What to wear in Turkey? This is the first question that comes to mind if you are travelling to Turkey for the very first time, especially if you are a woman.
Although there is no official Turkey dress code, there are certain unstated rules that you need to follow, when it comes to dressing up in Turkey. As someone who has visited and stayed in Turkey for quite some time, I am here to help you with your dress code for Turkey.
Most parts of modern Turkey are quite liberal when it comes to the dress code for women and men. However, there are certain places where you need to dress up more conservatively.
What to Wear in Turkey?
A lot of travellers have apprehensions over the dress code in Turkey since it is a Muslim dominated country. However, I am here to assure you that, the country is quite liberal when it comes to the dressing code in the region.
As a traveller, you need to understand that the dress code for Turkey would depend on your choice of three factors- where you want to go, what you want to do and which month/season you are going to visit. Based on this understanding, you can go ahead and make a packing list for your Turkey visit.
In the current blog, I will tell you about what to wear at different times and places in Turkey, based on my extensive backpacking experience in Turkey.
Here is a brief overview of the dress code in Turkey:
|Dress code for different Locations|
Smart Casuals for men and women in lesser-known towns
More liberal outfit in cities like Istanbul, Antalya
|Dress code for different seasons|
Comfortable cotton clothes with a hat, scarf and sunglasses in summer
Light woollens in Spring and Autumn
Layers of clothes with a jacket and a cap in winters
|Activity Wise Dress Code|
Modest clothes for visiting Mosques
Beachwear for seaside and beaches
Comfortable clothes for shopping & adventure activities
Dress Code for different Locations in Turkey
The dress code in Turkey would vary with the locations. Therefore, your packing list for Turkey must accommodate for all dress codes. has to include Places like Istanbul, Buyukada Island, Antalya, Bodrum and Marmaris have a more Europeanized approach when it comes to dressing. You can feel that the dress code for women here is generally more relaxed than in other regions in Turkey like Bursa and Konya.
What to Wear in Istanbul?
Istanbul is the favourite destination for all travellers visiting Turkey. The city has a lot to offer and the place is flooded with visitors all year round. If you are thinking of what to wear in Istanbul, you need not worry. Istanbul is very much like a cosmopolitan city in Turkey, and you can wear anything you want depending on the time of the year you are visiting.
While you need to stay all covered up and warm in winters, in summers you are free to choose between your favourite dresses, tank tops, shorts, etc. However, make sure you are dress decently when visiting religious sites and mosques.
Also, if you plan to indulge in souvenir shopping in Istanbul, I suggest you wear comfortable shoes.
What to wear in Antalya?
Just like Istanbul, Antalya has a pretty Europeanised culture. Depending on the weather, you can choose to wear shorts, dresses (except in mosques) and any other things you like. Men can wear tan tops, T-shirts and shorts.
What to wear in Cappadocia?
Cappadocia is a great place for those who love trekking and hiking in the mountainous hilly regions. If you want to indulge in such adventurous activities, I suggest you get some good shoes. I invested in a pair of anti-slip sports shoes, and they paired up well with most of my attire.
|Ladies, do not wear heavy earrings and neckpieces to Cappadocia if you are looking forward to adventures like hiking and hot air balloon rides.|
Other than that, depending on the weather, you can choose to wear anything you like.
What to wear in the rural areas of Turkey?
Although most of the cities in Turkey are liberal, the more you go into the interiors, the more conservative the people are. therefore, follow a more conservative dress code when visiting such places. By conservative I mean long skirts and sleeved tops, maxi dresses, sleeved shirt/top and full jeans or trousers.
Season Wise Dress Code for Turkey
What to wear in Turkey will vary significantly depending on the weather you choose to be here. Accordingly, your packing list for Turkey will also vary with the weather. However, whatever the season, make sure you wear a good pair of shoes. Boots for winter and sports shoes/flats are a must. It will help you explore the place better.
What to wear in Turkey in Summers?
