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Istanbul in December


Wondering if anyone has been to Istanbul in December and what their thoughts are on visiting the city in winter. I want to go for 5-6 days but am hesitant to book in case the weather would be a dealbreaker. I'm thinking that since most of the sights are indoor, it shouldn't be a big deal + can benefit from lesser crowds, but would appreciate the advice of those who have done this before.


Posted by
7038 posts

I have not been at that time because it's cold and could be quite gloomy with snow, and I wanted to see the Bosphorus on the ferry boat when the lighting and sky was blue. There are a lot of things to do indoors, but Istanbul is so lovely in spring, summer, and fall (I was there in June and in October). I think the crowds are much, much smaller than they've ever been in general because tourism is down overall (so no need to go in December only due to crowds). The prices are very good no matter what time of year. I would try to go when the weather is a bit better if you can - or just be OK with the cold. I took a ferry down to Princes Islands which was really fun and would not be good in winter.

Posted by
15448 posts

Sunset in Istanbul in December is between 5.35 and 5.45 pm. Sunrise - 8.09 to 8.28. I just looked at daily temps for the last 4 years. Highs mostly from mid 40s to mid 50s, lows rarely below freezing. Doesn't sound like a dealbreaker to me.

If you are looking for a destination for December, go for it. If you are asking what's the best time to visit Istanbul, there are better months.

Posted by
418 posts

I went on a RS tour of Istanbul in December 2015. We had very good weather while we were there - blue skies and cool temps. I was glad to have a warm sweater and jacket to wear during the day, and once it was dark and the temp dropped, I sometimes used a down jacket that stuffs into a small bag for travel. We had a wonderful time, smaller crowds, no lines, keeping warm while walking, even eating outside as many restaurants have space heaters to keep you warm. I would not hesitate to go at that time of year again.

That said, I heard that there was a big snowstorm the day after we left!

Posted by
35 posts

I went to Istanbul over Christmas holiday a couple years ago. It was fantastic! I wore a sweater, but never a jacket or coat. It was fairly mild and very sunny and we sat outside at many cafes and bars. I never saw any rain or snow and enjoyed lots of the Christmas decorations. And being a Muslim country, everything was still open on Christmas Day.