Perfectly carved valleys, towering rock formations, and surreal landscapes make Cappadocia famous for its other-worldly charm. The fantastic landscape, the culture, the history, and the romance are all great reasons for visiting Cappadocia once in a lifetime. So, why you should visit Cappadocia? Here are 10 reasons to visit Cappadocia, Turkey.
1. Take a Hot Air Balloon Tour
One of the most popular things to do in Cappadocia is to catch the view from above in the colorful hot air balloons. Take fantastic pictures of the valleys and fairy chimney’s from above, enjoying the spectacular landscape, fresh air, and clouds! The balloon tours are famous for creating the special romantic moment, perfect for marriage proposals or honeymoon gift.
Hot Air Balloon tours usually last approximately 60-90 minutes and can have anywhere from 12 – 28 people per balloon basket, depending on the size of your balloon. Flights usually start around 5:00am and have various departures throughout the day. While some may balk at price, this is something that is definitely worth the adventure splurge! Don’t forget to bring your camera!
2. Visit Historical Places of Cappadocia
If you’re searching for an incredible destination steeped in history, then look no further than Cappadocia. Researchers have been uncovering artifacts and ruins in the area for centuries, and the unique rock formations provide evidence of its ancient past with magical mystery. From ancient cities tucked into cliff-sides, underground pathways winding below the surface, and monolithic structures dotting the landscape – it’s a true paradise for those of us that are history buffs!
Urgup, Goreme, Avanos and Uchisar are the main corners of Cappadocia, each featuring their own stories of different civilizations still alive in each area. The history in Cappadocia is as old as the Chalcolithic period, the Hittites; some of them are traces of recent history that formed the basis of Turkish civilizations such as Seljuk and Ottoman. The valleys where Christians lived and spread illegally, fearing Roman oppression, churches and madrasas that you will encounter in the valleys.
Visiting Cappadocia takes visitors on a journey through time, allowing them to explore all the wondrous sites and monuments from many different civilizations including Byzantine churches, caves of figures from Greek mythology, sprawling Roman ruins such as secluded aqueducts and old wine presses – there is truly something to capture everyone’s imagination here.
If you are not familiar with Cappadocia, then it is absolutely recommended that you hire a guide or else you may get lost in the sprawling ruins and miss what you are looking for. Additionally, should you see something neat along the way, a guide is a helpful encyclopedia of information about the area and the history. Cappadocia is well-known for its extremely professional and well-educated guides who know how to time each program based on season, the available sunlight, and the best sights.
The main sites in the area include:
- Goreme Open Air Museum
- Derinkuyu or Kaymakli Underground City
- Ihlara Valley
- Love Valley, Red Valley (Kizilcukur)
- Uchisar Castle, Ortahisar Castle
- Cavusin Village, Mustafapasa Greek Village
3. Walk in the Valleys | See the Fairy Chimneys
Cappadocia is also a heaven for nature lovers. With its winding valleys, moonlike landscape, and mystical chimneys, Cappadocia might be the most surreal place on earth. Whether you’re there to explore the unique rock formations up close, or just to take in the majestic views from afar, it’s a must-see destination for anyone looking for an unforgettable adventure. During each season, the valleys change color and offer something spectacular for those who visit. Cappadocia valleys host about all the popular sights of Cappadocia.
In some valleys you can find waterfalls, while in others there will be fresh fruit such as plums or apricots. In Winter, the valleys are covered with snow which makes for a truly mystical scene! The valleys are also the places where you can see historical churches carved into the rock, distinctive homes, and visit active Turkish villages. We recommend that you visit the following valleys on your journey:
- Pasabag (Monks) Valley,
- Zelve Valley Open Air Museum,
- Devrent Imagination Valley,
- Pigeon Valley,
- Love Valley,
- Red Valley,
- Rose Valley,
- Swords Valley.
4. Visit the Underground Cities
Go deep underground to visit these magnificent cities! How deep you ask? So deep that even the deepest one hasn’t been uncovered yet. Cappadocia currently has 36 underground cities, the largest of which, Derinkuyu, dates back to the 8th century BC. As an example, Derinkuyu was stumbled upon completely by chance, by a local inhabitant which renovating his house.
