30-11-2022 - Shopping in Istanbul

December in Istanbul 2022

The end of 2022 is here! December is an amazing time to visit Istanbul, and Istanbul is a great city to meet the new year! Here is all the information about the weather, events, Christmas markets, and more gathered for you. Save this page to your bookmarks in case of updates! 

Whenever you want to take a trip to Istanbul, whether it is summer or winter, don’t forget to check out carefully handpicked 85+ attractions and services included in Istanbul Tourist Pass®

Let’s check out the city’s agenda on December 2022! Take photos and videos and share your experiences with us; here is our Instagram @istanbultouristpass

Weather in Istanbul in December 2022

First things first, Istanbul is not freezing cold in December mostly. The first days of December see humidity intensify, especially in the morning and evening. With temperatures around 13° C in the middle of the day, only the mornings can be rather cool. From mid-December to the end of the month, it is expected to rain or snow, especially in the early mornings. The weather will be around 10° C all month. 

There will be cloudy days and also bright and clear days in December 2022 as the weather professionals expect. Don’t forget to bring your waterproof and warm clothes to enjoy open-air activities and walks around the city. 

Is it a good idea to come to Istanbul in December 2022? 

If you are a summer person, the answer is ''may be'' but if you love your warm clothes and indoor activities then it is a ‘‘yes yes and yes’’. First of all, in the early days of December, it is still off-season so there will be many deals in hotels. But if you want to celebrate Christmas or New Year, then you should book your hotel as early as possible. 

In any case, there will be fewer lines and great indoor activities. The city will be vibrant and joyful with decorative lights, Christmas markets, and huge year-end sales in malls. So, it is a good idea to come to Istanbul in December 2022, you’ll love the city. 

Christmas in Istanbul

On Christmas, Istanbul where the cultures and religions meet is -as always- attractive and beautiful. There are many churches around the city and if you’d like to attend a Christmas service or mass, you can find many of them happening in Istanbul’s historic and beautiful churches. 

Although the majority of Turkey is identified as Muslim, there are many Christian or Jewish citizens in Istanbul. Istanbul is historically and culturally very important in Christianity since its the base of the Orthodox Church. So, even though the city is not fully decorated for Christmas, it is a great idea to be in a Christmas mass in Istanbul. 

Here are some churches you can catch a Christmas service. The British Consulate Chapel of Saint Helena has a Christmas Eve service and the Crimean Memorial Church has a service on Christmas Morning. Grand Saint Anthony of Padua, the city’s largest Catholic church, is on Istiklal Caddesi and holds Christmas masses throughout Christmas Day in Polish, English, Italian and Turkish.

Many restaurants and international hotels offer Christmas meals, often buffet-style, and will need to be booked in advance. Have your family Christmas meal in Istanbul this year, you’ll have unforgettable memories. 

New Year Markets in Istanbul

The new year is widely celebrated in Turkey but it is fair to say that Istanbul hosts the best New Year Markets and events. In many neighborhoods, you will see decorated squares and streets with Christmas lights and decorations. You’ll feel hope and happiness for the upcoming year 2023 everywhere in the city!

There are also great markets mostly in shopping malls for you to have great presents for your loved ones. Traditionally Kanyon Shopping Mall and Zorlu Center have their open-air Christmas markets around mid-December. 

There are also other bazaars and markets open for presents, save this page in your browser and check later for more updates! 


Unlimited Public Transportation Card

Starting this month, Istanbul Municipality has announced a new public transportation card specifically for tourists: Istanbul City Card. This is a prepaid public transportation card that gives you unlimited access to public transportation for the number of days you choose.  Istanbul City Card is valid in every public transportation vehicle including metro, trams, buses, metrobuses, and ferries.  It is a beautifully designed physical card delivered at your hotel by Istanbul Tourist Pass® and after using it, you can keep it as a souvenir. You can have up to 40% advantage in buying with Istanbul Tourist Pass®.

