Turkey borders the Black Sea
to the northeast, Iran
to the east, Iraq
to the southeast, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Mediterranean to the south,
the Aegean Sea to the west and Greece
and Bulgaria to the northwest. Turkey's climate, like its
location, is varied and complicated to say the least. Because of the country's
geographical conditions it is difficult, if not impossible, to pin-point a
climate for the country as a whole.
Turkey is split into 7
different regions- Marmara, Blacksea Coast, Eastern Anatolian, Southeastern Anatolia,
Central Anatolia, Mediterranean and Aegean.
Each region has a vastly different climate which is primarily affected by its
proximity to mountain ranges and different seas and oceans. On the whole, the
Marmara, Aegean and Mediterranean coasts have
typical Mediterranean climates with hot summers and mild, wet winters. The east
of the country is mountainous with warm summers and very cold, snowy winters. Central Turkey, located on an interior plateau has low
rainfall and cold or very cold winters.
North West Turkey
The Marmara region of North
West Turkey is home to Istanbul,
the nation's largest city. Istanbul lies on the Marmara Sea
which is the inland sea that separates the Asian part of Turkey from its European part and connects the
Black Sea to the Aegean Sea. As a result of
its proximity to the coast, Istanbul
and its surrounding region experiences a temperate continental climate. The
weather conditions mirror a cooler version of a typical Mediterranean climate.
The region is split in the middle by the Sea of Marmara and the narrow Bosphorus Strait
(also known as the Istanbul
Strait) with strong, cool
currents that only experienced swimmers should attempt.
Summer in Istanbul
runs from June to September, July generally being the warmest month. The
highest ever recorded temperature in Istanbul
saw the city sweltering through a 37 degree day, but on average summer temperatures are around 28 degrees. The summer months are also
the driest months, though not as dry as some parts of central Turkey which
can experience arid conditions year round, particularly in summer.
Winter in Istanbul
starts quite late, with conditions beginning to really cool down in mid
December. December sees an average minimum of 5 degrees and an average maximum
of 11 degrees. January and February are the coolest months, with average
minimums of 3 and 2 degrees respectively. March sees conditions remaining cool,
with an average minimum of 3 degrees and an average maximum of 11 degrees.
Winters in this region (like the other coastal regions in Turkey) are
generally wetter and milder than its interior counterparts.
known to be quite a windy city, as it is in the path of two prevailing winds-
the "poyraz" and the "Iodos" which both blow from the
south. The Poyraz brings with it cool and rainy conditions, whereas the Iodos
is a warm wind.
As you head further south toward the cities of Izmit and Bursa, weather conditions begin to vary. This region
experiences slightly warmer winters that the Black Sea
coast. Bursa for example has seen highs of 40 degrees in the midst of summer,
as with Izmit which on the 11 of August 1970 saw the city record its highest
ever temperature of 41.6 degrees.
Izmit observes a split climate, all depending on your proximity to the Black
Sea and the Sea of Marmara. As you move closer
to the coast, conditions become slightly more temperate. The area around Izmit
does, however, lack the refreshing summer sea breezes that regions of similar
climates play host to, so as a result conditions can be quite sticky and humid.
Winter in the Marmara region varies enormously as you head north to south,
primarily due to the presence of the Uldaga
Mountains which tower behind the city
of Bursa. Bursa is home to Turkey's most popular ski resort
and winter sport centre. Weather conditions through the winter months are
cooler and sometimes harsher than other regions of similar climates. Generally
as you head further east the weather cools down, but snowfall is now low
throughout the region. Istanbul
on average sees 1 to 2 weeks of snowfall throughout winter, with the snowfall
often being quite heavy on about 5 -7 days.
The coldest temperature ever recorded in Istanbul
and Izmit was -8 degrees (1960) but record lows of -16 have been recorded in
the past in parts of the region. 1978 saw Istanbul
endure its way through a severe winter in which the main airport was partly
closed for 3 days. On the whole winter sees an average temperature of 5.6
Autumn is generally the longest season in the region, bringing a picturesque
morning haze for several months. Spring is comparatively shorter, with March
maintaining winter-like weather of cool and rainy conditions, before moving
into April and May which witness typical spring temperatures.
