Weather Averages for Istanbul in May
Averages for Istanbul in May
The end of spring in Istanbul, May sees pleasantly warm temperatures, lower rainfall averages and a gradually increasing number of sunshine hours. By the end of the month, it should feel much more summery and a little sunbathing may even be possible.
The average temperature in Istanbul in May is a very temperate 16C, with highs of 20C. Overnight, temperatures fall to 12C, which, while cool, is a vast improvement on the very cold nights of the preceding months. The highest temperature ever recorded at this time is 34C, and by the end of the month that will no longer seem so far off. It’s a similar story across Turkey, with temperatures in the south of the country generally marginally higher. In Dalaman the average temperature is 19C. Similarly, vistors to Alanya can expect highs of around 20C, with highs of 24C.
As the temperature rises, so do the number of sunshine hours. May sees around 9 hours of sunshine a day on average. Mornings, particularly in the northernmost parts of the province, are still likely to be a little foggy but it should be clear skies by midday.
May also sees rainfall averages begin to fall. Only 40mm of rainfall over 9 days is expected through the month. While there are still likely to be occasional showers, they should be light and quite short lived. It will be wetter in the northernmost part of the province, where rainfall averages are higher all year round. In the south of the country, while the winter was much wetter, rainfall averages have fallen much more dramatically by this time. Dalaman, for example, expects only 26mm of rainfall over 5 days in May.
As the temperature rises and precipitation levels decrease, sea temperatures begin to warm up and on average reach a relatively warm 16C. Humidity levels in Istanbul are quite high all year round, but at this time are a quite temperate 75% and falling.
Where to Stay
The Levni Hotel & Spa boasts an impressive array of facilities, including a delightful spa with a variety of treatments on offer, if you fancy some pampering, two restaurants and a café serving a range of Turkish and international cuisine.
The beautiful and luxurious Premist Hotel is located in the centre of the historic peninsula, right next to the walls of the Topkapi Palace, and only 150 meters from the Hagia Sophia. Designed completely in the Ottoman style, all the rooms have baths made from special Turkish mazarines. Some rooms also boast a view of the Marmara Sea.
Things to Do
Many people feel their trip wouldn’t be complete without a visit to one of the city’s Turkish baths. The oldest surviving Turkish bath, Cemberlitas Baths, dates back to the 1500s and is a great place to get a feel for the history and culture surrounding the experience.
Istanbul’s grandest mosque complex is the Suleymaniye Camii. Visit to learn more about the famous Sultan who is buried here, as well as the master architect who designed these beautiful buildings almost 500 years ago. There are many traditionally dressed sellers in this area peddling glasses of sherbet for just a few cents. Well worth a try on a hot day.
The Gallipoli Peninsula was declared a national park in 1973. The dramatic coastline, verdant woodlands and stunning views serve to offset its tumultuous history. It was here that the notable failed offensive by the Allies (the Gallipoli Campaign) in World War I took place in 1915. In Turkey, it is regarded as a defining moment in the nation's history and the struggle formed the basis for the Turkish War of Independence. Not to mention the founding of the Republic of Turkey eight years later.
Hit the Beach
Kilyos, 35 km north of the Galata Bridge, faces the deep, chilly waters of the Black Sea and is a favourite getaway for Istanbullus on hot summer afternoons. It’s a little further than some of the other beaches, but very accessible with city buses, minibuses and ferries regularly making the trip. There is an entry fee, as with many of Istanbul’s other beaches. This is also not the best area for swimming, with strong tides and currents, so (outside of peak time sunbathers) it’s likely to be relatively quiet. There are a few watersports, and cafes serving drinks and snacks, but very few other amenities.
Şile is a small city on the edge of Istanbul province, about an hour’s drive from the city. It’s a real favourite with locals, many of whom keep summer houses out here. Şile is famous for its beaches, however, at the northernmost point of Istanbul, it shares the same sea conditions as other Black Sea towns and the strong undercurrents can be dangerous for inexperienced swimmers. The sandy beaches are idyllic and pretty, surrounded by a lovely harbour and rolling green hills.
Eat & Drink
Galata Bridge has a range of restaurants and bars along it, and is a great place to grab the traditional Turkish fisherman's lunch of fresh, fried fish in a roll (washed down with a cold local beer).
The Suleymaniye Camii area is not only historic, but a great place to sample one of Istanbul’s traditional and refreshing sherbet drinks. Sellers spread themselves, and their carts, all over the area; so they shouldn’t be hard to find. Just a few cents a glass, these sherbet drinks are a delicious treat on a hot day.
Nicole is another rooftop restaurant serving gourmet Turkish food with an international twist. Expect higher prices, but if you’re looking for a fantastic setting for a really special evening meal, it’s still worth checking out.