Last Updated on February 10, 2024 by Soumya
There is no dearth of amazing things to do in Cappadocia, Turkey. It is, after all, one of the most beautiful places on earth. Surreal and other-worldly, Cappadocia has enamoured travelers from times immemorial.
Cappadocia is blessed with a dramatic landscape dotted with volcanic fairy chimneys and a long and interesting history that dates back to more than 3500 years ago. It was once the cradle of ancient Christianity and then an important stop on the Silk Route during the Seljuk Empire. No doubt, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cappadocia is filled with historical places and natural wonders.
If you are wondering what to do in Cappadocia on your next visit, let me tell you that there’s lots. From exploring eerie, subterranean settlements to gazing at time-worn Byzantine frescoes in old, rock-cut churches and hovering over a stunning Kapadokyan landscape in a hot air balloon – the list of best places to visit in Cappadocia is literally endless. It is hard to figure out where to start.
That’s why I have this ultimate Cappadocia travel guide where you’ll find everything you need to plan your trip including a list of 27 best things to do in Cappadocia, best tours, great places to stay, and lots of travel tips. Feel free to pick and choose whatever you love so that you can create the best Cappadocia itinerary for yourself.
- Quick tips for your Cappadocia trip
- Top things to do in Cappadocia
- Ride a hot air balloon
- Photograph hot air balloons over Cappadocia
- Visit Goreme Open Air Museum
- Do not miss the Symmetrical Church at Aynali
- Check out the mushroom fairy chimneys of Pasabag
- Explore Zelve Open Air Museum
- Marvel at Selime Monastery
- Discover an underground city in Cappadocia
- Visit Uchisar Castle
- Take in the views at a panoramic viewpoint
- Stay in a cave hotel
- Sign up for one of Cappadocia’s popular tours
- Enjoy the greens of the Ilhara Valley
- Do a full-day best of Cappadocia tour
- Hike through Cappadocia’s picturesque valleys
- Let your imagination run wild at Devrent Valley
- Visit the pink Lake Tuz
- Step into a caravanserai
- Head to the pottery village of Avanos
- Soak in the views at Kizilirmak River
- Visit Cavusin old Greek village
- Explore Cappadocia on an ATV
- Or ride a horse through the valleys
- Try the famous pottery kebab
- Go on a wine tasting tour
- Shop for souvenirs
- Enjoy a night filled with Turkish cuisine and culture
- Interactive map of the best Cappadocia attractions
- Getting a Cappadocia Museum Pass
- Best places to stay in Cappadocia
- Practical information for visiting Cappadocia
- Cappadocia travel tips
- Cappadocia Travel FAQ
- Loved this list of best things to do in Cappadocia? Pin it for later!
Quick tips for your Cappadocia trip
If you are looking for some quick tips for your trip to Cappadocia, check these out.
- I recommend spending at least 2-3 days in Cappadocia especially if you plan to ride a hot air balloon. This will ensure that you can get on a balloon on the 2nd or 3rd day if your first flight gets cancelled. More details in my ballooning guide here.
- The 5 best things to do in Cappadocia are
- There are 3 main tours to explore Cappadocia.
- Red Tour: Takes you to northern Cappadocia – includes highlights such as Goreme Open Air Museum, Devrent Valley, and Pasabag.
- Green Tour: Takes you to southwestern Cappadocia – includes Ilhara Valley, Selime Monastery, and underground city.
- Blue Tour: Usually a mix of both and includes a moderate hike.
- Goreme is a good place to stay because it is the transportation hub and close to many tourist places in Cappadocia. Sultan Cave Suites and Mithra Cave Hotel in Goreme are the two most popular places to stay in Cappadocia. Find more accommodation options here.
- If you plan to visit a number of heritage sites in the region, buying a Cappadocia Museum Pass could save you a ton of $$. Check out more details here.
Top things to do in Cappadocia
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One quick clarification before we begin with our list of best places to visit. Cappadocia is not a city/town. It is a region that comprises of 5 different provinces – Nevsehir, Aksaray, Kayseri, Nigde, and Kirsehir.
