Top tips to visit Cappadocia

For a long time I didn’t understand why all tourists were going to Cappadocia. “Okay, there are some interesting natural shapes created by wind and rain, but so what?” I asked myself. Why is it worth being visited by thousands each year? The second time I visited, I understood why.

Uçhisar Castle
Uçhisar Castle

As a natural wonder all Turkish people know the Cappadocia region has two important towns, Ürgüp and Göreme. The thing we don’t know and don’t teach is its history which I learnt recently, and now I’m amazed by this region geographically and historically. The region was used by the Hittites and Byzantines for centuries. In the 3rd century BC, they began carving the rocks and making their homes and shelters. There are a lot of ancient churches, graves and underground cities which were made to protect from enemies, and all them were amazing. Now here is what you need to know to have a great time in Cappadocia, I will give you some tips on what you can do and where you can go in three days in this World Heritage Site.

  • How many days you need in Cappadocia?

My first visit in Cappadocia was one day. But that was not enough time to understand and enjoy anything. If you want to travel to Cappadocia, at least three well-organised days should be enough for you to get a decent view of the region.

  • How to get there?

You can fly to Kayseri (which many people do) or you can go by bus. It takes 8 hours by bus from Istanbul to Cappadocia, I can assure you, you that Turkish buses are very comfortable, Turkish roads are good, and so is infrastructure.

  • Have a car

It is rural area and there is not much transportation you can find so rent a car. That’s the best way to access places and see around.

  • Make your plan 

Planning in advance will save you time. My plan was to go to Göreme, Ürgüp, Avanos, Uçhisar, the Derinkuyu Underground City and the Ihlara Valley.

Map

 

  • Stay in Göreme

In addition to all the attractions in Göreme, you can have a nice view even if you are in a hotel. Hot air balloons fly in Göreme. And one of the must-see places is the Göreme Open Air Museum. You can see cave churches with magnificent Byzantine era paintings that are more than 1000 years old.

 

Göreme Open Air Museum
Göreme Open Air Museum
  • Sleep early

In Cappadocia, days start very early whether you take a hot-air balloon or not, so going to sleep early will gain you energy and you’ll enjoy your stay more. Anyways the second day you will be tired and sleep very well.

  • Ride Hot Air Balloon

The Cappadocia Region is famous for its sunrises. The best way to watch a sunrise is in a hot air balloon which has become very popular in Cappadocia during last 30 years. The prices are between 150-250 Euros per person depending on the season, the duration of the tour and the number of the people in the basket.

Balloons start to fly very early in the morning...
Balloons start to fly very early in the morning…
  • Zelve

Even though Göreme is the center of these “fairy chimneys”, Zelve was the place that most amazed me. I didn’t even know the name of “Zelve”, and had never heard of it. It’s only 5 minutes away from Göreme, surrounded by bunch of chimneys. If you are alone and it is raining a bit, it makes you feel like you are in a movie or in another world. I really liked it and I recommend you see it.

Zelve Chimneys
Zelve Chimneys

 

  • Derinkuyu Underground City

Cappadocia-05-2015-3295Derinkuyu is the deepest  and most touristyc underground city among 36 underground cities in Cappadocia.  Its caved by The Hittites  around 3th BC and used by Byzantines and other civilizations. It is spectacular experiences going down narrow stairs 8 floors underground in this ancient city and imagine thousands people lived there ones upon a time. You can see there how people created their home by hand.

Derinkuyu Underground City
Derinkuyu Underground City
  • Don’t miss to visit Ihlara Valley

I’d seen some pictures of it, but the Ihlara Valley has to be seen to be believed.  It’s a 16 km long canyon with high vertical rock walls a green ravine with a small river crossing in the middle. I can assure you will say a lot of “woww” once you see the canyon. Besides to be wonderful itself, the presence of a lot of caves and ancient mysterious churches carved into the rocks creates a very special atmosphere. You have to be ready to climb stairs and to walk some kilometers. Finding a little, authentic open air cafe at the end where you can rest a while and enjoy the nature around you while you are having your tea is pure bliss!

Ihlara Valley
Ihlara Valley
Ihlara Valley Map
Ihlara Valley Map


Don’t miss to check out the photo gallery below to have better idea  😉

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19 thoughts to “Top tips to visit Cappadocia”

  1. This region has been on my bucket list for a while. Nice to have some more specifics, though I’ll probably wait until Turkey is a bit more stable before visiting. I realize media reports and government travel advisories are just part of the picture and don’t table my travel plans easily. May I ask when you visited?

    1. Hi Danielle! You are true, a lot going on these days in Turkey, but I still say it’s safer than a lot of countries. Since Cappadocia is in the middle of the country it has continental climate and summers very hot and winters very cold, so the best time I say autumn or spring.

  2. We’ve been to Capadoccia twice since we’ve been living in Turkey the second one because we couldn’t fly on our first trip, but we did as you said the underground city the valley and so on. It is a wonderful place lovely to visit. We’ve had great times (you can check more on our web).

  3. I was in Cappadocia a few months ago! It was amazing and my favourite place in Turkey 🙂 great post and I definitely agree with your tips! 🙂

  4. I’m so pleased to hear you enjoyed your second visit and this is a really helpful guide. I love the look of Cappadocia and would love to visit some day. Your pictures show the area off really well and I love all the colourful hot air balloons. The Zelve Chimneys look really unique. Really good tip about making sure you visit Ihlara Valley. It sounds awesome.

    1. Thanks Amanda! Yes Cappadocia is really very unique place with its geography and also history. Definitely should be in your bucket list!

  5. I’ve wanted to visit Turkey for a long time, and your wonderful information on Cappadocia makes me want to visit even more so! I’m curious, were you able to take a hot air balloon ride? It sounds pretty fantastic, but also seems a bit expensive for my wallet and was just wondering if it’s something to consider when we manage to make it there.

    1. I was earning Turkish Lira when I visit it, so believe me, for my wallet also it was very expensive, so I couldn’t effort it. Since I’m local, I thought I can come and take the balloons any time. But If you visit one time in your life, definitely you shouldn’t miss it!

  6. Thank you for this post! I ve never been to Turkey and I knew this only through pinterest and picture of hot air balloons so thanks for all the tips! Wi pin it for later when I go to Turkey 😉

  7. I love how unreal this region looks. It looks just insanely beautiful and out of this world. Was it still crowded when you went? Because tourism in Turkey in really declining because of everything that has happened. That’s even more a reason to visit though:)

    1. You are totally true, I’m sure you can find better prices and chimneys to yourself since Turkey lost a lot of visitors recently. It was touristy when I went but, the zone is very big so never you can feel the crowd! Hope you can make it and have unique experiences 🙂

  8. This is a great post! I’ve been seeing pictures of Cappadocia for ages and I’m dreaming to go there too. Thanks for the great tips and I’ll be adding this to my bookmark for when I get back to Europe! 🙂

  9. I’ve always wondered how to get there economically and you’ve answered my question – perfect! Didn’t realise how much there is to do there…

    Sounds like I can start forming a plan to visit Cappadocia! It looks unreal 🙂

  10. I like your note about shifting your sleep schedule – sometimes different places start their days earlier or later that you’re used to and can make you lose out on precious sightseeing time! When I lived in Korea all the coffee shops opened at 10:00am (gah!) – everywhere has different and interesting daily time schedules. Great tip! And wonderful photos 🙂

    1. Day starts early (very) and there’s not much things to do in the evening, so to get your energy and strength you should sleep early and well.
      Opening 10 am for coffee shops also very interesting. How late life starts in Korea! May be they simply don’t drink coffee lol.

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