Things to do in Cappadocia

Things to do in  Cappadocia

Up, up, and away

There’s nowhere on earth quite like Cappadocia. A tuff-sculpted wonderland of fairy chimneys and volcanic valleys, where you can explore troglodyte villages, UNESCO-listed ancient churches, and epic underground cities. The best things to do in Cappadocia are packed into color-coded tour routes—red, green, and blue—and this region is where the tourist trail is just as spectacular as the unbeaten track. Float over the fairy chimneys in a hot air balloon, hike through the Ihlara Valley, then spend the night in a romantic cave hotel.

Top 15 attractions in Cappadocia

Pigeon Valley (Güvercinlik Vadisi)

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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)

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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)

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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

Monks Valley (Pasabag Vadisi)

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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

Zelve Open-Air Museum

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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

Kaymakli Underground City

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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

Göreme (Goreme)

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This unique town, located in the heart of Turkey (officially the Republic of Türkiye), 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

Goreme Open-Air Museum

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Perhaps one of the most recognizable attractions in Cappadocia, Turkey (officially the Republic of Türkiye), 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

Fairy Chimneys

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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

Rose Valley (Güllüdere Vadisi)

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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
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Ortahisar

Ortahisar

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Famous for Ortahisar Castle, the castle-like rock formation that looms 295 feet (90 meters) above the town, Ortahisar—which translates to “Middle Castle”—sits at the heart of Cappadocia. Still largely overlooked by day-trippers and tours, the striking lookout point remains one of the region’s most underrated attractions.More

Derinkuyu Underground City

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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

Özkonak Underground City (Ozkonak Yeralti Sehri)

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Smaller than Cappadocia’s other subterranean cities like Kaymakli and Derinkuyu, Ozkonak Underground City (Özkonak Yeraltı Şehri) makes for a less crowded, more intimate travel experience. Built around the time of the Byzantine Empire (and at one point home to some 60,000 residents), this hidden gem was rediscovered in the 1970s by a local farmer—and it has served as a fascinating tourist attraction ever since.More

Avanos

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Situated along the K?z?l?rmak (Red River)—the longest river in Turkey (officially the Republic of Türkiye)—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

Ihlara Valley (Ihlara Vadisi)

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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
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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.

Local Currency
Turkish Lira (TRY)
Time Zone
TRT (UTC +2)
Country Code
+90
Language(s)
Turkish
Attractions
18
Tours
1,441
Reviews
31,753
EN
c8762859-8503-4942-b826-5f321de61af3
geo_hub

People Also Ask

What is Cappadocia known for?

Cappadocia is a broad region in central Turkey known for its ancient history, dramatic rock formations, pottery, hot air balloons, and well-preserved cave churches and mosaics. Cappadocia encompasses many towns and villages including Göreme, Uchisar, Urgup, and Avanos. Settlement in the region dates back thousands of years.

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What is there to do in Cappadocia?

Hot-air balloon rides at sunrise are a popular way to see the landscape from above, while hiking and mountain biking routes are plentiful and allow you to experience the natural world from the ground. You can also visit museums and well-preserved underground cities to learn about the history of the region.

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How many days do you need in Cappadocia?

Cappadocia is a great destination for a long weekend. If you want to explore beyond the main attractions, it’s easy to spend a full week in this vast region traversing its churches, valleys, underground cities, and vineyards.

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When is the best month to visit Cappadocia?

Spring (March-May) and autumn (September-October) are the best seasons for hiking and biking, with warm, sunny days and cool nights. Summer days are often very hot and dry, though the air cools off at night. In the winter, the region is often dusted in snow, making it a beautiful time to visit.

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What is there to do in Cappadocia at night?

There is some nightlife in Cappadocia, mostly centered around the town of Göreme, which boasts restaurants, bars, and clubs. Depending on the season, you can go on nighttime hikes and stargaze. Cave restaurants that serve local cuisine also often have performances of traditional Turkish dancing and music.

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Is Cappadocia worth the hype?

Yes. Cappadocia is popular for good reason. Its wild and unusual rock formations, called “fairy chimneys” because of their surreal tufted shapes, are stunning whether you are hiking through or flying above them in a hot-air balloon. Cappadocia’s ancient history is fascinating and well-preserved, particularly at the Göreme Open Air Museum.

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