Turkish Festivals and Events

Experience Turkey's vibrant culture through its diverse festivals, from the enchanting Whirling Dervishes in Istanbul to the traditional Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling in Edirne. These events showcase the country's rich heritage and warm hospitality.

Istanbul, Turkey. Taksim, Gezipark

Experience the Istanbul Tulip Festival in March

Discover the enchanting Istanbul Tulip Festival in March, a celebration of the city's vibrant tulips. Istanbul, known for its stunning springtime transformation, comes alive with the colours of thousands of tulips during this annual event, which typically runs from late March to early April.

Bed of tulips in a garden of Istanbul

Why visit Istanbul for the Tulip Festival in March?

  • Authentic and captivating experience: While the Netherlands is often associated with tulips, Turkey offers an authentic and captivating experience with these exquisite blooms. Not only are tulips native to Turkey, but the Istanbul Tulip Festival has grown over the years, now boasting over 30 million tulips in full bloom each year.
  • Culturally significant flower: Istanbul's Tulip Festival, featuring vibrant displays of the national flower, marks the arrival of spring, symbolising paradise on earth and feminine beauty, offering a delightful way to welcome the season.
  • Mild weather: March in Istanbul is a pleasant time to visit, with mild temperatures and sunny days. This makes it perfect for exploring the city's outdoor attractions, including the tulip gardens.

Where to see the tulips in Istanbul

  • Emirgan Park: Emirgan Park stands out as the ultimate destination to witness these blooming buds. The park boasts hundreds of tulip varieties in a spectrum of colours, creating a living, vibrant masterpiece. 
  • Sultanahmet Square: This iconic square, home to the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque, is transformed into a sea of tulips during the festival. Visitors can admire the tulips from a distance or take a closer look by strolling through the flowerbeds.
  • Gulhane Park: This historic park, located adjacent to Topkapi Palace, is another must-visit spot for tulip lovers. The park features a variety of tulip beds, as well as stunning views of the Bosphorus Strait.
  • Beylerbeyi Palace: This lavish palace on the Asian side of Istanbul is home to some of the city's most beautiful tulip gardens. Visitors can wander through the gardens at their own pace or take a guided tour.

The Vibrant Nevruz Spring Festival in Antalya

In March, Antalya comes alive with the spirit of spring during the Nevruz Spring Festival, a traditional celebration that ushers in new beginnings and bestows good luck upon the coming year.

The Vibrant Nevruz Spring Festival in Antalya

The festival kicks off on March 21st, known as "Nevruz," signifying a "new day." This date marks the Persian New Year and the joyful arrival of spring. The festival spans seven days, filled with ceremonies, games, and lively street performances.

During this time, traditional Turkish customs take centre stage. Here are some of the popular traditions associated with the Nevruz Spring Festival in Antalya:

  • Jumping over a bonfire: This ritual is performed to invite good fortune and dispel evil. Participants chant "Nevruz!" as they leap over the fire.
  • Karagöz: This friendly stick-throwing tradition is believed to break the curse of the evil eye.
  • Wearing special attire: People wear traditional Turkish clothing, such as colourful vests, scarves, and hats, to attract luck.
  • Consuming honey: Honey is a symbol of sweetness and new beginnings. Participants eat honey during the festival to welcome the new year with joy and abundance.

The Spiritual Ramzan Festival in Turkey

Ramazan, Turkey's significant religious festival in March, celebrates the Quran's revelation with daily fasting from dawn to sunset. Homes are adorned, and days start with pre-dawn breakfast, while evenings feature traditional Turkish dishes and community gatherings.

People pray on the street in Ayasofya square

Ramadan also includes special prayers in mosques, food stalls offering Turkish cuisine, and musical performances. The festival culminates in the three-day "Eker Bayram'' or "Sugar Festival" with gift exchanges and communal gatherings.

Travellers should note possible restrictions due to religious customs, such as closed restaurants during daylight hours. Consider budget-friendly guesthouses like this one near Istanbul's city centre for a homely stay.

Immerse Yourself in the Mesir Paste Festival in Manisa

Manisa's Mesir Paste Festival, rooted in a 500-year-old Ottoman tradition, celebrates a miraculous remedy. Legend has it that Mesir Paste cured Ayse Hafsa Sultan, making it a potent natural remedy.

Immerse Yourself in the Mesir Paste Festival in Manisa

During the March festival, locals craft Mesir Paste, singing local songs, while the city centre hosts Turkish folk music performances and shadow plays. The grand finale features a procession with a traditional marching band.

For a comfortable stay, consider the DoubleTree in the Aegean region, offering luxury, a spa, pool, and attentive staff, providing convenient access to both the festival and Istanbul.

The Splendor of the International Izmir Festival

The International Izmir Festival, held from May to June in Izmir, Turkey, is a prestigious cultural event uniting global artists and performers. The program includes world-famous orchestras, choirs, folk dancers, and workshops, enriching attendees' cultural experiences.

The Splendor of the International Izmir Festival

One of its highlights is performances at the UNESCO World Heritage site, Ephesus, offering a unique blend of music and history. Izmir's warm hospitality and Aegean culture add to the festival's charm, with Kordon offering a lively atmosphere.

