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Things to do in Cappadocia

Things to do in  Cappadocia

Welcome to Cappadocia

Located in the Central Anatolia region of Turkey, Cappadocia is a destination like no other. In Göreme, ancient volcanic rock formations known as fairy chimneys grace the moon-like landscape. Hundreds of hot-air balloons take flight daily, allowing visitors to admire this otherworldly panorama from about 1,000 feet (305 meters). For an unforgettable experience, book a hot-air balloon ride at sunrise that includes a Champagne brunch upon landing. For more incredible views, head to the Ihlara Valley, which is home to a massive canyon along with some of the region's best hikes. In addition to its uncommon landscape, Cappadocia also offers fascinating history and culture that are best appreciated on guided tours of the region. Explore the ancient cave churches—used by monks at the end of the first millennium—that dot Rose Valley, then wander through the deserted rock village of Old Çavuşin, which rests silently nearby. A visit to Ortahisar, where an imposing Byzantine castle towers over the town, completes your tour of cave buildings. Many visitors will want to tour the Kaymakli or Derinkuyu underground city networks, which once provided shelter for religious refugees. For those who love to shop, the riverside town of Avanos is famed for its earthenware pottery, a historic trade that continues to thrive among the cobbled streets of the old town.

Top 15 attractions in Cappadocia

Pigeon Valley (Güvercinlik Vadisi)

Cappadocia’s wind-sculpted volcanic tufa has created an impressive series of valleys, dotted with towering “fairy chimneys” and dramatic rock formations. Taking its name from the pigeonholes carved into the tops of its fairy chimneys, Pigeon Valley (Güvercinlik Vadisi) is stunning, and visitors to Cappadocia shouldn’t miss it.More

Uchisar Castle (Uchisar Kalesi)

Honeycombed with tunnels, the twin slabs of volcanic tuff rock known as Uchisar Castle (Uçhisar Kalesi rear up above the little town of Uchisar and Cappadocia’s dramatic landscape in mesmerizing style. Climb the stairs to savor dramatic views across the surrounding valleys, which are spectacular at sunset—as is the castle itself.More

Devrent Valley (Devrent Vadisi)

Cappadocia is already well known for its unusual rock formations, but at Devrent Valley—nicknamed Imagination Valley—these large stones are the densest cluster found anywhere else in the region and they seem to take on a life of their own.More

Göreme (Goreme)

This unique town, located in the heart of Turkey, is an excellent jumping off point to some of Cappadocia’s most fantastic attractions. From the fairy chimneys in Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia to the incredible cave churches at the Göreme Open-Air Museum, this region offers a variety of stunning sights.More

Monks Valley (Pasabag Vadisi)

A stone-sculpted wonderland of billowing tuff cliffs and towering fairy chimneys; Monks Valley is the postcard image of Cappadocia and it’s every bit as compelling in real life. Named for the Christian monks who once hid out in the rocks, the valley’s UNESCO-listed landscapes are both a geological wonder and a key part of Cappadocia’s history.More

Rose Valley (Güllüdere Vadisi)

The Rose Valley (Güllüdere Vadisi) in Cappadocia is filled with enormous, cone-shaped rocks and offers some of the region’s best hiking. Home to the Cross Church (Haçli Kilise), the Columned Church (Kolonlu Kilise), and other sighes, the valley is particularly striking late in the day when the sinking sun brings out the stones’ rosy glow.More

Goreme Open-Air Museum

Perhaps one of the most recognizable attractions in Cappadocia, Turkey, the unusual edifices at the Göreme Open-Air Museum (Göreme Açık Hava Müzesi) are an important part of monastic history. A popular Byzantine settlement in the fourth century, the cave churches found at Göreme were carved out of soft volcanic cliffs.More

Kaymakli Underground City

Cappadocia’s underground cities—vast multistory complexes carved into the region’s famous volcanic rock—are among the most impressive underground dwellings in the world. Kaymakli Underground City is one of the most visited, with eight floors reaching depths of 262 feet (80 meters) and a history dating back to the eighth century BC.More

Zelve Open-Air Museum

The Zelve Open-­Air Museum sits on site of the remains of a Byzantine monastery that was carved into the rock face in ancient times. Zelve was a monastic retreat from the 9th to the 13th century, and in fact the area was inhabited right up until 1952. 15 years after locals abandoned the site, Zelve was turned into the open-­air museum that can be seen and explored today.The site features various remnants of local life, including houses, a tunnel joining two of the valleys, a mill, and a small mosque. Beyond the mill, the Balıklı Kilise (Fish Church) can be found, while the impressive Üzümlü Kilise (Grape Church) adjoins it.The three valleys of Zelve are a great spot for trekking around and exploring in peace, as it isn’t as popular with tourists as the Göreme Open­-Air Museum nearby. The site also has a good walking trail looping around the valleys, giving access to various caves and chambers and featuring dramatic crags and pinnacles along the way.More

