Istanbul Weather in January: What to Expect & Why We Love It! - Sofia Adventures (2022)

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Can I tell you a secret? Even though I’ve been to Istanbul five times, I’ve literally never been there when there was bad weather!

That’s because visiting Istanbul in January, May, and June, I’ve gotten to experience the best of Istanbul summer (before it gets too hot) and winter (when you can indulge in the best Istanbul winter activities). And as far as Istanbul weather in January? I looooove it!

Planning a trip to Turkey in January? Check outIstanbul in Winter: 17 Things to Do on Your Turkish Winter Getaway

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Where to Stay in Istanbul in January?

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The lovely Hammamhane – my top pick for where to stay in Istanbul in January

Accommodations in Istanbul offer a great value compared to other cities in Europe. Here is a general range of what we mean by each budget category:

  • Budget:A room in a hostel, usually $5-12 USD per night for a dorm bed or under $40 for a double.
  • Mid-range:Around $40-80
  • Luxury: Around $100 per night or more

Budget:For a great budget-friendly hotel, you can stay in the single or double rooms at theDreamers B&B. Colorful and cozy, the B&B boasts a fabulous location in Beyoglu, less than a kilometer from Taksim Square. You can explore all of Beyoglu from here, and then head to Sultanahmet when you’re ready to see the old city.

>> Check pricing, reviews, and availability here. <<

Mid-Range:For an affordable, yet trendy boutique hotel, we recommendPeradays.It’s perfect for all Istanbul visitors, from first-timers to Istanbul veterans. The lofted rooms are generously large, so you can spread out and relax after a long day of sightseeing. They also have two cats that live here, Pera and Daisy, which you’ll be happy to greet after counting cats all day when out in the city.

>> Check pricing, reviews, and availability here. <<

Luxury:Istanbul has no shortage of fabulous hotels, but we loveHammamhane, a boutique apartment-hotel that was originally a hammam, and the sister hotel of Peradays. Built in a historic hammam (Turkish bath), the suites are spacious and luxurious. Located in the heart of Cukurcuma, the antiques district, Hammamhane is within walking distance to art galleries, design stores, antique shops, and chic cafés. It’s on-site hammam just opened, so it’s even better for

(Video) CULTURE SHOCKS TURKEY 🇹🇷 AMERICAN First Impressions of TURKEY 2021

>> Check pricing, reviews, and availability here. <<

Still can’t decide? Check out our guide to thebest Istanbul neighborhoods and hotels.

What is the weather like in Istanbul in January?

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Trying (and failing) to get a selfie with the falling snowflakes.

Most people outside of the region have no idea what to expect weather-wise for January in Istanbul. Here are my experiences and the averages you can expect.

My Experience in Istanbul in January

During my trip to Istanbul this January, I found the weather was chilled but not too cold. We saw a few snowflakes here and there, but nothing that stuck. I would have loved to get some great photos of Istanbul in the snow, but alas, it was not to be.

Pro Tip: If you’re looking for a great Istanbul winter-themed souvenir, Amant Turc in Galata sells beautiful photography of Istanbul during a snowstorm. I’m obsessed with mine! You can find the details for the gallery in my Istanbul shopping guide.

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Visting Galata in January – slightly bundled up but not over the top!

For the most part, we were able to do every activity that I would want to do, but we just made sure we had some extra clothing layers. My (p)leather H&M jacket, Zara scarf, and some Torrid leggings did the trick. While I typically suggest someone upgrade to fleece leggings for winter city travel, it was not necessary for our trip.

Overall during our stay, it was about 43 degrees Fahrenheit (about 6 degrees Celcius) for our entire trip. It rained a bit, it snowed a bit without sticking, and I still spent tons of time walking around outside (including walking from Bebek to Arnavutkoy.

Statistics and Averages for January Weather in Istanbul

So that was my trip, but what can you expect?

Average January Temperatures

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(Video) Is Turkey Worth the Hype? Watch THIS before coming 2022 (Istanbul,Antalya...)

The average temperature for the month is exactly what I experienced – 43 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees Celcius). Cool, huh?

The average high is 46 degrees Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celcius), while the average low temperature is 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celcius).

I’m happy to report that what I experienced is pretty much what you can expect. Of course, as your trip approaches, you should double check the weather report. It can always be colder or warmer than the average Istanbul temperatures.

DoesIt Snow in Istanbul in January?

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Istanbul in the snow is gorgeous – just not something that happens for the entire month.

Yes, but not every day. There is an average of four snow days in Istanbul every January. If you want those pretty snow pictures, you might be sad to know that on any typical January day it’s not likely to snow. However, when it does, it’s truly lovely.

How Much Sun Can I Expect?

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Overcast skies don’t keep the fishermen away!

Most days in January you can expect at least partial overcast skies and cloud cover. There is an average of three hours of sunshine each day, but it can be difficult to predict exactly when those hours will be.

