The colourful buildings of Istanbul and iconic Galata Tower from the Bosphorus strait.

Istanbul for any season


Whether you’re warming up in a hammam in the winter, or exploring the islands in summer, Istanbul is special at any time of year.

Istanbul has plenty to offer at any time of year, from magnificent spring tulips and summer boat trips to autumnal strolls in the forest. As the temperatures drop, head for its exquisitely tiled hammams, or cosy up over a glass or two of excellent local red.

March to May

Spring in Istanbul brings the famous Tulip Festival, held every April; head to Emirgan Park for swathes of colourful blooms. With mild temperatures, this is also the best time of year for exploring the city on foot. For antiques, head to the cluster of shops in Çukurcuma, including the famed A la Turca, with its kilims, curiosities, vintage globes and more. In neighbouring Galata, Kashif Sofa is another standout. For fresh sea air, stroll Bebek’s waterfront promenade, stopping at Bebek Balıkcı for grilled fish and crisp white wine.

June to August

Residents often retreat to their summer homes outside the city to escape the heat, but there are myriad opportunities to cool off in and around the water. Rent a private boat and sail along the Bosphorus, then dine on fresh meze on the waterfront, or head further afield with a tour of Princes’ Islands. Back at the hotel, claim a table on Olea’s terrace for dinner, with its Italianate menu and breezy Bosphorus views. Come summer, the city’s festival scene is also in full swing. June brings the month-long İKSV Music Festival, with its packed classical line-up, as well as the terrific Istanbul Jazz Festival.

September to November

Come autumn, head to nearby Belgrad Forest to hike some epic trails, as the leaves turn red and gold. This is also an excellent time to take a trip outside the city, to see more of Turkey’s tourist draws minus the high-season crowds. Skip the usual suspects such as Antalya, and instead take a short flight to Izmir, renting a car to explore nearby Urla – the so-called ‘Tuscany of Turkey’. Visit its award-winning boutique vineyards, including the Urla Winery, to sample local varieties, like the velvety Kalecik Karası. For pieces by Rodin, Braque and more, head for Arkas Art – a modern, column-clad temple to fine art. For dinner, book well ahead at OD Urla, a farm-to-table fine dining experience, set among the vines and olive trees.

December to February

When winter arrives in Istanbul, take shelter in a steamy hammam. Reserve a private session at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus, Istanbul, then laze the afternoon away in the relaxation lounge (don’t be surprised if you drop off). On rainy or snowy days, explore the Dolapdere neighbourhood, home to some of Istanbul’s most important art galleries. Take in some contemporary art at the angular Arter building, or the boundary-testing, sleekly modern Pilevneli. After dark, scope out the exceptional wine list at Neolokal, then feast on its fine dining menu, which might run from truffled börek to outrageously tender slow-cooked lamb. For a nightcap, the sleek Novikov Lounge Bar awaits, with its clubby velvet chairs and beautifully-crafted cocktails.
All offers and experiences available at time of publication. Please contact the hotel team for more information.