There are so many magical things to do in Cappadocia that a trip to Turkey can’t be complete without experiencing this wonderful region. I spent a week traveling around Cappadocia soaking in the scenery and taking an unfathomable amount of pictures and videos. Honestly the whole week felt like a blissful dream.
Cappadocia is known for its numerous churches and monasteries carved out of volcanic rock, ancient underground cities and vast valleys composed dramatic rock formations. Not to mention every morning, Cappadocia has hundreds of hot air balloons take flight during sunrise which is an experience that should be on everyones bucket list.
For reference, this doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world besides the Albuquerque, New Mexico Balloon Festival in the USA and that only happens once a year.
This is the big guide of the best places to visit in Cappadocia and best things to do. A compilation of all the wonderful Cappadocia must see attractions. At the end of the post I’ll also include useful information about the Cappadocia area including where to stay, how to get around, and any useful tips that will assist you in your visit to Cappadocia.
For full transparency, I have sprinkled some affiliate links in this post. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases that gives me a small commission at no extra cost to you if you decided to make a purchase. As always, I would never recommend a product or service that I didn't truely believe in. All proceeds go to keep Jess traveling and coffee ☕️. I thank you in advance.
This area of the world gave me inspiration, more than I’ve felt in a long time so I wrote tons of blog posts. Below I have listed the top things to do in Cappadocia for quick and easy viewing.
If you’d like a more detailed description about location, what to expect and things to do nearby – click on the blue links to go directly to the blog post or vlog.
- Ride a Hot Air Balloon at Sunrise
- Uchisar Castle
- Sunset Horseback Ride
- Kaymalki Underground City
- Goreme Open Air Museum & Dark Church
- Ortahisar Castle VIewpoint
- Fairy Chimneys in Pasabag Valley
- Lovers Point
- Red Valley
- Underground City of Derinkuyu
- Rose Valley
- Love Valley
- Zelve Open Air Museum
- Devrent Valley (Imagination Valley)
- Visit a Local Winery
- Cavusin Castle
- ATV Tour
Cappadocia Things To Do Travel Vlogs
We filmed several vlogs while we were here including bucket list items like riding a hot air ballon at sunrise and having lunch in a cave dwelling. If you’d like to see exactly what we were up to check out our vlogs below. If not let’s get to the good stuff – 20 epic things to do in Cappadocia, Turkey.
Best Things to do in Cappadocia
Ride a Hot Air Balloon at Sunrise
- Price: $120 & Up
The most popular thing to do in Cappadocia is ride a hot air balloon at sunrise. This is a bucket list item and something not to be missed when you are exploring this part of the world.
Soaring into a new day with an unforgettable view. That’s the perfect way to describe the experience of hot air balloon rides above Cappadocia, Turkey. As the sun creeps up over the horizon, you take in the surreal landscape below you, with its rock formations, churches carved into the rocks and fairy chimneys.
Tours fill up quickly and should be booked far in advance. Floating in the air with hundreds of other hot air balloons is a magical experience and there’s not many other activities I can think of that’s better with more tourists!
Sunset or Sunrise Horseback Ride
- Price: $35 & up
A sunset horseback ride is another great way to experience Cappadocia. Imagine the sun setting behind the majestic fairy chimneys, the vibrant oranges and purples of the sky reflecting off the ‘hoodoos’.
If you opt for a sunrise horseback ride, you’ll be witnessing one of the most beautiful sunrises of your life as hundreds of hot air balloons take off from all around you. Whichever way you choose, this is the perfect way to explore the area in all its glory.
- Price: 50 TL or $2.60 USD
There are several castles in Cappadocia and the Uchisar Castle is the most popular and largest of them all. In fact, the Uchisar Castle is the tallest point in the Cappadocia region.
This incredible rock-cut citadel is located in the town of Uchisar and dates back to the Roman era. The castle is made up of several chambers and tunnels which offers visitors a unique experience as you explore its depths.