As you’ll see in our list below, most Cappadocia must-see sights are located in Nevsehir (home to Goreme, Urgup, and Avanos) and Aksaray provinces. That is why, it is a great idea to stay somewhere in Nevshehir (preferably in Goreme) and make that your base.
Further, if you know of attractions in other provinces of Cappadocia, please feel to drop a comment below. Would love to explore them on my next trip.
Ride a hot air balloon
When in Cappadocia, you cannot miss riding a hot air balloon over the fairy chimneys and the strange martian landscape.
Riding a hot air balloon is totally THE BEST THING TO DO IN CAPPADOCIA! And the most romantic one, too. Cappadocia is one of the best honeymoon destinations in Asia, after all.
The best part about hot air ballooning in Cappadocia is that you get to see the unusual rock formations by the golden light of the rising sun. That makes the experience even more magical. If you have an experienced pilot, he will take you pretty close to the rocky cones so that you explore the nuances in Cappadocia’s surreal landscape.
Weather permitting, Cappadocia’s balloons fly every day of the year. However, cancellations do happen when the wind speed goes beyond 10 kilometers per hour and there is rain or snow. It is not unusual for you to turn up and realize that your flight for next morning has been cancelled, like it happened with us.
Find out how to deal with cancellations, set up plan Bs, and avoid costly mistakes in our detailed guide on how to be prepared for your hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia.
Photograph hot air balloons over Cappadocia
If you are scared of heights or cannot ride a balloon for some other reason, there’s always an option to photograph hot air balloons in Cappadocia. Or get a sunrise photoshoot done with them.
There are several spots which are considered great locations for photographing the balloons at sunrise. Viewpoints at Love Valley, Rose Valley, and Goreme hill are a few of them. Here’s a highly-recommended, private balloon sunrise photography tour in the Love Valley where you can take some great photographs with the balloons.
One thing to remember before scheduling a balloon photoshoot is that operators frequently change their take-off sites depending on the wind direction and speed. So, be flexible to location changes depending on where the balloons are going.
Visit Goreme Open Air Museum
One of the most historical places to visit in Cappadocia is the Goreme Open Air Museum.
Goreme Open Air Museum is a vast monastic complex with some of the finest rock-cut churches ever built in Cappadocia. Dating back to the times of the Byzantine Empire, the churches and chapels feature exquisite Byzantine frescoes portraying scenes from the Bible.
Some of the must-visit churches in the complex are Elmali (Apple Church), Yilanli (Snake Church), Chapel of St. Barbara, Sandal Church, and the Dark Church. The murals – The Ascension and Christ Pantocrator – on the walls of Apple Church are fascinating.
Note that the Dark Church requires separate entrance but is covered under the Cappadocia/Turkey Museum Pass. I don’t recommend skipping it because it has some of the most vivid frescoes in all of Cappadocia.
Photography is not allowed inside the churches and that is because of the fragile state of the frescoes. Please keep that in mind when you visit.
There is a good amount of walking (a lot of it being uphill) at Goreme Open Air Museum.
To get to the museum, take the dolmus from Goreme City Center bus stop in the direction of Urgup. The museum is just 5 minutes away. You can also walk – takes about 30 minutes (mostly uphill).
- Opening hours: 8:00am – 7:00pm.
- Admission: 150 TL.
- Admission for Dark Church: 50 TL.
Do not miss the Symmetrical Church at Aynali
Sadly, this is something that I missed seeing on my last Cappadocia trip but you won’t since you are now equipped with my ultimate Cappadocia bucket list.
This is the Symmetrical or the Mirror Church, locally known as Aynali Kilise. The name comes from the fact that the paintings and red geometric shapes on opposite walls of the church mirror each other. The red frescoes that dot every stone wall (and are relatively well-preserved) are absolutely fascinating.
Even though the Mirror Church is located just a mile away from the Goreme Open Air Museum, it sees far fewer crowds, making it the perfect offbeat place to visit in Cappadocia.
Check out the mushroom fairy chimneys of Pasabag
Pasabag or Valley of the Monks is one of the most interesting places to visit in Cappadocia. It contains some of the most fascinating fairy chimneys in all of Cappadocia. They are shaped like mushrooms, some with multiple caps over them.
