Istanbul in May: one step away from summer

“If I had only one eye left, I would like it to look at Istanbul”, — said the French writer and politician Alphonse de Lamartine, and it is worth noting that this phrase is no exaggeration. Anyone who has ever seen Istanbul will confirm that this is exactly the city that you want to return to again and again.

The Turkish metropolis is unique, no matter how you look at it. First of all, Istanbul is distinctive for its unusual location — The Bosphorus Strait divides the city into European and Asian parts, so two seemingly completely different cultures are subtly intertwined here. And this fantastic cocktail of Turkish flavor, European restraint and Asian futurism has a fantastic taste and a truly intoxicating effect — It is simply impossible not to fall in love with Istanbul.

Another huge plus of the city is that you do not have to wait for a certain season to come here on vacation. Istanbul is an all-season resort, and tourists are happy to come here all year round. In warm weather, the tourist flow increases slightly — people are attracted by the good weather and the opportunity to walk the streets of Istanbul from morning to evening (or even nights away!).

For those who have planned a trip to Istanbul at the end of spring, Kidpassage has prepared a lot of useful tips. Read this article to find out what awaits tourists in Turkey's most popular city in May. 

Istanbul in May: one step away from summer

Holidays in Istanbul in May: pros and cons

May in Turkey is beautiful, this is the most comfortable period for holidays in local resorts. And numerous reviews about holidays in Istanbul in May confirm this. At the end of spring, you can arrange boat trips along the Bosphorus, ride a bike around the city, take long walks along the old streets… In the spring, almost all types of pastime are available in the city. The main advantagesof a May holiday in Istanbul are:

  • Great weather. The conditions are ideal for sightseeing holidays: it is already warm in Istanbul in summer, but there is no sweltering heat yet.
  • Great opportunities for recreation. The entire tourist infrastructure is fully operational: hotels, excursions, museums are ready for the influx of tourists.
  • Picturesque nature. With the advent of spring, the city blossoms, dressing up in colorful clothes. Even a simple walk down the street is a great aesthetic pleasure.
  • Seasonal fruits. Spring — this is the time to saturate the body with natural vitamins, and there are definitely no problems with this in Istanbul. Local markets and supermarkets offer a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Istanbul in May is disappointingtourists except perhaps the impossibility of a beach holiday — the water in the sea is still too cold for swimming. However, the Turkish metropolis relies on sights. Most tourists come here for impressions, and not for a beach holiday, so the cold sea cannot be called a significant disadvantage.

This can not be said about the cost of rest. If you were planning to save money, then you should consider traveling to Turkey at another time of the year. At the end of spring, passenger traffic increases significantly, and, of course, the tourism business responds to increased demand by increasing the cost of its services. The period from May to September is the most expensive holiday not only in Istanbul, but throughout Turkey.

Weather in Istanbul in May

Weather in Istanbul in May — June is the most favorable for rest. It's warm here, but not hot. Exhausting heat comes to the city somewhere in the middle of summer, but in Istanbul the mercury column, even at the peak of the summer season, does not rise higher than in the coastal resorts of the country.

The weather in early May is warm and sunny. From the first days of the month, you can already walk in a T-shirt. It does get chilly in the evenings, though, so a few shirts and sweatshirts in your suitcase won't hurt.

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The temperature in Istanbul rises a few degrees in mid-May, making the weather even hotter and more pleasant. Sunny days prevail. On the street — real summer.

The weather in Istanbul at the end of May remains hot and sunny. Moreover, it is getting warmer every day. In the last days of the month, even a beach holiday is possible. Especially pleasant during this period are boat trips along the Bosphorus — the coolness of the strait is perfectly refreshing on hot days.

Air and water temperature

Local climate — subtropical mediterranean — makes spring weather the most pleasant for relaxation. In summer it is quite hot here, in winter — humid and windy. But the off-season is characterized by a comfortable temperature for walking and clear sunny weather.

Air temperature in Istanbul in May

Daytime temperature in the Turkish metropolis at the end of spring averages +21.5 °C. At night, the thermometer drops to +16.4 °C. Istanbul is hottest at the end of the month, so if you can't handle high temperatures, it's best to plan your trip in early May. And vice versa — those who want to soak up the warm sunshine and get a beautiful tan are advised to take tickets for the last days of the month.


