Top Ten Best Things to Do in Cappadocia Turkey, Including Where to Stay

Cappadocia, Turkey ranks as one of my favorite places on the planet for its unique character, friendly people and other-worldly atmosphere.  Imagine waking up to a colorful landscape where hundreds of hot air balloons soar over an endless array of fairy chimneys.  Certainly Cappadocia serves as one of those places I will always return to, as there is just so many unique things to do.  As such, please find my list of the top 10 best things to do in Cappadocia, Turkey, including where to stay.

Top Ten Best Things to Do in Cappadocia, Turkey

Hot air balloons in Goreme, Cappadocia. As many as 150 balloons take off each day.
Hot air balloons in Goreme, Cappadocia. As many as 150 balloons take off each day.

 

Quick Links to the Top Best Ten Things to Do in Cappadocia Turkey

 
Map of Cappadocia Turkey - The Top 10 Best Things to Do
Map of Cappadocia Turkey – The Top 10 Best Things to Do

1 – Hot Air Balloon Ride

Cappadocia is known as the hot air balloon capitol of the world.  It’s no surprise as literally over a hundred balloons take off each morning and soar over the fairy chimneys. The best way to witness the whimsical sky is inside a hot air balloon yourself.   

There are dozens of companies out there, and finding a reliable one can be difficult.  Therefore I recommend you use Butterfly Balloons.  They have an excellent reputation and solid reviews.

Butterfly BalloonsUzundere Caddesi, No:29Goreme 50180, Turkey, Tel. +90 384 271 30 10, website: www.butterflyballoons.com

Roughly a half a million people ride in hot air balloons annually in Cappadocia, Turkey.
Roughly a half a million people ride in hot air balloons annually in Cappadocia, Turkey.

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2 – Goreme Open Air Museum

The Goreme Open Air Museum is arguably the most popular attraction in all of Cappadocia.  This series of sequential monasteries carved into the cliff face dates between the 10-12 century AD.  Not only do the exteriors of these churches bewilder, some of the interiors are also ornately painted, resembling something out of Rome.

There are 11 refectories in the Goreme Open Air Museum, all dating back to the 10th and 11 centuries.
There are 11 refectories in the Goreme Open Air Museum dating back to the 10th and 11 centuries.

 

These well-preserved frescos in the Goreme Open Air Museum with original paint.
These well-preserved frescos in the Goreme Open Air Museum with original paint.

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3 – Uchisar Castle

Uchisar Castle presents a fanciful structure perched on the highest point in Cappadocia.  Littered with tunnels inside, it once was used by locals as a way to hide from invaders.  To enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding valley, climb to the top for the breathtaking view.

It takes 120 steps to climb to the top of Uchisar Castle.
It takes 120 steps to climb to the top of Uchisar Castle.

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4 – Ormulu Pottery

Turkey is known for its elegantly painted pottery.  To encounter some of the finest, please visit Ormulu Pottery.  This family business with a long and trusted tradition left me spellbound and wishing I had more room in my suitcase.

I couldn’t leave without buying something.  A brightly colored statute of a warrior had mesmerized me.  So I was successfully able to haggle down to 1/3 of the price, and Ormulu shipped the gem back to my home in Mexico in one piece!

Ormulu Pottery: Yeni Mahalle, 2. Caddesi Sok. 26, Avanos, Tel: 0384-511-3231, Email: info@omurlu.com, Web: www.omurlu.com

Seen here is Allan with the statue we purchased. Ömürlü Bayram, the owner of Ormulu Pottery, has been making pottery in Cappadocia, Turkey since 1976.
Seen here is Allan with the statue we purchased. Ömürlü Bayram, the owner of Ormulu Pottery, has been making pottery in Cappadocia, Turkey since 1976.

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5 – Monk Valley

Monk Valley is aptly named perhaps in thanks to the sequence of fairy chimneys that resemble hooded cloaks.  Here you can find one of the best selections of mushroom-headed fairy chimneys around.  Some even sport double and triple heads.

Fairy chimneys in Monk Valley. These chimneys were formed from volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. The hard rocks formed from the eruption eventually eroded due to wind and water leaving these peculiar structures.
Fairy chimneys in Monk Valley. They were formed from volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. The hard rocks created from the eruption eventually eroded due to wind and water leaving these peculiar structures.

