Turkey in May: Weather, Travel Tips and More

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An abundance of cultural festivals and warm weather make the early summer month of May in Turkey an ideal time to visit. Explore fabulous natural landmarks like the Fairy Chimneys or the Blue Lagoon and check out ancient wonders (think the Hagia Sophia) before throngs of crowds set in for the peak summer months. Read on to find out what you can expect on your holiday to Turkey in May.

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Turkey Weather in May

You can visit the University of Social Sciences while visiting Ankara.
Ankara experiences temperate conditions in May which is great for taking a stroll around the city.

The weather in Turkey in May is pleasantly warm with average temperatures of 20°C dropping to 6°C overnight. Temperatures can rise to 24°C in Ankara, still temperate enough to enjoy walking around the sights.

If you’re hitting the trails of the Taurus Mountains, remember to bring plenty of water as the average temperatures can hit 22°C. Staying in the city? Enjoy the weather in Istanbul as it has temperate conditions and the average temperature is around 17°C. As for rain, you can expect an average of 50mm across the entire month, so bring an umbrella just in case.

Check out our seasonal overview, if you’re unsure when is the best time to visit Turkey.

Weather in Turkey in May - Rainfall and Temperatures

Apr May Jun
Avg Daily (°C) 16 20 25
Avg Nightly (°C) 3 6 9
Avg Daily (°F) 61 68 77
Avg Nightly (°F) 38 43 49
Avg Rainfall (mm) 60 50 40

Why Visit Turkey in May

You can relax on these sunbeds on sandy beaches while touring Turkey.
Some smaller resorts open early and offer better rates which make for a cheaper beach holiday.
Head to Edirne in May to experience the festivals and bazaars.
Edirne bursts into festivities in May with music, dances and celebrations happening all over the town.

There are loads of reasons to visit Turkey in May. Let’s find out more.

  • Hıdırellez: On the 6th May there is a festival that celebrates the start of spring and sees cultural music and dancing across Turkey. However, festivities are less likely in the big cities and more prevalent in towns and villages, such as the Roma town of Edirne, Kakava.
  • Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day: Celebrated on the 19th May, this festival is dedicated to the anniversary of the start of the war for Turkish independence. Expect to find big celebrations, parades, marathons and other sporting events.
  • Fewer crowds: The peak season in Turkey doesn’t tend to start in earnest until June, so you might be able to experience fewer crowds than in the summer months. Think of May as the last month that’s truly in Turkey's shoulder season.
  • Cheaper beach holidays: As the Turkish beach resort season doesn’t start until summer, some of the small boutiques may be open earlier, offering some more tempting rates. The resorts may not be as warm as in summer, but if you’re interested in scuba or snorkeling, this might be the perfect time to do it. Keep in mind that depending on what part of the month you visit, not all the beach resorts will be open, so make sure you do your research beforehand. Check out our beach holidays in Turkey.

Where to go and what to do

Enjoy amazing hikes in the Lycian Way in May like these two hikers.
The weather conditions are ideal in Turkey in May for hiking on the Lycian Way.

With the comparatively cooler weather to more tourist-filled months like June or July, May in Turkey is the perfect time to check out historic sights like Ephesus. As it’s fairly dry and the hordes of crowds haven’t hit yet, you can comfortably wander around these majestic ruins and marvel at their ingenuity in a sightseeing tour to Turkey.

If you’re interested in a more adventurous trip to Turkey, May is the optimal time to enjoy a hike. Whether you’re looking for a short day hike with spectacular views, or a multi-day trek to really test yourself, the dry and temperate conditions are a hiker’s dream. If you’re looking for a challenge away from the crowds of the Lycian Way or are looking for less popular trails, check out the trails in the Taurus and Kaçkar Mountains. Here are some of our hiking trips to Turkey.

Looking for some one-of-a-kind souvenirs? Then you should head to Istanbul or Ankara for the vibrant spice markets. Most of the larger towns and cities have these kinds of bustling bazaars. Don’t forget to haggle — it’s expected!

If you are a theatre geek, head to Antalya for the International Theater Festival. Various outdoor performances, street events and concerts are organized during the festival. This event aims to display Turkey’s traditional theatre art on the international stage. Theatre companies from different countries are invited for multicultural collaboration for art projects.

May marks the end of the spring tourism season and is a great time to visit Turkey before the crowds and heat descend, especially if you’re into outdoor adventures and cultural sightseeing! If you need help putting together your dream Turkish itinerary, we can help. Have a look at our customizable trips to Turkey and our travel experts will work to sort out all the logistics. It makes traveling that much easier!

Check out our tours if you are traveling to Turkey in May.

Related articles:
Turkey in April
Turkey in June

Published by Tim Green, updated on July 25, 2023

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