Cappadocia in Turkey is one of those fairy-tale destinations that so many travelers dream about visiting. Incredible scenery, bucket list activities, and amazing food, all in one place. Most tourists plan a summer trip, but should you visit Cappadocia in winter? What can you see and do if you choose to visit Cappadocia in December, January or February? Is it worth it? Read on to find out!
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Should You Visit Cappadocia in Winter?
Cappadocia is one of the most picturesque locations in all of Turkey. Incredible rock formations, fascinating history, and the opportunity to float above the earth on a sunrise hot air balloon ride. Sounds like a dream, amiright?
Most visitors plan to visit Cappadocia during the summer, due to long summer days and ideal weather. But, have you ever considered visiting Cappadocia in winter? I’d like to talk about why winter in Cappadocia just might be the best time to visit this fairy-tale land, and why YOU should consider travel to Cappadocia in December, January, or February
Cappadocia in Winter: Avoid the Crowds.
Winter in Cappadocia means white-washed landscapes and below-freezing temperatures.
Have I scared you off?!
I hope not! Because this fluffy white blanket of snow is exactly what makes a Cappadocia winter so magical!
YES the average winter temperatures hover somewhere around 25°-48°F. And that’s exactly what prevents most people from venturing here in the winter months. Meaning, you can have this magical and breathtaking land almost all to yourself !
And, another bonus – since winter is the off season, hotel prices will be lower than usual.
Cappadocia in Winter: Cozy Up in a Cave Hotel.
Cave hotels are open all year round. In the summer, they provide a natural cooling effect, and in the winter, they can insulate heat and create a cozy, comfortable home. You can make it quite toasty inside your cave, in fact.
In ancient times, cave houses were meant to hide from invaders, too.
Staying in a cave hotel was one of my favorite parts of hunkering down in Cappadocia, honestly. It’s incredibly unique, and surprisingly not too expensive! It’s the best way to spend a few nights in Cappadocia, especially the cold winter nights.
Cappadocia in Winter: Everything is Open!
Even though winter is not the high season for Cappadocia, you might be surprised to learn that all of the attractions do, in fact, stay open year round. This goes for the museums, the fairy chimney attractions, the underground village, the hikes, and even the hot air balloon rides.
Now, one thing to note – hot air balloon rides can only run when the wind and weather cooperate. I have unfortunately had multiple balloon tours cancelled on me – I know, one of the seriously unlucky ones – so I have yet to see beautiful Cappadocia from a birds’ eye view.
But, this has also happened to me in summer, so really it’s a game of luck. Book your balloon tour and know that you will get a full refund if the flight does indeed get cancelled.
Cappadocia in Winter: Hiking in the Snow.
Summer in Cappadocia means sunny hot weather and hot temperatures. In the winter, yes – you need to pack winter boots and a warm jacket and hat for Cappadocia. But in some ways, this climate is better for strenuous activity.
I don’t know about you, but I always warm up pretty quickly when hiking in the snow. But when hiking mid-summer heat, it can be pretty miserable.
Cappadocia has some amazing hikes if you’re willing to skip the tours and go off the beaten path a bit. It’s quite easy to do (and I was traveling as a solo female).
Most tourists view the Valley of Love from the top rim on a tour, but it’s possible to hike from Goreme to Uchasair, and get a unique viewpoint on these crazy rocks. There’s so much to see!
Cappadocia in Winter: Hearty Food and Mulled Wine.
My cave hotel served a hearty daily breakfast each morning. It included hot tea or coffee, eggs made to order, fresh bread still hot from the oven, delicious fruits, olives, hummus, and more.
I ate delicious vegetarian soups and hot falafel sandwiches for lunch and dinner. And, mulled wine is a common staple served in winter in Cappadocia.
Turkey is actually fairly well-known for their wine-making. And, in the winter, they spice it up (literally) and serve it piping hot – something you just can’t experience in the summer. Not a bad way to end a day or to enjoy a sunset dinner.
Packing Basics for Winter in Cappadocia
If you’re visiting Cappadocia in the winter (December, January, and February), don’t forget the following items:
- A packable winter coat to keep you warm (while not taking up much luggage space).
- Waterproof boots are essential, especially if you plan to hike. I looooove these boots, they never fail me!
- A warm hat, scarf, and gloves.
- Warm wool socks. That is my personal favorite brand for warmth and comfort – any pattern will do.
- (Many of the items mentioned here are the same ones I brought to Iceland, and have been perfect for outdoor hikes, walks, and even glacier exploring).
I hope I’ve helped to convince you that Cappadocia in winter is an excellent time to visit! For more on Turkey, stay tuned!