Istanbul offers a wonderful introduction to Turkey and a unique holiday destination.

A fascinating mix of past and present, modern and traditional

Istanbul offers a wonderful introduction to Turkey and a unique holiday destination.  The former capital of three powerful empires - Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman - is a fascinating mix of past and present, modern and traditional.

The museums, churches, palaces, mosques, bazaars and the sights of natural beauty seem inexhaustible. In addition to Istanbul’s unique historical and cultural background, the city’s innumerable attractions, contemporary hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and shops make Istanbul one of the most fascinating destinations of your Mediterranean cruise vacation.

The bewitching Mullah calls to prayer ring out across the city, punctuating each day with haunting resonant tones and lending a distinctly Eastern air to this European city. In fact, Istanbul literally straddles the two continents of Europe and Asia, bisected by a wide waterway, the Bosphorous Strait.

The rich architectural and cultural hallmarks of this city will make a day away from your luxury cruise liner into a fascinating extravaganza of sights and sounds.

Our extensive package of excursions with great deals on attractions in and around Istanbul provides the best way to get the most from Istanbul. First time visitors can enjoy a comprehensive sightseeing experience in the Deluxe Istanbul tour, which covers key attractions from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi Palace. The Grand Bazaar provides unrivalled shopping opportunities and is the perfect place to pick up an authentic handcrafted rug, traditional ceramics or stunning jewellery.

Keen cruise fans can go from one ship to another and opt for the Bosphorous boat tour, a relaxing and scenic tour of the sights along Istanbul’s Bosphorous Strait.

Cruise to Istanbul - Turkey - Mediterranean - MSC Cruises


Ships dock right on the Bosphorus directly across from the Old City, just short of the first bridge crossing the Bosphorus near Dolmabahce Palace. The Old City is within walking distance by heading north, crossing the bridge and then entering Old City by the Spice Market.

Port average temperature

Istanbul has a temperate climate but is located within a climatic transition zone between oceanic and mediterranean climates.

Summer is generally hot and humid, the temperature between July and August averaging 28°C. Winter is cold, wet and often snowy, averaging 5°C. Spring and autumn are usually mild and wet but are erratic, and the weather can range from chilly to warm, though the nights are chilly.

The humidity of the city is constantly high which makes the air feel much harsher than the actual temperatures. The city being located in the second most humid region of the country, has an average annual humidity of 72%. Average annual precipitation is 678 mm. Istanbul has an average annual of 152 days of precipitation. Summer is the driest season, but precipitation does occur during that season and is irregular and often torrential.

Snowfall which occurs almost annually is common between the months of December and March, with an annual total snow cover of 19 days, but average winter snowfall often varies considerably from year to year, and snow cover usually remains only for a few days after each snowfall.

Fog is prevalent, throughout the year, particularly during the mornings, but it quickly dissipates before noon. However fog cover during the whole day is rare, and it usually occurs in winter, spring and autumn. Thunderstorms, which are not common, usually occur in late spring, summer and early autumn, with an annual total of 22 days, and are particularly rare during the rest of the year and almost unheard of in winter. The city is also quite windy, having an average wind speed of 18 km/h.

The highest recorded temperature was 40.5 °C on 12 July 2000, and the lowest recorded temperature was −16.1 °C on 15 February 1927. Due to its size, topography and maritime influences, Istanbul exhibits a multitude of distinct microclimates.

The temperate figures shown are based on monthly average weather conditions for the selected port. Weather data is not real-time, and sometimes no data is shown for a specific date, month or port in general.

Average high °C7810152025272724191310
Averagelow °C224812161819161285
MEDITERRANEAN | Italy, Greece, Romania, Russian Federation, Turkey, Croatia
Duration: 14 | Ship: MSC OPERA
Boarding Port: Venice, Italy
Boarding Date:
MEDITERRANEAN | Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey
Duration: 12 | Ship: MSC SINFONIA
Boarding Port: Genoa, Italy
Boarding Date:
Departure Date