Festivity Galore: Discover 6 Must-Attend Festivals in Turkey in 2024

Discover 6 Must-Attend Festivals in Turkey in 2024

Festivals are that glittering part of every culture no one can resist participating in. They’re a testament to unity, joy, and celebration. It’s a time when people come together to prepare and celebrate the culture that has been woven through countless decades and generations. You can truly tell how inclusive and rich a culture is based on the festivals it celebrates. Attending them is a must for people who wish to learn about various cultures worldwide. And if it’s a festival you come across as you’re traveling, attending it could be the best decision you ever made. When it comes to festivals in Turkey, the country celebrates them like none else.

Sure you can see the grandeur of the country by visiting historic, architectural, and iconic sites. But the true culture-sampling experience you can get while getting lost in the country’s many festivals is incomparable. Turkey is a simmering pot of cultures, which got interlaced by many civilizations, eras, and geographical events it witnessed. Now, the country has year-round vibrant festivals and events that connect the culture, authentic delicacies, traditions, and history. Thus producing an amalgamation of a rich culture-sampling experience for travelers. 

In a country such as Turkey, every day you spend here is a festival in itself. But experiencing some select events will help you glimpse the tradition they reflect in their truest form. So if you’re a festival-head who’s visiting Turkey in 2024 or if you simply wish to learn about this vibrant aspect of Turkish culture, we’ve gone ahead and compiled 6 must-attend festivals in Turkey you shouldn’t miss in 2024.

Read More: Affordable Destinations in Turkey for Budget Travelers


Top 6 Must-Attend Festivals in Turkey You Shouldn’t Miss in 2024

Turkey's 8 Must-Attend Festivals in 2024

Whether it’s the folk festivals or the rock music ones, Turkey’s got them all. Which is a great travel selling point for the country, but an overwhelming one for travelers (especially first-time ones!) as there’s so much to choose from. However, cease your worries; we’ve hand-picked some of the most popular and anticipated festivals in Turkey for both natives and visitors.


1. Istanbul Tulip Festival


  • Held in: March
  • Location: Istanbul

Although Istanbul’s history, culture, and geography make it Turkey’s biggest tourist hub, the Tulip Festival held here is the reason many travelers wait until March to visit the city. During the spring, Istanbul becomes one of the most beautiful cities in Turkey, with vibrant tulips blooming everywhere. The Tulip Festival is held here annually to celebrate the flower’s significance to the local culture.

From late March to early April, the streets and parks of Istanbul are painted with thousands of colorful tulips, and its streets thrive with tourists and natives everywhere. During this celebration, more than 30 million tulips bloom, and the number grows every year. This is the perfect way to say goodbye to winter days and embrace springtime. To truly get the front-ticket experience for this festival, you should visit Emirgan Park.

There are hundreds of different tulip varieties here, ranging from white to yellow and red to purple. The park is practically a Monet painting because of how vibrantly colored everything is. There are also live music events, art shows, and even opportunities to try authentic Turkish cuisine, making this a must-attend festival in Turkey.

Check Out: Istanbul Tour (3 Days)


2. Mevlana Whirling Dervishes Festival


  • Held in: November
  • Location: Konya

Held in Konya, the beloved culture hub of Turkey, The Mevlana Whirling Dervishes Festival is an annual event that people around the world come to witness. The festival commemorates the passing of Mevlana, a Sufi saint, and poet who lived in the 13th century and founded The Mevlevi Order, one of the most well-known Islamic schools of thought in the world.

Whirling Dervishes spin and sway in circles as a traditional ritual during the festival, signifying their devotion to God. Many of them will enter a trance-like state as they whirl in rhythm circles to achieve inner peace and harmony. Performances by traditional musicians are part of the two-day event in November for the festival. 

Aside from learning more about the whirling dervishes ceremony, visitors can also participate in special educational programs about Mevlana’s teachings. This is one of the most culturally rich festivals in Turkey you must attend if you’re in Konya at that time of the year. The festival’s welcoming hospitality and warmth make this an event that’s perfect for people who wish to learn more about the spiritual part of Turkey’s culture.

Check Out: Istanbul, Cappadocia & Konya (8 Days)


3. Mesir Macunu Festival


  • Held In: March
  • Location: Manisa

Who would’ve thought that a medicinal remedy five centuries ago would give birth to one of the most celebrated festivals in Turkey? The residents of Manisa have preserved the enduring custom known as Mesir Paste (also known as Mesir Macunu in Turkish) for almost 500 years. Created as a medicinal remedy during the Ottoman era, this medical paste originated from the passing of a Sultan. 

After marrying Yavuz Sultan Selim in the 16th century, Ayse Hafsa Sultan was taken to the Ottoman Harem in Crimea. Following his passing, she became ill, and it is thought that Mesir Paste—a miraculous cure that has been handed down through the ages—helped her recover. Now, every March, Manisa hosts the traditional Mesir Paste Festival, where the community gathers to celebrate this enchanted paste.

