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Climate and Travel

Turkey is divided into three main climatic zones: the central plateau, the north coast and the west and south coasts. Of these the central plateau has a continental climate, with hot summers and cold winters in which temperatures may drop as low as 35C(1 F).

The Black Sea coast also has rather cold winters, with temperatures dropping to 20~C (14F). The summers there are hot, but also have plenty of rain.

The coasts of the Mediterranean, the Aegean and the Sea of Marmara enjoy a Mediterranean climate,with mild winters and hot dry summers. Most of the tourist centres along the west and south coasts come within this more favoured climatic region. In July and August, however, temperatures can sometimes climb as high as4O~C (104F).

The best time to travel is between May and October. Travellers who prefer to avoid the heat should note that September can also be very hot, especially inland. Spring is the best time for seeing the Mediterranean flowers in all their glory. Only the central plateau remains obstinately bare of vegetation. Autumn provides a rich harvest of fruit.

Average temperatures in Anatolia are somewhat distorted by the climatic extremes. Diyarbakir has a yearly average of only 15.8C (60F), while Ankara has 1 1.7C (53F) and Erzurum only 5.9C (42F).This hides the fact that all three cities can still be unpleasantly hot in september. In Diyarbakir the extremes are 46'C (11 5F) and 24~C (1OF); in Ankara 38C (1OO~F) and 25~C (9~F); in Erzurum 34C (93~F) and 30'C (4~F). Istanbul benefits somewhat from Mediterranean influence, but still has extremes of 39'C (102F) in summer and 16~C (18F) in winter.

All regions apart from the north coast receive most of their rain between the months of October and February. The rest of the year is normally dry, and travellers can count on blue skies for the majority of their trip.

However, the climatic variation provides an additional excitement of its own. It is only a day's trip from the heat of the coast around Antalya to the eternal snows of the nearby Taurus Mountains. Visitors can run around in the snow and return the same day to bathe in the warm waters of the Mediterranean.