We are local travel bloggers from Turkey. We traveled over 80 countries and we know just how much difference having a local friend makes. So we gathered our tips on all the great things to do in Cappadocia for you.
Simply to stroll through Cappadocia’s other-worldly landscape is an experience enough for many. The views are so mystical and awe-spiring that they turn simple activities to magical experiences.
Yet, the panorama is only one of the many unique promises of Cappadocia. The ancient underground cities, wild horses galloping at the skirts of Mount Erciyes, hot air balloons will awake something deep and spiritual inside you.
1. Discover Gulludere Valley by Taking a Moonlight Tour
One of the best things to do in Cappadocia is to trek under the moonlight in the region’s magical valleys – and during full moons! The magical landscape of Cappadocia and the calm night turns a simple hike into a thrilling experience.
Uzunetap and Argos Culture organize these walks between April and October. The tour starts at 8:30 pm in front of the Royal Balloon in Goreme. After registration is finished, then a shuttle will take you to the Güllüdere Valley, which is where the tour will begin.
The tour starts with a one-hour walk that goes to the Church with a Cross. The tour will then head on to the Columned Church, where you’ll be able to see a small concert. You’ll head back at midnight. We can easily say that this is one of the most unique things to do in Cappadocia. If you happen to be in Cappadocia during a full moon, then you should definitely go on the moonlight walk. If you decide to go on the trek, then there are a couple of things you should know
What To Bring
– Wear comfortable shoes and pants that cover your ankles.
– Definitely bring some water.
– Although the light from the moon should act as a guide, take a flashlight with you in case the weather is cloudy.
– Since Cappadocia is like being in the desert, make sure to dress like you would in a desert. Wear long-sleeved clothes, hoods, and a coat depending on the season.
– Instead of carrying a backpack or arm bag, choose a small backpack that will allow you to move around.
Price & Tour Info
The price is 150 TL. And each tour is limited to only 40 people. To figure out how to sign up, then visit the website. Anyone under 18 years old can only participate with their family. Meeting Place Address: Avcilar Mahallesi, Dutlu Sokak No: 9, 50180 Goreme Municipality / Nevsehir Merkez / Nevşehir Phone: (0384) 271 33 00 Click here for the location.
2. Join in on the Free Pottery Workshop in Avanos
If you’re into crafts with your hands, participating in a pottery workshop in Avanos, which is famous for its pottery, is one of the best things to do in Cappadocia.
Avanos is a settlement located on both sides of the Kizikirmak River, and it’s a place where there is a concentration of workshops on how to make ceramics, pots, and pans. Pottery-making is an important tradition that stems from the Hittites.
This is because the land provides. There is soft and oily clay found in old beds in Kızılırmak and in the mountains of Avanos. The clay is formed on a type of workbench called a “çark.” Items that are made in the workshop are baked in the sun and then dried in an oven heated between 800-1200 degrees Celcius.
Where Is The Pottery Workshop At?
Chez Galip‘s workshop is the place to go to for pottery. If you are not feeling craftsy and you prefer just to watch pottery making, that is fine, too. Another little detail about this place is that if you break something at the workshop, then you’re not expected to pay. Instead, they will ask you to replace it by showing you how it’s made. If you don’t have a car, then you can take a minibus (or dolmus) to Avanos, and you can walk there from where it lets you off. Address: Yukari Mahallesi, No: 24 Avanos Nevsehir, 110.Sk., 50500 Avanos Tel: (0384) 511 42 40 Click here for the location.
Galerie İkman is a carpet shop in Göreme but it also became a massively popular Instagram shot. You even need to call to make reservations to take photos here. Websitesi ve Konum için tıklayın.
4. Explore the Underground Cities
A tour of the Underground Cities isn’t just a trip deep into the earth, but through the history of an ancient civilization.
In order to defend against the influx of attacks from marauding tribes, the ancient inhabitants of Cappadocia decided to dig themselves a second, underground village to shelter under. In the time since the initial digs, everyone from the Hittites (BC1650-1200) to the later Byzantines developed and expanded the caverns further underground. A tunnel was dug beneath every home and, eventually, these were connected by a series of tunnels until a huge, underground city emerged.
The city developed a sophisticated series of air, irrigation, heating, and sewage systems and even housed institutions such as asylums and churches. Although 36 of these tunnels have been unearthed, it is thought that more than 150 to be found.
This is without question, the most popular of things to do in Cappadocia. thing tFor more info on these sites read our Things to Do in Cappadocia piece.
