What are the towns of Cappadocia? Cappadocia, one of the most magical regions in Turkey, is a popular destination for many. The Cappadocia region is truly unforgettable with its famed rock formations and hot air ballooning opportunities. Cities, towns, and villages fill the region, making narrowing down which areas to visit challenging.
We’ve gathered information on the Cappadocia region, from the best towns of Cappadocia to the villages of Cappadocia, to aid in creating an ideal trip for your family itinerary. Below, you’ll find information about popular cities, towns, and villages spread throughout the region.
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Museum Pass Cappadocia
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What is Cappadocia?
Cappadocia is a region well-known for “fairy chimneys,” rock formations shaped like chimneys in the Monks Valley area. It also features impressive landscapes, underground cities, homes carved out of rocks, and other unique landmarks created throughout its rich history.
The name “Cappadocia” derives from Katpaktukya, a Persian word meaning “the land of beautiful horses.” This name ties back to Cappadocia’s history with horses, which are still prevalent in the region today.
Cappadocia Regional Map
Where is Cappadocia?
The Cappadocia region is a semi-arid area in the central part of Turkey. This ancient district is found in Anatolia, Turkey. This region stretches 5,000 km through Nevsehir, Kayseri, and Nigde (three provinces found within Anatolia). Additionally, the Cappadocia Region sits at a fairly low elevation of about 1,000 meters.
Get all the details on how to get from Antalya to Cappadocia.
Largest Cities in Cappadocia
Below, you’ll find a list of the largest cities in the Cappadocia region, which can be used as a starting point for planning your next trip to Turkey.
Aksaray is the capital of the province with the same name. This city lies in central Anatolia, nearby Mt. Hasan, an inactive volcano. Aksaray is beloved for its natural beauty, which includes landmarks like Toz Golu, a saltwater lake that once held the title of the second-largest lake in the country. Additionally, Aksaray is the location of multiple underground cities and beautiful mosques. Its historic cities and rich history, due in part to its location along the ancient Silk Road, help create a unique destination for travelers.
Kayseri is another top city in Cappadocia, situated in the central part of Anatolia. This city is split into five districts: Kocasinan, Melikgazi, Hacılar, İncesu, and Talas. Those wishing to find a city jam-packed with attractions should head to Kayseri. Some popular attractions include Kayseri Castle, the Archeological Museum, and the Ethnography Museum. Kayseri is also a great option for foodies who want to experience the local cuisine, as this city is well-known for its dish mantı (dumplings with various fillings).
Once a small village known as Muskara, Nevsehir has grown into a popular city in Cappadocia. This city is now a regional hub, offering many public transport options to various attractions. It’s filled with hotels and pensions, making it a great place to stay as a base for visiting towns and villages. Nevsehir also has its attractions. These attractions include mosques and a museum with an array of artifacts dating back to when the Ottoman empire ruled.
Popular Towns of Cappadocia
Tourists frequent the below list of popular towns in Cappadocia for their attractions, food, and landmarks. If you’re visiting the Cappadocia region for the first time, you’ll want to try to visit as many of these towns as possible.
Avanos is a small town in Nevsehir that contains one of the underground cities in the Cappadocia Region. This town is famous for its pottery, an important industry that has been a part of the community since around the Hittite times. This pottery is crafted from red clay, naturally occurring in the Kızılırmak River, aka the Red River. Strolling through the town’s main street, you’ll come across multiple shops selling locally-made pottery from the river banks’ clay.
This town in Cappadocia is considered the center for tourists in Cappadocia, primarily due to its proximity to the Goreme National Park and the Goreme Open-Air Museum. This town features many unique attractions and restaurants, with some restaurants residing in cave houses that once held families. Additionally, Goreme is one of the locations with fairy chimneys scattered throughout. Because of the impressive rock landscapes formed through erosion, Goreme is a popular destination for those wanting to participate in the famous Cappadocia hot air balloon rides.
Ihlara Valley, also known as Peristrema Valley or Turkish Ihlara Vadisi, is considered one of Turkey’s most naturally beautiful areas. It’s located within the Aksaray Province and has a 14 km long gorge that holds the title as the 2nd longest gorge in Turkey. This valley was formed due to erosion caused by the emission of steam from a volcanic eruption of Mt. Hasan.
The Ihlara Valley also offers views of ancient cave churches and human dwellings, which historians have recently discovered. The top way of exploring Ihlara Valley is via hiking, with four entrances available to visitors spread throughout the valley. This hike can take around three hours, which is not ideal for everyone, hence the multiple entrances/exits available.
This town sits on a hilltop, featuring a landscape many describe as magical. Uchisar is the highest point in the Cappadocia Region and contains many fairy chimneys.
Considered one of the top places to stay in Cappadocia, its location provides panoramic views of the surrounding areas. You will also find many restaurants offering local cuisine spread throughout the town.
Some of the top attractions in Uchisar include the Uchisar Fortress (the highest spot in Cappadocia), Pigeon Valley, and homes carved out of rock. Additionally, Uchisar is another popular location for hot air balloon rides.
Urgup is also situated in the Nevsehir Province. This town was the original tourist center for Cappadocia before Goreme became a widely visited location. Because of this tourism, Urgup is home to many boutique hotels, inns, and old homes carved out of stone. Its location is unique, as the town sits alongside valley walls.
