Cappadocia is one of the dream destinations for so many. The hot air balloons flying in the sky, the fairy chimneys, the epic landscapes, the underground cities, it looks like the set of a fantasy movie! Without more hesitation, are you ready to fall in love with one of the most beautiful places on Earth? Take notes to plan the perfect vacation thanks to our compact Cappadocia travel guide.
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Table of Content
- How to arrive in Cappadocia
- Best time to visit
- How to move around
- Cappadocia Travel Guide: Where should you stay?
- The best activities to do in Cappadocia
- 1 – Hot Air Balloon Ride. Cost: 150 to 400 €
- 2 – Visit an Underground City. Cost 3 to 5 €
- 3 – Trek in the Red and Rose Valleys and enjoy the view from Sunset Point
- 4 – The Goreme Open Air Museum. Cost: 7 €
- 5 – Trek in Pasabag and Zelve Open Air Museum. Cost for Zelve: 3 €
- 6 – Uchisar and Ortahisar Castles
- 7 – ATV ride or horse ride
- Frequently Asked Questions about Cappadocia
- Cappadocia is 100% worth it!
Let’s start with a fun fact: Did you know? Contrarily to what many people think, Cappadocia was NOT the set of the Star Wars movies. In fact, it is often mistaken with Tataouine, a city in Morocco.
How to arrive in Cappadocia
The Goreme National Park is close to two airports: Kayseri’s International Airport (1 h 10 min) and Nevşehir Cappadocia Havalimanı (50 min). Both are very close to Goreme. My advice is to look for the best flight connection if you are coming from Istanbul or the closeness to your hotel. Turkish Airlines operates the flights connection between Istanbul and both airports, prices are around 300 – 400 €.
Check the best flights offers from WayAway.
If you book your stay through our link (affiliate), you will get a 10% reduction on your first reservation.
Best time to visit
Cappadocia is one of those destinations you should visit during spring or fall. Winter may be very cold and it’s often snowy. While during summer the temperatures are very hot. The best period goes from late, mid-April to May, and from September to late October.
I visited Cappadocia during the second half of September, and It was just perfect. The weather was sunny, and the temperatures were neither too hot to trek during the day nor too cold at night.
How to move around
The best way to move around in Cappadocia is by renting a car, especially if you are on a tight schedule. There are so many interesting spots to stop by or valleys to explore. You simply will want more autonomy and if you rent a car (or a private driver), you will be the master of your schedule.
Our go to resource for car rental is discovercars.com, they have the right type of car for every need. Another very good option is rentalcars.com.
Depending on how long you are staying and how much you want to see you could also rent a bike in Goreme. That’s and amazing experience as well and will give you autonomy on your routes. The only thing you should consider is being fit, because Cappadocia is very hilly, and you may be tired soon.
Cappadocia Travel Guide: Where should you stay?
When visiting Cappadocia, the best solution is to stay in Goreme. In fact, the city is in the center of the park which gives its name to the region, Goreme National Park. Furthermore, the city itself is an ancient city that was built among fairy chimneys.
Best Luxury Hotel
One of the most incredible experiences to try while exploring this beautiful region is staying in one of the cave hotels. They are literally carved in tuff stone. Among the best options, I recommend you Cappadocia Cave Suites Hotel. This unique hotel has suites inside the fairy chimneys, just check at the pictures to see how incredible they are. Perfect for a magical and unique stay!
Book your stay at Cappadocia Cave Suites Hotel here.
Best Mid-Range Hotels
The Stone House Cave Hotel is an excellent compromise between quality and price. The hotel is very beautiful, and along with the deluxe room (that I absolutely recommend you check!) it has more budget friendly options. What I love the most about this hotel, is the internal court, reminding the interiors of a Caravanserai, perfect for taking some beautiful pictures.
Book your stay at Stone House Cave Hotel here.
