12 Awesome Places to Visit in Cappadocia
Cappadocia, also known as Kapadokya in Turkish, is a geological wonder and a gift of nature that beckons travelers from around the world. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore 12 incredible places to visit in Cappadocia, ensuring you make the most of your trip to this extraordinary region.
Before you embark on your Cappadocia adventure, ensure you have a map of the region. You can easily obtain one from travel agents or kiosks scattered around town.
Beginning Your Cappadocia Journey
Cappadocia is a region where the forces of nature and history have come together in a breathtaking manner. Over millions of years, geological processes sculpted the unique fairy chimneys. Throughout history, people carved homes and churches into these chimneys, adorning them with intricate frescoes, creating a living testament to ancient civilizations.
In the 3rd and 4th centuries, Christians escaping Roman oppression sought refuge in Cappadocia. They cultivated the land, using pigeon feces as fertilizer to nurture their crops. These industrious people carved the famous underground cities of Cappadocia into the soft rocks, leaving behind a legacy of captivating cave houses, underground cities, historic churches, and other geographical wonders.
Where is Cappadocia?
Cappadocia isn't a single town or city but rather a region within the city of Nevsehir. Its captivating landscapes were shaped over 60 million years by the accumulation of lava and ash from nearby mountains like Erciyes, Gulludag, and Hasandagi. The wind and rain worked their magic, creating the famous valleys and fairy chimneys. While Cappadocia lies within Nevsehir's borders, it's also accessible from neighboring cities such as Kayseri, Nigde, and Aksaray. Kayseri Airport, about a 30-45 minute drive from Cappadocia, is a convenient gateway, and you can find free Cappadocia maps at the airport kiosks.
Cappadocia is so rich in wonders that a single post cannot do it justice. Whether you're on a budget or looking for guided experiences, we recommend exploring the Red Valley and the Green Valley. For budget travelers, using your Cappadocia map to visit attractions independently is also an excellent option. Here are some of the main places to explore in Cappadocia:
Most of Cappadocia's marvels can be found in these regions. Check your Cappadocia map and mark these attractions for easy reference.
How to Get to Cappadocia?
Cappadocia by Plane
If you're visiting Cappadocia from Istanbul or Izmir, check flight ticket search engines like Skyscanner or Aviasales for the most affordable options. We recommend Turkish Airlines, Anadolu Jet (a Turkish Airlines sister company), or Pegasus Airlines because of their early morning flights. Arriving before 9 am ensures you have ample time to join morning tours of the Red Valley and the Green Valley.
Alternatively, you can take an overnight bus, which takes approximately 10-11 hours to reach Goreme Coach Station in Cappadocia. Reliable bus companies for this journey include Metro Turizm and Nevsehir Seyahat, as they drop you off in the center of Goreme, allowing easy access to your hotel on foot.
Renting a Car
Considering the convenience and COVID-19 precautions, renting a car in Cappadocia has become a popular choice. It offers flexibility to explore the region at your own pace. Check car rental prices on Rentalcars to secure your vehicle. Rentalcars is a trusted booking.com associate company.
Cappadocia in Winter Time
Cappadocia's valleys and fairy chimneys take on a magical quality when blanketed in snow. Winter, especially in December, January, and February, offers lower accommodation rates, fewer crowds at attractions, and shorter queues. However, be prepared for muddy streets, challenging hikes through the valleys, and the possibility of some hotels closing during this season. Hot air balloon flights may also face more frequent cancellations due to adverse weather conditions. Despite these challenges, a winter visit to Cappadocia can be a rewarding experience.
How Long to Stay in Cappadocia
A stay of 2 nights and 3 days is ideal for exploring most of what Cappadocia has to offer. However, visitors with limited time can still manage to see many attractions in a 1-night, 2-day visit. Here's a suggested Cappadocia itinerary:
- Early morning flight from Istanbul to Cappadocia (typically around 5 am).
- Arrival at your hotel around 07:00 - 07:30 am.
- Join a Red Valley tour, usually starting at 9 am (guided tours often include hotel pick-up).
