What's the Weather like in Istanbul in October
October is the start of autumn in Istanbul. Temperatures drop significantly and rainfall averages increase. While it's still generally relatively warm and pleasant in Istanbul, it is much colder and wetter than the summer months and no longer beach weather.
The average temperature in Istanbul in October is 16C, with highs of just 19C. The highest temperature ever recorded in the area at this time is 35C so it might still be possible to do a little sunbathing, but in general this is not a great time for a beach holiday in Istanbul. It will generally be cooler in the northern regions of the province, and average temperatures of just 14C or 15C are expected in the Sarıyer villages to the north. Overnight, temperatures fall to just 12C (the lowest temperature ever recorded in the area at this time is less than 1C) so it will feel much colder in the evenings.
Average Sea Temperature
Correspondingly, the days are longer and both Alanya and Dalaman see around 10 hours of sunshine on average each day.
Precipitation levels are much higher in October across Turkey. In Istanbul, 60mm of rainfall is expected on average over ten days. There will be some showers, but, at this time of year, it's unlikely they will be heavy or prolonged. Rainfall may be accompanied by thunderstorms, but by the end of the month this is a less common occurrence. It will also be slightly wetter in the northern parts of the province, where they see more rainfall year round. In the south of the country, the increase in precipitation is much more marked. In Alanya, for example, they only expect 10mm of rainfall over four days in September, but by October there is likely to be 80mm over seven days (eight times more rainfall than in the preceding month).
It's always quite humid in Turkey, but at this time the humidity rises to a very uncomfortable 80%, compared to the lowest month in terms of humidity, July, with only 65%. There are also likely to be around 9 days of fog, which shouldn't be too heavy or cause too much disruption, but may not clear quickly.
Istanbul Hotels for October
Muyan Suites offers luxury accommodation, in the heart of the Old City. In fact, it's just 500 metres from the Grand Bazaar. There are few amenities in comparison to some of the bigger chain hotels in the area, but the hotel prides itself on service and quality, which more than makes up for a lack of spa and wellness centre.
Pera Palace Hotel
The grandly, luxurious and baroque Pera Palace Hotel, Jumeirah is Istanbul's most iconic hotel. Located in the vibrant Beyoglu district for over a century, it prides itself on a combination of timeless glamour and elegance, with genuine Turkish hospitality. Designed by renowned local architect Alexander Vallaury, the hotel has played host to an impressive list of guests, including Ernest Hemingway, Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock.
Bars and Restaurants
Sütlaç is the Turkish version of rice pudding. It is said that the recipe originated in the Topkapi Palace. Traditionally it contains rose water, but you can also get it with chopped walnuts and raisins. Most traditional Turkish restaurants will have it on the menu, and it's definitely worth trying.
Lahmacun is the Turkish equivalent of pizza. A thin dough is topped with minced meat, vegetables and herbs. Try Halil Lahmacun for a really authentic (and delicious) experience. This tiny restaurant is located on the Kadikoy Balik Pazari, and you can watch the chefs prepare the dish and cook it in traditional wood burning ovens.
Turkish ice cream is called "dondurma", which literally means "freezing". What makes Turkish ice cream different is that it has a sticky texture and it is more resistant to melting (presumably because this makes it last longer in the extreme summer temperatures). You can get dondurma at street stalls and in cafes all over Istanbul.
Things to do in Istanbul in October
If you like skiing and winter sports, Uludag is just a few miles away in Bursa Province. The mountain resorts offer a range of sporting activities between October and April, with plenty of classes for beginners and more challenging slopes for real enthusiasts. Alternatively, visit Kartepe, overlooking Sapanca Lake, about 80 miles east of Istanbul. Kartepe's "Snow Hill" is a good beginner and intermediate hill, with three chair lifts and a 1700m summit. Tours run to Kartepe from Istanbul during the season.
There are plenty of green spaces in Istanbul, though no primary urban park (unlike other large cities). One of the largest and most historic is Gülhane Park (the name meaning "rosehouse park" or "house of flowers"), adjacent to (and on) the grounds of the Topkapi Palace.
The Museum of the History of Science and Technology
The Museum of The History of Science and Technology in Islam is located in the former stables of Topkapi Palace, on the western edge of the park. It features over 140 replicas of inventions in fields such as astronomy, geography, chemistry, medicine, and physics from the 8th to 16th centuries.