Best Budget Hotel
Are you looking for a nice stay budget-friendly? The Balloon View Hotel is in the center of Goreme and has simple yet comfortable rooms. In addition, it has a panoramic terrace, where you can observe the balloons flying in the morning.
Book your stay at Balloon View Hotel here.
The best activities to do in Cappadocia
1 – Hot Air Balloon Ride. Cost: 150 to 400 €
Probably Cappadocia’s most famous activity and for sure a MUST If you are visiting. Admiring the sunrise on top of the fairy chimneys’ rock formation among a hundred hot air balloons is magical!
This is one of the travel experiences that I loved and cherish the most! If you want to know how to prepare for your ride, you should read my Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Ride. There is also an immersive video of the experience. And if you are ready to book your ride, check out our detailed guide to choose the best company to fly over Cappadocia.
2 – Visit an Underground City. Cost 3 to 5 €
Even if this is a less-known activity (and less instagrammable), I still recommend you visit at least one of the many underground cities. I know the pictures for your feed won’t be great but believe me when I say that this is an incredible experience! Also, you must have good shoes and don’t suffer from claustrophobia.
Surprisingly, there are many underground cities in Cappadocia. The biggest could host up to 50.000 inhabitants and run for many kilometers. The network was very complex and linked many cities between them.
I visited two underground cities: Ozkonak and Derinkuyu. Both were incredible experiences. Deryunkuyu is one of the biggest underground cities in Cappadocia. It reaches depths of over 85 meters and spans over 8 identified floors. The entrance fee is 3 €.
3 – Trek in the Red and Rose Valleys and enjoy the view from Sunset Point
For over a thousand years, the ridges have formed to create a unique landscape. The Red and Rose Valleys are one of the most incredible treks you can do! When you’re planning your visit, consider 2 hours for the walk. My advice is to start around 4 – 5 PM. It’s not too hot and you’ll end your walk just in time to admire the beautiful sunset on the panoramic spot. Don’t forget to bring water to stay hydrated.
4 – The Goreme Open Air Museum. Cost: 7 €
The Goreme Open Air Museum is a large rocky settlement that hosts many monasteries. It is the most important Byzantine cave church site in the world. Particularly, the variety of paintings and frescoes on this site is impressive, not to mention that the volcanic tuff preserved the colors and details almost perfectly.
The visit takes about 2 hours and covers 15 churches and 11 refectories.
5 – Trek in Pasabag and Zelve Open Air Museum. Cost for Zelve: 3 €
Chimneys, chimneys, and more fairy chimneys. I recommend combining the two excursions of Pasabag and Zelve Open Air Museum as they are very close to one another.
Let’s start with Zelve.
Once this area had a very large population. Still today you can spot many holes, which served as doors. The whole territory also hosted many churches and monasteries that you can safely visit on your walk.
During your trek in Pasabag, you will see many unique rock formations that look like mushrooms. Some of them are 30 meters high. But there are also, lower conic formations you can walk into.
The most surprising thing about Pasabag is the variety of colors. Going from white to 50 shades of grey and rose. And depending on the sunlight the edges of the mushroom rocks may look almost bluish.
6 – Uchisar and Ortahisar Castles
If you are thinking of a medieval-looking castle forget about it!
Uchisar and Ortahisar are two incredible cities carved in two massive tuff formations that are still inhabited today. Although the external constructions are modern, both cities preserved the atmosphere of ancient villages.
If you are visiting, you definitely have to climb to the top of both castles. The view of the surrounding region is breathtaking! If you have enough time visit both. Together with the hot air balloon ride, It’s the best way to have an aerial view of Goreme and its surroundings.
7 – ATV ride or horse ride
I absolutely loved to explore Cappadocia Valleys on an ATV! Depending on the tour and duration you book you will get to see different things. Although traditionally, ATV tours will bring you through the Love Valley and the cross the Red and Rose Valley to admire the sunset from the Rose Valley. Even if you already made this trek by yourself, exploring on the ATV with the guides could be fun and exciting to do. That’s indeed an experience I recommend.