These fairy chimneys were once home to Christian monks of the Byzantine era. So, you’ll find a number of cave dwellings here as well as a chapel dedicated to St. Simon.
However, the caves are not what attracted me to Pasabag. What did was the unending lanes of mushroom-shaped fairy chimneys, animal shapes popping out at intervals, and a sense of wow at nature’s creation. Plan to spend an hour at Pasabag because you’ll find a lot of photo-ops here.
How to visit?
You can easily get to Pasabag from Goreme by dolmus. Just board the dolmus in the direction of Avanos and you’ll be there in under 10 minutes.
Pasabag is included the popular Cappadocia Red Tour if you are looking for one. But I would recommend chucking the tour and doing it on your own because you can club it with Zelve Open Air Museum (just 10 minutes from Pasabag and not covered in the tour).
- Opening hours: 8:00am – 7:00pm.
Admission to Pasabag and Zelve is covered under one ticket: 65 TL.
Explore Zelve Open Air Museum
Like the Goreme Open Air Museum, Zelve is also a monastic complex dating back to the 9th century. It was abandoned much later than the other complexes in the area, as late as 1952.
Think of Zelve as a more rustic and less touristy version of Goreme Open Air Museum. The churches and shelters are more dilapidated and seemingly less impressive due to lack of restoration efforts. But that helps you see the ruins in their truest form.
Some of the popular churches are the Grapes Church, the Fish Church, and the Direkli Church. Faint frescoes are still visible in some of them.
A tour of Zelve Museum can easily take around 2 hours. You can get here by walking from Pasabag or take the dolmus from Goreme in the direction of Avanos.
Marvel at Selime Monastery
Cappadocia’s soft, tufa landscape made it very easy for ancient civilizations to carve churches and homes into the hills. And create some huge religious complexes. One of the best examples where we can see this is the Selime Monastery which is also the largest religious structure in Cappadocia.
At the Selime Monastery Complex, you’ll make your way through steep staircases to see a cathedral, a chapel, a kitchen with black soot covering its ceiling, and monastic dwellings. Inside, you’ll find timeworn frescoes that tell you tons about the region’s Byzantine past.
When Seljuk Turks invaded the region, the monastery was converted into a caravanserai that provided accommodation and food to travelers and merchants on the Silk Road.
Discover an underground city in Cappadocia
You should definitely have an underground city in your Cappadocia must see list because they are so unique to this region. Cappadocia is home to Derinkuyu which is the largest subterranean city in the world.
Thanks to the soft tufa rock landscape of the region, ancient people of Cappadocia were able to carve cities under the ground, some of which ranged for miles and went 18 floors down. Imagine a tall, 18-floor skyscraper complete with living rooms, kitchens, wine cellars, sanctuaries, and even stables – but under the ground.
I explored the Kaymakli Underground City as part of my Green Tour itinerary and was absolutely stunned by the amount of thinking and engineering that would have gone into building these cities. Fresh air was provided through tall ventilation shafts while water was distributed using ingenous irrigation systems!
These settlements were used by ancient Christians who were fleeing persecuting Romans/Arabs/Ottoman Turks. Sometimes, they would hide in these hypogeal apartments for months on end.
How to visit?
The easiest way to visit a Cappadocia underground city is to sign up for a Green Tour. You can go on your own too, by bus. You’ll need to get on the bus going towards Nevshehir, get down at Nevshehir City Center, and take a minibus to Kaymakli or Derinkuyu.
- Opening hours (for Kaymakli and Derinkuyu): 8:00am – 7:00pm.
- Admission (for both): 75 TL.
Visit Uchisar Castle
Yet another important landmark among the list of Cappadocia’s must see places is the Uchisar Castle. It stands on the highest hill in the region, therefore, you’ll some of the most stunning views of Cappadocia from here.
It is easy to get to Uchisar Castle from Goreme. You can simply take the bus in the direction of Nevshehir. Uchisar Castle is just 10 minutes away.
Take in the views at a panoramic viewpoint
Now, that we are already at one of Cappadocia’s spectacular viewpoints, the Uchisar Castle, let’s talk about some of the other amazing spots where you’ll get a stunning view of fairy chimneys and rocky shelters.
