Traveling to Turkey

Top 10 things to do in Cappadocia

Are you looking for some interesting sights in Cappadocia?

Here is my list of the most beautiful natural sights, unique structures such as the Derinkuyu cave city and exciting things to do in Cappadocia.

Some of them are clearly among the most beautiful sights in all Turkey.

1. Float over the unique landscape of Cappadocia in a hot air balloon!

Just before sunrise, dozens of hot air balloons rise into the air in Cappadocia. They will take you to the most famous sights of Cappadocia in their baskets. Before the one to two hour flights, there is an extensive breakfast buffet so that you can enjoy the sunrise with a full stomach.

Of course there are also hot air balloon rides at a later time of the day. But the most beautiful are definitely the balloon rides in the morning.

2. Visit cave cities like Derinkuyu, where thousands of people have lived!

The largest cave cities are Derinkuyu and Kaymakli. Derinkuyu extends 14 stories (55m) into the earth. It is amazing to think that 30,000 people lived with their animals in the city. This is a unique achievement for a structure that is over 2,000 years old.

The original builders of the cave cities are believed to be the Hittites. The Trojans also belonged to this people. What is certain is that they were used by Christians as a hiding place. These caves protected them against the many Arab campaigns that raged from the 7th century onwards. Churches carved into the rock are evidence of this historical fact.

3. Cave churches at the UNECO World Heritage site “Göreme National Park”

Göreme’s cave churches were built between the 11th and 14th centuries. They are among the most beautiful in all of Cappadocia.

What is interesting about them is not only the idea of ​​carving entire buildings into the stone, but also their excellently preserved frescoes. You can see the most beautiful church frescoes in the Elmali (apple), Karanlik (dark/black) and Yilanli (snake) churches

4. Wander through the wild landscape of Cappadocia and visit the fairy chimneys!

The fairy chimneys got their name from an old legend. It describes fairies live in the stone pillars and seduce the men.

Their actual origin goes back to an eruption of the Erciyes Dagi volcano 20 million years ago. According to legend, he spat out so much rock, ash and lava that the landscape of Cappadocia was buried meters high.

The hard volcanic rock at the top of the fairy chimneys has protected the sandstone below from erosion. This is how the fairy chimneys, which are up to 30 meters high, were created.

5. Uchisar and Ortahisar: The fortress mountains carved in stone

In Cappadocia cities, churches, houses and castles have been carved into the soft sandstone. The most famous forts are Uchisar and Ortahisar.

With their corridor systems and hidden rooms, they do not correspond to the typical appearance of normal fortifications. For that reason alone it is interesting to look at them. In addition, there is the perfect view of Cappadocia from the tops of the fortifications.

6. Visit the 15 kilometres long gorge of the Ihlara Valley and the caves hidden in it

Cappadocia’s landscape is characterized by gorges and valleys. The 150 meter deep Ihlara Valley stands out in particular with its 50 churches carved into the rock walls.

Most of them date back to the 11th century. You can reach them on foot via hiking trails. They lead along the Melendez River into the gorge.

7. Go out on a Turkish night: Whirling dervishes, belly dancers and delicious food in a Seljuk caravanserai

In Cappadocia, there are two main attractions in the evening: The Dancing monks of the Dervish Order and a “Turkish Night”. The dervishes will show you their dancing meditation, which has been practiced for centuries.

They rotate in a circle to music until they fall into a trance. You can also spend a “Turkish Night” with belly dancers, re-enacted scenes from popular Turkish culture and of course, there will be delicious food served.

8. Avanos: Turkish-Ottoman pottery in the heart of Anatolia

The pottery town of Avanos, located on the Red River, is one of the most famous cities in Cappadocia. For hundreds of years, the locals have been making various objects from the clay of the river. They are known and loved all over Turkey.

In Avanos you will see the traditional production of clay jugs. In fact, you can make your own souvenirs from Turkey in a pottery class, ride the gondolas on the Red River and try the local food in an old town restaurant.

9. Ride through Cappadocia on horseback and visit some remote landmarks

Do you like horses? In Cappadocia, you have the unique opportunity of exploring the Rose, Red and Love Valley on horseback.

You will see buildings carved into the soft sandstone, fairy chimneys and some of the most beautiful viewpoints in Cappadocia. If horses are not for you, you can cycle through Cappadocia or book a jeep safari.

10. A hike at the foot of the 3,917m high volcano Erciyes Dagi

The Erciyes Dagi is a dormant volcano. It covers an area of ​​1,300km² and stands out clearly from the barren landscape of Cappadocia with its snow-covered, 3,917m high summit.

The last time the Erciyes Dagi erupted was in the year 253. Images of this event have been preserved on Roman coins. During a hike on the north side of the volcano, you can see small side craters and cooled lava flows.

My tips for a memorable trip to Cappadocia

There are cave hotels in Cappadocia. Their rooms and other objects, like the old houses and churches, have been carved into the sandstone. You can find a list of the best-rated hotels with all the prices (use the comparison option on TripAdvisor).

The easiest way to get to Cappadocia is via the airports in Kayseri and Nevsehir. Another alternative is the airport in Konya. Here, you can find my tips for finding cheap flights.

In Uchisar, Göreme and other state attractions, you can only pay for entrance tickets with Turkish Lira. Therefore, you should change your euros into lira before you come.

You can book day trips in Cappadocia with the local tour operators or book online with Get your guide (or use your mobile phone).