Fairy Chimneys

Cappadocia’s lunar-like landscapes draw admirers from around the world. And its “fairy chimneys,” soaring rock pinnacles topped with lids like mushroom caps, are at the region’s heart. See them from one of the popular sunrise balloon flights, but they’re equally impressive up close, as they're used as homes, hotels, and ancient churches.More

Derinkuyu Underground City

The most thoroughly excavated of Cappadocia’s many underground cities, Derinkuyu spans an impressive eight floors, reaching depths of over 280 feet (85 meters). The subterranean labyrinth of cave rooms and tunnels is fed by a remarkable ventilation system and provides fascinating insight into Cappadocia’s troglodyte history.More

Ihlara Valley (Ihlara Vadisi)

Thousands of years ago the Melendiz River cut its way through the land between Mount Hasan and Mount Melendiz creating a magnificent canyon that’s roughly 328 feet (100 meters) deep. Today, travelers visit the Ihlara Valley to hike the canyon, observe its cave churches, and experience it’s oasis-like environs.More


Situated along the K?z?l?rmak (Red River)—the longest river in Turkey—Avanos is a small town in Cappadocia known for red earthenware pottery that was originally created by the Hittites during the Bronze Age. Explore the lovely stretch of old town that overlooks the river and stop into the pottery shops selling their rouge-colored wares.More

Selime Monastery

Carved directly into the rocks of Cappadocia, Selime Monastery is one of the region’s most fascinating cultural attractions. Experts believe it took more than 200 years to shape the monastery, beginning in the eighth or ninth century. The structure, which could house some 5,000 people, included a cathedral-sized church with stone columns, camel stables, living quarters, a missionary school, water well and a huge kitchen with a chimney.There’s a bit of a climb to get up to the monastery structure, and visitors are free to climb inside many of the structures as well. The view from the top looks out over the lunar-like landscape of Cappadocia.More

Özkonak Underground City (Ozkonak Yeralti Sehri)

Smaller than Cappadocia’s other subterranean cities like Kaymakli and Derinkuyu, Ozkonak Underground City (Özkonak Yeraltı Şehri) is also much less crowded. On the northern slopes of Mount Idis, as you hunch to stroll the tiny corridors of this ancient city you'll feel very big compared to the people who once lived here. Likely built in the Byzantine era, though perhaps even older, Özkonak Underground City was rediscovered in the '70s by a local farmer who wondered where his excess crop water was going. Turns out it was going into a huge subterranean city stretching ten floors deep and able to house 60,000 people.Reaching a depth of 40 meters in total, today only the first four floors of Özkonak Underground City are open. As you wander the tiny corridors, you'll see the sophistication of the city which had a built-communication system made up of pipes that connected all 10 levels. Look out for holes in the walls too — these provided ventilation in the event that Özkonak city would have to close itself off to the outside world if enemies tried to invade. The underground city also had its own winery and water well, and if enemies did get too close, well Özkonak’s inhabitants were more than ready to pour hot oil on them through secret holes designed for that very purpose.More

Top activities in Cappadocia

Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Flight
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Cappadocia Balloon Tour

Cappadocia Balloon Tour

Full-Day Private Cappadocia Tour

Full-Day Private Cappadocia Tour

per group
Cappadocia Balloon Ride and Champagne Breakfast
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Cappadocia Green Tour

Cappadocia Green Tour

Quad Safari through Rose Sword and Love Valleys
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Turkish Night at Cave Restaurant with Dinner and Drinks
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Recent reviews from experiences in Cappadocia

