Turkey has extremely hot and dry summers, followed by rain-filled winters.
When to fly to Turkey
Search for cheap flights to Turkey in the spring and fall. Istanbul is most favourable between April and June and in September and October, when there are less tourists and the temperature is a little cooler. The Marmara (Bodrum), Aegean (Ephesus) and Mediterranean coasts have a typical Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. Central Anatolia (Cappadocia) has hot, dry summers and cold winters, while Eastern Anatolia (Nemrut) has mild summers and long snowy cold winters.
The winters in Turkey are harsh and the country doesn't really have a winter tourist season. While cheap flights to Turkey and cheaper accommodation are likely during this time, the weather will play a significant part in your travel plans.
Getting around Turkey
It is easy to fly round Turkey and there are plenty of domestic Turkish flights. Turkish Airlines links all the major cities, and low-cost airlines Onur Air and Atlasjet are also options. Cyprus Turkish Airlines offer domestic Turkey flights from Istanbul to Ercan, Ankara, Adana, Antalya, Dalaman and Izmir.
Renting a car in Turkey is not cheap, but buses offer a good, regular and cheap service. Dolmuses (shared taxis) are a good option for short trips. They are inexpensive and sociable. The destination is written on the front of the vehicle, and fares are posted usually above the driver's head. Travelling this way can be be tricky if you've got a lot of luggage however and they tend to stop running in the early evening.
Trains too can be good value. Car ferries are popular and can save lots of driving time. Tourist destinations are well-served. The Fez Bus is a long-distance hop-on, hop-off service which travels to the major tourist spots of western Turkey.
Turkey insider information
- There are many museums in Sultanahmet: Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern and the Turkish Islamic Art Museum - the full, stunning spread of Ottoman and Byzantine history, art and religion, and all within walking distance.
- Take the ferry along the Bosphorus towards the Black Sea, for a seafood lunch in the restaurants of Rumeli Kavagi or Anadolu Kavagi - enjoy the parade of brightly coloured Ottoman villas along the banks on the way there and stop at Ortokoy on the way back to see Turkish families enjoying ice-cream.
- If you visit one of the villages on the Bodrum peninsula, you may still see local women wearing the traditional pantaloons (salvar) and white headscarves.
- When visiting Ephesus, a wonderful, preserved classical city, try to get your sightseeing done in the early morning before the sun gets too hot, and bring some water with you. Drinks on the site can be expensive.