Festivals in Istanbul

As Istanbul is known for its glorious history and culture, it is also famous for its festivals, its lively spirit, beauty, and uniqueness. It does not matter which season you visit Istanbul; you can be sure that every season has several festivals! Here is a list of the most famous festivals you can join!

International Film Festival

One of the great festivals for movie lovers, the International Film Festival, organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, offers you to discover and enjoy brilliant local and international films! The International Film Festival is a spring-time festival; visit Istanbul in April to enjoy motion picture screens for 12 days in a row! During your film festival, you will be satisfied to discover Istanbul in Kadıköy and Beyoğlu, which are cultural centers and host the most beautiful and historic cinemas! 

Tulip Festival

One of the glorious festivals in Istanbul, maybe the most beautiful one, the Tulip Festival, will be painting your eyes with their beauties! Have you ever wondered why tulips are so held upon in the Ottoman era and now? Tulip is the symbol of the Ottomans and represents perfect love, power, and wealth. Therefore, every year when the tulips were in bloom, a magnificent party was given! Discover Istanbul and its history by joining the Tulip Festival in the last three weeks of April! It will be a festival and an experience you surely will not forget. Tulip Festival takes place at the city’s most famous and important parks such as Gülhane Park in Sirkeci, Sultanahmet Square where the Blue Mosque of Istanbul is located in, Yildiz Park in Besiktas which is another area hosting palaces and pavilions, Emirgan Park in Emirgan, Fethi Pasha Grove and Çamlıca Hill in Üsküdar, and Beykoz Park in Beykoz! 

International Music Festival

How about a festival which makes your ears cheer up? This summer will be unforgettable with Istanbul’s International Music Festival, organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts. For Istanbul’s International Music Festival, some great historical venues such as Hagia Irene Museum, Sureyya Opera House, Rahmi Koç Museum, and more are opening their gates and welcoming you to experience remarkable performances of the prominent international and local artists. Be sure that this will be one of the unique musical festivals you have seen. It’s going to be a peerless experience to breathe the historical atmosphere and listen to great performances!

International Jazz Festival

Good news for blues lovers! The three weeks long International Jazz Festival organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts is waiting to be enjoyed by you in July. Discover Istanbul’s spirit with the craziest sounds! You will feel so lucky to experience the showcases of the leading international jazz, soul, and blues artists! This one is the most prominent one among all the music festivals in all of Turkey.

Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim Race

One of the most exciting festivals in Istanbul, the Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim Race, is annually held in July! Organized by the Turkish Olympic Committee, it is an international swimming race that is one of the unique festivals offering swimmers the to cross the Bosphorus from the Asian side to the European side by swimming! 

International Biennial

Art is everywhere in Istanbul; the city itself is art, a picture to look at for hours, a tale to listen with joy, a romantic poem to fall in love… How about discovering Istanbul, which is the most beautiful piece of art? Istanbul’s International Biennial is an international contemporary art biennial lasting two months if you are into art! Think about enjoying the most popular showcases of the contemporary art exhibition in some venues in the city!

Coffee Festival

Say hello to September with the Coffee Festival! Coffee Festival, which is held in Küçükçiftlik Park venue, located in Maçka, Beşiktaş, lasts four days. It is a great chance to taste different kinds of coffee in the various stands. There are also coffee workshops, seminars, playground events, and competitions you can participate in. Furthermore, you can enjoy concerts at this festival! It is one of those festivals you would like to join in.

Istanbul International Gastronomy Festival

Istanbul International Gastronomy Festival is held for gastronomy and world cuisine lovers every December! Visitors of this festival have the opportunity to taste the world’s different tastes and Turkish cuisine which is an essential part of Turkish culture! The İnternational gastronomy festival also offers a competition between chefs! You have three days to taste mouth-watering tastes! Who does not enjoy tasting different delicacies of different cultures?

 National Holidays

In the stages of reforming the modern Republic of Turkey, some important days have different meanings in history, and are so proud!  

On April 23, people celebrate April 23 National Sovereignty and Children’s Day. April 23 is an important day in terms of providing the community with sovereignty! Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, presented this important day to all children in the world. According to Atatürk, children are our future generation, and they determine the future! Therefore, on 23 April, so many activities intended for kids are done and celebrated.

August 30 is celebrated as a Victory Day in Turkey because, in history, it was the day when Turkish people had their liberty and registered Turkey as an officially Turkish country!

The Republic of Turkey was established on 29 October 1923. Therefore, October 29 is one of Turkey’s most important days to celebrate with great enthusiasm!

Religious Feasts (Holy Days)

Turkey has two religious feasts: one is the Ramadan Feast. After people are done fasting during Ramadan times of the year, which is one of the five pillars of Islam, Ramadan Feast is celebrated. Relatives and friends are visited during the feast. Another one is the Feast of Sacrifice. During this feast, believers fulfill their Islamic duties by sacrificing sheep, cows, and goats. 


Frequently Asked Question

What is Eid called in Turkey?
Eid is called as Bayram in Turkish.
What is the main religion of people in Turkey?
Majority of people in Turkey are muslims.
Is Christmas a holiday in Turkey?
As many people are Muslims in Turkey, Christmas isn't celebrated as a holiday.
What are national holidays in Turkey?
National Sovereignty & Children's Day: 23 April, Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day: 19 May, Victory Day: 30 August and Republic Day: 29 October
What are religious holidays in Turkey?
The Ramadan Bayram and the Eid-al-Adha