Great tour! Must do
John_C, Sep 2022
Green (South) Tour Cappadocia (small group)
The sites are worth seeing and may be difficult to see on your own.
Great experience!
Michaela_H, Aug 2022
Full-Day Private Cappadocia Tour
She was very knowledgeable with the history of the sites we were seeing, answered our questions and was helpful to provide recommendations on food and activities.
Lyudmil_P, Jul 2022
Camel Safari in Cappadocia
The guys are amazing, funny and they speak English.
Pure and perfect Turkish experience.
Khurum_A, Jun 2022
Cappadocia Cooking Class
The hosts were able to speak very good English.
Do it
Jessica_B, Jun 2022
Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia (morning flight)
The staff were on time and spoke English.
Great Way to See Cappadocia
Gabi_S, Jun 2022
Red (North) Tour Cappadocia (small group)
As a group of 4 friends, the small-group Red Tour was a perfect way to see Cappadocia.
Great daily tour
Ornella_F, May 2022
Tour of Highlights of Cappadocia with Lunch
Also, his English was very good and was such a pleasure to talk with him.
Worth the trip
Marjan_S, May 2022
One Hour Deluxe Hot Air Balloon Tour(Goreme Valley)
Make sure to take a jacket if taking the trip in spring or early summer.
Fun and educational.....
Michelle_M, May 2022
Cappadocia Tour
I should have atleast 2days tour to see other places ..
Better instructions...
Phillip_A, May 2022
Cappadocia Magic : 1 Night 2 Days Cappadocia Tour Including Hot Air Balloon Tour
Once we finally met the driver he didn’t speak English and could not understand we needed the heat in the shuttle turned off.
Amazing tour with Umit!!! Book this tour
Erika_J, Sep 2022
All in One 10-Hour Private and Guided Day Tour in Cappadocia
Umit also speaks great English and super professional.
An amazing experience not to be missed
Ahmed_N, Aug 2022
Full Day Car & Guide at Disposal in Cappadocia
We were able to visit all of the places we wanted to and loved it.
Turkish Night - Highline Travel
Darius_N, Jul 2022
Turkish Night Show in Cappadocia
I highly recommend Mehmet @Highline Travel for your activities in Capadocia, to enjoy with a peace of mind.
Loved being up in a baloon in Cappadocia
Dhiraj_R, Jul 2022
One Hour Deluxe Hot Air Balloon Tour(Goreme Valley)
Since it was the first activity we engaged in, in Cappadocia, it gave us a great idea of the layout of the Valleys and a good perspective on what to do over the next two days.
excellent trip
Maria_A, Jul 2022
All in One 10-Hour Private and Guided Day Tour in Cappadocia
The guided tour was extremely useful, we managed to visit a lot of places that we would not have been able to reach on our own in one single day.
ketanvrajlal_g, Jun 2022
Cappadocia Dervishes Ceremony (Original one in Historical Caravansarai)
spoke very good english.
Great Half-Day Tour to See Main Attraction of Green Tour Route
Gabi_S, Jun 2022
Under Ground City Tour - Half Day
This tour was a great way to see (what we felt were) the highlights of the Green Tour route without feeling exhausted at the end of the day.
A Great Choice For A Complete Package
MaryJean_G, May 2022
Best of Cappadocia with Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride
The tour guide initially seems not aware to her guests who have difficulty in mobility especially providing instructions on options on what to do in case one can't keep up with the group but she later has improved.
Unique Red Tour
LaiMeng_W, May 2022
Red (North) Tour Cappadocia (small group)
Hakan speaks fluent English doused with good sense of humour expertly delivered.
Great tour, great value, nice to be with small group, but you still can't skip the shopping stops
Lili_F, May 2022
Cappadocia Dream - 2 Days Cappadocia Travel with Balloon Ride from/to Istanbul
So much to see and so rich in history and culture.
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All about Cappadocia

When to visit

Sitting on a rocky plateau in eastern Anatolia, Cappadocia is no stranger to extreme weather fluctuations. The mildest windows to visit are in spring and fall, while the piping hot summer is when many of the region’s events and festivals take place, from music-filled Cappadox to the annual hot air balloon festival. You’ll find fewer crowds in winter, so as long as you can brave the chill (and the odd snowfall), you’ll have most sights to yourself.

Getting around

The sights in Cappadocia are spread out over multiple valleys and across a vast, rugged terrain. For expediency, you’ll want to rent a car, hire a driver, or opt for a group tour. For all-inclusive options, there are single and multi-day tour packages available. Public buses run on the hour, but check schedules first. If you’re craving more eco-friendly adventure, rent a bicycle or embark on a hike, but be prepared for extreme heat in summer.

Traveler tips

Although you’ll find no shortage of Cappadocia day tours, you can easily spend several days exploring the region. If you’re planning on taking a hot-air balloon ride, keep in mind that they can be canceled at the last minute due to inclement weather. You’ll want to give yourself a window to repeat the experience in case that happens. Most companies will allow you to rebook the next day for free.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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