Spring is one of the most beautiful times to visit Istanbul. Temperatures are rising, but it’s not yet too warm. You can enjoy open terraces and outdoor activities, while the city is especially colorful in April when tulips blossom. Here is a selection of activities you can attend between March and June.
Pera Museum Exhibitions
Until the 17th of March you can visit two temporary exhibitions at the Pera Museum. “Parajanov with Sarkis” is showcasing different works of famous film director Sergey Parajanov. You can see his traditional artworks, pop-art, storyboard drafts, film costumes, drawings, paintings, mosaics, and photographs.
“The Time Needs Changing” is created by three artists: Cao Fei, Nilbar Gures and Raqs Media Collective. The artists are questioning geo-politically controlled nations of our time through drawing, video, photography, installation, and new media.
International Dance Festival
For the 8th time this year, from 27th of March to 1st of April, you can enjoy one of the most popular Latin dance festivals around the world. The International Dance Festival hosts more than 5000 dancers from 80 countries. The event takes place at The Green Park Pendik Hotel & Convention Center. It all starts with a welcoming party, followed by workshops, parties, live concerts, competitions, and shows performed by world renowned dance artists and groups from the United States, South America, Netherlands, Spain, France, Balkans, etc.
Istanbul Film Festival
This year’s 38th Istanbul Film Festival will take place from 5th to 16th of April. Visitors will have the opportunity to watch the most influential movies from around the world. Here are some of the titles you can watch: 12 days, A Season in France, Black Tide, Coby, Golden Years, and Hannah. The film program is also followed by a music program, with among others the Tekfen Philharmonic Orchestra and Daniel Muller-Schott, Luxemburg Philharmonic Orchestra and Yuja Wang, Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra and Fazil.
Holifest in Istanbul
Holifest is a famous Indian spring music and dance festival happening in three big cities in Turkey: Ankara, Izmir, and Istanbul. In Istanbul, this festival attracts around 15000 people and it will be held at Life Park on the 27th of April. You will be able to enjoy Indian cuisine, unique DJ and dance performances, and surprise artists. There are also boutique areas where you can buy Indian ornaments, textile and learn about Indian culture.
If you love live concerts, there are quite a few happening in Istanbul in spring. You can listen to Belgian indie pop band Hooverphonic on March 1st at Zorlu PSM, folk musician Marissa Nadler on April 19th at Salon IKSV, Barcelona Gipsy balKan Orchestra on April 26th at Moda Kayikhane, and Brazilian heavy metal band Sepultura on April 30th at IF Performance Hall Besiktas.
Exhibitions at SALT Beyoglu
Visit SALT, the contemporary art institution in Istanbul, for the screening of “Tripoli Cancelled”. This 93 minutes video will be shown on March 13th and April 17th. In parallel, until April 28th, there is “Prisoners of Correct History”, an exhibition of artist and historian Naeem Mohaiemen’s films, installations and essays about the collapse of Third World internationalism through Bangladesh’s history.
As a wonderful place for foodies, Istanbul has a lot to offer. There are few food festivals and events in springtime in Istanbul you can visit aside from regular food spots around the city.
Join the Sunday Festival at Four Seasons at the Bosphorus hotel every Sunday in March and April. They are taking brunch to a whole new level at this buffet-style restaurant. Taste pizza, pasta, sashimi, oysters or Turkish kebab prepared by executive chef Savas Aydemir and his team.
Visit Cheese Festival at Istanbul Congress Center from 18th to 21st of April. This is going to be the first time for this festival to happen in Istanbul and many different activities are planned, such as cheese making shows, concerts, children’s activities, giant cheese sculptures etc. Keep in mind it is geared towards locals.
If you enjoy waffles, visit Kadikoy Waffle Festival from 31st of May to 2nd of June at Cem street of Kadikoy Moda neighborhood. They will be serving waffles with all kinds of sweet toppings. This can be your lunch or snack idea for the day.
Spring is a great time to spend the day surrounded by trees and nature, not too far from the city center. It takes only a bus ride from Istanbul to this wonderful place where you can enjoy walking, hiking, horseback riding, bike ride, Jeep safari etc.
For the past 14 years, the Tulip Festival has taken place in Istanbul during the month of April and the beginning of May. For centuries Turkish people have adored these flowers and many public gardens are growing them, waiting for the tulips to blossom in springtime. In short, don’t miss the International Istanbul Tulip Festival.
Every year in May, Istanbul hosts the Spring Market, a very special festival where you can buy handcrafted goods made by local artisans. This festival is located in the Beyoğlu.