01-05-2023 - Tips & Guides

May in 2023 in Istanbul: What to Wear, What to Do, What to See, and More

Istanbul in May is a magical time to visit this vibrant city, with its mild weather, blooming gardens, and bustling streets. The city is alive with cultural events, outdoor festivals, and colorful markets, offering visitors a unique opportunity to explore Istanbul's diverse neighborhoods, landmarks, and cuisine. May is the perfect time to stroll along the Bosphorus, visit iconic attractions like the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace, and immerse yourself in Istanbul's rich history and traditions. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, Istanbul in May promises to be an unforgettable experience, with its unique blend of ancient history and modern charm.

Istanbul Tourist Pass® is an excellent way to experience the best of Istanbul in May 2023, with its combination of convenience, savings, and access to the city's top attractions and experiences. By using the pass, you can maximize your time in the city, explore its hidden treasures, and create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime. Istanbul Tourist Pass® includes free Bosphorus cruises, a discounted hop-on hop-off bus tour, and guided tours of historic places like Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, and many more. These tours offer a comprehensive overview of Istanbul's diverse neighborhoods, landmarks, and cultural heritage, and provide an excellent way to explore the city's hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path destinations.

Weather in Istanbul in May 2023

May is a great month to visit Istanbul as the weather is usually mild and pleasant with plenty of sunshine. The average temperature in Istanbul in May ranges from 15°C to 22°C (59°F to 72°F), and the sea temperature is around 17°C (63°F).

Istanbul's weather in May is generally mild and pleasant, making it a great time to visit the city. The humidity is also relatively low compared to the summer months, which makes it more comfortable for outdoor activities and sightseeing. However, there may be occasional rain showers, so it's a good idea to pack a light rain jacket or umbrella just in case. Overall, May is a wonderful time to experience the beauty of Istanbul's landscapes and landmarks without being overwhelmed by the heat or the crowds.

What to Pack for Istanbul in May - Some Tips

It's worth noting that Istanbul's weather can be unpredictable, so it's a good idea to pack clothes suitable for warm and cool weather. Here are some suggestions for what to pack:

Light layers - Pack lightweight and breathable clothes that you can easily layer, such as t-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, cardigans, and jackets. This way, you can adjust your clothing according to the weather.

Comfortable shoes - Istanbul is a city that requires a lot of walking, so make sure to pack comfortable walking shoes or sneakers.

Rain gear - Although it's unlikely to rain heavily in May, it's always a good idea to pack a lightweight rain jacket or an umbrella just in case.

Sunglasses and sunscreen - With plenty of sunshine, protecting your skin and eyes from harmful UV rays is important. So don't forget to pack sunglasses and sunscreen.

Modest clothing - Istanbul is a city with diversity with a Muslim majority and it's important to respect the local culture by dressing modestly when visiting mosques and other religious sites. So packing some clothing to cover your shoulders and knees can be a good idea. But other than religious places feel free to pack your shorts, mini skirts, and tink-tops! 

Swimsuit - If you plan on visiting the beaches or swimming pools in Istanbul, don't forget to pack a swimsuit.

Hat - A sun hat or a baseball cap can provide extra protection from the sun.

In summary, May is a great time to visit Istanbul as the weather is generally mild and pleasant. When packing, it's important to bring a mix of lightweight and breathable clothing that can be layered, comfortable walking shoes, rain gear, sunglasses, sunscreen, modest clothing, a swimsuit, and a hat.

Is it a good idea to visit Istanbul in May 2023?

There are many great reasons why visiting Istanbul in May 2023 is a good idea. Here you can also check all weather information in Istanbul every month of the year. 

Pleasant Weather: May is a great time to visit Istanbul because the weather is mild and pleasant with plenty of sunshine. The temperature ranges from 15°C to 22°C (59°F to 72°F), making it comfortable for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

Fewer Crowds: Compared to the peak tourist season in the summer months, May is a quieter time to visit Istanbul. You'll have more space to explore the city's popular landmarks and attractions without being surrounded by large crowds of tourists.

Affordable Prices: May is also a great time to visit Istanbul because prices for flights, accommodation, and attractions are generally lower than during the peak tourist season. You can save money while still enjoying all the city has to offer.

