Visit Cappadocia: Turkey Travel Guide

A visit to Cappadocia, Turkey is a stunning location that seems straight out of a fairytale. This region is magical with rock formations (also known as “fairy chimneys”), hidden cities, and the colorful hot air balloons often depicted floating high above the semi-arid area.

Whether you choose to hike through its many valleys like Pigeon Valley, Love Valley, or Red Valley or spend time exploring the ancient cave dwellings, you’ll find unique and interesting activities to enjoy.

We’ve put together a Cappadocia travel guide to help you plan a trip to this magnificent region. Below, you’ll find information on transportation options, unique accommodations, and family-friendly activities when you visit Cappadocia, Turkey.

Some links on this page are affiliate links—that means that at no extra cost to you, we earn a small commission if you book through these links, and that helps keep this blog running.

Table of Contents

goreme

Cappadocia Fast Facts

BEST TIME TO GO
April–October
POPULATION
310,000
CURRENCY
Turkish Lira (TL)
PLUGS
Standard C | 220 V | 50 Hz
CLIMATE
Hot sunny summers
Mild spring
Mild rainy fall
Snowy winters
BEST TRIP TYPES
Historical
Food
Slow
Adventure

Cappadocia Essentials

Museum Pass Cappadocia 

Get access to 13 museums to visit over 3 days in Cappadocia. You can purchase the card through the website, at the first museum you visit or on the Museums of Turkey app. If you’re traveling to other regions, get the Museum Pass that covers access to museums in ALL of Turkey for 15 days. Check the Museum app for pricing. 

Download the Museums of Turkey App

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Visit Cappadocia

Traveling to Cappadocia

The method of transportation in the Cappadocia region will vary depending on which city you’re visiting as some have better established public transport. Below are a few options that you can incorporate into your journey.

By Airline

There are two airports in Cappadocia – the Kayseri Erkilet and the Nevşehir Kapadokya. These airports facilitate travel from Istanbul and international flights. You’ll likely fly into Kayseri Erkilet if you’re traveling from outside of Turkey as it’s the bigger airport.

You can also take a flight from Istanbul to Cappadocia. The flight will take about 1.5 hours, making it a quicker (though slightly more expensive) option than arriving by bus.

Reconfirm the towns and cities you wish to visit in Cappadocia before choosing your arrival airport. This will allow you to choose the closest airport to your intended destinations.

By Bus

Most towns offer a bus service that you can ride from town to town. If you’re planning on keeping your trip centered around a smaller section of Cappadocia, this is a great option that’s easy on the wallet.

If you’re already in Istanbul, Antalya or Fethiye a bus will take you directly to Cappadocia. Expect about a nine-hour ride if you’re traveling from Antalya.

If you plan on riding the bus, make sure to underbook yourself for daily activities as they are known as a slower method of transportation. Some destinations require you to switch buses partway through, adding additional time to your travels.

Double-check the routes and transport options for your Turkey travel itinerary before assuming you only need to travel by bus.

By Car Rental or Camper/RV

If you and your family plan on traveling from city to city, a camper or car rental is a great option. Assuming you’re not driving your own around the country, plenty of camper and RV rental locations are in Turkey. Most include a small kitchen area and a sleeping area, making it easy to travel around Cappadocia.

You can trek from Istanbul to Cappadocia by camper or RV, be prepared for about a nine-hour drive. This estimated timeline does not include any bathroom breaks, rest stops, or meal breaks.

Read our route guide on how to get from Antalya to Cappadocia

Transfers

Once you arrive at one of the mentioned airports, there are a few options to transport you to the city and your accommodations. You can schedule a shared transfer from the airport to your hotel. Some hotels will schedule this for you so be sure to ask. Otherwise, you can book your own transfer. 

Book your shared airport transfer from the Kayseri Erkilet or the Nevşehir Kapadokya airport with Get Your Guide. 

Cappadocia Cave Hotel

Where to Stay

Whether you have a strict budget or are seeking a more luxurious stay, some options can easily fit your needs when you visit Cappadocia. Stay in caves or wake up with views of the sunrise hot air balloons. Book your accommodations in advance to get the best rates and the best places to stay. Here are stays for every budget.

Luxury Hotels

Museum Hotel

Museum Hotel offers higher-end rooms with stays ranging from $400 to $1,000+(USD) per night.

The Museum Hotel sits at the base of the Uchisar Castle, making it an easy overnight stay after sightseeing. The hotel features cool antiques spread throughout the grounds (hence the name “museum”).

It’s also in an ideal location for viewing the hot air balloons rising in the early morning. Some of the rooms have luxurious inground bathtubs. However, spa services are available at this hotel.

Argos In Cappadocia

Staying at the Argos Hotel makes it easy to add tours and activities to your trip. Many activities can be booked directly through the hotel, including regional and historical excursions.

Many luxe amenities are included in a stay, like an outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant with stunning views, and a spa/therapy room.

Stays at Argos range from $300-$750+ per night.

