17 Best Things To Do In Cappadocia + Tips For Visiting

There are many incredible things to do in Cappadocia, Turkey. Be prepared to be wowed at every corner; to feel pampered every day; and for some truly unique experiences.

For many, Cappadocia conjures up images of hot air balloons gracefully gliding around an otherworldly landscape. It’s a land of ghostly spires and martian rock formations, where valleys and peaks hide homes long hewn into the rock itself by past civilizations.

The ancient land here has drawn travelers from far and wide for thousands of years. But it’s only in recent decades that Cappadocia has become a tourist attraction.

The old caves of Cappadocia, Turkey have been stylishly transformed into accommodation, allowing visitors to fully explore this unique, storied region of Turkey and discover its secrets for themselves.

My sister and I have recently visited Cappadocia as part of a longer trip to Turkey and needless to say we fell in love with it. In this post, I will share all the unmissable things to do in Cappadocia, Turkey, and a few tips to help you plan your Cappadocia trip.

However, let me first start with a few interesting facts!

Not sure where else to visit in Turkey? My post The Best Places To Visit In Turkey will be helpful, then!

Disputes over the meaning of Cappadocia

What Does Cappadocia Mean?

Cappadocia was first mentioned in a trilingual inscription from the 6th century BC that referred to it as one of the lands of the Persian Empire. Here it appears in the Old Persian language as “Katpatuka”.

The etymology of Katpatuka is thought to stem from the ancient Indo-European Luwian language, which means “low country”. Further investigation relating the word to the Hittite language, instead translates the name to “place below”.

This is pretty interesting in light of all the underground cities, caves and many “places below” that can be found in the region!

Another theory suggests that the word comes from Khepat, the main god of the region, and that indeed the earliest form of the word Cappadocia was “Ketpatukh”, which means “country of the people of Khepat.”

Others will suggest that the word means “land of beautiful horses” but apparently this is a complete invention of the 1980s. This association may derive from a common inscription in the region where locals are represented as gifting horses to the Persian king.

Raki in Cappadocia
Enjoying a drink of Raki

Where Is Cappadocia?

Cappadocia is a historical region in Turkey. You’ll find it situated in central Anatolia, around 730 kilometers (453 miles) by road from Istanbul. It’s a dry, arid region located around 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) above sea level.

It’s often referred to as the heartlands of Turkey and is punctuated by high volcanic peaks such as Mount Erciyes, and sandstone rock formations — its most famous attribute.

things to do in Cappadocia Turkey
It’s so scenic!

Is Cappadocia Worth Visiting?

Yes! Of course, you should definitely visit Cappadocia at least once. We instantly fell in love with it as soon as we caught the first glimpse of the fairy chimneys, and appreciated it even more as we discovered its history, the rock hewn churches, the landscapes.

Indeed, this region is layered in history, making it perfect for anybody interested in the ancient world, but Cappadocia is also rich with natural beauty.

If you like hiking or simply getting to a viewpoint for a stunning vantage point over intriguing landscapes, then Cappadocia, Turkey, is definitely the sort of place you should think about visiting.

Then there are the unique accommodation options, which really seal the deal of making this a must-visit destination in the country.

Finally, it’s time to check out all the best things to do in Cappadocia and the best places to visit in Cappadocia. Mind you, there are actually more and this is just a selection of the ones you should not miss!

things to do in Cappadocia
Photo by Elena11 @shutterstock

Best Things to Do in Cappadocia, Turkey

Fly in a hot air balloon

This is by far one of the unmissable things to do in Cappadocia. Mind you, it’s not exactly a budget-friendly activity.

The price will vary depending on the season, but you can expect to pay anywhere between $200 and $400 per person for a balloon ride. A private flight can cost somewhere in the region of $5,000.

In recent years seeing the region from the sky has become a bucket list item. The unusual curving mountains of the landscape and the soaring spires are at their best when seen with a bird’s eye view — namely, from the comfort of a hot air balloon.