If you are just coming to enjoy a trip, the cloud cover will not keep any of the best Istanbul activities closed. However, if you’re an avid photographer looking for the best Instagram spots around Istanbul, January weather can either give your shots a boost or make it difficult to capture exactly what you want.

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Inside the lusciously pink-frosted Ortakoy Mosque

If the weather isn’t cooperating, you can always take some photos inside some of the city’s most beautiful interiors like the Ortakoy Mosque instead of solely focusing on the building’s exterior.

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Average Rainfall in Istanbul in January

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Raining outside? Head to one of Istanbul’s amazing indoor museums, mosques, or restaurants to wait it out.

January averages fourteen days of rain. However, these are not torrential downpours, and most rainy days will have periods of sun and clouds with rain bursts and drizzles in between.

It’s always great to have a list of places to escape the rain if the forecast predicts wet weather. Our favorite indoor activities? Mosques, museums, the Hagia Sophia (technically, yes, a museum, but so much more), the Basilica Cisterns, smoking shisha, enjoying raki, stuffing your face with mezze, etc.

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And of course, you can never go wrong if you wait out a quick rainstorm with a delicious Turkish coffee!

If your entire Istanbul trip happened to be rainy, you can still have a fabulous time! Use Uber to avoid being outside in the rain, and flit from great indoor activity to great indoor activity. We’re partial to the food and wine scene, but you could spend a week exploring indoor Istanbul and not run out of awesome things to do.

Need more ideas? Our guide to Istanbul in Winter and Istanbul Nightlife have more ideas for indoor activities.

More Istanbul Travel Resources

Istanbul Weather in January: What to Expect & Why We Love It! - Sofia Adventures (11)

Hanging outside Ortakoy Mosque in January – Still Gorgeous!

We have a ton of resources to help you plan your trip to Istanbul! First, start with our top 50 Istanbul travel tips – virtually every question you might have about visiting Istanbul should be covered here. Plus we have our best Istanbul safety tips to keep you safe in Istanbul.

We’re working on our massivethings to do post in Istanbul, plus you can check out ourguide to the best Instagram spots around Istanbul,our favoriteIstanbul neighborhoods and where to stay, what to do in Istanbul at night, and tips forshopping in Istanbul. If you will definitely be coming in winter, we have a specialwinter in Istanbulguide.

See alsoThe 10 Best Hotels Near the Blue Mosque: Where to Stay in Sultanahmet

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(Video) Sofia February 2022 Heavy snowfall

If you want to be in the city for just a few days (four or less), check out ourIstanbul city break guide, which breaks down the best of the city so you won’t miss anything!

For more general Turkey information, check out this guide toplanning a trip to Turkey (including visa information)and this guide to otherbeautiful places to visit in Turkey. You can also check out ourBalkan currency guide, which explains how the Turkish lira works and guidelines for tipping in Istanbul.

If you will also be traveling to Cappadocia, we have this massiveDIY Cappadocia itinerarypost that will be helpful to read if you are not going on a guided excursion. If you’re curious about the mostInstagrammable places in Cappadocia, we’ve got you covered. We’ve also written extensively aboutthe best cave hotelsfor all budgets here in Cappadocia.

We have tons more Turkey and Balkans resources, and we publish new content nearly daily. Bookmark ourTurkeyandBalkanstravel pages so you can find any new resources that come out before your trip!

Don’t Forget about Travel Insurance!

It’s always a good idea to travel to Turkey or anywhere in Europe with a validtravel insurancepolicy. Istanbul is a very safe placeto travel, but accidents or theft can easily ruin your trip if you don’t have the travel insurance coverage to recover the losses. Recently my aunt fell on a train in France and needed surgery, but luckily her travel insurance covered the costs in full. Thank goodness!

For travel insurance, I useWorld Nomads.I’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.

>>Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here.<<

Pin this Guide to Istanbul Weather in January for Your Trip!

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Istanbul Weather in January: What to Expect & Why We Love It! - Sofia Adventures (13)

Stephanie Craig

Stephanie has been living in and traveling around the Balkans for the past three years. She’s written for National Geographic Online, appeared on CNN Arabic and in the New York Times, and ridden more Balkan buses than is good for a person.

FAQs

Is it worth visiting Istanbul in January? ›

It is a pleasant time to visit Istanbul because there are almost no tourists, so you can enjoy all the monuments and museums of the city peacefully. Istanbul also offers another face in the winter, genuine and mysterious. Generally, it also snows at about a week during winter which will delight picture lovers!

What's the weather in Istanbul in January? ›

January Weather in İstanbul Turkey. Daily high temperatures are around 48°F, rarely falling below 38°F or exceeding 58°F. The lowest daily average high temperature is 47°F on January 23. Daily low temperatures are around 39°F, rarely falling below 30°F or exceeding 49°F.

What clothes to wear in Istanbul in January? ›

To go with those winter sweaters, be sure to pack some jeans and leggings to mix and match. When it's really cold in Istanbul in January and February, I add fleece-lined leggings or merino wool leggings underneath my jeans for added warmth… or sometimes I wear two layers of leggings.