Consider staying in a centrally located, well-appointed self-serve apartment, ideal for solo travellers or couples. It features a fully-equipped kitchen, a cosy living room, and a comfortable bedroom and bathroom for a delightful stay.

The Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Festival in Edirne

The Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Festival in Edirne, Turkey, dating back to 1346, is a grand celebration of the ancient sport of Yağlı güreş. Wrestlers, covered in olive oil, compete in traditional leather pants for prestigious prizes.

Oil wrestling

Recognized by UNESCO, this festival is a testament to Turkish cultural heritage. It features not only wrestling but also music, dance, craft workshops, and a bustling bazaar.

Stay in the heart of Edirne at a charming hotel, offering air-conditioned comfort and a restaurant/bar serving delectable Turkish cuisine, just steps away from the festival's vibrant atmosphere.

Experience the Vibrant Electronica Festival in Istanbul

Istanbul's Electronica Festival, an annual electronic music extravaganza since 2004, attracts global enthusiasts. Held in iconic venues like Cemil Topuzlu Open-Air Theatre, it features renowned DJs, immersive art, tech workshops, and AI and VR experiences.

Experience the Vibrant Electronica Festival in Istanbul

Live acts include Tale Of Us and Carl Cox, while dazzling light shows and diverse food options enhance the festival's allure. Tickets offer flexibility, with options for camping, accommodations, and day-night access, details on the festival's website.

Choose from camping packages, nearby hotels, or city centre hostels for an unforgettable Electronica Festival experience, blending music, art, and technology beneath Istanbul's starry skies.

Soar Above Cappadocia's Splendor at the Cappadocia Balloon Festival

The Cappadocia Balloon Festival in July offers a mesmerising perspective of Central Anatolia's beauty, with hundreds of hot air balloons floating over Cappadocia's unique terrain. Attendees can join balloon flights, witness traditional piloting, and enjoy music, dance, fireworks, and diverse cuisine.

Colorful hot air balloons flying over Red valley at Cappadocia

Stay at a cave hotel in Cappadocia for panoramic views and rooftop breakfasts, where hot air balloons grace the sky, creating a remarkable start to your Cappadocian adventure. This festival provides an unforgettable experience of this captivating Turkish region.

The Mevlana Whirling Dervishes Festival in Konya

Konya's Mevlana Whirling Dervishes Festival celebrates the legacy of Mevlana, a 13th-century Sufi mystic, through mesmerising Sema ceremonies. These rituals involve spinning and swaying, symbolising devotion to God and fostering inner peace.


The festival, held over two days in November, includes traditional music and educational programs. Attendees can immerse themselves in Mevlana's teachings and the spiritual traditions of the Mevlevi Order.

Experience the warmth and hospitality of Konya while staying at a stylish hotel in the historic district, offering picturesque views and traditional Turkish cuisine. This festival offers a unique opportunity to explore Turkey's rich cultural and spiritual heritage.

Considering Travelling During Ramadan (Ramadan)

Deciding whether to embark on a journey during Ramadan (Ramadan) hinges on the type of adventure you seek. If you relish immersing yourself in local culture and can accommodate a bit of inconvenience, travelling during this sacred month can offer a captivating and enriching experience. 

While daylight hours are dedicated to fasting and contemplation, the evenings come alive with vibrant festivities and, of course, sumptuous feasts! Moreover, the reduced tourist influx during this time facilitates easier interactions with locals and shorter queues at popular attractions.

Commemorating the Anniversary of the Anzac Campaign

Each year, a multitude of individuals make their way to the Gallipoli peninsula to honour the memory of the Australian, New Zealand, and Turkish soldiers who gave their lives during the harrowing Gallipoli campaign of World War I. 

The poignant dawn ceremony held on Anzac Day has become an iconic event, steadily gaining popularity with each passing year. If you intend to visit Gallipoli in April to observe Anzac Day, meticulous planning is advised as accommodations and tourist activities tend to fill up quickly.


When is the Istanbul Tulip Festival held?

The Istanbul Tulip Festival takes place in March, and it celebrates the vibrant display of tulips blooming across the city.

What is the significance of the Mevlana Whirling Dervishes Festival in Konya?

The Mevlana Whirling Dervishes Festival in Konya commemorates the 13th-century Sufi mystic and poet Mevlana, emphasising the spiritual aspects of Sufi music and dance.

When is the best time to visit Turkey for smaller crowds?

The best time to visit Turkey for smaller crowds is during the winter months, particularly in January and February, when tourist numbers are lower compared to spring and summer.

What is the ideal time to visit Turkey for good weather?

Mid-May to late June and September to October are considered the ideal times to visit Turkey for pleasant weather, with comfortable temperatures and fewer crowds.

When is the best time to visit Turkey for lower prices?

Travelling during the off-peak seasons, when tourist numbers are lower, can lead to lower prices in Turkey. Booking accommodations well in advance can also help secure lower rates.

What are some notable festivals in Istanbul?

Istanbul hosts several festivals, including the Istanbul Arts Festival in mid-summer and the Istanbul Jazz Festival in July, showcasing music, arts, and culture.

When is the Cappadocia Balloon Festival held?

The Cappadocia Balloon Festival takes place in July and offers the opportunity to experience hot air balloon rides over the stunning Cappadocian landscape.


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