Extending to a depth of approximately 85 metres, it’s large enough to have sheltered more than 20,000 people. While visiting, guests will have to crouch down and move slowly through the tunnels, which were mostly created with the purpose of saving people during the ongoing wars.
5. Stay in Cave Hotels
While in Cappadocia, there are accommodations available for every budget! Whether you are looking for a more budget friendly option, or a luxurious hotel there is absolutely something available for you. See our Blog on Accommodations in Cappadocia for more detailed information.
The majority of hotels, regardless of budget, are built into the stone or within the caves so that guests can have the ultimately Cappadocia experience. When reserving your hotel, research whether you will be staying in a traditional room, suite, or luxury space to get a better idea about the types of amenities you should be expecting upon arrival.
6. Watch Sunrise & Sunset at the Panoramic Viewpoints
Beyond its outstanding atmosphere and natural beauties, Cappadocia is also one of the best places in the world to watch sunrise and sunset in a fairy tale atmosphere. There are variety of lovely observation terraces in Cappadocia to watch sunrise, sunset and also experience and enjoy the stunning views of the valleys and fairy chimneys. Some of them are really very popular with the tourists.
7. Discover the Flavors of Cappadocia Cuisine
For travelers looking to explore the unique flavors of Cappadocia cuisine, there is no shortage of exciting dishes to sample. While numerous restaurants offer international cuisine, we recommend sampling some dishes from Central Anatolian cuisine, a modern showcase of traditional skill. Traditional favorites like manti, a type of dumpling filled with spiced beef or lamb, is served with a drizzle of garlic yoghurt sauce and a sprinkle of fresh herbs for extra flavor.
Another popular dish, karniyarik—or “stuffed eggplant”—is bursting with local ingredients such as ground beef, onion, tomato and dried zestandere. In addition to meat-based dishes, visitors can try a variety of lighter fare that are prepared using fresh vegetables and herbs. In addition to its kebabs, taste the dishes that have not infiltrated the city life, such as stuffed quince, kömbe, and sizgit.
From stuffed tomatoes to roasted mushrooms in olive oil and thyme or cottage cheese with honey spoon sweets—there’s something enjoyable for everyone in this vibrant culinary destination. Whether it’s sampling regional specialties or exploring the wide array of freshly-baked breads topped with regional spices–a gastronomic tour through Cappadocia is sure to leave lasting memories of delicious food.
8. Sample the Local Wines
When it comes to wine making in Turkey, Cappadocia is often one of the first places that comes to mind. The reputation of white wines produced with Emir grapes found in Cappadocia is world renown. The vineyards have been in existence since the Hittites were in the region and discovered that the fertile soil produced excellent quality grapes and a distinct flavor.
The wine cellars are also carved into the rocks, which add quality to the wine as they have constant natural temperatures in both Summer and Winter. Although there are many boutique wineries in Cappadocia, the most famous are Urgup Turasan and Uchisar Kocabag. While here, do a wine sampling to gather the true flavors of the region via Wine Tasting for a day in Caapadocia!
9. Photo Shooting for a Day
Taking photos is one of the favorite activities of visitors of all ages and will become even more enjoyable in Cappadocia’s eye-catching landscapes. Cappadocia’s photography tours will provide a service beyond your expectations for those who need help to reflect the magical atmosphere of Cappadocia in the frame or think they need a better photographer.
Let’s immortalize the fairy-tale image of Cappadocia, one of our natural and historical heritages in the central Anatolia of Turkey with its unique and rich nature and beauty.
10. Make Pottery in Avanos
In the small town of Avanos, visitors can learn the ancient art form from master potters who employ traditional tools and techniques to create stunning works. The workshops are called ‘Chez’ and offer classes throughout the day.
Classes are typically around half a day in length and include everything from clay preparation to decorating glazing. At the end of the session, you can take your unique creations home with you as mementos of your time spent in magical Cappadocia. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty on the trip, head over to the Guray Museum and discover some of the area works may of both clay and stone.