The annual calendar of Istanbul includes a variety of wonderful festivals that suit all tastes.
In this article, we intend to present the most famous festivals and events in Istanbul, along with a brief explanation of the nature and timing of each one.
If you live in Istanbul or are planning to travel to this beautiful city, follow us in the next article so as not to miss the opportunity to enjoy the best Istanbul festivals.
Spring Festivals in Istanbul
Istanbul International Film Festival (annual, April)
Istanbul International Film Festival is a 12-day festival organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV).
At the Istanbul Film Festival you can see and enjoy important local and international films, the festival is held in many cultural centers and cinemas in Beyoglu and Kadikoy districts.
The Istanbul Film Festival not only shows films, but also holds many activities and workshops in the city.
You can find more information about the program and the exact time of the festival on this website: https://film.iksv.org/en
WTA Tennis Festival (Annual, April)
WTA International Tennis festival, a great international competition held in Turkey.
It has tennis fans watching this game and seeing many tennis stars from all over the world.
The tournament will be held at Spor Toto Tennis Park in Esenkent District of Istanbul.
You can find more information about the program and the exact time of the festival on this website: http://www.istcup.net/
Istanbul Tulip Festival (Annual, last 3 weeks of April)
Tulips are very important to the Ottoman Empire and Turkish culture, and to celebrate spring and maintain its importance, the Tulip Festival is held annually in the most famous places in Istanbul such as Gulhane Park, Sultanahmet Square, Yildiz Park in Besiktas, Emirgan Park and many of the city’s main parks.
Participation in the festival is free, and visitors can enjoy millions of tulips of different varieties in April, as well as cultural and artistic activities held in Emirgan Park and Sultanahmet Square.
In addition to the magnificent tulips, there will also be a photography competition and prizes will be awarded to the winners.
Summer Festivals in Istanbul
Istanbul International Music Festival (annual, June)
Istanbul International Music Festival is a 3-week festival organized by IKSV, in this festival you can enjoy great performances by prominent international and local artists.
In addition to performing classical music, Philharmonic orchestras, Baroque, Bach, Vivaldi, Handel and many others perform at major historical sites such as Hagia Irene Museum, Opera House, Rahmi Koc Museum and others.
See more information about the program and the exact time of the festival on this website: https://muzik.iksv.org/en
Istanbul Chill-Out festival (annual, June)
Istanbul Chill-Out festival is a two-day dance, electronic music and Pop Festival held at Garden Fiesta in Sariyer district.
This festival is one of the most famous festivals especially for young people.
In this festival, which is held in Bodrum and Cesme in Istanbul, you can enjoy performances of artists that focus on different types of music, entertainment activities, workshops and various parties.
See more information about the program and the exact time of the festival on this website: http://www.chilloutfest.com/
Istanbul International Jazz Festival (annual, July)
Istanbul International Jazz Festival is a 3-week music festival organized by IKSV.
In this festival, you can enjoy jazz performances by the prominent artists of the city. There are also some other activities during the festival, free performances and parties, making the Istanbul International Jazz Festival one of the most popular festivals.
Bosphorus Intercontinental Swimming Race (Annual, July)
This international competition is known as one of the most distinguished swimming competitions in the world, which includes crossing the Bosphorus strait from Asia to Europe by swimming, and is organized by the Turkish Olympic Committee.
The swimming track at this event is 6.5 kilometers long, the race starts at Kanlica Beach on the Asian side and ends at Kurucesme beach near Ortakoy on the European side.
Thousands of foreign and local swimmers take part in this event, if you are in Istanbul you can take part or watch this wonderful event with various celebrations on the beaches.
See more information about the program and Race Time on this website: http://bogazici.olimpiyatkomitesi.org.tr/tr
Autumn Festivals in Istanbul
The International Istanbul festival of Contemporary Art (Every two years, September – November)
Istanbul International Contemporary Art Festival lasts about two months and is held every two years by IKSV.
It is one of the best festivals in the world, competing with similar festivals in Venice, São Paulo and Sydney.
Participation in the festival is free, and you will enjoy the most famous performances of contemporary art in more than 30 venues in Istanbul.
