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Climate

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Daily highs (°C)

7

8

10

15

20

25

27

27

24

19

13

10

Nightly lows (°C)

2

2

4

8

12

16

18

18

16

12

8

5

 
Istanbul

It can be cloudy, rainy, or even snowy in Istanbul Forget the stereotypical Istanbul image of a city of 1001 Nights situated in the desert amidst date palms. It lies on the same latitude as New York City to which it bears many similarities in climate and vegetation, as they both do not enjoy warm sea currents such as the Gulf Stream unlike the Mediterranean cities of Naples and Barcelona which also lie on the same latitude and are therefore much warmer and exotic in climate and vegetation than is normal for this latitude and for the very northerly Western Europe as well. And again unlike the stereotype it snows in this city, almost every winter - and a lot occasionally, although the standard precipitation is rain and sleet.

Summer is generally hot as expected averaging around 27ºC during the day and 18ºC at night. High relative humidity levels and the ‘concrete-island effect’ only make things worse. Expect temperatures of up to 35° C for the hottest days of the year. Summer is also the driest season, but it does rain, albeit not a lot, as showers which tend to last for 15-30 minutes, and the sun usually reappears again on the same day. Flash floods are a common occurrence after heavy rainfalls (especially during summer), due to the city's hilly topography and inadequate sewage systems.

Winter is cold and wet averaging 2ºC at night and 7ºC during the day, and although rarely below freezing during the day, high relative humidity levels and the wind chill makes it feel bitterly cold and very unpleasant.

Snowfall which occurs almost annually is common between the months of December and March, with an annual total snow cover of almost three weeks, but average winter snowfall often varies considerably from year to year, and snow cover usually remains only for a few days after each snowfall, even if it snows a lot.

Late spring from second half of May to the first half of June and early autumn from the second half of September to the first half October are very pleasant and therefore the best times to visit the city, as it is neither cold nor hot, and still sunny, though the nights can be chilly and rainfall is common.

For visitors an unbrella is essential during spring, autumn and winter, and during the summer to avoid the sun and occasionally the rain. However, it’s not such a big problem, since streets of Istanbul are suddenly filled by umbrella sellers as soon as it starts raining. Although the umbrellas they provide are a little shoddy, going rate is only TL 5 –about US$ 3- per umbrella (though you can find much better umbrellas for that price at shops if you look around a bit).

Light clothing is recommended during summer and a light jacket and/or light sweater if the summer evenings do become chilly, warm clothing is essential during winter and a mixture of the two during spring and autumn.

Also take note that due to its huge size, topography and maritime influences, Istanbul exhibits a multitude of distinct microclimates.That is why different parts of Istanbul can experience different weather conditions at the same time. For example, at the same moment, it can be heavily raining in Sarıyer in the north, mildly raining in Levent (northern terminus of metro line), while Taksim, the southern terminus of metro line, is having a perfectly sunny day.

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