Top 10 Things to Do in Cappadocia, Turkey
There are more than 10 things to do in Cappadocia. In fact there are at least 20 things no one should miss here, but for brevity’s sake, here is a compact list.
Cappadocia is a mystery wrapped in a puzzle smothered with confusion. The region is so rich with wonder and amazing sites both man and mother nature created, you could easily spend a week here and not run out of awe. The region is made up of several cities: Nevsehir, Goreme, Uçhisar, & Ürgüp all amazing in their own ways with cave dwellings, underground villages and Alice in Wonderland valley’s in between.
You can reach this magical paradise by bus from Istanbul (12-14 hrs and $50) or simply fly there (Nevsehir). Both can be quite an adventure but as the bus usually is at night, you will miss most of the beautiful Turkish countryside on the way.
Cappadocia can be done in as little as 3 days or as long as 7. Since most people coming to Turkey do Istanbul and Cappadocia, I have narrowed down the best of Cappadocia into nice bite size pieces that can be done in 3 days/4 nights. Click here for current Turkish exchange rate.
- Göreme Open Air Museum (1 km from city center)- 15 TL price tag but some amazing preserved rock churches. Worth the walk from town as you pass signage for the Love Valley(see #2).
- Love Valley– An unusual valley full of phallus formations right outside of Göreme. It’s a little bit of a hike to get there but as you can see from the linked pictures, well worth the trip.
- Balloon ride– This is by far the pricest thing you will do in Cappadocia but the most worth it. Winter rates were 110 euro, and I heard Summer rates go for 150 euro. That’s per hour, per person mind you.
- Underground Cities- 20 or so pepper the region, Derinkuyu (15 TL) being the best. They were built to protect Christian populations from Muslim invaders. (Note: Extremely tall or wide of girth individuals should probably skip the underground tunnels and trinket shop instead).
- Fairy Chimneys– Rather amazing naturally made rock formations. They dot the region and offer some unique photo opportunities. Click here for post on Fairy Chimney’s
- Ilhara Valley- Lush green valley wedged between 2 steep cliffs. Great flat hiking(2-3 hours) along the valley floor complete with idealic river.
- Ürgüp wine tasting- Didn’t know Turkey had a wine industry? Well it does and the Cappadocian wines are among the best. Ürgüp is the best local town to sample a variety of the libations Duluca and Sarafin being some of the best vineyards around.
- Rent a car- Explore the region and see the towns that no tours will see (like Belisirma in Ilhara valley). If you visit in the off-season (after September before April) rates should be somewhat cheaper and well under $60 a day.
- Uçhisar at sunset- One of the more dramatic Cappadocian villages, Uçhisar with it’s cave dwellings rock cut churches is an amazing backdrop as the sun slowly receeds into the night.
- Off-the beaten path excursions (literally)- Horseback riding, hiking, biking, scootering, or atv tours all can be had, but for prices you are probably used to in more Western European countries.
Transportation: Cappadocia is full of local transportation like shared buses call dolmus (pr:dolmush). These buses take you from city center to city center all over the Cappadocian region for 1-3 TL. These prices are rock bottom when compared to the 35-50 TL cost of taking a taxi.
Hostels range from the super cheap 15 to the super lux 150 Euro a night. Guess it just depends on your cleanliness threshold. Now you can apply for Turkey visa online or get it at the airport on arrival.
Note: I was in Cappadocia in late October. The weather was 70’s during the day and 50’s at night. Days were a mix of clear blue and choppy gray. Tourism buses were at a minimum but there was an abnormally large amount of Korean and Japanese tour groups.