July is midsummer in Turkey and the weather is hot, wherever you go and whatever you choose to do. Average July temperatures in Istanbul and Cappadocia are "only" 82°F (28°C), whereas almost every other popular destination soars above 86°F (30°C). Coastal places, such as Bodrum and Antalya, tend to be hottest. Even inland Ankara, which is cooler than Istanbul for much of the year, is very hot in July. The flip side is that Turkey is generally very dry in July, and the heat is a dry heat rather than an all-encompassing muggy heat. Add a coastal sea breeze and you might just find Turkey to be perfect in July.
Crowds & Costs
July is peak season at the beach resorts along the west and southwest coast so you can expect crowds, high prices, and limited availability of flights and accommodation unless you book early. Much of Europe takes summer vacation in July and makes a beeline to Turkey.
On the other hand, Istanbul, Ankara, and Cappadocia are mercifully quiet. You're less likely to have to queue for popular cultural and historic sites, and the temperatures are even a little cooler (but really only a little). If you want to check out the amazing museums, mosques, palaces, and other attractions in these places and don't mind the heat, July could be a good time to do so. Prices are a bit cheaper, too.
Where to Go
Where to go in Turkey in July should depend on your comfort levels with heat. To enjoy the sun and cool off in the sea, the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts are ideal. Izmir is one of Turkey's largest cities and a good starting point for coastal adventures on the west. The port city of Fethiye, on the southwestern coast, is a good place to start island-hopping adventures. Bodrum and Antalya are other vibrant, interesting cities located conveniently near some superb beaches.
What to Do
Swimming, sailing, and relaxing on beaches are ideal things to do in Turkey in July. If, however, you're more interested in culture and history there are plenty of options in July. Cappadocia, with its amazing fairy-chimney landscape, isn't very busy in July. Istanbul could keep a culture and history buff occupied for days, with its centuries of history all on display. To combine beach time with a good dose of culture, head for the region around Selcuk. The town isn't coastal itself but it's not far from beaches, and it's the base for exploring the incredible ancient ruins at Ephesus. Just time your visit to Ephesus for early morning or late afternoon, and there's almost no shade.
Events in July
International Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival, in June and July. Held in a well-preserved 2000-year-old Roman theater near Antalya, this festival is organized by the Turkish State Opera and Ballet and welcomes international acts.
Istanbul Jazz Festival, from late June to mid-July. Despite its name, this music festival isn't limited to jazz and visitors can also listen to rock, pop, reggae, and more.
Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim, late July. Even if you don't want to participate in this challenging event, watching thousands of competitors swimming across the Bosphorus between Europe and Asia is exciting.
Traveling to Turkey in July? Check out these great itineraries
Exploring Ancient and Historic Turkey - 7 Days. Enjoy a week exploring some of Turkey's most historic sites, including lively Istanbul, a cruise along the Bosphorus Strait, the battlegrounds of Gallipoli, and ancient Troy.
Historic Turkey: Istanbul, Cappadocia, Konya - 9 Days. Starting in Istanbul, embark on a trip through Turkey's history and discover why this country was one of the most important forces of the ancient world.