Averages for Istanbul in February
February is still mid-winter in Istanbul, so itâ€™s cold and wet. The average temperature is just 6C, with highs of 8C and overnight lows of 3C. Those parts of the province furthest from the sea experience more considerable...
Averages for Istanbul in February
February is still mid-winter in Istanbul, so it’s cold and wet. The average temperature is just 6C, with highs of 8C and overnight lows of 3C. Those parts of the province furthest from the sea experience more considerable continental influences, and the drop in temperature overnight will therefore be much more pronounced. It’s not uncommon for temperatures to fall below freezing at this time, and there might even be a few inches of snow (on average, February sees around 4 or 5 snow days each year). Lake-effect snow from the Black Sea is common, although difficult to forecast, and is often quite heavy. It will also almost certainly be foggy and overcast on several days of the month, and most mornings. The coldest temperature ever recorded in February is -8C.
Conditions are similar across Turkey. In Alanya and Dalaman, in the south of the country, it’s marginally warmer but the average temperature is still just 10C or 11C, with highs of 16C or 17C and overnight lows of less than 7C. Correspondingly, sea temperatures are also at their lowest at this time; just 13C.
Whether or not it snows, rainfall averages are still high and it’s likely to be quite wet. February sees around 70mm of rainfall over 12 days in Istanbul. The northernmost parts of the province are generally wetter, and see higher rainfall averages all year round (in February, expecting an average of 100mm). There are even higher rainfall averages in the south of the country; around 100mm higher in Alanya and Dalaman. The wet, foggy, overcast conditions also mean higher levels of humidity, rising to around 80% during the winter months (which is very humid indeed).
It’s not all bad news. As spring approaches, the days begin to get longer and warmer and by the end of February there are around 7 daily sunshine hours.
Where to Stay
The Four Seasons Hotel at Bosphorus is a great choice for luxury accommodation. A chic city retreat on Istanbul’s lovely seafront, this converted Ottoman palace is surrounded by blue waters and green mountaintops. The facilities are excellent, with plenty to keep guests both pampered and occupied even on rainy days.
Swimming pool at Four Seasons Hotel at Bosphorus, Istanbul.
Alternatively, Hotel Amira is a luxury, boutique hotel in the heart of the historic Old City, just minutes from some of the city’s top attractions. The rooms are decorated in a comfortable, modern style and the wellness centre includes a gym, jacuzzi, sauna and massage services.
Things to Do
The Grand Bazaar is one of Istanbul’s main attractions, and a great place to practise your haggling skills! The souk has become a symbol of the city and it’s not to be missed. You’ll definitely need a map, as the sprawling marketplace is split into separate areas for different goods and crafts. Even so, expect to get lost at least once! From there, if your wallet isn’t completely empty, head to the Pera district to browse the boutiques around Tünel.
Grand Bazaar, Istanbul.
No trip would be complete without crossing the Bosphorus to visit the Asian shore. Take a ferry to explore peaceful Üsküdar, and the legend-laden Maiden’s Tower, or discover the 16th-century mosques near the Selimiye Barracks (the site of Florence Nightingale’s Crimean war hospital).
Eat & Drink
If you fancy something sweet, definitely check out the authentic “lokum” at the original Turkish Delight shop, Ali Muhiddin Haci Bekir, near Taksim. Turkish delight was first developed by chefs at the Ottoman Palace, before being introduced to the masses in small shops just like this one. The Turkish delight we know today was created by Hac? Bekir Effendi in the 19th century. This delightful little shop sells all the traditional flavours (like rose, hazelnut, pistachio, and almond), as well as a few you wouldn’t expect (like sour cherry, ginger and “pistachio with pomegranate aroma”).
The atmospheric row of nargile cafes behind the Nusretiye Mosque is a firm local favourite. Follow your nose to find it; the smell of apple tobacco is incredibly enticing. The VIP package is quite cheap and consists of tea, one nargile, and some sharing snacks.
On a rooftop, with fantastic views out over the city, Imbat Restaurant is a great choice for a special evening meal. It’s a little more expensive (you can take it for granted that any rooftop restaurant will be more expensive; you’re really paying extra for the view) but the food is still great. The menu is Turkish with a gourmet twist (they call it “Turkish Aegean”).
View across the city at Imbat Restaurant, Istanbul.