There’s a whole host of ballooning companies baked in Cappadocia that allow you to float high above the ground. Floating in the air you’ll get to see the true scale of this geological oddity, like your very own real-life Google Earth.

things to do in Cappadocia Turkey
Cappadocia is synonymous with hot air balloons

The time to take flight is early in the morning, the exact time varies depending on the season as you are meant to fly when the sun is just about beginning to rise. As you ascend, so does the sun, making for a sunrise to remember.

And although this is a super popular activity, and therefore there are many other balloons apart from yours in the sky, the sight of all the different colored hot air balloons drifting around you is almost as stunning as the landscape itself.

Your experience will vary depending on the type of tour you choose, however. At the most basic level, there’s the option of booking a “standard” flight or a “comfort” flight. A standard flight usually has you sharing the basket with other people, whereas a comfort flight lasts maybe up to 30 minutes longer; it may also be private, or have fewer people.

Then there are added extras like champagne breakfasts to enjoy.

If you want to take a ride in a hot air balloon in Cappadocia, do some research. Make sure you choose a company that is well reviewed and has trusted, skilled pilots.

You may want to consider this highly rated hot air balloon flight in Goreme – it includes hotel pick up and drop off, snacks and even a glass of champagne during the flight.

If for whatever reason you don’t want to fly in a hot air balloon, you should at least make it a point to see sunrise (and the balloons) from the ground. It’s quite a show!

The Dark Church in Goreme Open Air Museum

Visit Goreme Open-Air Museum

Goreme is actually just a small town, but probably the most famous base to visit Cappadocia. It’s here that you’ll find Goreme Open-Air Museum, which lies to the east of the town. This is one of the best places to visit in Cappadocia.

This fascinating complex of rock formations is home to cave dwellings and chapels cut into the rock itself. It’s thought the churches originally date back to the Byzantine era, when it was home to a small monastic community.

Around 10 churches and chapels can be explored by visitors today. One of the most famous is the Dark Church, which requires an additional fee to visit. Each one of the chapels has been given a name (like “Dark Church”) based on a prominent feature that you can find within.

Many are richly decorated with incredibly colorful, vivid frescoes in an art style that feels very unique to the Cappadocia region. There are also examples of Byzantine architecture in the cave churches, including columns and archways.

This guided tour of Cappadocia also goes to Goreme Open Air Museum and is highly rated. It’s a full day tour that also includes lunch.

Taking photos inside the churches of Goreme Open Air Museum is prohibited. Guards stand inside every church to make sure all visitors abide by the rules.

where to stay in Cappadocia
Yunak Evleri Cappadocia Hotel in Urgup

Stay in a cave hotel

Cappadocia was once home to many communities that lived in cave dwellings. Over the years, these were abandoned and left to become derelict. Local people even feared them as the realm only of ghosts and bad spirits.

However, more recently, the value of these rock-hewn lodgings has been recognized by hoteliers and enterprising locals, who have painstakingly turned many of them into boutique accommodation options.

They range from rustic and traditional, to out-and-out luxury with swimming pools and all the trimmings you’d expect of an upscale hotel.

Staying in one of these cave hotels is one of the ultimate things to do in Cappadocia. And there are so many to choose from that it can seem difficult to narrow them all down.

To give you some inspiration, I’ve chosen three of the very best, each of them situated in the main towns of the region: Goreme, Uchisar and Urgup.

Goreme: Travellers Cave Hotel – Situated a 5-minute walk from the center of Goreme, this beautiful cave hotel provides a rustic yet polished experience. Rooms are clean and comfortable and feature stone walls (of course), lavish hot tubs, fireplaces and traditional rugs.

There are some beautiful communal spaces to unwind in throughout the accommodation. These include a rooftop terrace, shisha lounge, manicured garden and an onsite restaurant.

Uchisar: Caldera Cave Hotel – Located overlooking Uchisar Castle itself, each of the guest rooms at this hotel have been carefully curated to the utmost in style and comfort. These are offered in different sizes from “junior” caves to superior cave suites.