Inside the castle, you can find a variety of ancient artifacts and artwork. It cost 50 TL to enter and once you climb to the top, you’ll be greeted with unparalleled views of the nearby fairy chimneys, valleys, and mountains.
Kaymalki Underground City
- Price: 100 TL (Included on the Museum Pass)
Kaymalki Underground City is an ancient city located about 30 minutes from the center of Goreme. This incredible engineering and architectural feat was carved out by the early Christians of the region to provide a safe haven from the Mongolians.
This fascinating Cappadocia attraction stretches over eight levels and contains a series of tunnels, chambers, and passageways. In its heyday, the underground city could house up to 20,000 people and contained a winery, church and even a school.
It is possible to explore Kaymalki independently which is what we did. It was easy to drive yourself and there was ample parking for 10 TL.
Goreme Open Air Museum
- Price: 150 TL or $8 USD (included on the museum pass – as is the dark church)
One of the most popular Cappadocia attractions is the Göreme Open Air Museum. Located just outside the village of Goreme, the open air museum is a complex of Byzantine Christian churches and chapels carved from the soft volcanic rock of the fairy chimneys.
Entrance to the museum costs 150 Turkish Lira which is roughly $8 USD. Inside the complex, you can wander around in awe of the cave churches and surrounding landscape. You can hire a tour guide or opt for an audio guide to get a better understanding of the area.
The churches feature intricate frescoes, murals, and carvings on the walls and ceilings, depicting various scenes from the Bible. The Dark Church can also be found inside the Goreme Open Air Museum and costs extra to enter. If you purchased the museum pass, the dark church is also included.
The Goreme Open Air Museum is apart of the UNESCO World Heritage List and was one of the first two UNESCO sites in Turkey. This activity gets extremely busy so prepare for crowds and if you are looking for a similar experience a bit more ‘ off-the-beaten path’, then head to the Zelve Open Air Museum.
These tours include a stop at the Goreme Open-Air Museum
Ortahisar Castle VIewpoint
- Price: 10 TL
One of my favorite things to do in Cappadocia was visiting the Ortahisar Castle. When I visited the Cappadocia region, Joe and I stayed in the village of Ortahisar so the Ortahisar Castle is fond to me.
This impressive fortress was built in the early 13th century and is situated on a steep rock outcropping overlooking the town of Ortahisar. It cost 10 Turkish Lira to enter through a single gate. Just like all the castles in Cappadocia listed in this post, once at the top you are greeted with breathtaking views of the surrounding area.
- Price: 6 TL
Imagine a breathtaking valley full of red, pink, and white rocks, caves and carved out churches. That’s what you’ll get to experience when you visit Rose Valley in Cappadocia.
Many of the caves in Rose Valley were used as homes, churches, and monasteries by early Christians, with a vast majority of them still standing today. Like most of the valleys in this area, you’ll see fairy chimneys and other unique rock formations. Sunsets in Rose Valley hit a little different and you can enjoy activities such as hiking, biking and horseback riding.
Fairy Chimneys in Pasabag Valley
- Price: 65 TL (included on the museum pass)
One of the top places to see in Cappadocia is by far the fairy chimneys of Pasabag Valley. Not only is this one of the coolest places to see in Cappadocia but its some of the most spectacular geological formations in the world.
These ‘ hoodoos’ are tall, cone-shaped structures and were made by 3 erupting volcanos in the region millions of years ago. The fairy chimneys are made of volcanic tuff and vary in height up to 40 meters.
The Pasabag Valley is home to some of the most impressive fairy chimneys in the region, with their unusual shapes and incredible sizes. You have probably seen pictures of this valley and the fairy chimneys plastered all over instagram.
You can explore the Pasabag Valley and the fairy chimneys on foot, by bike, or even on a hot air balloon flight. Whether you’re a geology enthusiast or a nature lover, the Fairy Chimneys in the Pasabag Valley are a must do in Cappadocia.