The lookouts at Pigeon Valley, the Goreme Panorama, the Red Valley Panorama are some of the most popular places to get unending views of the valley filled with soft tufa towers, rocky cones, and ancient caves. Even better to catch a gorgeous sunset at one of these places.
Luckily, a whole lot of tours include 1 – 2 viewpoints in their itineraries. The Green Tour usually has the Goreme Panorama and the Pigeon Valley while the Red Tour comprises of Uchisar Castle and sunset at Pigeon Valley. Whatever you choose, the viewpoints of Cappadocia won’t disappoint you.
Stay in a cave hotel
Cappadocia is one of the few places on this earth where you can stay in cave hotel and experience a bit of the life of ancient Cappadocians.
The soft, volcanic rock of Cappadocia enables easy carving of caves. Therefore, people have lived in rock-cut caves for ages here. You can also experience something similar by staying in one of Cappadocia’s cave hotels equipped with the best luxurious amenities. Pools, sauna, gyms, and spacious terraces to catch glorious sunsets and magical balloons – that’s what Cappadocia’s cave hotels are all about.
Two of the most popular cave hotels in Cappadocia are:
- Sultan Cave Suites: One of the most luxurious hotels in Goreme, Sultan Cave Suites is perched on a hill with spectacular views of the valley from its sun terrace. Their cave rooms are set into the hills, furnished with antiques, and often feature private balconies. Find out more about Sultan Cave Suites here.
- Mithra Cave Hotel: Featuring rooms in Ottoman and Greek style, Mithra Cave Hotel boasts of a delicious breakfast buffet, amazing balloon views, and cozy rooms. You can check out pictures of Mithra Cave Hotel here.
Sign up for one of Cappadocia’s popular tours
One of the best things to do in Cappadocia is to sign up for a full-day tour with local tour guide. It is the best way to see a lot in and around the region.
Cappadocia has 3 popular tour options – Red, Green, and Blue.
Red Tour covers famous tourist attractions in northern Cappadocia – includes Uchisar Castle, Goreme Open Air Museum, Pasabag, and Avanos. Green Tour includes attractions in the southwest – Derinkuyu or Kaymaki Underground City, Ilhara Valley, Selime Monastery. Blue Tour is a mix of both and includes a moderate hike. Green and Red are the more popular options.
If you have sufficient time in Cappadocia, say 3 days or more, I highly recommend doing both Green and Red. Or just do the Green Tour like I did and use my simple hack (read public transport!) to see the red tour attractions. Almost all red tour attractions lie on the Urgup – Avanos minibus route. Therefore, they are super easy to get to on your own.
Enjoy the greens of the Ilhara Valley
If you’d rather enjoy Ilhara Valley on your own without a tour, that’s a great idea too. Ilhara Valley is a wonderful full-day trip on its own.
The valley is located in a canyon that is more than 14 km long which makes for a good long walk. What is interesting is the fact that the valley has been a hotbed of culture since time immemorial. Here, you’ll see numerous rock-cut churches and rocky shelters that were once home to ancient Christians. Remnants of beautiful frescoes on church walls remind us that Ilhara was once the cradle of Byzantine Christianity.
You can visit Ilhara Valley as part of the Green Tour in Cappadocia. However, remember that the Green Tour will show you just one rock-cut church, the Agacalti Church. If you are keen to see more, it is a good idea to come back on your own.
Ilhara Valley is open every day from 8:30am – 7:00pm. Admission charges are 70 TL but if you have a Turkey Museum Pass or Cappadocia Museum Pass, you can enter for free.
Do a full-day best of Cappadocia tour
If you’d rather give up on the red vs green confusion and do a tour that shows you the best of all, I highly recommend this full-day best of Cappadocia tour. You’ll see all the highlights including Goreme Open Air Museum, Pasabag, Devrent Valley, Cavusin, as well as an underground city. Honestly, this is the most efficient way to see Cappadocia’s best attractions especially if you are short on time.
The best part about this tour is that you can opt for a private version too. That way, you can pick what to see in Cappadocia and what to miss.
Hike through Cappadocia’s picturesque valleys
Cappadocia is famous for its picturesque hiking trails. There are so many hiking routes in Cappadocia that you can actually spend a couple of days just hiking through the region.
