Western style clothes are acceptable in Istanbul and you will see both modern and traditional with people from different areas of Turkey including the Kurdish southeast together with Syrian immigrants and foreign residents alongside tourists from various countries. Having said that, most people wear international smart-casual clothing. Jeans are very popular combined with a sweater and jacket in the cooler months. Although there are no rules for dress, it’s better to dress quite modestly to avoid unwanted attention and beachwear certainly isn’t recommended.
Istanbul has some very impressive mosques and you will have the opportunity to witness their wonderful architecture and artwork on our Istanbul City Tours. The Blue Mosque is just one example, its numerous windows provide natural light for over 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles with intricate flower designs covering its interior. There is a dress code for mosques. Women are expected to wear a headscarf and medium length skirt or trousers and keep their elbows covered. The major mosques that have a lot of foreign visitors may provide robes free upon entry for women to cover their head and legs. Men are expected to wear long trousers but may wear a short-sleeved t-shirt.
Istanbul is very hilly and there are some really steep streets to walk up, some even have steps and the pavement tiles can be a bit uneven so comfortable, flat shoes are necessary for walking around this fascinating city. Women do wear high heels for going out in the evening, though, when they travel by car or take a taxi.
You might want to leave some space in your suitcase for clothes, as there are lots of clothes stores from designer boutiques to international labels. Locally manufactured brands like Koton, Mavi and Collezione are very high quality at reasonable prices. On our tour you will visit the Grand Bazaar, a labyrinth of small shops where you can stop for some delicious street food or shop for handcrafts, clothes and more.
Spring is a pleasant time to visit, especially April when the tulips are in full bloom. From about mid-April it’s less rainy, around 18-27°C, warm in the daytime, cooling down at night. Autumn is quite warm, too, but weather in spring and autumn is changeable, so it’s worth taking a sweater and raincoat when you go out, even if it’s sunny. The summer is quite dry and is usually hot and humid, 27°C on average, very hot weather is extremely rare. When packing clothes remember the rules for mosques and reasonably conservative wear is preferable. In winter the city is sometimes covered in a blanket of snow, although freezing weather only usually lasts a few days. This season is very varied, too, so be sure to pack a t-shirt, sweater, coat and water-resistant shoes.
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