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
Quick Links to the Top Best Ten Things to Do in Cappadocia Turkey
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 Balloons: Uzundere Caddesi, No:29, Goreme 50180, Turkey, Tel. +90 384 271 30 10, website: www.butterflyballoons.com
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Memet sings inside a cave church in Nevshir.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.