Away from the simple yet sumptuous rooms is the chic onsite restaurant, which boasts floor-to-ceiling windows offering full views across the landscape. The hotel also features a sun terrace for unwinding, a bar and free parking for those with their own set of wheels.

Urgup: Yunak Evleri Cappadocia – This is where we stayed and we can’t speak of it highly enough. Staying in this hotel is like staying in a self-contained, and very luxurious village.

Some of the rooms in this complex date back to the 5th century AD, while other parts can be found taking up space in a 19th-century Greek mansion.

Needless to say, the rooms vary depending on which one you book. No matter what, you’ll get amazing views, sophisticated interiors, stone walls and four-poster beds. Some rooms even have their very own hot tubs.

The hotel has a whole host of amenities, including a swimming pool, spa and wellness center, bar (with incredible views of the surrounding area) and restaurant.

Red Valley Cappadocia
The stunning landscape of the Red Valley

Hike the Red Valley

Hiking is one of the best things to do in Cappadocia.

Also known by its Turkish name, Kizilcukur, the Red Valley is famed as a hiking spot in the region. That’s probably got something to do with it being one of the most easy to access valleys, while still offering up the chance to see the classic Cappadocian landscape.

The popularity of the hike means that you may be sharing the path at some stage with other visitors. But don’t let that put you off. The beauty of the soaring sandstone rocks makes it a worthwhile hike to embark on.

The hike is well signposted and takes you through the Red Valley itself, dotted with fairy chimneys and passing through various narrow gorges of the rocky landscape.

The hike takes you up to the Kizilcukur Viewpoint, which is an amazing chance to see the cliffs and ridges of the valley from up high and indeed also a fantastic sunset spot.

It’s a circular route that starts and finishes either in Goreme or Cavusin. You may want to start later in the afternoon, as – like I have already said – sunset turns the valley into a kaleidoscope of colors. The viewpoint even has some cafes, so you can have a drink and a snack while you watch the sun dip below the horizon.

Rose valley Cappadocia
More stunning landscape in Cappadocia

Hike the Rose Valley

Gulludere Vasili, or Rose Valley, is the most easily accessible hike in Cappadocia.

If you’ve only got a short amount of time here, this is the one you should choose. But despite the ease of this short hike, you will still be treated to an incredible landscape of fairy chimneys, rock-cut churches and viewpoints along the way.

The trail leads from the Gulludere Valley trailhead. It’s signposted along the way, taking you through an orchard and past a cave church, among other sights.

There’s the chance to stop off at a cafe for refreshments, Cross Church Cafe. The church features frescoes that date back to the 9th century. Then it’s onwards to cave dwellings with ceilings daubed with religious frescoes.

All in all, this hike features everything that’s amazing about Cappadocia — the landscape, the history and the cave dwellings — making it a good all-rounder of a hike and a real adventure without having to put that much effort into it.

Don’t feel like walking? You may want to consider this quad tour of Cappadocia that also goes to the Love Valley.

Uchisar Castle in the background

Hike the Love Valley to Uchisar Castle

Another of the best hikes in Cappadocia is the one that winds through Love Valley. The valley itself is said to take its name from the phallic rock formations that rise to the sky here. Because of these obviously shaped rocks, it makes for some fun photo opportunities!

The classic hike from Goreme, through Love Valley, and back again, takes around 3 hours. However, you also have the option to extend the walk to Uchisar Castle; this adds a couple more hours to the hike.

Though it’s not a castle as you’d imagine it — more of a series of tunnels and rooms cut into a giant peak — Uchisar Castle was a defensive fortress for Cappadocia. As it’s the highest point in the region, you can get some great views from up here (probably the reason it was chosen as a stronghold).

If you don’t feel like hiking back, or it’s too late in the day, you can catch a bus from Uchisar Castle back to Goreme. Buses leave every 30 minutes or so and the drive takes about 10 minutes.

This guided tour of Cappadocia is one of the best on offer: it includes a visit to a local ceramics manufacturer in Avanos, Goreme Valley, and it ends in Uchisar Castle.