Precipitation (snow and rain) also varies as you explore different parts of the
region. Rainfall decreases as you head further south west, with the coast of Black Sea averaging 1000mm annual precipitation
decreasing to 800mm once you are in and around Izmit. Bursa sees 668 mm of annual precipitation,
which is still enough to keep the inner city's parks and gardens so famously
green- the city is often called "Yesil Bursa" which translates to
"Green Bursa." The city is also surrounded by vast forests, rolling
farmland, and low hills- dissimilar to inland Turkey which can be quite arid.
Northern Turkey: Black Sea
The Black Sea Coast of Turkey
comprises 1700km of coast line which is fertile, luscious and green. The Black Sea climate is characterized as being continental,
which means that the region is subject to pronounced seasonal variations. This
is the most popular area in Turkey
with tourists who are attracted by the long, golden coastline and summer heat.
Samsun is the largest city and the capital of
the Samsun Province. It is located between two
river deltas which extend into the Black Sea.
Like the region as a whole, Samsun
experiences high rainfall year round. The region as a whole averages 781mm of
annual rainfall, and is generally humid and cloudy a lot of the time. Because
of the year round rainfall the area is rich and fruitful, which makes for lush
grass which feeds cattle to produce some of Turkey's best milk, cream and milk.
The area has a tendency to be quite humid, with an average relative humidity of
72% which means that it may seem hotter than it is or cooler than it is, so
keep this in mind when packing for your visit.
As you head further east around the coast you will find Trabzon
which is a city located on the north eastern coast as you near Georgia
Trabzon has a fairly typical Black
Sea climate with cool winters, warm summers and high humidity.
January sees Trabzon
at its coolest, falling to average lows of about 5 degrees. Summer can see the
city hit highs of 27 degrees, and the water temperature swings between 10°–20°C
throughout the year.
If you are planning to visit the Black
it is best to visit during the summer months, though keep in mind that this is
peak season. If you want to avoid the holiday crowds then autumn and spring
with their mild weather are preferable. While the shoulder seasons do see the
mercury falling, pack a light jacket and you will be fine. The coastal regions
are the areas of Turkey
that are suitable to visit year round as no major temperature extremes are
Central Turkey/ Central Anatolia
Generally, as you head towards
the climate becomes increasingly harsh: summers are hotter and winters are
colder. It could probably be said that the worst part of Turkey's
climate is the severe cold that is experience in these inland regions. The Central Anatolia region experiences a mix of continental
and steppe climate.
A steppe climate is characterized by warm summers, extremely cold winters and a
great difference between day time and night time temperatures. Found in the
middle of continents and on the edge of high mountains, the mountains have the
effect of blocking any moist air from any oceans. As a result there is not
enough precipitation to support much flora growth, and the plants adapt to the
drought conditions by being small and growing extensive root systems. There
isn't much humidity in the air because steppe climates are located away from
the ocean and close to mountain barriers.
Within this region is the nation's capital and second largest city, Ankara. The
city itself experiences a harsh, dry, continental climate of cold, snowy
winters and hot, dry summers. The rainfall that the city witnesses falls
primarily in the spring and autumn months. Ankara sits 3000ft above sea level on top of
a high plateau. The area doesn't experience much rainfall, averaging only 382mm
annually, but does witness a large amount of snow fall. On the whole The
Anatolian Plateau is much more subject to extremes than are the coastal areas.
January, February and March see average minimums of -4 degrees, - 3 degree and
-1 degrees respectively. From July to September there is minimal rain, and
average maximums reach 26 to 31 degrees from July to August. This area is also
characterised by huge differences in temperature from day to night, typical of
steppe climates. This is due to the high level of insolation produced by low
rainfall and humidity.
As you head into the Eastern Central Anatolia Region, the summers are cooler
and the winters are extremely cold and snowy. Eskisehir has moderate weather conditions, with a cold, but not unbearable, -2 degree
average in the winter months, and a pleasant 20 degree average throughout
Eastern/ South Eastern Turkey
Eastern and South Eastern Turkey
(The regions of Eastern Antolia and South
Eastern Antolia) are characterized by long, harsh winters and heavy snowfall.
The average minimums in the depths of the mountains are a bitter -13 degrees,
and the summer average of only 17 degrees.
