Top 15 reasons you must visit Cappadocia
Cappadocia is a magical region in Turkey, known for its extraordinary landscapes caused by geographical events. With fairytale scenery and the most unique rock formations, when you step in Cappadocia it feels like you landed on a completely different planet, and that the familiar earth has left behind.
The combination of views, culture, and great food, makes Cappadocia be one of the most fascinating places to visit.
For us, Cappadocia is a land of options, which you never get enough of.
So we are gathered here today to collect, especially for you, all the best things you can do while visiting the wonderful Cappadocia.
Are you ready?
Flying in a Hot Air Balloon at sunrise time
Have you ever experienced a flight on a hot air balloon? If not, hurry up and put it way up high on your bucket list!
On the very first time, we tried it, we never thought it will be this GOOD.
But this is a lifetime experience. Quickly our bodies were filled up with adrenaline and we were thrilled every second of the ride.
Floating above the historic caves, and the outstanding views, on sunrise time, while the skies are flawless, besides 100 other balloons, is a fairytale scene you thought only Cinderella can witness!
Thanks to that the Cappadocia hot air balloons became one of the most common travel bucket list items in the entire world. And if you’ll ask me, this is an experience you can’t pass while visiting Cappadocia. Worth every penny!
BTW- you can enjoy a Hot Air Balloon flight on every season; it’s an all year round activity, in the condition that the winds are not too strong. In this case, the flight will be canceled the evening before.
Sleeping in a cave hotel
One of the most exciting things you can do while visiting Cappadocia. Cappadocia’s landscape is all covered with caves that have an enormous part in the history of the region. While geographical events created its special fairy chimneys, The people, over thousands of years, curved caves inside, that have been used as homes, churches, monasteries, and even shelters during war times.
So for me, sleeping in such a historical place is such an incredible experience! I was so excited just from the thought.
Today, almost every hotel in Goreme has cave rooms, and not as you probably imagine, staying in a cave room allows you to experience a troglodyte lifestyle BUT in luxury.
Running with wild Yilki horses
Can you imagine the intensity of 300 wild horses running together in the wild? And what if you’ll stand right in the middle of that?
Meet the Yilki horses, Anatolian horse races that have been living wild in these regions of Turkey for centuries!
Wandering the foothills of Mount Erciyes, on sunset times, it feels like you’re taking part in a national geographic scene. Witnessing so many horses, running together in their full glory, while standing so close you can be blown away by the wind of their run, combined with the most beautiful time of the day, it’s priceless.
Today these horses have become a must spot for photographers who come from all across the world for catching a moment of their wild run.
A nice short fact about these Yilki horses: in wintertime these horses are released into nature by villagers and are gathered together in summer for work.
Where? Hürmetçi, Kayseri
Located just outside of Goreme, Love Valley is one of the biggest pearls Cappadocia has to offer.
Let’s talk honestly. When you are visiting Love Valley for the first time, the first thing you will notice is the resemblance of the iconic rock formations, to a man’s penis, which is why it got its name “LOVE VALLEY”.
Like the rest of the region, the unique landscape was all made by nature events. You can wander around on an easy trail, almost empty of people, which will get you directly to Uchisar castle, a wonderful viewpoint for watching the sunset!
Btw, Love Valley is one of the most famous spots for watching the hot air balloons in the early morning.
Our favorite valley of them all. Pigeon Valley is a quite big valley connecting the towns of Uchisar and Goreme. Full of small, cute pigeon houses, that have been carved in stones over the years.
Did you know that pigeons were used as message carriers, back in time?
An important fact you need to know before starting your trek: the first time we visited Pigeon Valley, we didn’t check for recommendations, so we started the trail from Goreme.
We had an amazing time but this was a mistake. Most of the trek we climbed up, and of course, clumsy Maya fell hard! Therefore, we’ll recommend you to start the trek from Uchisar, this way it’s mostly downhill and much easier.
Pigeon valley has such an interesting surface feature, that every time I visit it, my imagination is going wild. Along the way, you’ll find ancient paintings, cave dwellings, and let’s not forget pigeons.
Lover’s Hill, on sunrise and sunset
The most popular viewpoint of Goreme. This location is mostly famous for watching the sunrise, chasing the perfect hot air balloon shot, and also for watching the sun’s going down on beautiful Cappadocia.
Lover’s hill is a walk distance from most of Goreme hotels, which makes it even easier to get there quickly, and as you can imagine this place is quite crowded as well. So yes, it will be busy but the views and the photos you’ll get will be so epic, it worth it.
Eat Pottery Kebab
Cappadocia’s local specialty, the Pottery Kebab is a must-try dish while visiting this region.
A ceramic pot filled with meat, mostly lamb/ beef or chicken, mixed with vegetables and spices, and sealed with bread dough that absorbed the dish juices for hours of cooking.
When ready, the boiling jug is brought out and cracked in front of you, sometimes in a play of burning fire, and sometimes in other versions of effects, the famous ritual, is leaving you with excitement and expectations. And what about the result? Well, absolutely YUMMY.
Visit an underground city
Well, this part has amazed us. Cappadocia is full of ancient underground cities that back in history provided the first inhabitants of Cappadocia, shelter, and protection from a harsh winter or a place to hide and escape from the dominance of the Roman empire.