Wander around Ihlara Valley

Another of Cappdocia’s popular hiking routes, the Ihlara Valley, is edged by high cliffs that play host to a plethora of rock-cut churches. This is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Cappadocia.

While most people visit Ihlara Valley on a tour, and only take a short stroll through a small portion of the landscape, you can see so much more here if you go on a longer hike – after all, hiking is one of the most popular things to do in Cappadocia.

Start at Selime and stroll among cliff landscapes for about an hour. Eventually you’ll reach the village of Belisirma, where the path then leads to the Ihlara Valley Tourist Facility.

This portion of the hike, taking around 1.5 hours, features a high number of rock-cut churches, making it a good option if you feel like adventuring.

If you walk a further hour from the tourist facility you’ll arrive at Ilhara Village. Here you’ll find a number of lesser-visited churches. From here, it’ll take a couple of hours to reach your starting point at Selime.

For the best rated tour of the Ilhara Valley, click here.

Ilhara Valley
Gorgeous Cappadocia landscape

Visit Devrent Valley

Also going by the name Imagination Valley, Devrent Valley is full of weird and wonderful rock formations that — true to the valley’s nickname — you can imagine being all sorts of things. For example, there’s a camel, birds kissing, dolphins and even the Virgin Mary herself.

Many people choose to visit Devrent Valley as part of a tour, as getting there can be quite difficult on public transport. If you have a rented car though, it’s not too far to drive yourself.

This valley differs from others as it doesn’t have any cave dwellings or rock-cut churches — that means no castles and no frescoes. The amount of fairy chimneys here turn it into a sort of natural sculpture park, and it can be fun to wander here for an hour or two.

For a guided tour of Cappadocia that also goes to Devrent Valley, click here.

Three Beauties
Posing with the Three Beauties

Admire the Three Beauties Fairy Chimneys

The Three Beauties, also known as the Three Graces, are a set of fairy chimneys just on the outskirts of Urgup. These iconic rock formations are a famous tourist destination in the town and can be found around a kilometer (0.6 miles) along the road towards Ortahisar.

The best time to see the Three Beauties Fairy Chimneys is at sunset (unfortunately, we did not get to see them at sunset). Not only does it make for a dramatic view, but it also means it’ll be cooler, in case you are visiting in the summer months.

There’s a wooden platform that leads around the cliffs close to the rocks, which means you can get a glimpse of the rock formation from all angles.

There’s also a path that leads down from the walkway to the base of the fairy chimneys themselves, so you can see them up close (this is quite steep, however).

Cross the suspension bridge in Avanos

Visiting Avanos hardly ever makes the list of the best things to do in Cappadocia, but we enjoyed this small town so I thought I’d mention it.

The main feature here is a suspension bridge. Spanning around 90 meters (295 feet) above the Kizilirmak River, the Avanos suspension bridge has recently become a more popular tourist sight in Cappadocia.

Built in 1973, this pedestrian bridge is said to be the strongest bridge in the country. Turkish people like to come here to put locks on the bridge and throw keys into the river, making wishes and dedications of love. I don’t recommend doing that as it’s polluting!

Walking across the bridge offers a great vantage point over the river and towards the town. There are also several cafes and eateries scattered on both banks of the river, so you can enjoy some refreshments while you soak up the views of the bridge.

Our favorite was Mado, which is actually a chain: it makes some excellent goat ice-cream, which is a local specialty.

For a guided tour that also goes to Avanos, click here.

Cappadocia Turkey
Souvenir from Cappadocia, Turkey

Shop for ceramics and pottery in Avanos

Once you’re in Avanos — after crossing the bridge, of course — you can take some time to explore the town. Avanos is actually famed for its ceramics and pottery, and since one of the best things to do in Cappadocia is shopping for souvenirs, you may as well do it here.

Avanos pottery is a regional speciality, and there are a number of workshops producing it in the town. You can buy all sorts of ceramics here, from plates and bowls to vases. I bought a coffee cup and the tea cup and saucer pictured above.

