Best time to visit Cappadocia

Peak season for Cappadocia is July and August, when temperatures can easily clear 32°C. Visit either side for cooler weather, and clearer trails and skies.
The best time to visit Cappadocia is unquestionably outside of the hot and dry summer months of July and August. These months are also the busiest, with crowds flocking inland to this iconic region for a day or two from the coast. Spring, between April and May, and autumn, between September and October, are lovely times of year especially for trekking in the valleys, with pleasant weather and low rainfall. It’s worth noting however that in early April it tends to be windier which can affect the schedules of balloon flights. In winter Cappadocia’s continental climate means there is a good chance of snow, and the landscape is particularly serene and beautiful.

Cappadocia Weather Chart

 
MIN °C
MAX °C
RAIN (mm)
JAN
-2
8
40
FEB
-2
13
33
MAR
2
15
39
APR
5
20
53
MAY
10
25
53
JUN
13
28
34
JUL
16
32
9
AUG
16
32
5
SEP
11
26
12
OCT
5
19
28
NOV
1
15
35
DEC
-6
2
43

Cappadocia, month by month

Spring is an idyllic time to visit Cappadocia, beginning in May and continuing through June into early July. The vegetation of this semi-arid landscape is in bloom, days are warm while nights are cool, and rainfall is sporadic. If you’re hoping to take a hot air balloon flight – chances are you will be – then a little later in the season is best as high winds can see some flights cancelled.

July and August are peak season in Cappadocia, and the heat can be quite heavy going at times, especially as not all accommodations have air conditioning. Daytime temperatures can reach 40°C in the height of summer.

As with spring, the autumn is an exceptional time for hiking in Cappadocia. In September and October it gets significantly cooler and at times it can feel as though you have some of the trails all to yourself. Sunsets over the Red and Rose Valleys are mesmerising, and the evenings, while they can be chilly, are much more comfortable.

Winter in Cappadocia begins in November, and is coldest in December and January, when the temperature can fall to -1°C. The rocks and valleys look beautiful under a dusting of snow, which sometimes lasts through March and even into April. Balloon flights operate all year-round, weather dependent, and you’ll need to wrap up warm if flying between November and February.

THINGS TO DO IN CAPPADOCIA

Things to do in Cappadocia…

This is one of the most popular destinations in the world for hot air ballooning trips, with a surreal landscape of towering fairy chimneys imprinted with caves, vineyards and rippling valleys, combined with excellent flying conditions. To see dozens of colourful balloons aloft at the same time against a deep blue sky is almost as amazing as the scenery. Many Cappadocia holidays will offer optional balloon trips – travelling with a responsible operator should see them recommending ballooning companies that you can trust on safety. Go underground – much of what’s most interesting about Cappadocia actually lies beneath the surface, in some cases several stories deep. During the Roman and Byzantine periods, Christians built and expanded vast underground cities such as Derinkuyu and Kaymakli as sanctuaries to be used in the event of invasions by Muslim Arabs and Mongolians. These complexes were large enough to shelter thousands of people and their livestock, potentially indefinitely given they were equipped with ventilation systems, wells and defence systems. Horses could be stabled, wine stored, copper processed, and access given through hundreds of hidden doors in courtyards above ground. Many of the caves and corridors are still in use today by local residents.

Things not  to do in Cappadocia…

Hiking around the valleys and often bizarre rock formations of Cappadocia is a popular activity for many visitors, but it’s not wise to plan a walking holiday in the summer. July and August see Cappadocia swelter under a hot, dry climate and this is also the busiest time of year to visit, with trails, landmarks and viewpoints also crawling with people arriving for a day or two from the coast. If you want to hike in Cappadocia, think about spring or autumn instead.
Don’t think of Cappadocia as simply an open air museum – although the churches and caves of Göreme, and the underground cities, are of course fascinating places to visit. Cappadocia is well and truly alive with culture, communities here practising traditional handicrafts that allow you to purchase unique souvenirs or watch ancient ways of life in action. On organised tours of Cappadocia you can try your hand at pottery and cookery classes, watch Turkish rugs being woven in a family-run factory (the rugs of Anatolia are regarded as some of the finest in the world), slip into a Turkish bath or indulge in a little tasting at one of many vineyards – perhaps while enjoying a stunning Cappadocian sunset.

