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What to wear in Istanbul in every season

What to wear in Istanbul in every season

Are you wondering what to wear in Istanbul? This guide tells you what you should pack for Cappadocia whatever season you are visiting and for whatever activities you are doing from visiting the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, Souqs, museums and more!

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Where is Istanbul?

Istanbul is the largest and capital city of Turkey and straddles the European and Asian continent.

It is famed for its amazing cultural attractions such as the lue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, Souqs, museums and more. And while Istanbul is a modern city there are many places that have strict dress codes attached to them. ln this guide we will tell you how to dress for dress codes in Turkey as well as for the weather by seasons.

Traveling to other regions of Turkey? Be sure to check out our other posts:

What to wear in Capadoccia

Istanbul Dress Code Rules

Woman outside Hagia Sophia - Hagia Sophia Dress Code
Hagia Sophia Dress Code

But before we can get into specific outfit recommendations for Istanbul, first it is worth taking a moment to discuss Istanbul’s and more generally Turkey’s Dress code requirements.

Many people forget that Turkey is a Muslim Country and therefore more conservative and modest attire is more respectful of local culture. Therefore we recommend sticking to clothes that aren’t too skimpy i.e. cover your shoulders and knees.

This is good advice if you plan to visit the Middle East generally and is very important if you are visiting religious sites in Turkey such as the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. However personally I would always stick to keeping shoulders and knees covered when traveling in Turkey outside of the beach resorts as even though you will see more relaxed outfits in Istanbul the skimpier the outfit you wear, the more unwanted attention you are likely to attract.

So now you know about the Turkey Dress Code rules, we will turn our attention on what to wear to Istanbul season by season.

What to wear to Istanbul in Summer (June, July and August)

Woman with back to camera looking over the Bosphorus towards the Istanbul skyline
What to wear in Istanbul in Summer

Istanbul in Summer is classified as June, July and August and is famed for its hot weather. Summers in Istanbul tend to be hot and dry. On average the high temperatures in Istanbul in Summer tend to hover around 27-29°C (80-84°F).

Therefore it is really important to pack for the heat.

As such we would recommend putting the below on your Istanbul summer packing list:

Maxi Dresses and Maxi Skirts

Because of the combination of hot weather and conservative dress code maxi dresses and maxi skirts are the perfect addition to your Istanbul in Summer packing list.

We recommend selecting items made of natural fabrics as opposed to man made fabrics. These are more breathable and will reduce sweat when outside.

We also recommend selecting items that are more loose and flowing as opposed to tight fitting as these are better for heat and dress code adherence.

And for this reason, I would always select a dress with a cap sleeve or longer i.e. no spaghetti straps. I would also watch out for any revealing slits or backless dresses which might not be modest enough for local sensibilities.

However if you plan on taking a hot air balloon ride it is important that you have

Loose Trousers

These are great for religious places with strict dress codes in Istanbul. I personally like to wear linen in hot countries.

T Shirts and Blouses

These are perfect for out exploring Istanbul and can be paired with skirts or trousers. However be sure to pack a top that has shoulder coverage and something with long sleeves for religious attractions. .


Although it is hot in Istanbul in Summer we still recommend packing some light top layers like waterfall cardigans.


I never travel anywhere in the Middle East without a pashmina. These are perfect for chilly mornings and evenings, for places with fierce air conditioning such as restaurants and malls for instance, and are great for making outfits more modest especially when visiting religious sites.


Hats are the perfect instagram accessory so if you plan on taking some insta snaps this is a good addition to your packing list.


It is bright during the summer months in Istanbul leave the sunglasses at home.

What to wear to Istanbul in Winter (December, January and February)

Woman in orange coat on street in Istanbul
What to wear in Istanbul in Winter

Winter in Istanbul is classified as December, January and February. And Winter in Istanbul can be one of the most picturesque and quietest times to visit this amazing place. However you will need to pack for cold weather.

The average temperatures during this period are 4C/40F to 10C/50F with January and February being the coldest months and January being the wettest.

So what should you wear to cope with the Winter in Istanbul?


These are essential as the wind can be cold especially if you plan to get out onto the water. In my opinion it is better to have too many layers and be able to remove some than find yourself shivering. I really like to have merino wall sweatrs with me as they are thin but insulating and fleeces which dry quickly on wet days.

Hat, Scarf and Gloves

As I mentioned above it does get cold in Istanbul in Winter therefore you will be wanting all the normal regular Winter accessories with you.

Jeans / Trousers

Jeans are a great choice for Winter in Istanbul are thicker than other trousers. But you will also want some trousers that are more comfortable for walking in, especially for walking in the rain in.


A coat is absolutely a necessity during Winter in Istanbul. We recommend something warm like a down parka. However we also recommend picking a coat that has some water resistance or waterproof coating to cope with the rainy days in Istanbul.

Hiking Socks

For me there is nothing worse than cold feet so you will want hiking socks with you for out of trails and in the outdoors.

Shoes with Good Sole

We talk about shoes more in the best shoes for Istanbul later, however it is worth pointing out here that is is essential to have shoes with a good sole for Winter in Istanbul due to cold.

What to wear to Istanbul in Spring and Fall (March, April and May and September, October and November)

Woman on ferry crossing in Istanbul
What to wear in Istanbul

Istanbul in the shoulder season is one of the best times to visit for both crowds and weather. Depending on the month you are traveling in will depend on whether your list should lean more towards the summer or the winter packing list.

Generally speaking however, for March and November I would consider packing more layers as they are closer to Winter. And for April, May, September and October I would add more summer wear but still have layers with me.

I recommend adding the below to the Shoulder season packing lists

Hoodie / Sweater / Jumper / Poncho

You will definitely want top layers with you during this period. For May and September you can probably get away with a lighter weight hoodie. However for the Winter adjacent months you will want thicker and more layers with you.

For November you may also want a heavy weight coat.


Great no matter the month you visit Istanbul.


Again this is perfect as an additional layer for cooler periods and is great for making outfits more modest.

Best Shoes for Istanbul

My number one shoe for Istanbul for Summer and the shoulder seasons in particular is a sneaker. Sneakers cope well with the cobble stone streets in the more historic parts of the city and are comfortable for long dats of walking.

However for summer you may want some sandals on your packing list too!

In the Winter some thick heel boots are also a great pick. Just be sure to leave suede shoes at home as it does get rainy in the winer. t

You could also take flip flips with you in Summer for using round resort pools but these are not really suitable elsewhere in the capital.

What to Pack for Istanbul no matter the season

On top of clothes you may also want to consider packing the following for a break in the city.

  • Sunscreen
  • Aloe Vera / Aftersun
  • Travel Adaptor
  • Power Pack / Battery recharger
  • Crossbody bag 
  • camera – it is a beautiful place you will want to take lots of photographs.