5. Take a Nature Walk in Guvercinlik Valley (Pigeon Valley)
Guvercinlik Valley is one of the best places in Cappadocia to hike, as there’s a trail and red marks so you won’t get lost. This means that you’ll be able to go on a nature hike by yourself by following the directions, and you won’t feel like you have to hire a tour guide. The entrance to the path is on the road between Uchisar and Goreme, and it’s 4 kilometers long, so it’ll take you 2 hours to do. Click here for the location.
Things to take with you to this nature walk
– Bring water with you.
– Don’t jump in the waterfall after the entrance to the path.
– Wear trekking shoes so you won’t slide while walking on the soil, which is soft and has you’ll need to walk up and downhill a lot.
– If you’re in shape, then you might want to try cycling through the path.
6. Camp Across from Kizilcukur Valley
You might think (and we might agree) that one of the best things to do in Cappadocia to authentically experience the region is to stay in a cave hotel made of carved stone. But we also think that camping and being able to wake up to the skyline and watch the balloons pass by in the early hours of the morning is also a great way to experience Cappadocia. If you agree with us, then Kaya Camping is one of the best camping sites for this. You can find all the relevant information below:
We wrote an article for camping enthusiasts who want to know about the Best Campgrounds in Turkey.
7. Do Yoga at Sunset
You might have done yoga in remote locations before – but doing yoga in the valleys of Cappadocia is something else entirely. This place is in such high demand that there is now a small yoga community. Especially sunrise yoga feels amazing.
– If you want to do it as more of a group activity, then you can check out kapadokyayoga, which has tours that combine hiking, cycling, and yoga through the valleys. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 05056561064
8. Eat Breakfast Among the Balloons
Another great thing to do in Cappadocia is to eat breakfast as the hot air balloons take off on their morning flights. We spoke with a pilot of one of the balloons and learned where the best spot was to watch the balloons that took off in the morning. He instructed us to a place where the balloons would fly close enough to the ground to where we could touch the baskets if we wanted to.
There are a couple of bakeries that open early to accommodate the people who wake up early to ride in the balloons. We asked where they were a day in advance so we could drop by in the morning before watching the balloons. As you can see in the picture, we set up our table and chairs.
Then, we watched 100 balloons take off all at once! We saw balloons no matter where we turned – it was a surreal moment as we were level with the balloons as they started their journey. And the pilot was right; they were flying so low to us that we could have offered a piece of bread to tourists in the balloons. Click here to see where we were so that you can do the same!
9. Watch the Mapping Show on the Fairy Chimneys
Going to a mapping show is one of the more unique things to do in Cappadocia. A company called Zelve Mapping puts on a show that projects images onto the fairy chimneys in Zelve Valley that highlight the region’s geological structures, how its developed to the present day, as well as the diverse beliefs and civilizations that have lived on these lands. The Mapping Show uses powerful projections to tell a story.
The show begins after it gets dark, so there’s no set time as to when it starts. It takes about 30 minutes and costs 100 TL. The company does not put on a show every day as they do it based on how many people reserved for that specific day. They need to have at least five people for the show, so make sure you call beforehand. You wouldn’t want to show up on a day that they weren’t able to get five people. While you might be able to find similar mapping shows elsewhere in art galleries, you won’t come across something quite like this.
10. Eat Dinner at Restaurants Carved Out of Rock
We think that having dinner at a restaurant that is made from of carved rock is a must thing to do in Cappadocia. But make sure to make reservations beforehand as these places are quite popular among tourists. Below, you’ll be able to find our suggestions for such restaurants – we also recommend that you try local dishes, such as tandir, testi kebab, bulgur soup, wedding soup (dugun corba), stuffed grape leaves, and chickpeas cooked in crocks (comlekte nohut) to name a few. To learn more, read our post on Best Cappadocia Restaurants – Where & What to Eat.
11. Learn How to Make & Taste Wine at Wine Houses
If you’re a wine enthusiast, then one of the best things to do in Cappadocia is to visit wine houses. Its fertile soil means that there are tons of vineyards, and this has been so throughout Cappadocia’s history. It has become one of the most ideal places in Turkey to produce wine.
You’ll find that Urgup produces boutique wines, which have become a signature of Cappadocia. You can easily find the white wines produced especially from Emir grapes, even on any market shelf in Istanbul. This is true particularly for the white wines made from Emire, which is a grape indigenous to Cappadocia. This type of wine is so widespread that you’ll be able to find it on the shelves of any supermarket.
There are two main wine producers in Cappadocia: Kocabağ and Turasan. In fact, some of the most popular tours in recent years has been to tour the factories of these producers and to do wine tastings.
