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Istanbul

Weather

The best times to visit İstanbul are around spring and autumn, roughly from April to May and from September to October, when the climate is perfect. During July and August it is hot and steamy; a lot of İstanbullus head for the west and south coasts over these months. Chill winter winds and snow are common in winter.

When to go

The best times to visit İstanbul are in spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October), when skies are clear and temperatures are moderate. During July and August it is hot and steamy; a lot of İstanbullus head for the west and south coasts over these months and some businesses close. Biting winter winds and snow are common in winter.

Be aware that during the five-day Kurban Bayramı banks shut and ATMs can run out of money. During Ramazan business hours can be erratic. Hotel rooms skyrocket in price and are often overbooked during the Formula 1 Grand Prix in June.

During the warmer months İstanbul is awash with arts festivals and music events, giving the visitor plenty of choice when it comes to entertainment. Most of the big-name arts festivals are organised by the İstanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (212-334 0700; www.iksv.org/english), though Positif (www.pozitif-ist.com) organises its fair share. Tickets to most events are available from Biletix (216-556 9800; www.biletix.com).