The biggest, most known 2 underground cities are Kaymakli and Derinkuyu. So you’re probably asking yourselves which one would be more interesting for the visit, but you can’t go wrong here, both undergrounds are giving the best insights into the historical underground life. The only difference between the two is that Kaymakli is a bit smaller in general, with lower ceilings, but wider.
We visited Kaymakli, and we found it to be so fascinating and enchanting. We will recommend you to take a guide with you because there is so much to miss. All the stories, history, and details, and to be honest, without a guide it’s like a huge labyrinth and you will just get lost. With a proper guide, you will know exactly what was the use of every room and set the traps for enemies?
Where did they pray? Where did they set their wineries, storage areas, kitchens, and split the family rooms? And how did they communicate between the floors? How they were able to inform each other of a danger that’s coming?
It was so interesting to feel a part of such an interesting life, to have the opportunity to walk within the historic tunnels and to imagine every single memory. For us, this is surely a must experience.
Galerie Ikman the carpet shop
One Thousand and One Nights. That’s the proper explanation I can give to this gorgeous shop. It feels like you entered an Arabian tale, and all that’s left is just to get lost between the traditional carpets.
Buy old, historical carpets or pillows at such a reasonable price, take photos from every photogenic corner, or just wander around and enjoy this unique gallery. From the Celling to the floor are all covered with carpets and who knows? Maybe you will even find Aladdin trying to fly them around!
Goreme Open Air Museum
This Unesco World Heritage site is a must-visit while staying in Cappadocia. Go on, wander around some very old, historical monasteries and churches (some are from the Byzantine era), fascinating, ancient paintings, and cave houses from the 17’s century!
FYI- there’s an audio tour that guides you through any stop. We recommend you take some time and listen to the explanations. You will learn a lot about the history of Cappadocia, and you would see a clearer picture while stepping the corners of this interesting place.
Pasabag Valley, also known as the monks’ valley. It earned its name from the many monk refuges that curved into the rock cones. One of them was the known St Simeon who built his home up high in one of the fairy chimneys, isolated from everyone, He got down to the ground only for collecting food and water that was brought to him by his followers. In the valley, you can visit a chapel that was dedicated to the memory of St Simeon, and other monks cave houses.
Pasabag valley is mostly famous by its glorious fairy chimneys, with mushroom-shaped pillars, and this is certainly one of the most photogenic places Cappadocia is offering. Thanks to that, the monks’ valley is one of the busiest places to visit, always full of crowds and tours, so before arriving, we will recommend you to come at sunrise or sunset time, while this place is not as busy as the rest of the day.
BTW have you ever wondered why the fairy chimneys called this way? Well, the early inhabitants of Cappadocia believed that these chimneys are for the fairies who lived under the ground.
Pottery in Avanos
If you are an art fan like we are and you’re searching for an activity that includes this love of yours, Avanos is the place.
Avanos is very famous for its pottery, it’s their specialty, and takes a big part of Cappadocia’s traditions. If you would love to learn how to make ceramic pots, we will recommend you to participate in a pottery workshop in Avanos and to enjoy making crafts with the local artists.
Visit Uchisar town
Uchisar town is the highest point in Cappadocia. On top of the town, you will find the amazing landmark, Uchisar castle which was used as the main point of defense, many years ago.
Today you won’t find much, only some remains of what it used to be
You can walk within the hollow rooms connected by stairs and tunnels, but the main reason for you to visit Uchisar castle is the breathtaking view that reviles on its top. With a panoramic view on every valley and every chimney, you can sit there on sunset time, have a glass of Turkish tea, and breathe in all the beauty.
While you are visiting Uchisar castle, we will recommend you to walk around the town itself. Every alley is magical, you can wander the countless souvenir shops and have a tasty Turkish meal, with a gorgeous view that lays in front of the town.
One of the best sunset spots Cappadocia has to offer. On a sunset time, the mountain sandstones are rich with colors in endless tones of red, pink, and yellow, and there are not enough beautiful words to describe the sights.
There’s a wonderful trail, you can even do with an ATV tour that leads you through Meskindir and Rose Valley straight to the sunset point, where you can sit and enjoy the silence and the outstanding views while the sun is saying its farewells until meeting again tomorrow.
For the braves among us, the Red Valley is also one of the most popular hiking areas in Cappadocia. The hike is diverse and leads through ancient churches and remarkable landmarks.
Cuddling the cutest puppies
This one is especially for the dog lovers out there! Everyone loves puppies right? Well maybe except Chandler BingJ and we all know how puppies make every shot to be better! So luckily for you, Cappadocia is full of the cutest, most friendly puppies who would love to spend time with you and take part in your magical journey. To be even more precise, people from all around the world are visiting Cappadocia only because they would like to meet some of its most famous pals! The cute hairy ones, yeah?
So it became a standard that hotels are bringing new hairy members to the family, so all the guests could enjoy cuteness overload and share beautiful memories(and photos of course) with them. What a cute little addition to the magic of Cappadocia, right?
After writing this article I feel like I should visit Cappadocia once again, as soon as possible. There are endless options, for all kinds of travelers, and there is nothing similar to the experience and feeling of meeting this unique region for the first time.
If you would like to have an adventure that feels like it was taken from Arabian nights, you should book a flight ticket and travel the fascinating Cappadocia. We can assure you, you won’t regret it.
We hope you found this article to be useful and interesting! For any thoughts and questions, please comment below, we would love to help and guide!
Maya & Leon