Check prices or book the ATV ride here.
Note: if you don’t feel sure about booking this activity yet, you can easily make the reservation once you are in Cappadocia. This way you will have more options to choose from, and you will also be able to adjust the itinerary if it’s possible.
Frequently Asked Questions about Cappadocia
Is Cappadocia cheap?
Basic needs like food and souvenirs can be cheap in Cappadocia. Although most people end up splurging on tours and accommodations. The season has huge impact on your budget, with the prices levitating up to 50% more during the high season.
How many days do you need in Cappadocia?
You will need at least 4 days to fully enjoy this beautiful region and if you have the chance book 5. Cappadocia is very interesting both for history passionate and nature lovers. With its many hikes and historical sites you won’t see the time pass by.
In addition to that consider also that the more days you will spend there the more chances you will have to do a hot air balloon ride, considering that the weather conditions may not be ideal for 2-3 days in a row.
Is it a safe region?
Cappadocia is very safe as a region. Even petty crimes are rare. But always use common sense and especially if you are traveling as a solo traveler.
Cappadocia is 100% worth it!
As shown above, it is a land of incredible landscapes and experiences.
But besides that, there is so much more to see in Turkey! If you are planning to go, make sure to read the guide to plan the perfect Road Trip from Cappadocia to Pamukkale. It’s an amazing adventure you will love, and it’s completed with all the most beautiful locations to add to your itinerary.
In addition, if you are flying to Cappadocia from Istanbul consider adding at least 3 – 4 days to explore the city. In this blog post you will find the 11 most amazing places to see when visiting Istanbul. And for those who want to go off the beaten path, check out our top 15 Unusual and Fun things to do in Istanbul.
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15 thoughts on “The ultimate Cappadocia travel guide to plan the perfect vacation”
Yes! Cappadocia really offers some of the most beautiful view on our planet 🙂
This place looks incredible! The underground cities and open air museum look particularly fascinating! I would love to visit someday. Thanks so much for sharing this amazing destination. How special to experience this with your Dad!
Thank you for your comment 🙂
It was special indeed! First travel with my dad only, he also loves photography so we really enjoyed all the landscapes 🙂
Fabulous! The underground city should not be missed. It is spectacular. Also loved hiking in the valleys, like Imagination Valley. The Goreme Open Air Museum is also very interesting but when we went it was so overcrowded that it was difficult to thoroughly enjoy it. The lines to get into each cave church were too long.
Agree about the Goreme Open Air Museum. Unfortunately depending on the time you’re visiting it may be very crowded! The underground cities are AMAZING! I guess as they aren’t an “instagrammable” place people aren’t aware of how interesting it is to visit them!
The underground cities sound amazing! I had a chance to go on a hot air balloon ride many years ago and didn’t. 🙁 Someday I hope to have another chance and would jump at it now! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks to you for commenting! Yes the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia is one of the most amazing experiences EVER! I really hope you’ll have the chance to do that again one day 🙂
The Uchisar and Ortahisar Castles sound amazing, I’m sure the hot air balloon ride was a memory you’ll never forget!
They are amazing! Absolutely worth it, Cappadocia is the place to visit 🙂
Just seeing the hot air balloons would be a bucket list item for me…and taking lots and lots of pictures, of course.
Yes! That experience alone deserves the whole trip to Cappadocia! So worth it 🙂
Cappadocia has been one of my dreams since forever and I still haven’t seen it, unfortunately! I hope I can do it soon and take the hot air balloon ride! Your article inspired me even more than before! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much Lasma! You should definitely visit Cappadocia! And with your photographic skills you will take amazing photos as well!
Oh wow, I have always wanted to do a hot air balloon rude. It seems like this would be a beautiful spot to do it.
Hi Alaina, yes that’s an amazing experience! And in Cappadocia it’s even more magical! You should read my post about the hot air balloon ride!
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