Istanbul Weather in December

Istanbul, the city where East meets West, has an undeniable charm that attracts tourists from all around the globe. While the city is a popular destination throughout the year, Istanbul weather in December might be a concern for those planning a winter visit. Fret not, for this guide will provide a comprehensive look into what to expect during your trip, from weather conditions to clothing recommendations, activities, and much more!

What to Expect in Istanbul Weather in December

Temperature and Climate

December in Istanbul is characterized by chilly temperatures, with average highs ranging from 8 to 12 degrees Celsius (46 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit) and average lows between 3 and 6 degrees Celsius (37 to 43 degrees Fahrenheit). The climate is generally mild due to the city’s coastal location, but it’s essential to be prepared for occasional cold snaps or even snowfall.

Here’s a summary of Istanbul’s weather throughout the year, broken down by month:

Month Average High (°C/°F) Average Low (°C/°F) Precipitation (mm/inches) Avg. Sunshine Hours/Day
January 8/46 3/37 100/3.9 2
February 9/48 3/37 80/3.1 3
March 11/52 5/41 70/2.8 4
April 16/61 9/48 50/2.0 6
May 21/70 13/55 40/1.6 8
June 26/79 18/64 30/1.2 10
July 28/82 20/68 20/0.8 11
August 28/82 20/68 20/0.8 11
September 25/77 17/63 40/1.6 8
October 20/68 13/55 60/2.4 5
November 15/59 9/48 90/3.5 3
December 11/52 5/41 120/4.7 2
istanbul annual weather chart

This chart represents the average weather conditions in Istanbul throughout the year, including temperature (highs and lows), precipitation, and average daily sunshine hours. Please note that these are approximate values and can vary from year to year. Be sure to check the weather forecast before your trip for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Precipitation and Humidity

Istanbul experiences a relatively high level of precipitation in December, with an average of 120 millimeters (4.7 inches) spread over 17 days. As a result, it’s common to encounter rain or occasional snow during your visit. Additionally, the city’s humidity levels can range from 60% to 85%, which can make the cold feel more biting.

Wind and Sunshine

Winds can be quite blustery in Istanbul during December, with average speeds of 15 to 25 kilometers per hour (9 to 15 miles per hour). The city also has shorter daylight hours, with an average of 4 hours of sunshine per day.

What to Wear in Istanbul in December

Clothing Recommendations

Dressing appropriately is crucial when visiting Istanbul in December. Opt for layers, starting with thermal or moisture-wicking base layers and adding sweaters, fleeces, or cardigans for warmth. A heavy coat is also essential for protection against the cold and precipitation. Finally, don’t forget comfortable, waterproof footwear to navigate the city’s sometimes slippery streets.

Accessories for Rain and Cold

Accessories are equally important during your December visit to Istanbul. Pack a waterproof and windproof umbrella, as well as gloves, scarves, and hats to keep warm. Consider bringing a waterproof bag or backpack to protect your belongings during heavy rain or snow.

Things to Do in Istanbul in December

Indoor Activities

Despite the chilly weather, there are plenty of indoor activities to enjoy in Istanbul. Explore the city’s rich history by visiting museums like Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace, and the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. Warm-up with a traditional Turkish bath experience or enjoy a cup of hot Turkish tea in one of the city’s cozy cafes.

Outdoor Activities

Even in December, there’s no shortage of outdoor attractions in Istanbul. Stroll through the historic Sultanahmet district, visit the bustling Grand Bazaar, or take a scenic Bosphorus cruise. Keep in mind that many outdoor activities may

be weather-dependent, so be sure to check the forecast and plan accordingly.

Festivals and Events

Istanbul in December is home to several festive events and celebrations. The city comes alive with Christmas markets, New Year’s Eve parties, and various cultural events. Enjoy the festive atmosphere while exploring the local customs and traditions.

Tips for Traveling in Istanbul in December


Istanbul boasts an extensive public transportation system, including buses, trams, and ferries. To make the most of your trip, consider purchasing an Istanbulkart, which will allow for seamless and cost-effective travel across the city.

Safety Precautions

While Istanbul is generally a safe city, it’s essential to take standard safety precautions during your visit. Be mindful of your belongings in crowded areas, such as public transportation or tourist attractions, and be cautious when walking on slippery streets due to rain or snow.

Saving Money

Traveling to Istanbul in December can be more budget-friendly due to the off-peak season. Look for deals on accommodation, tours, and attractions. Additionally, dining at local eateries and utilizing public transportation can help you save money during your trip.


Istanbul is a vibrant and exciting destination, even in December. While the weather may be chilly and wet, the city’s charm and rich history remain. Dress appropriately, plan for indoor and outdoor activities, and embrace the festive atmosphere. With proper preparation, your Istanbul experience will be a memorable one, regardless of the weather.



    1. Is Istanbul safe to visit in December? Yes, Istanbul is generally safe to visit in December. However, it’s essential to take standard safety precautions and be mindful of your surroundings.

    1. Can I expect snow in Istanbul in December? Snow is possible in Istanbul during December, but it’s not guaranteed. Be prepared for rain or snow by dressing appropriately and packing necessary accessories.

    1. Is December a good time to visit Istanbul? While December may not be the warmest or driest month, it offers the advantage of fewer crowds and more budget-friendly options. With the right planning, December can be an excellent time to visit Istanbul.

    1. What are the must-visit attractions in Istanbul during December? Must-visit attractions include Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace, the Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, and a Bosphorus cruise.

    1. How can I save money while traveling to Istanbul in December? Save money by looking for deals on accommodation, tours, and attractions. Additionally, dine at local eateries and utilize public transportation.

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