Some of the most famous hiking trails are through Red Valley, Rose Valley, Meskinder Trail, and Love Valley. The Red and the Rose Valleys are famous for their tinted tuff rocks which makes them extremely photogenic. Meskinder Valley is a short and easy trail. And, Love Valley is the famous proposal spot where you find incredibly suggestive fairy chimneys.
Let your imagination run wild at Devrent Valley
Devrent Valley or Cappadocia’s “Imagination Valley” is where you can seriously let your imagination loose and see if you can spot seals, alligators, and dolphins. The famous camel is easily recognized.
Devrent Valley is unique because it was never inhabited. So, you will not find rock-cut caves and churches here. But differential erosion over centuries has given rise to strange shapes and sizes. It almost feels like someone has sculpted the rocks here. Animal shapes are pretty common.
There’s no direct bus/dolmus to Imagination Valley. The easiest way to get here is by car or guided tour. If you want to use public transport, it has to be a mix of dolmus and walking.
Take the Avanos-Urgup dolmus from Goreme in the direction of Avanos and get down at the Aktepe bus stop. From Aktepe, you can walk to the Imagination Valley which is 1.25miles (2km) away (a 30-min walk).
I have heard that a lot of people also hike to Imagination Valley from behind the Zelve Open Air Museum. However, there’s no proper road there and it is not clearly marked on Google Maps either.
Visit the pink Lake Tuz
It is just amazing how diverse Cappadocia’s landscpae is. From a lunar landscape dotted with fairy chimneys and rocky shelters to an ancient river filled with red subsoil and a large salt lake that turns pink, you can literally hop through 3 different ecosystems in one day.
Tuz Golu or Tuz Salt Lake or the Pink Lake of Tuz is only a day trip away from Goreme. It is Turkey’s second largest lake and filled with salt and minerals. This gives it a beautiful pinkish glow at sunrise and sunset.
Unfortunately, it is not as pink as the pictures that I saw on the internet and definitely not like Las Coloradas in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. But it is still a pretty shade of rose which makes it an interesting local attraction.
The water extends as far as your eyes can go. It is mostly still and calm and you can walk, pose, and take pictures,. There’s even one of those chairs that you can use as a prop. Tuz Lake is a great photo destination, I would say.
Step into a caravanserai
One of the most well-preserved caravanserais in Turkey is located right here in the city of Aksaray in Cappadocia. It is called the Agzikarahan Caravanserai and was built in early 13th century by a wealthy businessman of those times.
A caravanserai is a public building, more like a hotel, that used to provide accommodation and food to travelers and merchants along the Silk Road. You’ll find a number of these in Turkey because Anatolia was literally the western end of the Silk Route.
Agzikarahan Caravanserai has a courtyard that is surrounded by a number of rooms such as bedrooms, kitchens, and storage areas. The entrance arches have ornate carvings. It is fascinating to imagine life of 800 years ago and the important role this place (now in ruins) must have played then.
Head to the pottery village of Avanos
Interested in a pottery class with locals? Head to the small town of Avanos, located on the northern end of the Urgup – Avanos dolmus route.
Avanos is located on the Kizilirmak River that yields valuable red clay. Consequently, Avanos has been the center of Cappadocian pottery for ages.
As you walk through the streets of Avanos, you’ll find numerous pottery shops showcasing their wares. You can sign up for a pottery workshop if you wish or check out the Guray Museum of Ceramics and Pottery. Book your Guray Museum ticket here.
What’s better is that Avanos is home to an absolutely unusual museum – Chez Galip Hair Museum. Locks of hair from 16,000 women are on display here!! Wow!
Soak in the views at Kizilirmak River
When in Avanos, be sure to check out the views from the suspension bridge over Kizilirmak River, one of the longest in Turkey. It is also called the Red River because of the red soil that is found here. Feel free to admire the views from the bridge or go for a boat ride on the river – the Red River won’t disappoint you.
Visit Cavusin old Greek village
In all the noise about the best things to do in Cappadocia, I feel the old Greek village of Cavusin gets lost. However, if you are looking for a hidden gem, then you must visit this place.