May is not a rainy month. The average rainfall in Istanbul is only 35.1 mm. The total number of rainy days does not exceed three.

Sunny, cloudy, cloudy days

68% of the time of the whole month, which is equivalent to 21 days, is sunny in Istanbul weather. At the same time, the length of daylight hours is 14.0 & ndash; 14.9 hours. Cloudy days account for 23%, cloudy days remain only 10% of May.

Sightseeing holidays in Istanbul< /h2>

Istanbul in May: one step away from summer

Istanbul is not a beach resort — First of all, tourists are attracted by a rich excursion program and a large number of diverse attractions.

Picturesque parks, masterpieces of architecture, historical monuments, religious buildings and entertainment locations — in the Turkish metropolis you do not have to be bored. Moreover, vacationers are sorely lacking time to see all the most interesting things in Istanbul. What to see first of all?

The first thing to do is to take a walk through the historical district of Istanbul — Sultanahmet. This is the oldest part of the city, which was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985.

In the center of the district there is one of the main city mosques — Sultanahmet, or the Blue Mosque, which is called a masterpiece of world architecture. The architect, who worked on the creation of the mosque, took up the project with such enthusiasm that instead of the traditional four minarets, he installed as many as six, which became the main highlight of Sultanahmet.

A distinctive feature is also the color of the building — when decorating the domes, walls and columns of the mosque, handmade blue faience was used. Subsequently, the factory for the production of such faience went bankrupt, as a result of which the Blue Mosque became a unique building with a similar finish.

  • Things to do in Istanbul with kids

The historic district is also home to the city's most mystical landmark — Basilica Cistern. A dark, damp reservoir with a grotesque interior will definitely impress visitors. The ceiling is supported by over 300 columns from ancient temples. There are two sculptures of the head of the Gorgon Medusa, both heads are turned upside down so that visitors do not inadvertently turn to stone from the gaze of the mythical monster.

You should definitely climb to the very top of the Galata Tower, from where you can enjoy a stunning view of the city. The tower had many purposes — it was used as a landmark for sailors, a fortification, a prison and even an observatory. In early May, the evenings are cool, especially at the very top of the tower, so it's better to bring a sweater with you.

At the end of May, when a real hot summer comes in Istanbul, it is nice to relax in the Gulhane city park. In spring, thousands of tulips bloom on its territory, and in summer, roses of all possible colors and varieties delight the eyes of visitors. By the way, the name of the park comes from the Persian word Gulkhāna, which translates as “house of roses”. The park is connected to the outer gardens of the Topkapi Palace, directly from the garden, along wide paths and through a luxurious gate, you can get to the territory of the palace.

Tourists with children will be interested in visiting family-oriented places. There are many such locations in Istanbul, here are just some of them:

  • Miniature Park
  • aquarium
  • Vialand Amusement Park
  • Dolphinarium
  • Toy Museum

Don't forget to take a stroll along Umbrellas Street and taste delicious coffee and sweets in the oldest confectionery in the city Hafiz Mustafa 1864.

Holidays, events, festivals

Tourists will find important public holidays in Istanbul in May. So, one of the significant dates in the history of Turkey is May 29 — The day of the capture of Constantinople, when Emperor Constantine died in battle, and Sultan Mehmed solemnly entered the city. Istanbul became the capital of the Ottoman Empire. On this day, you can see historical reconstructions and festive fireworks on the streets of the city.

On May 19, Ataturk Memorial Day, youth and sports are celebrated in the city. Sporting events are held in stadiums, and portraits of Atatürk and national flags are hung on the streets.

May 1 is also an official holiday in Istanbul, on the first day of the month Labor Day is held here. There are no special celebrations, but tourists may be lucky enough to catch trade union rallies.

Prices for holidays in May

Istanbul in May: one step away from summer

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Prices in Istanbul in May set an upward trend. At the end of spring, tourism businesses actively increase the cost of their services due to the increased tourist flow.