- Price: 3 TL
Sunset point aka Lover’s Point is an area on a hilltop that overlooks Goreme and red valley. If you are traveling to Turkey with you loved one, Lover’s Point is a romantic spot to catch sunrise as hundreds of hot air balloons float by this point every morning.
It costs 3 Turkish Lira to enter and if you are staying in the town of Goreme you can easily walk to the point. Not only is this a great spot for sunrise but sunsets are pretty fantastic from here as well. There are a few shops to buy Turkish coffee or tea because if you travel here during the winter, it gets a bit cold.
- Price: 6 TL per vehicle
Red Valley can be found in the heart of Cappadocia. Known for its stunning landscapes, tall, red-hued rock formations, caves and valleys, the valley is home to some of the world’s oldest rapid watercolor paintings (frescoes) and churches.
Red Valley is a popular place to visit in Cappadocia, offering a range of outdoor activities such as hiking, horseback riding, or on a hot air balloon tour. The valley is also home to some incredible archaeological sites, including the underground city of Derinkuyu which we will talk about next.
Underground City of Derinkuyu
- Price: 100 TL or $5.30 (Included on the Museum Pass)
The Derinkuyu Underground City is another fascinating city completely carved out underground. It was discovered in 1963 and is estimated to have been built around 8th to 7th century BC by the Phrygians, an Indo-European people.
This is one of the most popular things to do in Cappadocia and is commonly visited on a tour that includes other Cappadocia activities listed in this post. This incredible city is composed of a complex network of tunnels, rooms, and chambers that spans 18 levels deep. It is believed to have housed up to 20,000 people and contained stables, wineries, churches, and other amenities of daily life. How wild is that?
The city served as a refuge from invading forces. The tunnels are small and you must crouch to traverse through the city. The tunnels were built small in order to make the enemy defenseless and so they could easily be sealed to protect the people inside.
- Price: Free
Cappadocia is adventure, nature and romance all rolled into one. The smooth valleys and rolling hills of Love Valley are the perfect backdrop for a romantic moment if you’ve traveled to this region for a romantic getaway.
Love Valley is part of the Goreme National Park and home to a stunning array of eroded rock formations and open-air chapels carved into the cliffs. Hence the name, Love Valley.
You can walk to Love Valley from Goreme if you are staying in town. It is free to enter and its one of the best places to watch sunrise in Cappadocia.
Zelve Open-Air Museum
- Price: 65 TL (Included on the Museum Pass)
If you are looking for an alternative to the extremely crowded and popular Goreme Open-Air Museum then look no further than the Zelve Open-Air Museum.
Located about 15 minutes outside of Goreme town, the Zelve is a breathtaking site filled with cave churches, cave dwellings and wide open views. We wondered around the area peeping in and out of caves for about 2 hours taking heaps of photos.
I enjoyed the Zelve much more than Goreme open-air museum as it had far less tourists. Prepare for a lot more stairs. Fun fact, this area was actually still inhabited until the 1950’s.
- Price: Free
Devrent Valley also known as Imagination Valley is an incredible natural landscape filled with unique rock formations that are suppose to resemble different animals and humans. Located about 5 minutes down the road from the Zelve Open-Air Museum, this valley is rich in history, having been home to many civilizations over the years.
The valley is filled with an array of natural rock formations that have been carved by the wind and rain over thousands of years. Many of these formations take on the shapes of animals and objects so if you’re curious to learn about the animals and shapes, I’d suggest you hire a guide.
Joe and I explored Devrent Valley independently therefore we only spotted a few animal shapes. You can explore the valley on foot, on horseback or take it to the skies in a hot air balloon.
Visit a Local Winery
- Price: $170 Private Wine Tasting Tour to 4 Wineries
Did you know that Cappadocia is home to some of the most unique and renowned wineries in the world? Located in the heart of Anatolia, the region is known for its stunning landscapes, rich culture, and centuries-old winemaking traditions.
Local wineries in Cappadocia produce a variety of different wines, ranging from dry reds and whites to sweet dessert wines. What better way to get to know these wines than going on a wine tasting tour!
