Understanding how farmers perceive climate change risks and how this affects their willingness to adopt adaptation practices is critical for developing effective climate change response strategies for the agri- cultural sector. This study examines (i) the perceptual relationships between farmers' awareness of climate change phenomena, beliefs in climate change risks and actual adaptation behaviour, and (ii) how these relationships may be modified by farm-level antecedents related to human, social, financial capitals and farm characteristics. An extensive household survey was designed to investigate the current pattern of adaptation strategies and collect data on these perceptual variables and their potential antecedents from private landowners in Veszprem and Tolna counties, Hungary. Path analysis was used to explore the causal connections between variables. We found that belief in the risk of climate change was heightened by an increased awareness of directly observable climate change phenomena (i.e. water shortages and extreme weather events). The awareness of extreme weather events was a significant driver of adaptation behaviour ... mehr. Farmers’ actual adaptation behaviour was primarily driven by financial motives and managerial considerations (i.e. the aim of improving profit and product sales; gaining farm ownership and the amount of land managed; and, the existence of a successor), and stimulated by an innovative personality and the availability of information from socio-agricultural networks. These results enrich the empirical evidence in support of improving understanding of farmer decision-making processes, which is critical in developing well-targeted adaptation policies.