Located between Goreme and Avanos, Cavusin was once home to thousands of Greek Orthodox Christians. None of them remain today, after the population exchange of 1923. A few immigrants from Greece came and settled here but everyone was evacuated in 1950 after a landslide.
Today, you can still see the remains of ancient Greek houses cut into the soft, tufa rock. The Church of St. John, The Baptist with its unique mural – “The murder of St. John” – is a highlight. Yet another church, Nicophoras Phocas, has some of the most beautiful and well-preserved frescoes depicting the life of Jesus.
Cavusin also has a wonderful Fairyland Cave Hotel that has the best panoramic views of Cappadocia and is a great place to grab some exceptional pictures of hot air balloons at sunrise.
Explore Cappadocia on an ATV
One of the most popular ways of exploring Cappadocia is on ATVs. Every time, I got on the bus or walked through Cappadocia’s beautiful valleys, I saw travelers enjoying their time on quad bikes. It looked like fun though I could not muster the courage to sit on one.
But you must if you are an ATV person. Here are a couple of amazing ATV tours in Cappadocia that have the best reviews in the world.
- This quad safari takes you through the 3 best valleys in Cappadocia – Sword, Rose, and Love. You’ll stop along the way to enjoy the views, take pictures, and soak in the best of Cappadocia’s out-of-the-world scenery.
- On this 2-hour ATV tour, you’ll admire the creations in Sword Valley, explore ancient Greek architecture in Cavusin, and enjoy a beautiful sunset in Rose Valley.
Or ride a horse through the valleys
Experience Cappadocia just like the ancient people did, on horses! The name Cappadocia literally means “the land of beautiful horses”. So how can you leave the place without riding on one?
Sunset horse-rides are extremely popular and so are the 2-hour tours that take you through the fairy chimneys and rock shelters of Cappadocia. You can click to book your Cappadocia horseback tour here.
Try the famous pottery kebab
Honestly, the food in Cappadocia was a bit of disappointment for me. Turkish food wowed me everywhere else but Cappadocia. And that was because, food in Cappadocian restaurants was a more touristy version of local food. There was just tomatoes everywhere and absolutely no flavor. Or maybe, I just tried all wrong restaurants in my 3 days in Cappadocia!!!
Anyway, if you are looking to try something popular in Cappadocia, try their pottery kebab. Since the region has been producing pottery since ages, they use clay pots to cook their meat along with a lot of vegetables. They serve you the meat in the same clay pot that’s sealed with dough. Pottery kebab is also known as testi kebab.
Go on a wine tasting tour
How about a wine tasting tour along with the highlights of Cappadocia with a local guide? Sounds like a good idea, right?
Visit the Kaymakli Underground City, check out the special and creative fairy chimneys of Devrent Valley and Pasabag, make your own pottery in Avanos, and savor the unique taste of Turkish wine on this specially curated tour by Cappadocia Adventures.
Shop for souvenirs
Don’t leave Cappadocia without shopping for local souvenirs. Ceramics and pottery are popular because the village of Avanos is famous for pottery manufacturing. You can even join a pottery workshop in Avanos.
Fridge magnets, keychains, and Turkish rugs are other popular choices. Do not forget to pick some Turkish wine if you are a wine person. Here is a list of the best wineries and vineyards in Cappadocia.
Enjoy a night filled with Turkish cuisine and culture
No better way to wrap your Cappadocia visit than with a traditional Turkish dinner in a cave restaurant accompanied by Turkish dance and music.
On this highly-recommended, 3-hour evening show, you’ll enjoy Turkish delicacies for dinner, sip unlimited beer and wine, and watch a series of Turkish folk dances highlighting the varied culture of the country. Guests love this show because of the impeccable arrangements, attentive guides, and the varied dance shows that give an insight into Turkish culture and heritage.
Interactive map of the best Cappadocia attractions
Getting a Cappadocia Museum Pass
If you are planning to visit a few heritage sites during the stay, it is always a good idea to check if it makes sense to buy the Cappadocia Museum Pass. The pass covers a ton of attractions including the Goreme Open Air Museum (also the Dark Church), Kaymakli and Derinkuyu underground cities, Ilhara Valley, Zelve, and Pasabag.