The wines are made from grapes grown in the area’s volcanic soils and the winemaking process incorporates traditional methods passed down through generations. A fun and unique thing to do in Cappadocia is to tour local wineries, which allows you to sample some of the best wines in the region and learn more about the unique winemaking process.
- Price: 8 TL
Another castle on the top things to do in Cappadocia list is the Cavusin Castle. This castle was a highlight of my time in Cappadocia and fun to visit independently. The drive up to Cavusin Castle is as scenic as they come. Check out this vlog and skip to 6:27 to see what it’s like for yourself.
Dating back to the 5th century, the Cavusin Castle is believed to have been built by the Byzantines who ruled the region for centuries. The castle is made up of two levels with a large courtyard in the center and is surrounded by a wall and several towers. The upper level contains a number of caves, tunnels and churches, while the lower level is filled with dwellings and a large mosque.
We grabbed a tea at this adorable carved out cave restaurant next to the castle and chatted with the lovely owners. There’s a swing nearby the castle that cost 5 TL to use. Cavusin Castle is a great place to explore the history of the area and get a true feel for life in the past.
- Price: $30 & up
If hiking is not your thing and you’d rather explore an area on wheels, take an ATV tour around Cappadocia. The rolling hills and valleys provide the perfect backdrop for an ATV adventure.
Book an ATV Tour at sunset for the ultimate experience. Along the way you can admire the magnificent landscapes, explore caves, rock-cut churches and underground cities.
Where to Stay in Cappadocia
These are the top picks of places to stay in Cappadocia but check out the accommodation guides below for more ideas on where to stay.
Cheap Hotels in Cappadocia
Crazy Horse Hotel – Awesome place to stay if you are traveling Cappadocia on a budget and plan on renting your own transportation. This budget hotel is located in Ortahisar about 7 minutes from the main town of Goreme. Owners are amazing, rooms provide all the amenities you could need for a pleasant stay.
Mid Range Places to Stay in Cappadocia
Seki Cave Suites – Private, spacious, fantastic views of the balloons and all the amenities you could want like Turkish bath’s and free breakfast.
Luxury Hotels in Cappadocia
Sultan Cave Suites – These are the Mecca when it comes to cave hotels in Cappadocia. Rooftop terrace, private suites and on site bar and restaurant.
How To Get Around Cappadocia
The easiest way to get around Cappadocia is renting a car. Renting a car is extremely affordable in Turkey and roads are well maintained, making it very easy to navigate and get around. Joe and I rented a car for the full week we were in Cappadocia and loved every minute of it.
If you’re not into the responsibility of renting a car, booking tours will be your next best option. Tours are reasonably priced and will take you to all the best things to do in Cappadocia. Plus they’ll pick you up and drop you off at your hotel and who doesn’t enjoy that.
Turkey Travel Tips
📍Plan your Trip
- The Ultimate Guide to Turkey
- 16 Epic Places to Visit in Turkey
- 21 Tips to Know Before you Travel to Turkey
🗺 How long to travel Turkey? 2 Weeks to hit the highlights, 4 Weeks to really immerce yourself.
🛂 Visas: Get your E-Visa
☔️ Best Time to Visit: April, May, September and October are the best months to travel Turkey.
💰 Average Daily Budget: Expect to pay 30-50 USD’s a day for basic accommodations, sit down meals at a cafe and entrance fees.
⛺️ Turkey accommodation Guides
- Where to Stay in Ankara
- Where to Stay in Cappadocia
- 17 Cave Hotels in Cappadocia
- Where to Stay in Izmir
- Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia
- Exploring Ephesus
- Uchisar Castle
- Discovering Istanbul
- Pamukkale Cotton Castle
- Pergamon Ruins
- Magical Cappadocia
- The Coastal City of Izmir
- Wander the Capital of Ankara
🧳 What to Pack: What to Pack for Türkiye
📧 Get on my Email list to see what I’m up to and all the best travel content!