- Enjoy the evening at a traditional Turkish restaurant.
- Soar above Cappadocia with a hot air balloon ride in the early morning (hotel pick-up is around 04:30 am).
- Participate in a Green Tour on the same day (don't forget to ask for a free Cappadocia map).
- Return to Istanbul, or opt for an overnight bus if you're on a tight schedule.
1-Day Itinerary (for very limited time):
- Early morning flight from Istanbul to Cappadocia (typically around 5 am).
- Join a Red Valley tour starting at 9 am (guided tours often offer hotel pick-up).
- Return to Istanbul, or opt for an overnight bus.
Cost of a Cappadocia Trip
The cost of your Cappadocia trip can vary widely based on your preferences and choices:
- Bus tickets from Istanbul to Goreme or Urgup start from 120 Turkish Liras one way.
- Flight ticket prices vary depending on the season and occupancy, ranging from 275 Turkish Liras to 425 Liras one way from Istanbul to Nevsehir or Kayseri airport.
- Hotel prices in Cappadocia typically range from 200-400 Turkish Liras for a double room with breakfast.
- Hostel beds cost approximately 40-80 Turkish Liras per day.
- Dining at local restaurants in Avanos or Urgup is budget-friendly, while Goreme tends to be slightly pricier.
Expect to spend around 30-45 Turkish Liras per person daily on food. Fine dining or traditional Turkish restaurants with entertainment may be more expensive.
Museum Entrance Fees and MuseumPass in Cappadocia
To visit museums and underground cities in Cappadocia, consider purchasing a Museum Pass Card for 190 Turkish Liras, which is valid for 3 days. With this pass, you can access various sites and museums in Cappadocia, including:
- Ihlara Valley
- Cappadocia Underground City in Derinkuyu
- Goreme Open Air Museum
- Kaymaklı Underground City
- Ozkonak Underground City
- Nevsehir Museum
- Nevsehir Cavusin Archeological Site Cavusin Church
- Nevsehir Hacı Bektas Museum
- Nevsehir Zelve-Pasabaglar Archeological Site
- Aksaray Monastery Valley
- Aksaray Museum
- Nevsehir Gulsehir - St. Jean Church
- The Dark Church (Goreme)
Please note that the Museum Pass doesn't cover Uchisar Castle. You can obtain a free Cappadocia map at the museum entrance for your convenience.
ATV tours, horseback riding tours, and hot air balloon tours are popular in Cappadocia and may incur additional costs on top of your general expenses.
Hot Air Balloon Tours in Cappadocia
Cappadocia is renowned for its hot air balloon rides, known locally as Kapadokya Balon Turu. Numerous companies offer these tours in towns like Goreme and Urgup.
Duration of Hot Air Balloon Tour
Hot air balloon tours in Cappadocia typically last about 2 hours.
Your hot air balloon tour package often includes:
- Pick-up and drop-off at your hotel
- Professional guide service in multiple languages
- Champagne toast upon a safe landing
Cost of Hot Air Balloon Rides
Hot air balloon prices in Cappadocia range from 100 to 150 Euros. Prices may vary depending on the specific tour package, with some including breakfast or being part of group tours.
Late Hot Air Balloon Tours
If you miss the morning hot air balloon ride due to a late arrival in Cappadocia, don't fret. There are late hot air balloon tours available, usually around 7 or 8 am. While you won't witness the sunrise over Cappadocia's valleys, it's still a worthwhile experience, especially if you're visiting from afar.
Cappadocia has strict aviation rules. If weather conditions, particularly strong winds, pose a risk, hot air balloon flights may be canceled. In such cases, companies typically provide full refunds. However, if you miss your flight due to your own circumstances, refunds may not be guaranteed. It's essential to clarify the refund procedure with your chosen tour company before booking your Cappadocia balloon ride.Navigating the enchanting landscapes of Cappadocia is a unique adventure. With this guide and your trusty Cappadocia map, you'll be well-prepared to explore this captivating region, uncover its secrets, and create unforgettable memories. Enjoy your journey!