Alternately, you can get the Turkey Museum Pass which I did for my 2 weeks in Turkey and saved a good amount of money.
If you have any of these two museum passes, be sure to mention that to your Red/Green/Blue tour operator before the tour. They won’t have to purchase tickets for you at the attractions that are covered under your pass and you’ll get a discount in the tour value. For example, I got a discount of €5 on my Green Tour price because I had a Turkey Museum Pass.
You can buy a Cappadocia Museum Pass/Turkey Museum Pass at the ticket counter of any of the attractions listed here.
Best places to stay in Cappadocia
Cappadocia comprises of 5 different provinces and therefore, many cities. Most Cappadocia attractions are located in the Nevsehir province and a few in Aksaray. So, it is a good idea to stay in one of the popular Nevsehir towns.
Uchisar, Goreme, and Cavusin are strong contenders.
Pro tip: One important thing to remember is that you cannot make new bookings on Booking.com when you are in Turkey. This is because of some legal hassles between Booking and Turkish Govt. back in 2017. Be sure to finalize your bookings before you travel or ask someone outside the country to book for you. You can still use Agoda and Expedia, though.
Goreme is a popular option if you want to be in the middle of all action – the best hotels and restaurants are here. You can walk to or take the minibus to all major attractions from Goreme. So, it is perfect if you don’t have a car. Add to that some gorgeous balloon views and Goreme is just perfect.
Best cave hotels in Goreme
- Sultan Cave Suites: This is one of the best cave hotels in all of Cappadocia. With private balconies and antique furnishing, their rooms ooze luxury. They have one of the most famous terraces in the world – the one with a view of the balloons that has always caught your eye on Instagram. Check out more pictures here.
- Cappadocia Caves Hotel: This place is reasonably priced and features a garden and a terrace. Guests love the swimming pool and the friendly staff who are always ready to help. Click here to find more about Cappadocia Caves Hotel.
- Design Cappadocia: We stayed for 3 nights at Design Cappadocia and totally loved our spacious room and larger-than-life bathroom. The breakfast spread was amazing and so was the terrace from where we could get some gorgeous balloon views. Only thing we found lacking was the inability of the front desk to manage tours effectively. Our Green Tour pick up was messed up and the hotel did almost nothing to help us get on a balloon when our first flight got cancelled. If you need a nice place to stay but don’t need help with local tours, then Design Cappadocia is a great option.
Uchisar is located at the highest point in Cappadocia and is less touristy than Goreme. Stay here for the views and some quiet time.
- Hermes Cave Hotel: Hermes has some of the best views of Uchisar and Pigeon Valley. Guests love them for their sunrise and sunset views, great breakfast, and helpful staff. Learn more about Hermes Cave Hotel here.
- Alice in Cappadocia: This hotel is located very close to Uchisar Castle. Guests rave about their spacious rooms and nice & helpful staff. Find more about Alice in Cappadocia here.
Located in the midst of Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys, Cavusin is a lot quiter than Goreme and Uchisar. There are a few amazing hotels here including the highly recommended Fairyland Cave Hotel which provides incredible views of the valley and hot air balloons.
Practical information for visiting Cappadocia
Best time to visit Cappadocia
The best time to visit Cappadocia is in late spring (May & June) and fall (September & October). Temperatures are mild and days are bright & sunny. It is a good time to be out in the open especially if you are planning to do some hiking.
March and April are also good months if you are not riding a hot air balloon in Cappadocia. That is because March & April are windier than other months and see a ton of balloon cancellations.
Summer (July & August) is peak season. Prices are higher than usual and places are crowded.
Winter is cold and rainy but beautiful. Cappadocia turns into a winter wonderland as soon as it starts snowing. I know of people who visit Cappadocia only during winters to get a glimpse of snowy white fairy chimneys. I would love to do that too. One day! However, note that most balloon cancellations also happen during winter because of bad weather.
Getting to Cappadocia
It is easy to get to Cappadocia by flight. There are 2 major airports in the Cappadocia region, Kayseri Eriklet Airport (1hr 10minutes to Goreme) and Nevsehir Kapadokya Airport (45minutes to Goreme). From the airport, you can take a taxi or reserve a private airport transfer.