Check it this unlimited public transportation card here and buy easily! So you can freely travel around the city.

Musical Jekyll & Hyde

Adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson's classic thriller novel, the world-famous Jekyll & Hyde musical will be at Zorlu Center throughout December 2022 with stunning production and an amazing cast! Here is a quote from the musical: “Good and evil are in the same body, in a ruthless war against each other. But everything has an end.”

If you love to see musicals in different countries then this is a perfect match for you. Since all the lyrics will be in Turkish, it can be like a concert with a great show for you. On the stage, Hayko Cepkin and Elçin Sangu will be performing as the main characters. Keep in mind that one of the very best ways to understand the local culture of a city, you need to visit theaters, shows, and events. Have fun!

Bursa Day Trip with Historic Market & Outlet Shopping

If you love day trips to nature then this is the must-do day trip for you. With an amazing trip to Bursa, the city will surprise you with its magnificent nature, great weather, traditional culture, and modern life! Bursa is famous for its abundant green areas. If you are tired of the city crowds and in need of a natural atmosphere, you should visit this city and feel the peace!

With informative and friendly guides of Istanbul Tourist Pass®, the Bursa Day Trip will be a great experience for you! You will feel relaxed, peaceful, and comfortable after your trip. You will be amazed by this green-filled city and you will always want to visit again! Plus, do not forget to visit famous shopping places; you love the silk clothes of Bursa. Check all the details here and book your trip right away!

Try Boza and Salep

Istanbul is beautiful in winter. And there are two traditional wintertime drinks; boza and salep. Boza is a fermented beverage that has a history in Turkey but also in countries such as Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. In order to make boza, hulled millet is boiled in water and then poured into pans to cool. It has a sweet, tangy taste once it's sieved, and then water and sugar are added. Due to its thick consistency, boza is usually served with a spoon. In addition to cinnamon, the drink is occasionally served with leblebi (roasted chickpeas). There are wandering peddlers who start selling boza in certain neighborhoods in the winter, towing a large canister in tow and calling out to anyone in the mood for boza. 

Even though boza is a winter drink, it is served cold. But if you are looking for a sweet and hot winter drink here is Salep. This delicious hot drink, Salep is made from the tuberous roots of orchids. As with hot chocolate or chai spices, the dried flour is combined with other ingredients, such as sugar, cornstarch, powdered milk, cinnamon, and vanillin. Then voila! It is perfectly smooth, creamy, and sweet.

For Boza, you can go to the Vefa district which is famous for its boza places. For salep, there are plenty of cafes serving so you can decide which has the best salep for your taste.

Seb-i Arus Ceremonies & Whirling Dervishes Show

Sufi mystic, poet, and scholar Mevlana, also known as Rumi, and his teachings widely influenced mystical thought and literature throughout the world. Stories tell that Rumi, who was always a beloved figure in the Islam world became immensely sad after the departure of his master Shams-i Tabrizi (Shams of Tabriz) with whom he had discovered the depths of spirituality. This loss caused a great change in his inner world. He gave up everything and wrote “Masnavi” which is widely recognized as the greatest Sufi poem ever written, consisting of 25 thousand couplets. For Rumi, true love meant love for Allah (God), and death was the day when he would unite with the divine. 

That is why the anniversary of his death, which is December 17, is known not as a day of mourning but as a day of celebration, and the Seb-i Arus means ‘the Night of Reunion’ or ‘Wedding Night’.

This year in 2022, between December 10th-17th there will be Seb-Arus ceremonies in many places. If you can’t catch one, don’t worry, it is a great time to see a Whirling Dervishes Show in December. The best dervishes show is, as you can expect, FREE with Istanbul Tourist Pass®.


With 25+ years of experience in tourism, we are proud to create Istanbul Tourist Pass® which is the first and most inclusive tourist card in Istanbul. Check our website and witness yourself. Have a great time in Istanbul in December and don’t forget to stay warm!

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