Our top Cappadocia Holiday

Cappadocia walking holiday in Turkey

Cappadocia walking holiday in Turkey

Trek the unique and fairytale landscape of Cappadocia

From £1079 to £1149 8 days inc UK flights
Small group travel:
2020: 18 Apr, 2 May, 23 May, 29 Aug, 12 Sep, 19 Sep, 26 Sep, 3 Oct, 10 Oct
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Cappadocia or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

CAPPADOCIA TRAVEL ADVICE

Joanna Zlobikowska from our specialist operator Exodus visited Cappadocia in 2018:

Walking

“Cappadocia is great for walking holidays as it has a unique, lunar-like landscape - unreal fairy chimneys, beautiful valleys and clusters of cave dwellings. The whole place just oozes with charm! There are many hiking trails of varying difficulty so everybody can find something for themselves. The hikes offered on our tour are graded as moderate. It is a centre-based trip, so you stay in the picturesque town of Goreme for one week. Every day is different - it is amazing how many rock formations there are and how the rocks change colour depending on the time of day.”

Ballooning

“Ballooning is usually an optional activity to be arranged locally as it heavily depends on the weather. Typically the group leader asks during the welcome meeting if anybody is interested in it, explains all the details and collects the money. You depart at around 3:30-4:00am to get to the departure point - the idea is to be in the air for the sunrise. We were in the air for an hour and it was definitely one of the highlights of the trip and I think that this is something that shouldn't be missed when visiting Cappadocia. Seeing all the rock formations from above was amazing. There were around 100 balloons in the air at the same time, adding to the beauty of the experience. I don't think you can get it anywhere else! We went back to the hotel for breakfast (probably around 9am) and continued with our hiking itinerary afterwards (so you don't miss anything).”

Weather and hiking

“The weather is really good for hiking, especially if you go in Apr-May or Sept-Oct. The days are usually warm and sunny and it only rains occasionally. The food is amazing too - a variety of meze, kebabs, pide and if you have a sweet tooth (like I do!) you definitely have to try baklava and kunefe.”
Anthony Horrobin from our travel specialists Encounters Travel with some firsthand experience of exploring Cappadocia:

Handicrafts

“Whilst in the region we took the opportunity to visit one of the marble factories to see how the marble eggs and souvenirs are made. We also visited a pottery and had a chance to make our own clay goblet. As our tour guide was good friends with a family who still reside in one of the cave dwellings next to Uchisar Castle, we were able to visit a real home, and enjoy tea with a local family still living in the region.”

Cave hotels

“The majority of travellers visiting the Cappadocia region tend to stay in the tourist hub of Goreme, however we opted to stay in Urgup for a quieter and less touristy experience, sleeping in a cave hotel just a short walk from the centre of the village. We were lucky enough to have a suite which was almost 100% built into one of the original caves. Our bathroom featured its own private hammam and the bedroom walls still featured many pigeon coops from the days when the cave was used to house pigeons. At the hotel the vast majority of the rooms are either partially or totally located inside the caves and we'd highly recommend the hotel to our guests for a totally unique stay.”

Underground cities

“The underground cities are fascinating to explore. Perhaps not suitable if you're claustrophobic or have a bad back or mobility issues. But otherwise great fun and an incredible insight into how people lived in them for such long periods with everything on hand that'd they'd have in a normal village including rooms for schools, kitchens, food stores, bedrooms etc. Exploring them is a bit more regulated that it used to be and they are better lit, which is no bad thing, but it’s still worth taking a torch.”

Weather

“We visited Cappadocia in May 2019 and the weather was excellent - warm and mostly sunny. We did have some rain showers on each of the days, though this didn't spoil our enjoyment at all. I'd recommend visiting Cappadocia from spring through to autumn, so March-October. It's certainly fine to visit in winter and our tours go there all year round, but some of the more off the beaten track trails and paths will be muddy and less accessible. When travelling during summer you can enjoy the lovely green valleys and spring & summer flora.”

Tips from our travellers

"Good shoes with good grip, poles and a water bladder are a must...This is a fantastic destination and so much to see and do. I would rate this holiday as excellent and an 11 out of 10. From the routes to the food and the care of the staff and guide were brilliant."
- Martin Cox on a Cappadocia walking holiday
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: Moyan Brenn] [Top box: Benh LIEU SONG] [Things to do: Arian Zwegers] [Hot air balloons at sunrise: isabella dee] [Cave hotel: LWYang] [Martin Cox review: Klim Levene]
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