While living in Turkey, we drove over to Cappadocia about twice or even three times a year. It was a nice weekend away, and we enjoyed the comfortable hotels, great food, beautiful landscapes, and just getting away from the big city. We’ve been to Cappadocia during every season, and each one brings its specific pros and cons.
In this article we will tell you all about:
- each season in Cappadocia
- which season will fit your travel style
- and ultimately when is the best time to visit Cappadocia
Climate of Cappadocia
Lying at a latitude of almost 39 degrees north, Cappadocia’s climate can be likened to that of northern California. It’s dry and warm most of the year.
The dryness makes it easier to put up with the highest and lowest temperatures throughout the year, but it does make you much thirstier, so keep that water near. During most months of the year, you can expect an average of eight days with some rain or snow.
The average highs don’t get much higher than 80 degrees (F), and the lows are around 30 degrees (F). The overall average temperature is about 62 degrees (F), so it is quite comfortable. (source).
Spring in Cappadocia
Spring is the wettest time of year, and it is my favorite season in Cappadocia. Even though there is a bit more rainfall, by the end of April the temperatures are getting quite comfortable and the flowers are beginning to bloom. Average temperatures range from about 35 – 70 degrees (F).
It’s a gorgeous time to visit Cappadocia, especially if you plan on doing some hiking as you can make it much farther than perhaps during the very hot and dry summer.
If you are looking for mostly blue skies and green grass, spring is the time for you. By late-June the landscape has turned from a brilliant new green to less vibrant, but layered beiges and browns.
In May, if you are lucky, you can drive a short distance to Tuz Golu (Salt Lake) and watch the flamingoes stop on their spring migration.
What should I bring in Spring?
The clothes you will want to pack for spring should include both long and short pants, layered tops, with at least one fleece, and hiking shoes, a good hat, and a rain jacket or small, collapsible umbrella.
For women I love this jacket, because it guards me against the rain, but also has a cozy lining to keep that evening chill at bay.
Pros: fresh green grass, colorful wildflowers, farmers and locals smiling and working hard in the fields, stunning landscape photos.
Cons: It can still be a bit chilly, especially in the early mornings and evenings, the tourists are starting to arrive and sights will get busy, the hot air balloons can’t fly in rain or gusty winds.
Summer in Cappadocia
Hot and dry, summer is the time that most people will visit this unique and beautiful area. As you get into July and August, you will hit the highest temperatures ranging up to 90 degrees (F). An occasional day will climb into the low hundreds, but it’s still hot, dry, and sunny so you won’t really notice the difference.
Tourism season is in full swing. It’s great because you can do all kinds of adventure activities, walk or hike through gorgeous valleys, cool off in the underground cities, and meet lots of like-minded travelers.
What should I bring in Summer?
Turkish people don’t really wear shorts or flip flops anywhere but the beach. I’m sure you’ll have some with you as you should definitely be visiting Kizkalesi or another beachy area if you are there during the summer, but I would confine wearing them to the hotel.
Capris are okay to wear just about anywhere (except on religious ground ie. a mosque). It’s a nice compromise between the reservedness of the Turkish people and not being too, too warm.
However there are a few things you definitely should not leave home without, as you tour and hike the exceptional valleys:
- A sun hat with a large brim and sunglasses
- Sunscreen and bug spray
- Good hiking sandals ( I love these. )
- A good water bottle with filtration system for hiking
Pros: Everything is open for business, you won’t be bored. It’s easy to get around. You can go to the beach after your time in Cappadocia.
Cons: There will be crowds of people everywhere except the back-country hikes. You will have to make reservations for whatever you want to do as early as you can. It’s very hot!
Fall in Cappadocia
Fall is my second favorite season in Cappadocia because the evening light glows golden, the leaves are turning yellow, the temperature has cooled off, and you can hike, hike, hike.
It’s still pretty dry with only about eight rainy days per month, the hoteliers, restauranteurs, and tour operators are happy you’re still there and treat you even better than you could imagine. So, you can still do almost all the adventure-type activities that you would want to do.
The temperatures are between 30 and 60 degrees (F) which is perfect for hiking and biking. It’s still warm enough to eat dinner outside many of the days.
What should I bring in Fall?
Fall is a pretty easy season to prepare for. You will want to maximize your space by bringing less. Just bring a few short sleeved shirts that can be covered with a light fleece and you will be all set.
It’s the best season for hiking, since it’s dry and there’s not usually much mud. So bring your hiking boots and water bottle.
Pros: Most if not all the tourists have gone home, so it’s quiet and there’s no need for too many reservations. The weather is pleasantly warm during the day and cool at night. Perfect.
Cons: Towards the end of fall, it does start to get cold. Be prepared.
Winter in Cappadocia
It does get cold and even snow in Cappadocia. Temperatures can dip as low as 15 degrees (F). Located on the Anatolian plain, it can also get a bit windy, but the warmth of Turkish hospitality will warm you up as quickly as possible.
Even with the cold, surprisingly, winter in Cappadocia is cozy and fun. It definitely snows in the area, but the cave hotels are heated and most have kettles for a warm cup of tea or coffee.
The restaurants get all steamy and people are super happy to have you in their place of business. The tourist sites are empty of people and are gorgeous in their new coats of pristine snow.
Most of the tourist adventure business has died down. However, you are always welcome to call and see if they can accommodate you. You probably are not going to get that hot air balloon ride, though. For that, you’ll need to come in late spring to early fall.
What should I bring in Winter?
I can’t say it enough. Dress in layers, and bring enough socks to change them out when you get back to the hotel. A very warm jacket, maybe even ski pants so that you can keep warm as you visit all the outdoor sites and maybe do some short hikes into the valleys.
If you are going to sleep in a cave hotel, you will also want some warm pajamas. The caves are fun to sleep in, but they aren’t always as warm as you would like.
A trick I learned from traveling in Japan in winter is wearing ski pants to go traveling around in the snow. It keeps your bottom half warm and, most importantly, dry. Something like these outer pants work wonders.
Also, it’s important to remember:
Pros: You will be able to be pretty much all alone as you tour the major sights in Cappadocia. The restaurants can be very cozy. Photos will be stunning!
Cons: You can still hike, but many of the adventure activity businesses will have closed down for the season. It can be cold.
Ramadan Season in Cappadocia
Even though Ramadan isn’t technically a season, it’s a month of religious fasting and can make a difference if you are traveling during that time.
To begin with, observing Muslims cannot eat between sunrise and sundown, so they want a huge meal when the sun goes down. This is called “iftar”. In large cities, many restaurants will prepare an iftar meal, but they are usually sold out quickly by reservation.
In smaller regions, like Cappadocia, it’s hit or miss whether a restaurant will be open, but don’t worry some will. However, it is a good idea during this time to try and book hotels with a working restaurant in them so you don’t have to go out much.
It’s a myth that the locals will be upset if you are eating, they won’t be. They completely understand that not all people, especially tourists, won’t follow Muslim customs. However, it’s also a little bit more polite if you don’t sit at the front of a restaurant or eat outdoors on an open patio during Ramadan.
By no means should traveling during Ramadan slow you down, but just be aware that many people are observing it.
Our Conclusion – When is the Best Time to Go to Cappadocia?
Cappadocia is magical all year round. Whether it’s wetter or drier, hotter or colder, you will completely enjoy your time spent in this amazing region of Anatolia. Just like us, you’ll become regulars.