If you do purchase something, you’ll be taking home a part of the history of the region. That’s because this type of pottery has been produced in the region since 2000 BC. The clay for the pottery is taken from the mud of the Kizilirmak River (which is rich in minerals) and then thrown into shape using a foot-powered wheel.

If you really want to get a better understanding of the pot-making process you can take part in the many workshops available in town. You’ll be invited to try doing some pottery, too!

This guided tour of Cappadocia includes a visit to a local ceramics manufacturer in Avanos.

underground city
Walking underground in Cappadocia

See Ozkonak Underground City

As well as its rock-cut churches and cave dwellings, not to mention the fairy chimneys, Cappadocia is most famous for its sprawling underground cities. Visiting one – or all – the underground cities is one of the unmissable things to do in Cappadocia. We visited Ozkonak.

Though believed to have been built by Byzantine settlers of the region, the actual date of the city’s creation remains unknown. It was discovered in 1972 by a local man who was keen to understand where all the water he was using to irrigate his crops was draining to.

Initially, the farmer discovered just one room, but further excavations uncovered an entire city with enough room for around 60,000 people.

Four floors of Ozkonak Underground City are open to the public. Interesting facets of everyday life can be glimpsed within. These include water wells, a winery and a ventilation system. But they also had created clever tunnels to dump scorching hot sand onto enemy invaders.

As a word of warning, be advised that the “roads” and rooms in Ozkonak Underground City can be very narrow and low, which means kneeling down when walking. The photos above and below give you an idea of the scale. And keep in mind we are only 162 cm (5’3”) tall (or short).

Ozkonak is actually one of the lesser known underground cities in Cappadocia, so there aren’t many tours that go there. You may want to consider this private tour that also goes to Goreme.

Ozkonak Underground City
Inside Ozkonak Underground City

Elsewhere you can visit Kaymakli Underground City. This labyrinth of tunnels cut deep into the rock and covers eight levels. As you can expect, it’s very easy to get lost so opting to see this particular one on a tour may be a good idea.

Kaymakli is also the best choice for those who suffer from claustrophobia: it features the largest and most well lit chambers of the underground cities.

For a guided tour of Kaymakli Underground City, click here.

There’s also the multi-level underground town of Derinkuyu. Believed to have space for up to 20,000 people to live alongside their livestock and their food supplies, this underground city is the largest of its kind in Turkey.

It runs to a depth of 85 meters (280 feet) into the rock, and boasts a number of fascinating design and architectural details — there are stone doors that roll into place, chapels, and even stables.

For a guided tour that also goes to Derinkuyu Underground City, click here.

Join a Quad Tour

A more modern way to experience this ancient landscape (especially if hiking isn’t your thing) is to head out on a tour via quad bike: it’s one of the most popular things to do in Cappadocia.

These tours will see you weave through the valleys and lunar landscapes of the region, and are particularly good if you don’t have a lot of time to spare.

Quad bike tours in Cappadocia such usually last around 2 hours. These also include pick-up services from your accommodation; some also include a BBQ dinner at sunset in the price.

This quad tour of Cappadocia is one of the best rated ones. It goes to the Rose Valley and the Love Valley too.

things to do in cappadocia turkey

Go horse riding

Not a fan of quad bikes? Then one of the best things to do in Cappadocia for you may be exploring on horseback. It makes for a spectacular way to see the spires and fairy chimneys of the region.

Although a hot air balloon ride provides an incredible bird’s eye view, they don’t give you the same sense of adventure that actually getting into the landscape itself can bring. On horseback, you’ll get to see the fairy chimneys up close, and travel further than you would by foot.

The tours do vary. For example, you can head out on a sunset horseback ride, or you could enjoy a longer 4-hour excursion through the valleys during the day. Which type of horse riding tour you go on is entirely up to you.

And don’t worry: no previous experience of riding a horse is necessary! (Though it probably will help).

There are many horse riding tours available in Cappadocia, Turkey. This is the one I recommend.