Sultan Cave Suites

These luxe sweets are ideal for couples looking for a romantic getaway. The Sultan Cave Suites’ rooms are relaxing and well-decorated with antiques sourced from around Turkey. The hotel is located in the Aydili Hills, with some rooms set in the side of the hills, creating a unique atmosphere.

Many guests love sitting on the rooftop for incredible views of Gerome. You can enjoy romantic meals on the rooftop for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Expect to pay about $200+ per night.

Budget Hotels

Serenity Hotel

This charming yet straightforward budget hotel includes breakfast when you book a room. It’s nearby many shops and restaurants in Uchisar, providing an optimal location for travelers.

The Serenity Hotel rooms are spacious yet feel homey, making it a great home away from home. You’ll be welcomed by friendly staff when you arrive at Serenity Hotel.

Traveler’s Cave Pension

Traveler’s Cave Hotel is very affordable. Breakfast is included in your stay, helping to keep your overall budget down as well.

This hotel is kid-friendly and pet-friendly, making traveling with your whole family easy. Even though this is a budget hotel, you can still book activities through them for more convenient scheduling.

Camp / RV Parking

If you’ve decided to rent or drive a camper/RV, you’ll need to find a nearby campground. Here are a few options to check out.

Panorama Camping Cappadocia

This campground is located nearby the Uchisar Castle, making it a great camping spot for those looking to sightsee around the area afterward. WIFI, a pool, and stunning views are found at this campsite.

You can also camp in a tent instead of a camper, though you’ll need to book a spot further into the park.

Göreme Camping and Aquapark

This is an excellent camping spot for those with children. You can park a camper/RV here or camp in a tent, and there’s a large waterpark onsite. This camping area is near the Göreme Open Air Museum, so you can easily access this top attraction

goreme open air museum

What to See

The stunning landscapes and unique history of Cappadocia have led to an incredible bucketlist of landmarks and places to see while traveling in this region. Visiting castles, working your way through carved-out rock formations, and exploring underground cities from years prior are only a few of the many places to see.

Below, you’ll find must-see locations to visit in Cappadocia during your Turkey trip.

Göreme Open Air Museum

The Göreme Open Air Museum is a top destination for travelers. This UNESCO World Heritage Site dates back to the 1600s. Initially, it was thought this spot was a monastery for Byzantine monks.

This site holds churches, chapels, and monasteries carved out of rock, creating hidden buildings and homes that you can explore. Stunning fresco paintings stretch along the walls inside these rock buildings, specifically the churches.

derinkuyu underground city cappadocia

Derinkuyu Underground City

The Derinkuyu Underground City is a massive eighteen-floor submerged ancient living area built to protect against invading forces around 7 BCE. It was discovered by accident but now offers visitors the chance to step back into the history of Cappadocia.

This city features stables, wineries, churches, and more to explore. You can tour the Derinkuyu Underground City to see the interesting airways and waterways built for the civilization that lived in the city years ago.

Uchisar Castle

If you’ve already traveled to the Göreme Open Air Museum, you’ll recognize the familiar carved-out rooms at Uchisar Castle. This castle is situated in Uchisar and was once a method of protection for the ancient people of Uchisar town.

Uchisar Castle is noted as the highest point in Cappadocia, and it also offers some of the most exquisite views. While you can explore the tunnels and empty rooms at the castle, many people climb to the top for a panoramic view of the nearby villages and towns.

Zelve Open Air Museum

Zelve Open Air Museum

The Zelve Open Air Museum was created as a retreat for monks from the 9th to the 13th centuries. After this period, it became a village until 1952, when the inhabitants shifted to New Zelve for a safer living environment.

This open-air museum features homes and buildings that span three valleys. You can explore the uninhabited homes and previous churches that make up this open-air museum.  

Fairy Chimneys

These fairy chimneys are a unique natural occurrence that happened many years ago. Visitors can see these naturally carved-out rock formations in Cappadocia. Many of these formations were turned into living quarters for the ancient people of Cappadocia.

You can see evidence of these formations from a hot air balloon ride or while visiting the Göreme Open Air Museum.

For even more things to do in Cappadocia, see our top 10 things to do in Cappadocia.

cappadocia sunrise hot air balloons

What to Do

Looking for additional activities to pursue with your family? Here are some top picks to choose from. Enjoy them all if you have time, or add a few to your itinerary.

Sunrise Hot Air Balloons

You can’t travel to the lovely region of Cappadocia without enjoying a sunrise hot air balloon ride. These rides are not for the faint of heart, as you’ll be traveling around 3,000 feet into the air. However, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning panoramic view of the region and an incredible sunset as you drift through the sky.  Be sure to book your balloon trip in advance of your stay in Cappadocia, as they do fill up. 

If some of your family members are uncomfortable traveling in the balloon, watching the balloons below is still a mesmerizing experience.

