How to dress in Istanbul – Clothing in Turkey for tourists

When you travel to Istanbul for the first time, it is normal for you to have many questions about how to dress in Istanbul. Is there a dress code to visit mosques in Istanbul? Do women need to wear any additional garments? Are the pants allowed? Can women wear a skirt walking in a mosque in Istanbul? Are men allowed to wear shorts? May I go with socks? What’s up with our shoes? Continue reading and discover everything you need to know about how to dress in Istanbul, so you can pack the ideal clothes to travel to Istanbul.

1 – How to dress in Istanbul?

Istanbul is a mostly Muslim city with dress codes governed by Islam. However, thanks to the large number of tourists that this city receives, the dress code in Istanbul is quite flexible for tourists.

Non-Muslims don’t need to follow the dress codes of Islam. So in Istanbul, you will find people with different types of clothing. As a foreign tourist, you can use practically what you want in Turkey, but keep in mind that what you use will determine first impressions and how they receive you.

2 – Clothing in Turkey for tourists

Most tourists visiting Istanbul opt for the classic combination of shorts and a t-shirt. This dress is acceptable for most of the historical places in Istanbul but is not allowed in mosques. The recommendation is that you wear comfortable, reasonable and modest clothes, and comfortable shoes.

On the beaches you can dress as you want, you can wear a bikini, shorts, shirts and flip flops or bare feet are a normal use for both Turks and foreigners.

3 – Clothing in Turkey for Women

In traditional Muslim societies, women dress very modestly in public and wear more revealing clothes only at family gatherings among close relatives. The Istanbul people do not expect tourists to dress in the same way, but they appreciate modest, simple, and unrevealing clothes.

The most common outfit is a casual style, jeans, shirt, sweater or jacket, and sports shoes. Most of the year you can wear these clothes without any problem. As for shoes, it is not advisable to wear high heeled sandals, since Istanbul is a city with many hills.

On beaches, cruises and recreational centers, you can dress as you want, you can even wear the swimsuit of your choice. In restaurants and other more formal places, you can go casual, with pants or a long skirt. Mosques are the only place where the dress code is rigid, and you must comply to enter.

4 – Clothes to enter mosques Istanbul

The mosques of Istanbul are one of the most visited places by tourists from all over the world. Most of these religious centers are active, so it is necessary to comply with certain dress codes when visiting them.

When visiting a mosque, women should cover their heads, shoulders, knees, and in general, the chest and legs should be covered, the face, hands, and toes can be shown. If you are a woman, you can wear your scarf to cover your head. But keep in mind that there are scarves at the entrance of each mosque. Besides, in the grand bazaar, there are beautiful scarves so you can buy one to wear it in the mosque and have it as a souvenir. If you decide to wear a skirt, it is recommended that it be longer than your knees. At the entrance of the temples, there are always stalls with clothes in case your clothes do not cover you enough.

For men, the dress code is much simpler. If you wear shorts they should cover your knees, entry is not allowed. If you wear sleeveless shirts and wear a cap, make sure you take them off before entering. In addition, make sure you keep your hands out from pockets while walking inside the mosque.

Regardless of your gender, when entering mosques in Istanbul, you should take off your shoes. So it is advisable to wear socks for this visit unless you feel comfortable walking barefoot.

5 – How to dress in Istanbul according to the weather?

When you think of Turkey, probably you think of heat. However, the weather in Istanbul can be quite cold. Therefore, before packing it is important to consider the weather. In Istanbul, the weather changes depending on the seasons. So when packing and it is important to know how to dress in Istanbul according to the weather.

6 – Clothes to travel to Turkey in May to September

In spring (April-May) and autumn (October-November):

there may be rain, and the air can be fresh or even cold at night, but comfortable during the day; In addition, Istanbul is a windy city so during these months. It is advisable to wear a warm jacket or a sweater and a windbreaker, wearing a scarf is quite advisable.

In summer (from June to September):

It is best to wear fresh cotton clothes, a hat, and sunscreen, you can wear a light sweater for cold nights. The rain will not be a big problem this season, although in Istanbul it may surprise you.

7 – Clothes to travel to Istanbul in October to April

In winter, it is important to be prepared, the best recommendation is to wear clothes that can be worn in layers since the weather can go from cold snow to radiant sun in a matter of days. Generally, during winter it is quite cold and windy, despite the sun rising. So it is important to wear warm clothes.

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