Part of the appeal of Urgup is its many vineyards and grape-growing areas, which have led to award-winning wineries, such as Turasan (the oldest winery in Cappadocia). Additional attractions include small shops and a Turkish bathhouse (also known as a hammam). More adventurous travelers will head to Temenni Hill, a rock ledge in the center of the town that provides stunning views of the area and the saint’s tomb, which lies at the edge of the overlook.
Learn the Top 10 Things to Do in Cappadocia.
Villages of Cappadocia
Within Cappadocia’s cities lie charming and quaint villages that provide easy access to local attractions. These villages are great for spending a few nights during a trip for a more authentic experience and a quieter stay.
This charming town is one of the oldest in the area, featuring ancient homes carved out of fairy chimneys. Cavusin is popular among tourists for this purpose, along with its many other historical sites, including churches and ruins that once held Christian monks. This village is also well-known for its red-hued pottery, which can be purchased in local shops.
Here, you’ll find the largest underground city in Cappadocia. This ancient city is a multilevel area carved from soft volcanic rock. It is believed that Derinkuyu was built many years prior as a way to protect the local people from Romans and other groups.
Throughout the eight levels of Derinkuyu, you can explore cellars, storage areas, churches, wineries, stables, and more. Each of the rooms is connected through two-way tunnels. This massive underground city is open to visitors with the purchase of a ticket at the ticket booth. It remains open daily.
Guzelyurt is a small yet welcoming town about 80 km from central Cappadocia. This village was once the home of Greeks with a 1700-year history. You’ll find stunning natural views here, as Guzelyurt resides near Hasan Dağ (aka Mt. Hasan).
It’s also home to Monastery Valley, an area filled with churches, chapels, and dwellings carved out of rocks. Additionally, its proximity to Ihlara Valley and the Gaziemir underground city makes it a top choice for travelers who want a quieter stay in the Cappadocia Region.
Kaymakli is the second largest underground city in the area, only behind Derinkuyu. This underground city is not to be missed, as it provides larger visiting areas. Also eight levels, Kaymakli is an informative attraction that allows you to imagine what life was like in ancient times.
It was built for the same reason as Derinkuyu, to protect people from the Roman-Arabic war. When visiting Kaymakli, you can explore the top four levels connected through one-way tunnels.
Ortahisar is a centrally located village in the Cappadocia Region, which provides ample access to some of the top attractions in the area. Its name translates to “middle castle,” appropriately named for its central location among the other towns. While other surrounding towns became popular with tourists, Ortahisar received few tourists, allowing visitors to experience what daily life is like for locals.
It’s possible to walk from Ortahisar to the Goreme Open-Air Museum, multiple monasteries, and lovely hiking trails, making it a top destination for those who want a more authentic Cappadocia experience.
Ozkonak is a quaint village in Cappadocia with 3,000 residents with a lot to offer. The residents of Ozkonak are friendly and helpful, providing a fun experience for visitors. This village is home to a lesser-known underground city that is worth visiting. This two-level underground cave system features an air shaft and a winery connected by tunnels. Additionally, the Belha Church and valley strewn with caves are top attractions within the village. Ozkonak is highly walkable, with ample public transportation available for further attractions.
Situated south of Urgup, Mustafapasa once held a large population of Greek residents. This quaint town is now famous for its university, hotel known for being frequented by royalty, and the Old Greek House.
Mustafapasa lies nearby multiple popular Cappadocia attractions, making it an excellent location for a home base. Also known as Sinasos by locals, Mustafapasa provides a more authentic experience than other popular regional destinations.
Nigde is a city within the Nigde Province with a long and interesting history. This city was inhabited by many groups of people, including the Hittites, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines, throughout its history. Its proximity to many trade routes made it a popular location for many groups, leading to Nigde being captured by an array of Turkish empires.
Within Nigde, there are many historical sites worth visiting, including a Byzantine monastery, multiple mosques, and a museum famous for the mummified body of a Byzantine nun. Each Thursday, Nigde holds a large market that is well-known throughout the region.
Situated in southern Cappadocia, the Soganli Valleys are an exquisite place to visit with an array of cave churches strewn throughout the area. The Soganli Valleys feature many natural and historical attractions with fewer people. For those who wish to avoid crowds while exploring the region, the Soganli Valleys are a top choice.
You’ll find hiking trails, churches, and valleys that you won’t have to wait in line to explore. Additionally, a traditional Turkish village resides in Soganli Valleys, providing a more authentic experience. In this village, the women create Soganli dolls, which are famous in the area. Most people can visit the attractions in the Soganli Valleys in about a day, making it a great choice for a stop on your itinerary.
Final Thoughts on the Best Towns of the Cappadocia Region
Unique, rocky landscapes and historically rich areas have helped push the Cappadocia region to the top of many bucket lists. From its fairy chimneys to ancient cave homes, underground cities, and welcoming locals, it’s easy to see why so many people dream about visiting the area.
Whether you’re visiting Cappadocia for the first time and want to experience the popular attractions or a more authentic experience, the above guide will aid you in planning a trip once you choose to check the region off your bucket list.
For a more detailed guide on hotels and activities, check out our Cappadocia, Turkey Travel Guide.