Best Festivals in Istanbul
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Festivals You Can’t Miss in Istanbul

Created : 19 Jan 2023
Festivals You Can’t Miss in Istanbul

By Justin Mays:

Istanbul is a busy, multicultural, and socially active city. We know this and it is not surprising, as it is the most populated city in Europe, with 14.5 million inhabitants and millions of tourists from all over the world. In a metropolis so open to interaction, cultural events are a must, and Istanbul does not skimp on that.

Every year, the city organizes dozens of festivals of all kinds, to promote the gastronomic, musical, cinematographic, and literary culture, among many others, of the country. These are usually events that last several days and bring together visitors from all parts of Turkey, but also other countries. They are the perfect opportunity to connect with the pure essence of the country and to learn more about its traditions and roots.

Istanbul International Film Festival


The first big event that we present to you is the Istanbul International Film Fest, a meeting that is usually held in April and lasts about 12 days. It is organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and the Arts, with the aim of publicizing the feature films and short films that have been released in Turkey over the past year. But in addition to national works, pieces made in other countries are also usually exhibited. Normally, these films can be seen in cinemas and in the cultural centers of Kadikoy and Beyoglu.

Istanbul Tulip Festival

Secondly, we are going to tell you about the Istanbul Tulip Festival, which is probably the most popular and special event in the metropolis. It is usually held in April, to welcome spring, and tulips are the stars of this festival. These flowers have always been considered one of the most important elements of the Ottoman Empire and Turkish culture, used as decorative elements in the country since the 12th century.

Thus, every year, during April, some parks in Istanbul are filled with tulips, such as Gulhane Park, Sultanahmet Square, Yildiz Park, and Emirgan Park, among many others. The festival is free and offers visitors the chance to view billions of tulips of 120 different types. It's such an amazing show!

Istanbul International Music Festival


On the other hand, there is the Istanbul International Music Festival, an event that usually takes place in June and lasts for three weeks. It is a music festival in which local and international artists perform, but in which you can also enjoy performances of classical music, philharmonic orchestras, and baroque music, among others. One of the most special details of this festival is that the concerts usually take place in historical places of Istanbul, such as the Hagia Irene Museum, the Sureyya Opera House, and the Rahmi Koc Museum, among others.

Istanbul International Book Fair

Do you love books? If the answer is yes, that's your festival. The Istanbul International Book Fair began to be held 38 years ago, and during these decades it has become the most important literary event in the country. Every year, almost half a million visitors come to the TÜYAP Fair Convention and Congress Center to soak up literature. This festival is usually held in November or December, bringing together hundreds of bookstores, authors, and books, national and international.

Istanbul Coffee Festival


If you are addicted to coffee, this festival interests you. The Istanbul Coffee Festival is an event that is usually organized in September and lasts for about four days. The festival normally takes place in the KüçükÇiftlik Park, located in Macka, near Taksim Square. Its goal is to bring coffee from all over the world to Istanbul so that lovers of this popular drink can taste coffee from other countries. In addition to selling coffee, the festival also features seminars, contests, and games.

Istanbul International Gastronomy Festival

Finally, we introduce you to the Istanbul International Gastronomy Festival, an event that lasts three days and is usually organized in December. It is the ideal place for gastronomy lovers to put their palates to the test. The festival is organized by the Turkish Federation of Cooks and Chefs, and usually brings together around 2,000 chefs from around 30 countries. During this festival, visitors will be able to taste typical dishes of Turkish cuisine, but also international cuisine. Are you sure you want to miss it?

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