See more information about the program and the exact time of the festival on this website: https://bienal.iksv.org/en
Istanbul Coffee Festival (Annually, September)
The Istanbul Coffee Festival lasts about 4 days and serves a variety of coffee from all over the world to coffee lovers. The festival is held in KüçükÇiftlik Park in Maçka, near Taksim Square.
In this festival, you can taste coffee from different booths as well as take part in workshops, seminars and coffee competitions.
Find more information about the program and the exact time of the festival on this website:
Akbank Jazz Festival (Annual, October)
Akbank Jazz Festival is a 10-day music festival that takes place in October, during this Turkish festival, you can see performances by some of the famous jazz artists from all over the world at low prices.
Other important events during the festival include workshops and film screenings, which is not only an event for jazz lovers, but also caters to lovers of other genres of music.
The festival takes place in attractive venues such as Akbank Sanat, Hagia Irene Museum, Babylon, Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall and Zorlu Center.
See more information about the program and the exact time of the festival on this website: https://www.akbanksanat.com/en
Istanbul International Doll Festival (Annual, October-November)
Istanbul International Doll Festival is an 11-day special festival for art and puppet lovers, and takes place every year in different places such as Beyoglu district in Istanbul and the Naval Museum in Besiktas.
You can enjoy puppet shows brought in from all over the world, and a variety of shows including movie screenings, puppet making workshops and more.
See more information about the program and the exact time of the festival on this website: http://www.istanbulkuklafestivali.com/en
Istanbul International Book Fair (Annual, November)
Istanbul International Book Fair is a great 8-day book fair, which is held every year in cooperation with the Turkish Publishers Association at the TUYAP Congress Center in the Buyukcekmece district of Istanbul.
The book fair has more than 800 booths from Turkish and international publishers, in addition to buying books, you can enjoy a variety of events, such as book signings and cultural activities.
See more information about the program and the exact time for on this website: http://istanbulkitapfuari.com/en/
Istanbul Marathon (Annually, November)
The Istanbul Marathon is a unique event because it is the only event in the world to be held between two continents.
The marathon starts under the Altunizade Bridge on the Asian side and ends between Besiktas Arena and Dolmabahce Palace.
To participate in this marathon, you must register and purchase a ticket, ask for more information about the program and time specified on this site: https://maraton.istanbul/
Istanbul International Theatre Festival (Every two years, November – December)
Istanbul International Theater Festival is a two-week festival held every two years by IKSV.
At the Istanbul International Theater Festival, art and theater lovers can visit a variety of local and international theater performances and events and enjoy some free workshops.
See more information about the program and the exact time of the festival on this website: http://tiyatro.iksv.org/en
Winter Festivals in Istanbul
Istanbul International Food Festival (Annually, December)
Istanbul International Food Festival is a three-day festival for Turkish and international food lovers, organized by the Turkish Culinary Federation at the Eyup Center for Culture and Arts in the Eyup district of Istanbul.
Visitors can experience different flavors from around the world besides Turkish cuisine.
More than 2,000 chefs from 30 countries compete in the festival.
So if you are also interested in different foods and flavors, do not miss the opportunity to participate in this exciting and delicious festival.
See more information about the program and the exact time of the festival on this website: https://www.istanbulgastronomyfestival.com/en/
New Year celebration (Annually, December 31)
Celebrating the New Year in Istanbul is wonderful. Every year on the 31st of December, Istanbul witnesses a variety of festivities, fireworks, parties and many fun activities that make the city vibrant.
AKBank Short Film Festival (Annually, March)
AKBank Short Film Festival is a 10-day film festival that takes place in March as one of the most important artistic and cultural events in Istanbul.
The purpose of this festival is to encourage the production of short films and their presentation to the public, in addition to supporting new filmmakers and awarding prizes to the winners, providing a platform for discussion and creating a festive atmosphere for film lovers free of charge.
Other important activities during this festival in Istanbul include holding various workshops, interviews and a platform for exchanging experiences between film professionals and visitors.
See more information about the program and the exact time of the event on this site: https://www.akbanksanat.com/en