12. Set Out on an ATV Safari, Goreme
Cappadocia is suited for outdoor activities – anything you can think of including trekking, hiking, horse riding, jeep safaris, and… ATV safari tours! For trekking, hiking, cycling, camping, and jeep safaris, you can get in touch with kadost. For going on an ATV safari tour, then you can check out adventureatvrent. If you have a chance to pick which tour guide to go with you, then we recommend Ferman as he is knowledgeable of the region and also knows a lot about ATVs. Even if you’ve seen Goreme before, by doing outdoor activities you can experience it in a different way. For those of you who want to go on an ATV safari, we have a couple of tips:
– When heading to the valley, make sure to bring some water.
– Choose comfortable shoes for trekking and hiking that cover your ankles.
– Depending on the time of year and temperature you’re going, you might get muddy while on the ATV. So wear shoes and an outfit you don’t mind getting dirty. Wear a neck collar to protect yourself from the dust.
– If you’re going early in the day to see the sunrise, then you should wear something with long sleeves.
13. Going on a Horse Safari is a Great Thing to do in Cappadocia
One of the best things to do in Cappadocia is to take a tour while riding on horseback.
If you want to learn more about these types of tours in Cappadocia, then we recommend that you visit the Dalton Brothers website. They are popular with foreign tourists, so they have a lot of experience with 20 years under their belt. In other words, you’ll have an easier time of going with the Dalton Brothers instead of choosing a place at random for your horseback trip.
They do day tours, but they also offer tours that last a couple of days. They even sometimes offer moonlit trips. As part of the day trips, they take you past iconic areas including the Kizilcukur Valley, Gulludere Valley, Ask Valley, Baglidere, and Kiliclar Valleys. If you’re interested, then you can check out their website in more detail to learn need-to-know info such as the dates of the trips, the number of people that they can accommodate, tips for the tours, and whether or not you need to have previous riding experience. Tel: 90 384 271 28 40 – +90 532 275 68 69 Email: email@example.com Click here for the location.
14. Watch Balloons at Sunrise
You have to watch the sunrise at least once while you’re in Cappadocia – but you’ll also have to watch when the 100-150 hot-air balloons take off during the sunrise. There are several hotels in the flight path of the balloons. If you’re in one of them, then you might be able to watch directly from where you’re staying. If not, then you can watch them from Guvencinlik Valley, Kizilcukur Valley, Uchisar Valley, and Asiklar Hill. Just remember that the balloons are operational weather permitting. Of course, your other option is to ride in one of the balloons yourself to see the sunrise, which leads to our next point and one of the best things to do in Cappadocia if you ask us.
If you can budget it in, then make sure to go on a Hot Air Balloon in Cappadocia. You’ll be joined with around 100-150 other hot-air balloons, which will take off at the same time. Of course, a balloon ride comes with great photo ops, but also the chance to appreciate Cappadocia’s scenery from above.
After deciding that you want to go on a balloon ride, then you’ll have to choose the company. All companies have the same flight schedule and offer the same services. When you buy a tour from one of the companies, they will arrange for a service to pick you up at your hotel to bring you to their office where you’ll have breakfast. They’ll then go to the area where the balloons take off. There, they’ll do a short talk before preparing the balloon, and when it’s ready, you’ll climb in the basket. When you land, they pass out champagne and snacks. They also have alcohol-free champagne for people who don’t drink. They will then take you back to your hotel after they give you a certification of attendance.
The prices for these tours are often high just because of the expensive equipment that tour companies need to make these magical rides come to life. But just keep in mind that prices drop by nearly half toward the end of the season. If you want to fly with a more experienced tour operator, then we recommend Cappadocia Balloons or Butterfly Balloons, which is our recommendation. The prices might seem a bit steep, however, you can rest assured knowing that they use all of the highest quality products on the market and are experienced. Prices vary between 250-600 TL and flight times last an average of one hour.
16. Watch the Sunset in Kizilcukur Valley
If you enjoy watching the sunset – and we know you do – then head over to Kizilcukur Valley. We think that this is one of the top five things to do while in Cappadocia. You can even make an evening picnic out of it and bring some food from the market with you while watching the sun go down. And because you are in Cappadocia, you can even buy some homemade wine from one of the wine houses. And you might luck out and have a completely clear sky. Click here for the location.
