If you’re thinking of going to Cappadocia in winter then just do it.
It’s like another planet.
When I thought about visiting as I was backpacking in Turkey during January I thought it might not be the best to see things with the snow everywhere and maybe some activities in Cappadocia not running.
How wrong I was.
Cappadocia in Winter
Although it is a little trickier with the bus transport sometimes due to the snow your efforts will be worth it.
As you enter into the area you will see the famous snow covered fairy chimneys that Cappadocia is known for.
Get a good place to stay in Goreme which is the main settlement in the area (rock cave hotels are the best) and chill out (no pun intended) before going out into the nature.
Exploring Cappadocia Near Goreme
There are loads of areas around Goreme to see.
It’s best to start with the Goreme Open-Air Museum as it’s only around 15 minutes walk from Goreme town and gives a starter insight into the place.
I should reiterate at this point the main benefit of going to Goreme and Cappadocia in winter and that is the lack of people!
Seriously when I look at summer pics from the area it’s all tour groups etc around but when there in January half the time I had places all to myself, or at worse just a few other travellers.
Along with the snow it is a much more peaceful atmosphere.
And actually that’s the main reason I’m writing this post. It’s not about “go see this, go see that” as there are plenty of articles that tell you all the things to do in Cappadocia.
I’m writing this purely to show you what it’s like in winter and why you should go at that time of year. The pictures can do all the talking.
Having said that the main areas that you should go to are:
Fairy Chimneys: The famous geological formations that you should definitely see.
Goreme Open Air Museum: Where you can see rock cut churches.
Rose Valley: Beautiful hiking trail.
Red Valley: Another good hiking trail to go hiking in Cappadocia. A great sunset spot as well.
Uchisar Castle: A hike through Love Valley going by ‘penis rock formations’ to reach a good viewpoint after a few hours hiking.
Pasabag Valley: (this is a very popular place, although in winter I didn’t see many people, but that could change). It’s where you can see some of the Fairy Chimneys mentioned before and cave dwellings.
Pigeon Valley Trail: Another popular hiking trail this will take you through more cave dwellings.
Underground Cities: The underground cities you can explore were built by Christians fleeing persecution from the Romans 2 millennia ago.
Red Valley hiking in winter.
You can see the holes in the cliffs that were home to the cave dwellers in the past.
Goreme is practically hard to see when covered in snow as it blends into its surroundings so well.
Me out hiking in Cappadocia.
At the end of the day enjoy a warm meal and sit on comfy carpets with cushions and get heated up from the cold.
A highly recommended place to stay in Goreme, although not a budget friendly option, is the Village Cave House Hotel where your room is inside a cave like in the old days.
Hot Air Balloon Trip in Cappadocia
I personally didn’t do an air balloon trip when there (the weather and budget constrained me) and didn’t see any when out and about.
And that’s one of the problems and downsides to visiting Cappadocia in winter is that some activities might not be running due to the weather conditions.
Stock photo of air balloons in Cappadocia (as I didn’t see any when there to take pics of).
Technically air balloon rides do go on in winter but are weather dependant and in winter the conditions are worse than summer (obviously) with more winds etc.
However if you want to do a ride and they are running when there this is a tour that is recommended by other travellers:
Cappadocia Travel Advice
If you want to know how to get to Cappadocia from Istanbul then one option is to take the bus which will take around 12 hours.
I actually had a bit of problem for a few hours enrolee in the bus due to deep snow but we made it.
The best option time wise is to fly from Istanbul to Cappadocia which takes just over an hour to reach and if you’re lucky you can find cheap bargains on flights (as low as $20).
Hint: Fly from Istanbul Atatürk Airport it’s easier to reach.
The flights will land at Kayseri Airport where you can take a shuttle to the hotel.
For more reading on Turkey have a look at my post on how to travel from Ankara to Kars on the sleeper train in winter.
The best guidebook for turkey I have found is the Lonely Planet Turkey Guide.
Be sure to take travel insurance for your adventures! I use World Nomads.
Cappadocia really is a magical place you should visit.
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