Festivals and Events: Istanbul is known for its vibrant cultural scene, and May is a great time to experience some of the city's festivals and events. The Istanbul Music Festival, the International Istanbul Puppet Festival, and the Istanbul International Film Festival are just a few examples of events that take place in May.

Outdoor Activities: In May, the weather is perfect for outdoor activities such as visiting the city's parks, taking a boat tour on the Bosphorus, or exploring the Princes' Islands. You can enjoy the beauty of Istanbul's landscapes and landmarks without worrying about the heat or the crowds.

In summary, visiting Istanbul in May 2023 is a great idea. The weather is mild and pleasant, the crowds are smaller, the prices are more affordable, and there are many festivals and events to experience. Plus, the city offers plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. So pack your bags and get ready to explore this beautiful city!

What to Do in Istanbul in May 2023?

Istanbul is a city that offers a wealth of attractions and activities throughout the year, and May is no exception. Here are some of the best things to do in Istanbul in May 2023:

Visit the Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque is one of Istanbul's most iconic landmarks and is open to visitors throughout the year. In May, you can enjoy the beautiful spring weather while admiring the mosque's stunning blue tiles and intricate architecture.

Explore the Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia is another must-see attraction in Istanbul. This ancient church-turned-mosque-turned-museum is a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture and art. You can take a guided tour to learn more about its fascinating history and see its magnificent interior.

Take a Boat Tour on the Bosphorus

The Bosphorus Strait is one of the world's most beautiful waterways, and taking a boat tour is one of the best ways to experience its beauty. In May, you can enjoy the sunny weather and stunning views while cruising along the Bosphorus and seeing the city's famous landmarks from a new perspective.

Visit the Topkapi Palace

The Topkapi Palace is a must-see attraction for history buffs and anyone interested in Ottoman architecture and culture. This former imperial palace is now a museum that houses an impressive collection of artifacts and artworks.

Explore the Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar is one of the world's largest and oldest covered markets, and it's a must-visit for anyone interested in shopping and exploring Istanbul's culture. You can find everything from spices and sweets to carpets and jewelry in the bazaar's labyrinthine alleys.

Visit the Princes' Islands

The Princes' Islands are a group of nine islands off the coast of Istanbul that offer a peaceful escape from the city's hustle and bustle. In May, you can take a ferry to the islands and enjoy the fresh sea breeze, beautiful beaches, and charming architecture.

Attend a Festival

Istanbul hosts several festivals and events in May, including the Istanbul Music Festival, the International Istanbul Puppet Festival, and the Istanbul International Film Festival. You can enjoy a variety of cultural events, performances, and exhibitions throughout the month.

Istanbul is a city that offers plenty of activities and attractions in May 2023. From visiting iconic landmarks to exploring historic sites, shopping in bazaars, and attending festivals, there's something for everyone in this vibrant city. So pack your bags, book your trip, and get ready to experience the magic of Istanbul in May 2023!


What is the weather like in Istanbul in May?

In May, Istanbul's weather is mild and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 22°C (59°F to 72°F) on average. There are also plenty of sunny days with clear skies, but occasional rain showers are possible.

What should I pack for a trip to Istanbul in May?

You should pack light and comfortable clothing for the daytime, as well as a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings. It's also a good idea to bring an umbrella or light rain jacket in case of occasional rain showers.

Are there any outdoor events or festivals in Istanbul in May?

Yes, May is a great time to experience Istanbul's outdoor events and festivals, such as the Tulip Festival, the Istanbul Music Festival, and the Istanbul Shopping Fest. There are also plenty of outdoor markets and food festivals happening around the city.

What are some of the top attractions to visit in Istanbul in May?

Some of the top attractions to visit in Istanbul in May include the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, and the Spice Market. You can also take a Bosphorus cruise, visit the Princes' Islands, or explore the trendy neighborhoods of Beyoglu and Karakoy.

Is it crowded in Istanbul in May?

May is considered a shoulder season in Istanbul, which means that it's less crowded than the summer months, but still relatively busy. It's always a good idea to book your accommodations and attractions in advance to avoid long lines and delays.

Can I see tulips in Istanbul in May?