There are also camel rides on offer, but I don’t recommend those at all. Camels are not native of this region and I don’t approve their exploitation for tourist purposes.

things to do in Istanbul

Attend a Whirling Dervishes Show

This is one of the things to do in Cappadocia we actually enjoyed the most – though I must admit I felt it’d be entirely touristy. And it was, but it was also that special!

The whirling dervishes are a famous aspect of the culture and religion of Cappadocia. The dervishes themselves, also known as the Mevlevi, are a religious order that was founded in the 13th century by the Persian poet, Rumi.

Part of the practices and rituals of the order involves this twirling dance, which is intended to create a state of meditation that leads to an elevated mindset.

Due to the Mevlevi being part of the Sufi (or mystic) branch of Islam, it has historically been looked down upon by more orthodox sections of Turkish society. But in 1954 the Turkish government permitted the order to perform their whirling dance to tourists during only two weeks of the year.

Now, however, whirling dervish dances are a popular form of entertainment for tourists visiting Cappadocia any time of year. Essentially the dance consists of a constant rotation, which in most people would cause a bad case of dizziness.

For the dervishes, the long, focused training — including psychological techniques and balancing exercises — allows them to counteract this otherwise debilitating vertigo.

It’s definitely worthwhile if you are in Cappadocia. There are plenty of different ways to see a whirling dervish show. The performance which takes place at Saruhan Culture and Event Center takes place in a 13th-century caravanserai and makes for quite a spectacle.

There are many Whirling Dervishes shows on offer in Cappadocia. I recommend this one that also includes hotel pick up and drop off.

Photo by Parilov @shutterstock

Admire a magnificent sunset

No post on the best things to do in Cappadocia would be complete without mentioning sunset!

Cappadocia is well known for its landscape — something which is really enhanced when the sun begins to set. As dusk approaches, the geological formations of the region are dyed a whole range of colors, giving a truly magical aspect to the already otherworldly scenery.

As you might expect, there are a number of different sunset spots to be found throughout Cappadocia. For example, as I mentioned earlier, many travelers choose to hike the Red Valley in the late afternoon so that they can reach the viewpoint here in time for sunset.

This is where we went – though we were a bit unfortunate with the weather as it was very overcast and there wasn’t much of a sunset (hence the photo above!).

sunset in Cappadocia Turkey
My sister and a friend from the group enjoying a bit of sunset in the Red Valley

Soaring to 1,350 meters (4,438 feet) above sea level, Uchisar Castle is another popular spot for sunset. It’s possible to hike here, or if you’re staying in Uchisar itself the castle is easy to get to.

From the vantage point of this cave-strewn castle, you’ll be able to glimpse the Red and Rose Valleys changing color as the sun sets. If you look to the east, you may even be able to catch sight of the snow-capped peak of Mount Erciyes.

If you want an easy-to-reach, enjoyable spot to see the sun set, then head to Asiklar Tepesi. This cafe is situated on a hill that overlooks Goreme, and is a lovely place to sit with a drink and watch as the sky changes color and the town lights up in the evening.

For the best rated sunset tour of Cappadocia, click here.

food in Cappadocia
Photo by franz12 @shutterstock

Try Manti and Testi Kebab

One of the best things to do in Cappadocia is devouring delicious local food. This region has no shortage of edible treats for travelers to seek out and sample.

Manti are Turkish dumplings that are a little bit like ravioli – except they are tiny. You’ll find them served up in restaurants all over Cappadocia.

These tiny parcels are usually stuffed with lamb or beef and slathered with not just one, but three sauces. The base sauce consists of caramelized tomato; then there’s a butter sauce; and it’s topped off with thick, garlic-infused yogurt.

Kebabs are famous the world over, but in Cappadocia the testi kebab reigns supreme. Meaning “pot” or “jug” in Turkish, this regional variation sees lamb (or beef, or chicken, as well as vegan options) cooked in a clay pot that seals in the freshness and flavor.

Plenty of restaurants in the main towns of Cappadocia serve up this traditional dish, so it won’t be difficult to come by during your foodie explorations.

