Occasionally, property hunters ask us if May is a good time to visit Istanbul? As well as finding their ideal home for sale, they want to combine their viewing trip with tours around Istanbul to see attractions and landmark buildings and learn all about the city's illustrious history. Of course, our answer is always yes. We think May is one of the best months to visit. You will not be disappointed. Istanbul, surrounded by the Golden Horn and Famous Bosphorus waterway, delights everyone all year round, but everything combines perfectly for an enjoyable trip during May.
About Visiting Istanbul in May
1: Reasons Why May is a Good Time to Visit
- Spring weather is pleasant temperatures around 20 to 25 degrees Celsius
- Lower rates on hotel rooms
- New flight schedules start with more availability and lower prices
- Fewer crowds at attractions
- Locals start eating outdoors al-fresco style
- Outside peak season, easily interact with Istanbul locals and find out more about their city and heritage
- Cruising the Bosphorus and Golden Horn is more enjoyable than in winter
- Nightlife scenes gear up
2: Where to Stay
This depends on what your interests are. Tourists typically stay in two different places, but you can choose accommodation all over Istanbul. Since Sultanahmet square is the main touristic attraction, stay there to see major highlights like the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace. Alternatively, hotels in the Taksim and Beyoglu districts will suit better for shopping and nightlife.
3: Getting Here in May
Choose from two main airports. Sabiha Gokcen sits in Asian Istanbul. Having won many awards for their efficiency and services, they also have an impressive global flight schedule. The second airport, Istanbul's new airport, is the most widely used. Sitting in European Istanbul, their flight schedule connects worldwide and includes an extensive program of domestic flights.
4: Public Holidays and Events
Events, celebrations, and festivals always happen in Istanbul, so check local Facebook groups or internet sites to find out what is happening in May. Additionally, there are two public holidays: Labour and Solidarity Day on May 1st. For the most part, things remain normal but avoid any large gatherings, especially around Taksim Square. The second is the Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth & Sports Day on May 19th. This day celebrates the start of the Turkish War of Independence when Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the modern Turkish Republic's founding father, landed at Samsun. If you book accommodation near schools, you may hear them performing folklore dances and singing the national anthem.
5: What to Pack
Daytime temperatures in May are pleasant, so pack your shorts and t-shirt. But remember to visit mosques, women should cover-up, and men should wear trousers. Night-times temperatures range about 15 degrees Celsius, so pack sweaters or light coats. While there is occasional rainfall, it won't interrupt your daily sightseeing schedule.
6: Things to Do and Places to Go in May
To work your way around all the many things to do in Istanbul would take months. Therefore, as part of our property viewing trips, we advise further based on your interests if you want to visit touristic attractions. Still, the following suggestions are the top-recommended activities in May.
Blue Mosque: Sitting on the edge of Sultanahmet square and next to the ancient Hippodrome, the 17th century Blue Mosque is one of Turkey's iconic landmark buildings. Aptly named because of thousands of interior blue tiles, the mosque is also famed for six minarets, which, when constructed, caused much concern since the only mosque like that was the grand mosque in Mecca.
Hagia Sophia: Sitting directly opposite the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia has had many purposes in its lifetime. Starting as a church, the building converted into a mosque after the Ottoman's 1453 conquering of Istanbul. After the Turkish War of Independence, the Hagia Sophia turned into a public museum and back into a mosque in recent years. It is still open to visitors, in any case. Remember that as a place of worship, maintain quietness and discretion. (Interesting facts about the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. )
Topkapi Palace: Once again, within short walking distance, of Sultanahmet square, the grand and majestic Topkapi palace comes into view. Walking through the gates and behind closed doors slowly reveals tales from the Ottomans, who were, at one point, the most incredible ruling power across the globe. As their place of residence and their ruling capital, from here, they made decisions that shaped the course of history. (What to see at the famous Topkapi Palace during May?)
Basilica Cistern: Also sitting near Sultanahmet square, the Basilica Cistern appears to be another world. Visitors descend stone stairs to an underground chamber filled with water, fish, and tall columns. At the back sit the famous heads of Medusa. Mark Twain once visited this unique landmark and described the structure as the 1001 columns. Read more about the Basilica cistern.
Istiklal Avenue: Head over to the Golden Horn to arrive at Istiklal Avenue, Turkey's busiest street with millions of pedestrians every week. As well as being nightlife and shopping hubs, visit numerous attractions on and around back roads, including Flower Pasaj, French Street, Saint Anthony of Padua Church, the Museum of Innocence and Pera museum, which holds the Tortoise Trainer painting, the most expensive ever sold in Turkey. About Istiklal Avenue, Turkey's busiest street.
Bosphorus Cruise: You have two choices here. Either buy tickets for luxury cruises with dinner and entertainment. However, these happen at night, and while they are fun, passengers don't see the magnificent houses, castles, old mosques and villages. For this reason, we often buy cheap ferry tickets in May to cruise waterside villages and see precisely why the Bosphorus is one of the most fought over waterways in the world's history. Interesting information about the Bosphorus in Istanbul.
Shopping in Istanbul: Istanbul is the best place to splash the cash. From the Grand Bazaar, which sells souvenirs, to large modern shopping malls and traditional streetside markets, every tourist quickly empties their wallet in minutes. Find out about the best malls, streets, and bazaars in Istanbul.
Galata Tower and Bridge: This ancient structure is fantastic for two reasons. The first is incredible panoramic views from the observation platform, especially at sunset. The second is at night for their evening Turkish shows featuring belly and folklore dancers. Also, visit the nearby Galata bridge for perfect insight into daily life for locals of Istanbul city.
Green Parks of Istanbul: Some people think Istanbul is all concrete, yet this could not be further from the truth. Istanbul locals love their green spaces, including many national parks, some of which date from the Ottoman area. As ideal places to chill out and have picnics while on your property hunting trip to Istanbul, they are also family-friendly and perfect every day of May. Find out which Green parks to go to in Istanbul.
Kid-Friendly Activities: Are you bringing the family on your May trip to Istanbul? If so, we know the importance of keeping kids entertained. As the saying goes, happy kids mean happy parents. This article talks about kid-friendly places in Istanbul to ensure everyone enjoys themselves.
Turkish Hammams: After viewing properties, you might feel tired. We understand that this is a significant lifestyle investment, but the perfect way to destress and unwind is a Turkish hamam. Also known as a Turkish bath, this article talks about what to expect and the most famous hammams in Istanbul, some of which have been opening their doors for centuries.
Asian Istanbul: Of course, all the above activities are must-do while in Istanbul during May, but to do something different, explore the lesser-known Asian side. In recent years, the area has risen in popularity for tourism and house purchases, and this article discusses why and where to go in May.
Istanbul City Guide: So, we hope we have answered the question of is May a good time to visit Istanbul? As you can see, this vast metropolis commands fame and admiration regardless of the month. This article discusses Istanbul in more depth, including well-known facts and the 39 districts that form this marvellous city of Turkey.
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