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6 – Derinkuyu Underground City

A fascinating network of underground tunnels and caves comprising what was once a subterranean city that could hold up to 20,000 inhabitants.  Watch your head and footing as the pathways can be narrow and treacherous.   You may consider hiring a guide, available onsite to avoid getting lost.  Plus they can help you better understand the rat’s nest of alleyways.

The Derinkuyu Underground City reaches depths of up to 60 meters (170 feet).
The Derinkuyu Underground City reaches depths of up to 60 meters (170 feet).

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7 – Nevsehir Caves

This network of caves carves through the hillside.  Some are now even being turned into cave hotels.  The best way to view them is with Memet, a local guide and trinket vendor who’s family used to live in these same caverns.  To hire Memet you literally need to stop by his souvenir stand at the bottom of the hill and speak with him. He has no email and no phone!  But he’ll offer you a spectacular walking tour that includes visiting a cave church.  Memet’s photo is below.

During the dominance of the Roman Empire, Christians fleeing built these houses and churches into the Nevsehir hillside.
During the dominance of the Roman Empire, Christians fleeing built these houses and churches into the Nevsehir hillside.

 

This is Memet, the tour guide at his booth at the bottom of the Nevsheir caves. When I asked him for contact information so people could book his tours, he told me that people should just stop by his booth.
This is Memet, the tour guide at his booth at the bottom of the Nevsheir caves. When I asked him for contact information so people could book his tours, he told me that people should just stop by his booth.

 


Memet sings inside a cave church in Nevshir.

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8 – Love Valley

This overlook is lined with amorous perches like heart-shaped benches.  You may even spot a wedding party enjoying the views of fairy chimneys while posing for a commemorative photo.

The entrance to Love Valley is free. I luckily stumbled across this gorgeous couple posing for their wedding photos.
The entrance to Love Valley is free. I luckily stumbled across this gorgeous couple posing for their wedding photos.

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9 – Devrent Valley

Devrent Valley is filled with fairy chimneys and animal shaped rock structures.  Some coin it as Imagination Valley as the mind tends to play creative tricks when gazing upon these natural creations.

The camel chimney in Devrent Valley. Tradition dictates you can make a wish by buying an evil eye trinket and hanging it on a nearby tree.
The camel chimney in Devrent Valley. Tradition dictates you can make a wish by buying an evil eye trinket and hanging it on a nearby tree.

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10 – Pigeon Valley

Pigeon Valley is named for the many pigeon dwellings carved into the cliff face.  The unique rock formations below known as fairy chimneys cut through the sky as pigeons soar around them.  

View from Pigeon Valley. Locals hollowed pigeon houses on the slope of the valley. They fed pigeons and used their droppings to fertilize their gardens.
View from Pigeon Valley. Locals hollowed pigeon houses on the slope of the valley. They fed them and used their droppings to fertilize their gardens.

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Where to Stay

I recommend staying in the Azure Cave Suites. Once an ancient cave dwelling, this hotel now offers a taste of a past life with all the comforts of modern day.  Open your door, and enjoy sweeping views of the valley below. Plus the hot air balloons pass right overhead each morning.  The Azure Cave Suites also provide free breakfast.  Prices were reasonable (around $100 USD a night).

Azure Cave Suites: 2. Küme Mevkii No. 162 – Cavusin – Cappadocia, +90 384 532 71 11, email: info@azurecavesuites.com, web:  www.azurecavesuites.com

The Azure Cave Suites can be seen just below to the right of this hot air balloon.
The Azure Cave Suites can be seen just below to the right of this hot air balloon.

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Getting Around

I suggest flying into Goreme and then using the shared bus service to get to your hotel.  Our hotel (The Azul Cave Suites) arranged this shared service for us.  It was really easy, convenient and inexpensive (at about $5 USD per person each way).  Additionally, it appeared to be the way that most people traveled.  Information on the shared service is listed below.

In terms of getting around Cappadocia, booking a private tour is certainly the way to go.  If you stay at the Azure Cave Suites they can recommend a guide, who most likely works at the hotel.  We used a guide named Sonar for a full day private tour.  For the price of roughly $70 USD total, he brought us where ever we desired, waited and offered helpful recommendations. 

Argeus shared airport transfer service:  Tel. +90 384 341 4688, Web: https://argeus.com/airport-transfers,  Email: info@argeus.com

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Matt Weatherbee
Matt Weatherbee

Hi, I’m Matt.  In 2008 I quit my job, sold everything and drove from Boston to Mexico to start a business.  Now I live and work in the Carribean, and spend my free time traveling the globe.  Learn more.

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