Summers in Turkey are usually hot. Summer season generally lasts between May to mid-August and you can wear your favourite summer clothes during this time. I would suggest you wear cotton clothes as much as possible. Make sure you pair your summer attire with sunglasses, scarf and hat/cap to get some protection from the sun.
|Summers is also the best time to go swimming at the beaches in Buyukada Island, Antalya and Bodrum. For the beaches, you can pick your favourite beachwear.|
Men can wear shorts and tank tops or t-shirts while women can wear dresses, jumpsuits, shorts, etc. Carrying a light cardigan or shrug can also come in handy.
What to wear in Turkey in April – May (Spring) and September – November (Autumn)?
Spring and autumn are considered to be the best time to visit Turkey. Summers can get really hot and winters can be really harsh, therefore, these months attract most travellers. While the afternoons are nice and warm, evenings can get a little chilly. Although you don’t need heavy woollens, light woollens and jackets can really come in handy during this time.
What to wear in Turkey in Winters?
The winter months for Turkey are December, January and February. These three months experience heavy snowfall all over Turkey and is extremely cold and you will probably get to enjoy some rains too. November and March are cold too but not as much as the other three months.
In winters you need to keep yourself warm with layers of clothing, underneath coats and jackets. Scarves and woollen caps are also a must to keep your head and neck warm. I need not mention here the importance of a warm pair of socks. Those can be a lifesaver.
Activity Wise Dress Code in Turkey
What to wear in Turkey will also depend on the kind of activity to wish to indulge in. What to wear in Turkey for women can be different than men when it comes to visiting some rural locales and religious sites like mosques.
What to wear when visiting Mosques in Turkey?
What to wear in Turkey mosques is a commonly asked question by female travellers. When visiting mosques or religious sites in Turkey, women need to wear decent clothes. By decent clothes, I mean anything that covers your shoulders and head and is ankle length.
For women, a three-fourth sleeved maxi dress (with no thigh slits of course!) or a full-sleeved jumpsuit paired with a matching scarf to cover your head would be just the perfect outfit for visiting religious places in Turkey. If not this then you can consider wearing jeans and a smart top over it. Wearing smart casuals is considered to be appropriate attire to entire the mosques in Turkey.
|In case the clothes you are wearing are not appropriate to enter the mosque, you need not worry. There are many stalls right outside the mosque areas providing you cover-up dresses and headscarves either for a nominal fee or totally free of charge.|
Men need to dress modestly too. They need to wear sleeved shirts and full trousers. Tank tops are not allowed. Both men and women can wear shoes that they like.
What to wear on the beaches in Turkey?
If you are wondering about what to wear in Turkey on the beaches, you need not worry. For women, there is no restriction on wearing a bikini. You will spot many young Turkish females wearing bikinis. Do not be surprised to see women in Turkey wearing a burqini (burqa plus bikini) which is a fully covered hijab swimwear.
|At the beaches, you would even spot some foreigners sunbathing topless at beaches. But I really do not recommend doing that unless you want to grab some unwanted attention from the people in Turkey.|
So, feel free to wear whatever you feel comfortable in- bikini, one-piece swimsuit or a burqini. Just do not walk without a cover-up dress or sarong on the streets in Turkey wearing a bikini.
Men can wear swimming trunks by the seaside and the beaches.
What to wear at the markets in Turkey?
The bazaars in Istanbul are huge and majestic. Being a shopaholic, I had a really good time souvenir shopping the markets in Turkey. When it comes to wearing dresses at the markets in major cities of Turkey like that of Istanbul, Turkey is fairly liberal. Anything that is more of smart casuals deems fit for an appropriate attire to wear at the markets in Turkey.
|Make sure that you wear comfortable shoes only and do not even think of wearing heels in the markets of Turkey|
Shopping in turkey can be fun but tiring as well. The Grand Bazaar at Istanbul is itself so huge that you are sure to tire your feet halfway down the same. Consider wearing flats or even better- sports shoes to the markets in Turkey.
In the end, I would like to point out that when travelling in Turkey, you need to be conscious of one thing when it comes to dressing up. I would suggest ladies to avoid wearing outfits that are too revealing or have a plunging neckline, especially if you are travelling alone. It’s always better to just blend in the crowds and not attract unwanted attention to yourself. Follow this and you are ready to explore the best in Turkey!