Book your hot air balloon tour at sunrise

Hike Ihlara Valley

Since Cappadocia has so many beautiful nature scenes and unique rock formations, hiking along the Ihlara Valley Trail provides a great overlook of some of Cappadocia’s best attractions. The beautiful valley hike is about 6.5 miles one-way, so you’ll want to bring comfortable walking shoes and appropriate clothing.

As you explore Cappadocia, you’ll have views of the Ihlara village, ancient monasteries, and local wildlife. This is a full-day activity, taking about five hours for a one-way trek. If you have smaller children, you may want only to walk part of the trail.

Horseback Riding

There’s no better way to see the landscapes of Cappadocia than by horseback. There are tours for all levels of riders, from advanced to beginner. Enjoy a more slow-paced ride on the trails or book a more adventurous tour where you’ll race the other riders through stunning scenery.

You can enjoy this as a shorter tour, a full-day activity, or a week-long endeavor (intermediate to advanced riders).

Make Pottery at Avanos

The Avanos District in Cappadocia is well-known for its long history of crafting pottery pieces. Initially, pottery was prevalent in this area due to the soil’s large quantity of red clay.

You’ll see this traditional style of pottery available for sale all over Avanos. You can also take a pottery-making workshop to learn from one of the pottery masters.

Testi kebap Cappadocia

Where to Eat in Cappadocia

Between walking through the underground cities and learning about the local culture, you’ll need to find a spot to rest and enjoy some local food. Here are a few spots that you can try while visiting Cappadocia.

Pumpkin Göreme and Art Museum

As the name suggests, this restaurant is part art display. This eatery is decorated with pumpkins that have been crafted into art. You’ll be welcomed by friendly staff when stopping by this restaurant.

Enjoy traditional Turkish foods from a daily menu packed with delicious seasonings and various meats like lamb. The restaurant is set inside a cave, the perfect setting after exploring the Göreme Open Air Museum.

Make sure to book a reservation ahead of time, as this restaurant gets quite busy during peak season (July-August).

Dibek Restaurant

Dibek is also located in Göreme and features testi kebab, cooked in clay pottery. This is a traditional Cappadocia dish that you should try while visiting. It includes a choice of meat with tomatoes, peppers, rice, and salad.

You can also find other authentic recipes at Dibek, though many favor the pottery kebab. If you’re going to order this dish, you will need to let the restaurant know four hours ahead of time.

Top Deck Restaurant

If you want a taste of what local life is like, you’ll want to bring your family to the Top Deck Restaurant. This eatery is located inside a Cappadocia family’s cave home on the lower level.

Enjoying a meal at Top Deck Restaurant will make you feel like you’re enjoying a holiday meal with extended family. You can choose between sitting at a table on the floor or sitting at a standard table.

The ingredients are sourced from local farms, and the menu changes daily, making for a unique experience.

Café Safak

Café Safak is another great option to eat at in Göreme. It’s run by a mother and son team who create some of the tastiest dishes at affordable prices.

The eggplant dip is highly recommended, though there are quite a few options on the menu to enjoy during your Cappadocia visit.

If you’re spending more time in Turkey, get some ideas for accommodations and activities in our Antalya Travel Guide. With the many attractions and things to do, you may never want to leave Turkey.

To learn more about food in the Cappdocia, see the Turkish Food Guide.

Final Thoughts on Your Visit to Cappadocia

On your visit to Cappadocia, you’ll have opportunities experience the unique landscape in many different ways. Stay in a local cave hotel. Get a birds eye view from a sunrise hot air balloon trip. Hike through the one ofthe many valleys in the region. Whatever itinerary you choose, the history and views of the area are awe-inspiring and will leave you with an authentic experience in Turkey. 

Some links on this page are affiliate links—that means that at no extra cost to you, we earn a small commission if you book through these links, and that helps keep this blog running.

Visit Cappadocia Turkey Travel Guide
locals guide to cappadocia turkey

Join the Conversation

10 Comments

  1. That really does look magical. I would love to go there and ride in a hot air balloon. (I have ridden in one in the past and it was amazing. ). I can only imagine how spectacular it would be to float over the city.

    1. The sunrise hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia is one of the highlights of our trip there. Beautiful!

  2. The photos look so amazing!!! Definitely Sunrise Hot Air Balloons is on the top of my wish list! Thanks for the hotel suggestions. I think staying in a cave hotel is such a unique experience – would love to try it one day!

    1. Staying at the right cave hotel definitely enhances the whole experience that is Cappadocia! 🙂

  3. There are so many things to see and do the underground city would be cool to see and of course a hot air balloon ride would be in oder
    Staying in the caves sounds heavenly.

    1. Cappadocia is a magical experience with its unique landscape. It’s definitely a bucket list experience!

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Family Travel to Turkey: Enes and Dania

Hi, we're Dania & Enes

We’re an American Turkish couple who’ve worked in the tourism industry and traveled extensively in Turkey. We understand that it can be overwhelming to plan a trip to Turkey when you don’t know where to go, where to stay and the best way to get there. We’re dedicated to helping you confidently plan a trip to Turkey and have a more authentic experience when you get there.

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