Does it rain in Istanbul in January? ›

The average minimum temperature (usually the minimum temperature is noted during the night) in Istanbul in January is 3.4°C (38.12°F). The amount of rain in January is high with an average of 99mm (3.9in). It rains on average a total of 17 days. The average maximum daytime temperature lies around 8.5°C (47.3°F).

Is it cold in Istanbul in January? ›

January is the coldest month in Istanbul, together with February, and with an average temperature of 8°C and precipitation 105 mm. Although you will face low temperatures, you can be sure that there are not much snow and it rarely gets below freezing in Istanbul. The snow is low and rainfall is medium.

What clothes to wear in Istanbul in February? ›

So as GTTD says, you do need warm clothes, a fleece is very easy to keep you warm, some jeans, good walking boots that can handle the rain, but are not too hot if it is a bit sunny. A scarf, a woolen hat, and a rain coat and umbrella. Have a great time!

How cold is Turkey in January? ›

Turkey Weather in January: January in Turkey is typically cold and dark, although it won't be as brutally cold as what you might expect to find in the dead of winter in many other places. While the temperature depends on your destination, the afternoon high averages 8°C and nighttime temperatures dip to 4°C or below.

Where is the best weather in January? ›

Top destinations with great weather in January
  • Bali, Indonesia. For those looking for a sunny getaway during the winter, Bali offers beaches, jungles, culture, and a lot of good food. ...
  • Cartagena, Colombia. ...
  • Barcelona, Spain. ...
  • Arizona, USA. ...
  • Treasure Coast, Florida, USA. ...
  • Singapore. ...
  • Praslin Island, Seychelles. ...
  • Madrid, Spain.
Dec 20, 2017

What is the coldest month in Istanbul? ›

The cool season lasts for 3.9 months, from November 29 to March 25, with an average daily high temperature below 55°F. The coldest month of the year in İstanbul is February, with an average low of 39°F and high of 48°F.

What should I pack for Turkey in January? ›

In the winter months of November, December, January and February it gets really cold and wet (and it snows) so wrap up – take a coat, warm hat, scarf and gloves. In the summer – June, July, August and September – wear plenty of sunscreen (we love the Riemann P20 range for 10 hour protection), sunglasses and a sunhat.

What do you wear to Hagia Sophia? ›

According to the code, visitors have to wear a headscarf to visit the sixth-century site. Entering it with shorts or "revealing" clothes is banned. Following the code's introduction, authorities started to distribute overalls and headscarves in front of Hagia Sophia.

What should you buy in Turkey? ›

Souvenir Shopping in Turkey: 14 Famous Things to Buy
  • 1: Turkish Carpet and Rugs. ...
  • 2: The Turkish Delight Experience. ...
  • 3: Turkish Tea Sets. ...
  • 4: Beautiful Nargile Pipes. ...
  • 5: The Blue Evil Eye of Turkey. ...
  • 6: Shopping for Gold and Jewellery. ...
  • 7: Traditional Turkish Mosaic Lamps. ...
  • 8: Ceramic Souvenir Ideas.
Nov 15, 2012

Can we visit Turkey in January? ›

Turkey's cities and cultural/historic attractions are ideal places to visit in January. Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir offer many indoor and outdoor sites. Head indoors to a museum, mosque, or palace when the weather's cold or wet, or enjoy crisp winter weather at outdoor parks and ancient sites when you can.

What is the best month to visit Istanbul? ›

Nov-March. The best time to visit the Istanbul is in between November and March. During these months, the weather is prefect for spending the day out in the sun.

How is Cappadocia in January? ›

The average minimum temperature (usually the minimum temperature is noted during the night) in Cappadocia in January is -5.3°C (22.46°F). The amount of rain/snow in January is normal with an average of 36mm (1.4in). It rains on average a total of 12 days.

Should I go to Istanbul in December? ›

Istanbul is a fantastic sight in December, with an air of festivity dominating the ambiance. You will find the city decorated to welcome the upcoming New Year. The city will be less crowded, making your stay more comfortable. Don't worry about being too cold, as most of the attractions are indoors!

How do people dress in Turkey in January? ›

In the winter months of November, December, January and February it gets really cold and wet (and it snows) so wrap up – take a coat, warm hat, scarf and gloves. In the summer – June, July, August and September – wear plenty of sunscreen (we love the Riemann P20 range for 10 hour protection), sunglasses and a sunhat.

What should a woman wear in Istanbul? ›

The general Istanbul dress code for tourists and especially women is to cover your legs at least past to your knees, cover your chest and cover any cleavage and cover your stomach. Based on my experience visiting and living in Istanbul, having the bottom of your legs showing and feet is fine.

How cold is Turkey in January? ›

Turkey Weather in January: January in Turkey is typically cold and dark, although it won't be as brutally cold as what you might expect to find in the dead of winter in many other places. While the temperature depends on your destination, the afternoon high averages 8°C and nighttime temperatures dip to 4°C or below.

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