In the mountainous regions the temperatures are extreme. Malatya
is the capital of the region, lying at an altitude of 964 meters above the sea
level and encompassing hot, dry summers and cold, snowy winters. However, in
recent years the constructions of several dams have made the climate slightly
The region has an average annual temperature of only 9 degrees; however,
summers have been known to see the mercury rising to 38 degrees. A perfect
example of the extremities of the climate in this region is when the barometer
has fallen to a bitterly cold -43 degrees Celsius! Winter does see frequent and
very heavy snowfall which has left many of the smaller mountain villages isolated
as a result of heavy storms.
As you head further south in the Southeastern Anatolia Region, the summers are
hot - occasionally seeing extreme highs of 46 degrees in the peak of summer,
particularly on the banks of the rivers Tigris and Euphrates as you head toward
The winters in the southeast are not as extreme as in the east of the country.
Southeastern Anatolia is dry, averaging on
576mm rainfall. However a lot of water is derived from the gigantic Southeast
Anatolia Project (GAP) irrigation and hydroelectric power system located near Sanliurfa.
The further south toward the
ocean (and west) you head the climate begins to develop into a Mediterranean
climate. The weather conditions in the area are fairly typical Mediterranean
conditions of hot summers and mild winters.
On the north side of the coast you will find the Taurus mountain ranges that
lie on the east side of the Aegean and the
North side of the Med. The southern shore is also fringed by these high
mountain ranges which has a large affect on the climate.
These coasts have a typical mild Mediterranean climate with no huge temperature
extremes. The swimming season becomes shorter as one travels North West. Because of the mountains, the
east side of the Aegean and the North side of the Mediterranean
have regionally different climates.
in the middle of the coast line, is the most popular resort on Turkey's
Mediterranean coast. Situated upon a cliff overlooking the sea, Antayla is home
to some of the Mediterranean's cleanest
beaches which make it a perfect holiday destination. Antalya, which is often known as the Turkish
Riviera, is protected from cold northerly winds as a result of its proximity to
the near by mountain ranges.
As you head east from Antalya
toward Alanya you will pass through rich plain of Pamphylia. The plain nestles
between the Taurus mountain range and the Mediterranean
and is dominated by fertile terraces and the white chalk faces of the
foothills. The Taurus mountain range in the north has the effect of causing fog
filled mornings and a high presence of visible, spectacular rainbows. The
height of the mountains creates an extraordinary visual as snow can often be
seen on the peaks even on hot days in the cities below.
Alanya has a moderate continental Mediterranean climate. Most rain in the
region falls in the winter months as it is influence by the Mediterranean Basin.
The difference as you head further east is that the winters are slightly
shorter making the summer longer. Alanya
really only has 2 distinct seasons of summer and winter, with winter running
from November through until February. The sea around Alanya has an average
annual temperature of 21.4° with an average August temperature of a bath-like
27.9°. Alanya itself has an average annual temperature of 28 degrees.
Heading further east along the coast toward Syria
you will reach the cities of Adana,
followed by Antakya. In this region you will
find the mountains again coming down to the sea which makes for a very
picturesque coast line. This also has the effect of keeping the region very hot
and humid in the summer months, reaching highs of a sweltering 45 degrees.
This area is undoubtedly the hottest and driest area of Turkey, the conditions are very typical of the Middle East and the area along the border of Syria
experiences a semi-arid steppe climate with rainfall only in the winter months.
Aegean Region (Western Turkey)
The final region of Turkey
is the Aegean region which is located north of Antalya
and encompasses 11% of the total area of Turkey. The Aegean coastal plain
enjoys an exceptionally mild weather conditions- characterized by fertile
springs, hot summers, sunny autumns and warm winters that are interrupting by
occasional showers. The Aegean provides the
perfect escape from the rigors of a northern winter: even in January and
February, the days are sunny and pleasant.
Rainfall in the region averages 645mm per year and the temperatures can range
from an absolute minimum of -8 degrees to a sweltering maximum of 43 degrees
Celsius. The Aegean Sea to the west and the Western Taurus mountain range which
runs perpendicular to Izmir (the
regions largest city) each has a huge effect on the climate. The Aegean Sea keeps the summers cool by providing refreshing
sea breezes. The mountains which run down to the shores and the many valleys
between them permit the sea climate to reach inner parts of the region.
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