Yes, May is the last month of Istanbul's annual Tulip Festival, which showcases over 30 million tulips in parks and gardens throughout the city. You can enjoy the colorful blooms and take stunning photos in popular spots such as Emirgan Park, Gulhane Park, and Yildiz Park.

What are some of the best rooftop bars to visit in Istanbul in May?

Istanbul's rooftop bars offer panoramic views of the city's skyline and the Bosphorus, making them the perfect place to relax and unwind in May. Some of the best rooftop bars to visit include 360 Istanbul, Mikla, and Leb-i Derya, all of which offer delicious cocktails and a lively atmosphere.

Is it possible to go swimming in Istanbul in May?

While the sea temperature may be a bit chilly for swimming, there are plenty of indoor and outdoor pools in Istanbul that are open in May. You can also visit the traditional Turkish hammams, where you can relax in hot steam rooms and get a refreshing scrub.

Can I take a hot air balloon ride in Istanbul in May?

Unfortunately, hot air balloon rides are not available in Istanbul. However, you can take a helicopter tour or a private boat tour to enjoy stunning aerial views of the city and the Bosphorus.

What are some unique souvenirs to bring back from Istanbul in May?

May is a great time to explore Istanbul's outdoor markets and bazaars, where you can find unique souvenirs such as handmade ceramics, Turkish delights, and traditional textiles. You can also visit the Spice Market and the Grand Bazaar to discover the city's rich culinary and cultural heritage. 

Travel aroud Istanbul freely with Public Transportation Card
Buy Your Card Now Buy & Save 40% with Istanbul Tourist Pass® with FREE Digital Public Transportation Guide

Latest Posts


Nightlife in Istanbul: Best Nightclubs, Unique Places, and More in 2023

Istanbul is a surprising city full of wonders. Some of them are historical, some are natural but all of them are unique. This amazing cosmopolitan city has vibrant and rich nightlife as well! So it is fair to say that you're in luck if you appreciate...


Most Popular Historic Mosques You Must Visit in Istanbul

Istanbul is one of the most culturally rich and diverse cities in the world thanks to its deep history which is comprised of many empires, cultures, and religions. Because of this, you can find numerous historically significant sites here, from churc...


A Brief History of Galata Tower

Galata Tower is one of the most magnificent sights in Istanbul, overlooking "Beyoglu" and "Karakoy" from its incredible location. Its colorful lights can be seen at night from all over the city, so it is one of the most famous tourist destinatio...


Where to go in Istanbul with family

Where to go in Istanbul with family If you booked your flight and soon are coming to Istanbul with your children and wondering where to go in the city, we would like to let you know beforehand that there are plenty of great places to visit. Moreover...


August in Istanbul

What to do in August Dear guest, Istanbul lover-to-be! You finally arrived in one of the most popular cities around the world, we hope you throughly enjoy it! Whilst you just arrived, we have few recommendations and tips for making your experience e...


Where to Stay in Istanbul with Family

Where to stay in Istanbul with family You finally booked your flight, and are eager to see the beauty of Istanbul within days from your flight. For your trip here, you rightfully want to stay at one of the best hotels in Istanbul for families that w...


4 Best Indian restaurants in Istanbul

Indian cuisine is widely loved across the globe for its rich ingredients, intoxicating aromas, and fresh blend of spices. Its historic staple diet consisting of whole-wheat flour, rice, and vegetables makes it unique and flavoursome. Travellers, espe...


3 Best Nightclubs in Istanbul

Istanbul, a city full of zest, has so much to offer to its visitors from across the globe. Whether you're interested in its historic architecture, deep-rooted culture & heritage, delicious food, or the city's flashy nightlife, there's something f...


Istanbul Branches of World-Famous Eateries

If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul.  Alphonse de Lamartine   Istanbul is full of surprises in every corner. The city can surprise you with its colours, sounds, and amazing views as well as t...


Restaurants in Istanbul: Where to Eat in Istanbul Old Town

Istanbul is not only the meeting point of cultures but also of cuisines! There are various options to taste delicious food from all over the world in the city. While visiting the magnificent Hagia Sophia or taking great Instagram photo...

4.8 out of 5 stars

Istanbul Tourist Pass® has an average rating of 4.8 /5 from 475 reviews

Read all traveler reviews →
Attractions Prices
Plan Save