Shared van services are also available between the airports and Cappadocia. They are cheaper than private transfers. You can book your shared airport transfer here or check with Peerless Travel Services. We used Peerless to get to Nevsehir Airport from Goreme and their service was decent. They got us to the airport on time.
Alternately, you can get to Cappadocia by bus from Istanbul or Ankara. Bus journey from Istanbul takes about 12-13 hours and 5 hours from Ankara. Popular companies that operate buses on these routes are Kamil Koc and Metro Turizm. We traveled from Ankara to Goreme on a Kamil Koc bus and found it clean and comfortable. The best part is the scenery, though. Makes the bus journey even more beautiful.
You can book your bus tickets and select your seats at Obilet – easy and convenient to use.
Many buses will drop you at Nevsehir, you can get to Goreme by minibus from there. Some buses take you directly to Goreme bus station from where you can walk to your hotel.
Getting around Cappadocia
In Cappadocia, you can walk, ride the dolmus or minibus, drive, or take a local tour.
It is a good idea to stay in Goreme and then hike to the nearest attractions such as Goreme Open Air Museum and Uchisar Castle.
Goreme is also the transport hub, so you can take a minibus from the Goreme Otobus Terminali (Goreme Bus Stop). A dolmus (shared van) runs between Urgup and Avanos (and back) and stops at several top attractions in Cappadocia such as Goreme Open Air Museum, Zelve, Pasabag, and the pottery village of Avanos.
Some of the other best places in Cappadocia such as Ilhara Valley and Selime Monastery require a car. You can rent a car, hire a taxi, or sign up for a Green Tour which usually covers these destinations.
Cappadocia travel tips
- Cappadocia is a region in Turkey and not a city. There are several towns and villages within Cappadocia. Goreme is the touristy hub. Stay in Goreme and explore the rest of Cappadocia on foot, bus, or car.
- Get a good pair of walking shoes because Cappadocia is hilly. Plus, you’ll need to walk and climb a bit while sightseeing in Cappadocia.
- Plan to spend at least 2-3 days in Cappadocia if you wish to ride the hot air balloon. It is not unusual for flights to be cancelled because of bad weather. So, in case your first balloon ride gets cancelled, you should have time to ride on the next day or the next. Find out how to deal with hot air balloon cancellations here.
- Be sure to add at least one underground city in your Cappadocia itinerary. These cities go beyond the human comprehension of extraordinary.
- Remember to check if getting a Cappadocia Museum Pass makes sense for you because it may save you some $$.
- Always check for admission prices and museum pass costs on the official website of the government before making your purchase decisions. These charges have been going up like crazy recently.
- You cannot access Booking.com in Turkey because of some legal troubles between Booking and Turkish govt. So, be sure to make your bookings before you travel. Or use Expedia or Agoda. Or ask a friend outside Turkey to book.
Cappadocia Travel FAQ
How long should you spend in Cappadocia?
You should spend at least 3 days in Cappadocia so that you are able to explore the rock-cut churches of Goreme Open Air Museum, check out the rocky cones and fairy chimneys of Devrent Valley and Pasabag, visit an underground city, hike through a picturesque valley, and ride on a hot air balloon.
Is 2 days enough in Cappadocia?
2 days in Cappadocia is just enough to see the highlights – Goreme Open Air Museum, Uchisar Castle, Pigeon Valley, Devrent Valley, and maybe one underground city if you have the time. Also gives you one more day to reschedule your balloon flight if the first one gets cancelled. However, I would highly recommend 3 – 4 days in Cappadocia to see the best that the region has to offer.
What is special in Cappadocia?
The most special thing about Cappadocia is its soft volcanic landscape that man has easily sculpted into rock-hewn churches, cavern houses, and deep underground settlements. This makes Cappadocia a heritage site like no other.
What is the best month to visit Cappadocia?
The best month to visit Cappadocia is from May – October when the weather is sunny and bright. However, July and August are also the most crowded.
Is Cappadocia worth seeing?
Cappadocia in Turkey is absolutely worth seeing. It is one of the most beautiful world heritage sites that has a unique volcanic landscaped dotted with fairy chimneys, hermit caves, rock-cut churches with stunning Byzantine art, and underground cities.