Price of tours

The closer the summer is, the more expensive tours to Turkey become. The cost of May tours is slightly higher than in April (by about 1–2%), but in June the price tag soars several times.


In the last month of spring, air tickets go up by 20% compared to the April value. In June, there is also a significant rise in price, the cost increases by almost 50%.


Accommodation in local hotels also becomes much more expensive. From the very beginning of May, the price tag has been slowly growing, reaching peak values ​​by July — August. It is recommended to book well in advance as affordable accommodation can be in short supply due to the heavy tourist flow.

  • The best hotels in Istanbul for families

Meals and transfers

Throughout Istanbul there are a large number of food establishments of different classes — from canteens and street stalls to restaurants. You should definitely try the street food, especially fish sandwiches balyk ekmek. Lunch in a middle-class cafe costs from 30–50 lira, a snack on street food will cost half as much.

  • Things to try in Istanbul: tips from seasoned tourists

As befits a multi-million metropolis, Istanbul has a developed public transport system. The most popular mode of transportation — on city buses. But tourists should know in advance that such a trip is devoid of comfort — the buses are always crowded. The fare is about 3-5 lire. You can buy an IstanbulKart pass. Dolmushi is more convenient than buses, but a little more expensive (about 5 liras).

Metro operates in Istanbul from 6:00 to midnight, trams also run around the city. There is even a funicular, a trip on which will be a pleasant mini-attraction. In addition, you should definitely use water transport, at least as an entertainment.

At night, public transport does not work, the only way to move around the city — call a taxi. Payment is made by the meter, on average taxi drivers charge 3 lira for landing and 2 lira for each subsequent kilometer.

There are car rental agencies in Istanbul, but this is not the best transport to explore the city: due to high-density urban highways are overloaded, traffic jams — a common thing for a Turkish metropolis.

How to dress in Istanbul

Istanbul in May: one step away from summer

When packing for a May holiday in Istanbul, you should focus on summer things, but do not forget to grab a few sweatshirts for evening walks. It is also advisable to put hats — the May sun at this time is quite insidious.

Do not take too light pajamas for sleeping — at night, the mercury column drops to +10…12°C. Some tourists, especially children, may find it cold to sleep in a T-shirt and shorts.

Most vacationers walk around the city a lot and book hiking tours, so you need to choose comfortable clothes that do not hinder movement, and shoes that are comfortable to walk more than one kilometer. There are many paved roads in Istanbul, and it is extremely uncomfortable to walk on them in heels. Leave such shoes for visiting clubs or restaurants, and for walking around the city, choose the option with flat soles or at least wedges.

You can take a swimsuit with you. Although there is no coast in Istanbul, bathing accessories will be useful for tourists to visit the pools or hammams.

Mosques are one of the main attractions of Istanbul. If you plan to get acquainted with the local religion, then you should take care of suitable clothing. Bare areas of the body (arms, legs, décolleté) should not be visible, women should cover their heads with a scarf.

It is also worth remembering that although Istanbul is a tourist city, it is still a Muslim city, and you should dress appropriately here. It is better to avoid revealing outfits, clothes made of transparent fabrics, too short skirts and shorts (the optimal length is up to the knee). Of course, no one will fine or put you in jail for inappropriate attire, but you will be provided with disapproving looks from local residents.

Recommendations for families with children

May — an ideal period for holidays in Istanbul with children. It is still not hot here, but it is no longer damp and windy, the weather is excellent for long walks in the fresh air. The city has many family hotels and entertainment for the youngest guests of the metropolis.

  • Family holidays in Istanbul: Kidpassage guide

To make memories about holidays in Turkey remained bright for longer, it is worth bringing souvenirs from the trip. Cute and useful gizmos will also please your friends and relatives. The problem is that in the local markets and in souvenir shops, eyes simply run wide, it becomes extremely difficult to make a choice. Therefore, before you go shopping, you should read the Kidpassage article “What to bring from Istanbul as a gift: 21 oriental gifts for every taste”.

May Istanbul will definitely take a place in your heart, because what can be more beautiful than one of the most beautiful cities in the world at the most romantic time of the year.

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