For a food tour of Cappadocia, click here.

best time to visit Cappadocia
Hiking in the Red Valley

Useful Cappadocia Travel Tips

Best time to visit Cappadocia

The weather in Cappadocia varies throughout the year. In the peak of the summer, the temperatures are extremely hot — highs of 40°C (104°F) are common — and it’s very dry.

July and August see the highest temperatures, and also the highest number of tourists – so I’d say that the summer is definitely not the best time to visit Cappadocia.

Although less busy, April is not always the best time to visit Cappadocia as this is when the region receives a high volume of rainfall. Incidentally, we visited in April and it rained every day, at least for part of the day, and because of the weather we were unable to go on a hot air balloon.

May and then the autumn months (September and October) provide the ideal balance of temperatures and pleasant conditions for hiking, with rainfall less likely – so I’d say that’s the best time to visit Cappadocia.

The winter months are very cold in Cappadocia, and there’s a good chance of snow — not a good time of year to visit if you want to explore outside. It’s not uncommon for temperatures to fall as low as -1°C (around 30°F).

things to do in Cappadocia
Eski Mh, Cappadocia

How long to stay in Cappadocia

Cappadocia has a long list of sights to captivate visitors for multiple weeks. But if you’re short on time, I would suggest that you spend at least 4 days here.

That means you’ll have enough time to tick off some of the highlights, including hiking in the Red and Rose Valleys, visiting Uchisar Castle, exploring an underground city, and taking that bucket list adventure of a hot air balloon ride.

If you want to relax, move at a slower pace and take your time, and have a higher chance of going on a hot air balloon flight, then a week would be ideal. Staying longer would also allow you to make the most of those stylish boutique cave hotels and all their amenities!

How to get to Cappadocia from Istanbul

There are a number of different ways to reach Cappadocia from Istanbul. The quickest by far is to take a flight from Istanbul to Kayseri Airport.

The 1 hour 15 minute flight is a comfortable way to get from Istanbul to Cappadocia. You just have to make sure you factor in the time it takes getting to and from the airport (this is especially important in Istanbul, where traffic is especially bad), getting any luggage you may have checked, and any possible delays.

Traveling to Cappadocia from Istanbul? Don’t miss my post A Perfect 4 Days Istanbul Itinerary.

Another view of Goreme Open Air Museum

From Kayseri you can take a shuttle bus or private transfer to Goreme or elsewhere in the region.

To book your private transfer, I recommend using Welcome Pickups. The service is reliable, the cars in excellent conditions, and the drivers friendly. You can check them out here.

Other than flying, there’s public transport. There’s no direct train to the Cappadocia region from Istanbul. However, you could catch the train from Istanbul to Ankara (around 10 hours), and then get the bus from Ankara to Goreme. This takes about 3.5 hours.

There’s also a night bus that runs between Istanbul and the Cappadocia region. This is low cost, but takes between 10 and 12 hours so probably not ideal if you are tight on time.

You can easily check the bus schedule and book your tickets on the Omio App here.

in Cappadocia
Posing outside the Dark Church, Goreme

How to move around Cappadocia

I would say that it’s best to rent a car when visiting Cappadocia. This is a must if you want to get off the beaten track at all. The public transport network isn’t very widespread, so if you don’t want to do a tour, then having your own set of wheels is needed.

My favorite car rental site is Discover Cars. It’s actually a comparison site that allows you to compare the prices, check the ratings of the various companies, and make an informed choice when picking a car. You can check out the prices of car rental in Cappadocia here.

The only other option is taxis – they are generally easily available, but it probably isn’t the most budget friendly thing to do. You can find taxis at taxi stands in the larger towns, otherwise the app BiTaksi is a good option to call a car when you are not at the hotel.

Guided tours do offer up the chance to see the Cappadocia region, and do have the benefit of a guide to tell you all about the sights you’re seeing. Another plus is that they do save time and hassle, as you won’t need to worry about parking, tolls or even how to get from A to B.

I have recommended several good guided tours above, in the things to do in Cappadocia section.

Further Readings

For more things to do in Turkey, you should also read these posts:

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Read about the best things to do in Cappadocia - via @clautavani

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