17. See Andrew Rogers’ Massive Stone Structures
If you have a 4×4, then we recommend that you go see outdoor stone structure called Time and Space made by Andrew Rogers, who is an Australian sculpture. This structure is part of a wider project called the “Rhythms of Life.” The structure is part of nearly a dozen works by the artists in Goreme, some of which include geoglyphs. Some of these geoglyphs include horse, millstone, double-bodied lion, and a date palm, which all have historical significance to the area. This massive project took about three years to finish and used 11 tons of stone. Rogers focuses his work around universal themes, such as freedom, love, justice, liberty, and love and even has the words imprinted on his stonework written in different languages. This is Rogers’ 9th installation of 12 different locations. The philosophy behind the project is that while life is the same, its rhythms differ. His work is similar to the Nazca Lines in Peru. Because the geoglyphs are so big, they’re best viewed from the sky. So, if you can afford it, then the best way to see them is by taking a balloon ride.
Walking around here will take a lot of time, and unfortunately, there are no roads here for cars. You can either come out to this area by taking a jeep safari ride or with your own car.
18. Join the Cappadox Festival
Over the past couple of years, an organization called Pozitif has put on the Cappadox Festival, which has added value to the city. During the festival, you’ll be able to experience music, contemporary art, outdoor activities, and gastronomy. People from all over Turkey and even the world come here. We can even say that it’s the only festival in Turkey where tickets are sold out in advance. We went to the second one in 2016, and we think that the festival’s success is due to its wide range of activities, such as hosting international artists and musical groups, valley hikes and bike rides, yoga at sunset, picnics, food cooking courses, tasting workshops, exhibitions, and shows. We’ll put it like this: if you don’t have plans to roam about Cappadocia, then it’s worth checking out for the festival alone.
But we should say from the outset that planning your trip around the Cappadox festival will change how you would normally experience Cappadocia. For one thing, the prices soar during this time, and everything will be two times as expensive. But we do have to say that everything you’ll find at the festival is high in quality and worth the money. So if you can work it into your budget, then attending the Cappadox festival is a great thing to do in Cappadocia. But doing the activities offered by the festival and normal things you’d want to do while traveling around Cappadocia might be a bit of an overload. Ticket sales start months before, and there is a limited number of discount tickets. There are also different tickets for various events – which might get sold out easily – so we recommend that you buy as early as possible.
19. Check Out Grape Harvest
As we mentioned earlier, Cappadocia is famous for its wines that are made by locals. September is where grape harvesting takes place in Cappadocia. And this history of winemaking goes back centuries, so it’s a very special thing. During the second weekend in September, the Nevsehir Municipality puts on the annual International Grape Harvest Festival. This year (2018) will be the 47th year. At this festival, which is held near the Three Beauties, you’ll be able to find concerts, shows, and wine tasting events. There are also contests such as grape eating or the best grape competitions. This is a great thing to do in Cappadocia for wine enthusiasts.
20. Cycle at the Cappadocia Bike Festival
If you’re a cyclist, then you won’t want to miss out on the Salcano Cappadocia Cycling Festival, which takes place every year in September. This festival includes activities, meetings, and races for professional cyclists. You can register at the festival’s website.
21. Go to the Hair Museum, Which is One of the World’s Strangest Museums
If you’re into bizarre exhibitions, then going to the Hair Museum is a great thing to do in Cappadocia. The Guinness Book of World Records ranked the Hair Museum as 6th in terms of the world’s most bizarre museums. Of course, we think it’s worth checking out. The museum – which is located in a pottery market – displays more than 16,000 locks left by women. The museum is actually housed in Chez Galip‘s pottery shop.
The difference between this museum and others is its backstory. As Galip’s French girlfriend was leaving Cappadocia to go back to her country, he asked that she leave behind something he could remember her by. So, she cut off a lock of her hair and affixed it to the wall. Customers began asking Galip about the hair, and he would tell them the story, and women began leaving locks of their hair. And this is still something that goes on to this day. Galip also has a drawing twice a year to give someone an all expenses paid trip to Cappadocia for a week, so when women leave their hair, they also leave their contact information as part of the competition. The museum is open every day of the week 8 am to 7 pm. Click herefor the location.
Gondola Tour at Kizilirmak – Really?
Gondola Tours are quite irrelevant to Cappadocia and it doesn’t promise any nice views but people still like to ride them (maybe because they have not seen gondolas before?). The gondola tour lasts only about 15 minutes, but don’t expect much. The ride isn’t that pretty. The tours begin at 1 pm every day but Sundays.
If you are interested anyways, Kapadokya Jet Boat & Gondola is the operator. Their office is next to Asma Bridge. You’ll need to make a reservation before you go. The gondola takes six people, while a boat can fit up to 40 people. Address: Bahcelievler Neighborhood Asma Bridge Side, Kizilirmak Avanos, Nevsehir. Telephone: 0216 384 72 10