Just as Turkey straddles Europe and Asia, it also beholds an array of beautiful landscapes, from mountain to maritime, arid plateaus to snow-covered peaks. So temperatures vary quite dramatically depending on location. However, one thing’s pretty constant – summer sizzles. Which is why the majority of our tours in Turkey don’t operate in July and August, nor in the heart of winter.
The Lycian Way, for example, is the most famous of Turkey’s hiking trails, and its window is open between April and mid-October, closing in July and August. However, there are so many other superb trails to explore, and to make the most of this country where you are guaranteed to have a magical, mythical and mystical tour, here are our top tips on the best time to go to Turkey.
Best time to go to Turkey’s Lycian Way Trail
The Lycian Way Trail is legendary for lovers of all things littoral. We can organise all of our walking tours along the Lycian Way between the beginning of April and the middle of June or between September until mid-October. From April, when average temperatures are around 18C, the trail is like walking through a physic garden, with aromatic herbs such as sage, oregano and thyme filling the air, interspersed with anemones, bee-orchids and delicate fritillaria. If you are a keen swimmer, you may want to opt for the autumn months with sea and air temperatures still sublime, both at around 25C in October. For more information on this stunning 500km trail, see our blog on Hiking the Lycian Way Trail.
The Lycian Way is a Turkish delight, and perfect for solo travellers too.
Best time to hike Turkey’s St. Paul Trail
St. Paul sought out Turkey’s remote, inland communities when he went on his mission to spread the Christian word, taking an impressive 500km route across Anatolia and the Taurus Mountains from Perge, just east of Antalya to Yalvac, north of Lake Eğirdir. Our St Paul Trail walking holiday seeks out the cream of his crusade, taking you along Roman roads, to the temple ruins of Adada and through elevated meadows. This tour takes place between April and June, and then again between September and November. This is to avoid the snow and ice on the likes of Mount Sivri (1,700m), which you summit during the tour and, again, to walk away from the heatwaves of summer.
From April, although you may still see snow on the distant Taurus Mountains, wild tulips and orchids start to bloom and you may be joined by shepherds who still watch their flocks along the St. Paul Trail. If you are a keen swimmer, you may want to wait until June when the water in Lake Eğirdir hits 20C going up to 23C in September and back down to 18C in autumn. Flamingos flock in here too in May, June and July, making it all rather peachy.
Lake Eğirdir is one of the most ethereal spots on Turkey’s St. Paul Trail.
Best time to hike in Cappadocia
Our Cappadocia walking holiday is a pure tonic and perfect if you need a spring or autumn pick-me-up, as it runs between March and May, September and October. You really don’t want the full heat of summer to distract you from the magnificence of this UNESCO site, 4th-century cave dwellings, troglodyte villages and other worldly fairy chimneys. With temperatures hitting 35C the Rose and White Valleys can feel more like raging red ones in summer. So go in spring, when average temperatures range are 15C, and you can see the red poppies, purple gladioli and indigo bellevalia instead. Although in April, windy conditions are more prevalent, so this can sometimes have an impact on balloon flights. Or in autumn, when colour is everywhere, with mulberry trees and poplars turning golden, and sunsets are particularly stunning, with temperatures averaging between 20-25C.
Catch Cappadocia in all its best colours in the autumn.
Best time to climb Mount Ararat
It’s biblical in its beauty, so much so that Turkey’s highest mountain (5,137m), overlooking not only Turkey but also Armenia and Iran, is said to have been where Noah’s Ark settled after the storm. It’s a pretty heavenly spot too, as you will see on our guided small group tour to climb this much sought after summit, which is a strenuous but not technical trek. However, there is a glacier at the summit, and so there is a relatively short window to climb it, between the end of June and the beginning of September. Outside these seasons, it becomes a technical climb and only recommended for experts or, in May and early June, the weather can be a lot less predictable in terms of rain. And you don’t want to be flooded out on this mountain.
You could stare at this view of Turkey’s highest mountain until the cows come home.
Best time to hike the Carian Trail
Turkey’s lesser-known Carian Trail, named after the region’s ancient people who lived here, is a coastal walker and wild swimmer’s dream come true. Our trips run between March and June, September and October, avoiding the super celsius months of July and August, when it all just goes off the scale. You still have an off the scale experience in spring, however, walking along 1,000m cliffs and being beckoned by the magnificent bays of the Bozburun Peninsula such as Kumlubük or Gökova. Or Loryma Bay, where ancient city ruins are just one of many pickings for culture vultures on this fun and fascinating walking holiday. Average coastal highs here are between 17-20C in March and April, zooming up to 24-28 in May and June, and cooling off to 28C in September and a perfect 24C in October.
Gökova is just one of a panoply of pretty coves along Turkey’s Carian Trail.