole day in the palace. Today it has the status of a museum, you must follow the dress code (no provocative clothes, you must also cover your head).
- Blue Mosque. You are sure to be impressed by this landmark for many years to come.
- The Dolmabahce Palace is no less unique than the Topkapi Palace. But its advantage is that there are rarely crowds of tourists here. During the walk you can visit the harem, the luxurious garden, and enjoy the magnificent views of the Bosphorus Strait.
- Byzantine cisterns. There are several of them in Istanbul – Theodosia, Basilica, Nakkash. These are truly unique water bodies. In ancient times they were used to supply water to Constantinople. Even today you can see a small amount of water in the Basilica cistern.
- Galata Tower. Its construction dates back to the 6th century. It is interesting not only for its historical value, but also for its observation platform.
- Grand Bazaar. Even if you were not planning to go shopping in Istanbul, be sure to visit this market. Trade was carried out here during the Ottoman Empire. Today the market is astonishing with variety of goods and sometimes you have an impression of being in a veritable museum.
- Istiklal Street is Istanbul’s most famous street. It is interesting at any time of the year.
The list of attractions to see in Istanbul in winter is endless. If you come to the city in the cold season, do not sit in a hotel. Walk its streets, ride the streetcar or the ferry, see the most important sites of the city. I’m sure you will discover the city from a completely different perspective with each such walk.