While singing traditional songs, participants in the festival cut long strips of Mesir Paste, which is made from natural dried herbs and spices. People congregate in the city center at night to see a shadow play and listen to traditional Turkish music. A traditional marching band provides music for the grand procession through the streets that marks the festival’s conclusion.

Check Out: Istanbul & Bursa Package (4 Days)


4. International Izmir Festival


  • Held In: May
  • Location: Izmir

The International Izmir Festival calls tourists from all over the world to attend its unparalleled glory every year. This festival takes place in the lovely city of Izmir in May and June and unites artists, musicians, and dancers from all over the world in a singular celebration of culture and the arts. Renowned orchestras, choruses, folk dancers, and even traditional Turkish jugglers and mimes perform at the event. Throughout the festival, there are also film screenings, workshops, art exhibits, and much more to keep visitors engaged.

One of the most amazing features of this festival is its site; Ephesus, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since 1987, many of the performances taken place here offer unparalleled music and theatre performances. You can feel as though St. Paul is speaking to his audience again when you listen to an orchestra perform in the amphitheater. This festival has it all really, from the incredible location, the never-ending performances brimming with talent, and the warm hospitality of the people of Izmir.

Read More: How to Plan a Memorable Summer Getaway in Izmir


5. Electronica Festival

rock festival

  • Held In: July
  • Location: Istanbul

Electronica Festival is one of the country’s biggest electronic music festivals and it takes place right in the heart of Istanbul. Since 2004, this annual event has been held annually and hasn’t seen a dead crowd in all its life. It features some of the most well-known DJs, producers, and musicians from around the globe, covering many genres.

This festival offers an amazing lineup of events and performances for guests to enjoy, all taking place in one of Istanbul’s most iconic locations—Vehicle Arena or Cemil Topuzlu Open-Air Theatre. Interactive art installations, tech-savvy workshops covering everything from virtual reality to artificial intelligence, and visual arts performances round out the festival’s highlights. 

The Electronica Festival has grown to be one of Istanbul’s most popular music events thanks to its amazing light displays and exciting activities. To keep you energized throughout this incredible event, a range of food and beverage trucks all line up the venue. As your ears recover from their fill of incredible music, you’re unlikely to ever forget the memories you made here.

Check Out: Istanbul and Izmir (5 Days)


6. Cappadocia Balloon Festival


  • Held In: July
  • Location: Cappadocia

Almost everyone who’s ever visited Turkey can agree that the most breathtaking landscapes in the country can be found in the Cappadocia. And the Cappadocia Balloon Festival is an incredible way to see the region’s beauty from above. This event, which has been held annually since 2005, is one of Turkey’s most popular festivals, lasting three days in July. Offering breathtaking views of Cappadocia, hundreds of hot air balloons lift off from the beautiful red terrain and gently float toward Göreme National Park.

Visitors get to also witness a long-standing custom by attending this festival, as many local pilots continue to fly their traditional baskets. The festival not only provides an excellent opportunity to see the area from above, but it also provides a plethora of events and activities to keep visitors occupied all three days. Along with lots of authentic cuisine options, there are traditional and modern music shows, folk dance performances, and fireworks. You will never forget this experience, which is among the most magnificent festivals in Turkey.

Check Out: Istanbul & Cappadocia Package (5 Days)


7. Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Festival


  • Held In: June
  • Location: Edirne

You might not be able to find a livelier crowd at a festival than the Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Festival, one of the most celebrated events in Turkey. Celebrated yearly since 1346, this event is held in the city of Edirne. The festival, which has its roots in the Ottoman era, is a demonstration of impressive skill, strength, and perseverance. With a history spanning over 4,500 years, it is regarded as one of the oldest sporting events globally.

The festival is listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. In addition to the wrestling competition, guests can take part in handcrafting workshops, see traditional music and dance performances, or browse the bazaar where they can buy jewelry and souvenirs. One of the festival’s highlights is watching wrestlers refuel with “Ayran,” a yogurt-based drink, following a sweat-inducing match.

Check Out: Istanbul, Cappadocia, & Ephesus (8 Days)


Experience Festivals in Turkey With All the Glitz and Glam

It’s safe to say that most tourists dont want to return after they’ve had a taste of the colorful festivals in Turkey. It’s an experience that’s bound to have you keep coming back each year whenever you get the chance. Attending festivals in Turkey offers a direct view of the local culture and a way to interact with the natives, which is almost incomparable to any other way. While you can explore these festivals spontaneously, the best to truly have a complete travel experience in Turkey is by booking a tour with iLinkTurkey.

Do you want to explore the best festivals and events in Turkey? All with pre-booked accommodations, guided tours, and the opportunity to skip the lines?

iLinkTurkey offers a diverse range of guided tour packages for destinations in Turkey. Head over to our packages and book one of our best-selling Turkey packages now.


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