Lale Sürmen Aran
Is it very hot in Turkey?
Is it very hot in Turkey?
 
Weather in Istanbul, Cappadocia and Ephesus Main travel season is approaching, travelers are getting prepared to be out and on the way. Many wonder what the weather is like in Turkey for sake of packing smartly. There is a misconception about climate of Turkey. Honestly, if it was me looking at a map of Turkey and seeing it side by side with the Middle East I would also think that it is very hot and desert like. 
 
The fact is different. Turkey is large with many topographic diversities, this causes different climate zones. The country is like a gigantic peninsula with seas surrounding on three sides where it is mostly sea level. Eastern Turkey is significantly different with high rocky mountains and average elevation is about 6,000 feet. Central part of Turkey is a higher plateau that is about 3,000 feet.
 
Here I want to concentrate on the top three destinations: Istanbul, Cappadocia and Ephesus. 
Easiest way may be comparing climate zone maps of Turkey and USA. Below are most common USA and Turkey Köppen–Geiger climate classification maps. 
 
Köppen-Geiger climate map of Turkey
Köppen-Geiger climate map of USA
 
Istanbul’s weather is not Mediterranean or Middle Eastern, city takes weather from the Black Sea. When you look at Seattle and Istanbul on maps below, you will notice that they are slightly different shades of same green color. Technical name of Istanbul’s green is “Humid Subtropical” and Seattle’s is “Oceanic”. Shortly, they are similar to one another.
Practically, in the last few years Istanbul feels slightly colder than Seattle is, or maybe it is Seattle is getting warmer! Nowadays, we seem to have colder and more snowy days in the winter. Year around precipitation is close, yet clear days in Istanbul are more. Rain pattern is different, instead of drizzling for a long time, it rains really heavy for a couple of days in Istanbul and than clears out. 
I love to quote from the Byzantine historian / chronicler Prokopius. He complains about weather of the city, he says it is drizzly and overcast all the time! This tells us that Istanbul had exactly the same climate pattern of Seattle 1,500 years ago. November particularly turned out to be consistently very good to travel for the past few years, days are long enough and temperature is comfortable.
 
Judas trees in blossom in the spring in
Istanbul. Stone structure is the Ottoman Romeli Fortress from the 15th
century, it is on the Bosphorus.
May in Istanbul. Red tulips are before the 5th
century Byzantine city walls. These walls are the longest and strongest in
Europe
 
 
Cappadocia is near the center of Turkey. In the map it spreads over pink like Eastern Washington, and pale yellow. Pink is “Humid Continental” and yellow is “Semi-arid climate”. Cappadocia’s climate is a morph between the two. Topography is harsh and volcanic. Summers are hot and dry, winters are cold with snow. It is sort of like the Rockies in USA. Because of high elevation, day and night temperatures are very different. Similar to Eastern Washington, it is a grape growing region. 
 
Magical Cappdocia is centrally located in the country. It has an average
elevation of about 3,000 feet. It is hot and dry in summers and cold in the
winter. 
 
 
Ephesus is on the Aegean Sea which is an extension of the Mediterranean. Map indicates this part of Turkey in bright yellow, this area is called the “Hot-summer Mediterranean” climate and that is what it feels like. Topography and vegetation is like northern California or Tuscany. Very fertile and lush. Hot in the summer and tepid during the winter. One can count on sun most days of the year. 
 
All marble Ephesus. Theatre in the photo is
from 2nd century AD and can sit approximately 25,000 people. This is
where St. Paul wanted to preach Christianty.
 
 
For accurate temperatures you can check the web site of State Meteorological Service: www.mgm.gov.tr

Based on data from the same web site, below is average temperatures in Istanbul, Cappadocia and Ephesus:
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
Istanbul
42
F
42
F
47
F
53
F
61
F
68
F
73
F
74
F
68
F
61
F
53
F
46
F
Cappadocia
31
F
32
F
40
F
50
F
59
F
66
F
71
F
70
F
63
F
53
F
43
F
35
F
Ephesus
48
F
49
F
54
F
60
F
69
F
78
F
81
F
81
F
74
F
66
F
58
F
51
F
Istanbul notes:
  • Mid day may feel warmer than average.
  • Wind chill is common in winter, especially on and near Bosphorus. 
 
Cappadocia notes:
  • Under the sun, mid day may feel warmer than the forecasted temperature and colder in the shade.
  • Night is much colder.
 
Ephesus notes:
  • Ephesus is white marble almost overall. Sun reflects back and always is warmer than reported temperature unless it is a cloudy day. There is little shade in the ancient city. 
 
Knowing all the above, packing is all about picking appropriate layers. There is no dress code in Turkey except for visiting a mosque when all visitors are expected to cover knees and shoulders, women are also expected to cover their hair. 
 
Scroll down for miscellenaus photos from Turkey’s different regions showing vegetation.
 
Happy Travels!
 
Lale 
 
Turkey’s Black Sea coastline is Oceanic climate. Clouds cover the area
like a blanket. Vegetation is very lush and beautiful. In the photo there is a
typical Ottoman hump back bridge over a river. 
 
West of the Turkish Mediterranean Coastline, a.k.a. The Lycian Coastline
famous with turquoise color of the sea. 
 
Main coastal city on the Mediterranean, Antalya.
 

In Istanbul, we had three big rounds of snow over the past winter. Two
were in January and one was in February. Snow remained on the ground for
several days. It was the coldest and most snowy winter since 1997.
 
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