Why visiting Istanbul in Winter is a good idea

Fatima O.

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People usually avoid visiting Istanbul in Winter and consider it more often for summer trips. But this doesn’t mean that planning a Winter trip to Istanbul is a bad idea.

In this post I will show you how visiting Istanbul in the Winter is definitely a good choice and I will also include the must do things in Istanbul.

Istanbul weather in Winter

Winter in Istanbul usually starts from mid December and lasts until mid March. During these months the temperature ranges between 12 and -2 degree Celsius. You may think that’s very cold. Yep, it is cold! But it doesn’t mean that It’s not worth it visiting this magical city in Winter. It is more advantageous to plan a trip to Istanbul during off season than summer time. Let me tell you why …

3 reasons why you should visit Istanbul in Winter ?

sun shining on istanbul city in winter

1) A Budget Friendly getaway!

Yes, that’s true. Istanbul is definitely a budget-friendly destination in winter. Istanbul in January or February is much cheaper than Istanbul in July or August. You will be able to find good accommodation and package deals. Trust me, you will do your bank account a favor, especially if you are traveling with a family. Don’t be shy to ask for discounts during this period.

2) Almost no tourists!

We all know how hard it is to get free background Instagram pictures in a beautiful crowded place. So if you are struggling with this you should definitely try Istanbul in Winter. All the city attractions and incredible places are quiet. You will get the best photo shots, and the perfect table spot in a famous restaurant.

3) Istanbul is so beautiful in Winter

In addition to avoiding the long lines on the main sites and attractions, you will get to see that Istanbul uncovers another spectacular side in the Winter season. When snow covers Istanbul’s landscapes the city turns into a magical white wonderland.

What to do when visiting Istanbul in winter?

You are probably wondering about what you should do in such a beautiful city at a temp of 0 °C. Well, I agree with you if you don’t like winter, it ‘s my least favorite season. But let me show you what you can do if you are visiting Istanbul in winter.

1) Book a room with a breathtaking view

visiting istanbul in winter-03

Since you got a good accommodation deal, make sure to book your stay with an awesome view. Istanbul is much more beautiful if you are seeing it from your room’s balcony. When ships are sailing majestically on the Bosphorus, or when the major sites magically light up at night, your breath will be taken away every single time you see these views.

2) Feast on Turkish food

breakfast in istanbul in winter capetocasa 05

One of our favorite parts about traveling is sampling new food because it the best way to get lost with the country’s culture and history. Luckily ,Turkey has its own special dishes and flavors . A classic Turkish breakfast is an everyday must while Iskender and Turkey’s famous Doner Kebabs are there to keep you warm on a long cold day.

3) Drink Turkish coffee

Turkish coffee in a winter trip in Istanbul by capetocasa

Turkish coffee is inseparable from the Turkish culture. It is one of the ancient traditions that dates back to the Ottoman Empire and it’s way more than just a drink. Take your time to socialize and drink Turkish coffee in the most famous coffee shops in Istanbul. When you are done get your fortune told.

4) Visit Galata Tower

Galata tower capetocasa

Galata Tower is a famous monument and one of the iconic and synonymous attractions in Istanbul. The tower was built hundreds of years ago as a military post and it is 122 feet in height. Galata Tower’s vertiginous balcony offers a panoramic 360-degree view of the Istanbul peninsula as well as the old town surroundings.

6) Visit the Grand Bazaar

grand bazaar in istanbul capetocasa

The Grand Bazaar of Istanbul is one of the oldest and biggest markets in the world. It covers 30700 square meters and has more than 4000 shops. You can imagine the amount of goods you will find there.

7) Try a Turkish Hammam

Try a turkish hammam when you visit istanbul in winter

When it is cold outside, there is nothing better than warming yourself up with a traditional Turkish Hammam experience. It is all about indulging yourself with relaxing massages and softening scrubs in a luxurious atmosphere. For me, Turkish Hammam is the most intimate and profound meeting with myself.

8) Go Shopping

A woman shopping in one of istanbul shopping streets

Nobody goes home empty handed. Istanbul is considered a fashion capital and a famous attraction center for shopping lovers . The experience can be really fun with all the affordable options from traditional to modern varieties. While Istanbul hosts more than 200 shopping centers, it also offers an unlimited number of bazaars, street markets and antique shops.

What to pack for your trip to Istanbul?

During your stay in Istanbul in Winter. You will likely encounter rainy, windy and snowy days but also sunny days. In all cases you need to be ready. So based on my experience with Istanbul’s weather in Winter, here is what you need to pack for your trip:

  • Heavy and Down jackets are life-savers on cold days. They keep you warm and cozy
  • Sweaters are warm and easy to style for w inter pictures
  • Beanies and scarves are not really my favorite but sometimes you need to keep warm when it’s cold and windy out there
  • Winter boots are necessary for Winter in Istanbul. Most of the time the weather is not suitable for shoes or sneakers
  • Snow boots are not required if you have a good quality winter boot but if you are planning to go skiing pack a pair

I am pretty sure you won’t regret visiting Istanbul in Winter. There are plenty of indoor and outdoor winter attractions in the city that you can enjoy as long as you dress up warm and have flexible plans for you trip.

Are you planning to visit Istanbul next winter vacation ? Tell me in a comment!

About Fatima O.

Fatima, born and raised along the foothills of the Atlas mountains, in the heartland of the indigenous Amazigh peoples. She loves Moroccan tea and travel. Now, she travels and writes about the beauty of her homeland.

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