Turkey Weather in December 2024: Travel Tips for First-Timers

By Margaux | Updated Jul. 6, 2023

For visitors looking to visit Turkey in cool/cold and rainy December, we recommend Istanbul, Cappadocia, and Ankara. Continue reading for more information on travel and weather, including average temperatures, rainfall, humidity, and travel tips for the month of December.

Turkey Weather in December: Overview

Averages:

  • Temperature range: 6–14°C (42–58°F)
  • Rainfall: 11 cm (4 inches)
  • Rainy days: 11
  • Sunshine hours/day: 2
  • Sea temperature: 12°C (53°F)
  • Humidity: 70–80% (from humid on the coast to much more humid in Istanbul)

December is winter in Turkey, although you will find that temperatures in much of Turkey (Izmir, Antalya, and Istanbul for example) are not as low as winter temperatures throughout much of northern Europe or North America.

December sees an average of 2 hours of sunshine per day, and comparatively more rainy days at an average of 11 a month. However, December is still popular with visitors as there is still plenty to do, and lots to see, and the milder weather makes it a great Christmas or winter holiday destination.

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Weather of Turkey's Major Cities in December

Turkey City Daily High Temp. Daily Low Temp.
Istanbul (largest city, historical importance) 10ºC (50ºF) 6ºC (43ºF)
Cappadocia (Rockscape, ballooning) 7ºC (45ºF) -4ºC (25ºF)
Antalya (Top beach resort city) 17ºC (63ºF) 8ºC (46ºF)
Izmir (near Kusadasi, once Ephesus) 14ºC (57ºF) 8ºC (46ºF)
Turkey City Rain (cm) Rain (in)
Istanbul (largest city, historical importance) 13 5
Cappadocia (Rockscape, ballooning) 3 2
Antalya (Top beach resort city) 26 10
Izmir (near Kusadasi, once Ephesus) 13 5

The Best Places to Visit in Turkey in December

Visitors to Turkey in December can expect mild winter weather. This is why we recommend most places in Turkey, with the exception of the beaches as the weather doesn't lend itself to sunbathing and fun in the sea.

Most tourists start their Turkey trips in Istanbul, then head on to Cappadocia. Although the weather is colder in winter in Cappadocia, it's much drier, and it is not a destination to miss while you're in Turkey.

Other recommendations include the ancient city of Ephesus, as well as Ankara, the country's capital city.

Read on for more information about these exciting destinations.

1. Explore Istanbul's Varied History

Istanbul is one of the world's most incredible cities, with plenty of historical sights to be explored, and foods to be tried. For more information on a trip to Istanbul, check out this piece on the Weather in November, which has more information about visiting Istanbul in the milder winter.

You can also read more here: Top 9 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Istanbul and Top 10 Things to Do in Istanbul.

These are some of our popular Istanbul itineraries:

2. Visit Ataturk's Mausoleum in Ankara

Ankara is Turkey's capital city, and there is plenty to see, making it a great spot to walk around in in December when the temperatures are milder. Other sights in the capital city include Ankara Castle, Anitkabir (the Memorial Tomb of modern Turkey's first president, Ataturk), Anadolu Medeniyetleri Museum, Haci Bayram Mosque, and Rahmi M. Koc Museum. A visit to Ankara is extremely educational and would help you understand how Turkey came to be.

Other interesting sights there include natural views from Eymir Overlook, as well as Lake Loop, which has lots of flora and fauna for fans of greenery. With lower temperatures in December, this is also a great destination for a hike.

3. Take a Once-in-a-Lifetime Hot Air Balloon Ride across Cappadocia

You will definitely have seen pictures of Cappadocia's rockscapes and the many hot air balloons in the air, and this is not a stop to miss on your trip of Turkey, regardless of the colder weather in December. We recommend having a couple of days there to ensure you can go up in a balloon because the weather doesn't always allow it.

Cappadocia is also home to a ski resort on Mount Erciyes. The resort has 8 lifts in total, with slopes ranging from 2,200 to 3,100 m (7,000–10,000 ft) altitude, with different tracks for varying skiing abilities.

For more activities to do in Cappadocia, see Top 10 Things to Do in Cappadocia, or see our customizable tour: Cappadocia Panoramic Adventure — 2-Day Cappadocia Highlights.

4. Venture to Ancient Sites near Izmir

Izmir is a great starting place for Turkey's most popular ancient tourist sites. In nearby Ephesus, there is the Temple of Artemis, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In Izmir you will also be able to explore Kemeralti Market, where you'll be able to get some souvenirs to take home. For some ideas, see 10 Best Turkish Souvenirs to Take Home.

In Pamukkale, you can visit thermal hot springs, which are famous because an earthquake left Roman columns submerged in the clear waters. It has some of the most unique landscapes in the world.

For a tour through Ephesus as well as some other sites of Christian importance in Istanbul, see this itinerary: New Testament Legacy Tour: 7 Churches from the Book of Revelation — 9-Day Christianity Highlights (Churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea) with Turkey Highlights.

Low Season: Less Crowding and Lower Costs (Except Christmas)

December is low season in Turkey, with the exception of Christmas. Due to the milder winter temperatures, Turkey is a popular tourist destination between Christmas and New Year's, when prices and crowds increase throughout the country.

For the weeks prior to Christmas, in December, prices are lower and you'll find fewer crowds in Turkey, making it a great time of the year to visit.

What to Wear in December

For visitors to Turkey in December, we recommend bringing plenty of layers as the temperatures differ depending on where you go. While temperatures are mild in Istanbul and Izmir, and it'll be fine to go around during the day with just a jumper or a light coat, you will need a thick winter coat for Cappadocia as the temperatures drop in the evenings and into the mornings.

Bringing layers ensures that you can tailor your outfit depending on your location. We also recommend bringing supportive, sturdy footwear if you're planning on exploring, and a waterproof layer for those visiting Antayla, Istanbul, and Izmir as there can be some rain.

Women, if you are hoping to visit mosques and churches at any point during your trip, we recommend that you bring a headscarf or shawl to cover your head.

Monthly Weather in Turkey

Suggested reading: Best and Worst Times to Visit Turkey>>>

Recommended Tours for Turkey in December

To help you make the most of your trip to Turkey, Global Highlights can put together your ideal itinerary. Contact us to begin a tour inquiry. Let us know what your expectations are and when you're hoping to visit, so that we can tailor our recommendations to your interests and needs.

If you need some inspiration or if it's your first time in Turkey and you want to visit the most popular spots, check out the following Turkey tours:

Get Inspired with Some Popular Itineraries

7-Day Turkey Classical Wonders Tour (Istanbul–Ephesus) 13-Day Natural Highlights of Turkey 10-Day Turkey Honeymoon Tour (Istanbul to Cappadocia) 16-Day Turkey Great Circle Tour

More Travel Ideas and Inspiration

7 Days in Turkey — 5 Top Itinerary Ideas 10 Days in Turkey: Top 4 Itinerary Ideas How to Plan a Trip to Turkey in 2024 How to Plan a Trip to Turkey and Greece in 2024
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