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Top 10 Things to do in Cappadocia in 2024

red and white volkswagen t-2 on brown rocky mountain during daytime

Wondering what adventures await you during your stay in the mystical landscapes of Cappadocia? . Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie seeking thrilling escapades, a history enthusiast eager to delve into ancient tales, or simply someone who appreciates the finer things in life, like a sunset that paints the sky in hues of gold and purple, Cappadocia has something special in store for you.

So, if you’re pondering over how to make the most of your time in this ancient wonderland, let this guide be your compass. It will lead you through the must-see sights and must-do activities that together weave the unforgettable tapestry of a Cappadocia adventure. Get ready to explore, to learn, and to be utterly enchanted by the top things to do during your stay in Cappadocia.

 

1. Hot Air Balloon Rides at Sunset

Rating: ★★★★★
Duration: 1-1.5 hours
Cost: Approximately $200-$250 per person
Group Size: Varies, typically 10-20 per balloon

If you visit Cappadocia you should definitely not miss out on a Hot Air Balloon Ride. If you only do one thing, take a Balloon Ride.

Glide over the ethereal landscapes of Cappadocia as the setting sun paints the sky in hues of orange, pink, and purple. Hot air balloon rides at sunset offer an unmatched perspective of the region’s fairy chimneys, ancient valleys, and remarkable rock formations. This magical experience is perfect for photographers, romantics, and adventure seekers alike, providing a serene and breathtaking view that promises to be the highlight of your trip.

Expect an early evening start, allowing you to enjoy an unbelievable sunrise. This activity is suited for those looking to experience Cappadocia’s beauty in a truly unique way, away from the crowds of the morning rides. To optimize your experience, book with a reputable company that offers a champagne toast upon landing—a celebratory end to an unforgettable journey. Dress warmly, as it can get chilly at higher altitudes, even in summer.

hot air balloons on brown field during daytime

2. Cappadocia Green Tour

Rating: ★★★★
Duration: Approximately 8 hours
Cost: Around $50-$60 per person
Group Size: Usually up to 15-20 participants

The Cappadocia Green Tour takes you on a day-long adventure through some of Cappadocia’s most stunning and less-traveled landscapes, including the lush Ihlara Valley, the mesmerizing Selime Monastery, and the underground city of Derinkuyu. This tour is perfect for nature lovers, history buffs, and those looking to delve deeper into the geographical wonders and historical depth of Cappadocia beyond its famous rock formations and open-air museums.

Participants can expect a moderate amount of hiking, particularly through the Ihlara Valley, which spans around 4km and features a beautiful riverside walk. This tour is ideal for those who appreciate the great outdoors and have a keen interest in exploring ancient civilizations and their architectural marvels. To make the most of this experience, wear comfortable walking shoes, carry a hat and sunscreen for protection against the sun, and bring a camera to capture the awe-inspiring scenery. The Green Tour offers a comprehensive and immersive way to experience Cappadocia’s natural beauty and historical sites, making it a must-do activity for a complete Cappadocian adventure.

The benefit of an organized tour is that you will get to see a lot in a day. However, I felt that at some spots I would have preferred a little bit more time to explore and enjoy the location.

a view of a canyon in the middle of the desert

3. Cappadocia Red Tour

Rating: ★★★★
Duration: Approximately 7 hours
Cost: Around $40-$50 per person
Group Size: Typically 10-15 participants

Embark on the Cappadocia Red Tour, a journey that encapsulates the essence of Cappadocia’s most iconic landscapes and cultural landmarks. This comprehensive tour is a favorite among visitors, offering an up-close look at the extraordinary rock formations of the Red and Rose Valleys, the ancient cave churches adorned with frescoes, and the towering Uçhisar Castle, which provides panoramic views of the surrounding valleys. Ideal for first-time visitors and those short on time, the Red Tour combines natural beauty with historical intrigue, offering a well-rounded exploration of Cappadocia’s highlights.

Travelers should be prepared for moderate walking, especially when exploring the valleys and climbing to the viewpoints around Uçhisar Castle. This tour is suited for anyone with a thirst for adventure and a curiosity about the region’s history and geological formations. To enhance your experience, consider visiting during the spring or fall when the weather is mild, and the landscapes are at their most vibrant. Don’t forget to bring comfortable footwear, and a camera as the Red Tour promises to fill your day with memorable sights and insights into Cappadocia’s ancient past and natural wonders.

If you are willing to drive yourself, I would recommend renting a car to explore the red tour at your own pace and time. This also allows you to stay away from the main tourist spots. Sometimes even a few hundred meters away from the parking spot, you will be completely on your own.

a large rock formation

4. Sunset ATV Tour

Rating: ★★★

Duration: Approximately 2 hours

Cost: About $30-$70 per person

Group Size: Varies, often large groups due to the popularity of the tour

The Sunset ATV Tour offers an exhilarating way to explore the rugged landscapes of Cappadocia, combining the thrill of off-road adventure with the breathtaking beauty of the region’s sunsets. As you navigate through valleys and around the fairy chimneys on an ATV, you’ll experience the adrenaline rush of speeding across Cappadocia’s unique terrain. This tour is perfect for those seeking an active and adventurous way to witness one of Cappadocia’s stunning sunsets, providing a contrast to the more serene hot air balloon rides.

However, it’s important to note that the Sunset ATV Tour has become extremely crowded, as all companies tend to use similar routes and tracks. This congestion can sometimes detract from the experience, making it feel less like an off-the-beaten-path adventure and more like following the crowd. Despite this, the tour still offers unforgettable views and the excitement of ATV riding. For the best experience, consider booking with a company that promises smaller groups or seeks out less crowded times, if possible. Remember to bring sunglasses to protect your eyes from dust, wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty, and be prepared for a bumpy ride through one of Turkey’s most extraordinary landscapes.

man in brown shirt and black pants standing on green grass field during daytime

5. Jeep Safari Tour

Rating: ★★★
Duration: Approximately 4 hours
Cost: Around $70-$90 per person
Group Size: Small groups, usually 4-6 per Jeep

The Jeep Safari Tour in Cappadocia offers an adventurous yet comfortable way to explore the vast landscapes of this unique region. It combines the thrill of off-road exploration with the ability to cover more ground and visit a variety of sites in a relatively short time. The tour typically includes stops at panoramic viewpoints, hidden valleys, and historical sites, providing a comprehensive overview of Cappadocia’s beauty and cultural heritage. The Jeeps are open-topped, allowing for an immersive experience with the environment, perfect for those who want to feel the wind in their hair while capturing stunning photos without too much dust.

ATV or Jeep which is better?

Both tours offer unique ways to experience Cappadocia’s landscapes, each with its own advantages. The Jeep Safari is ideal for those seeking a more relaxed yet adventurous tour, offering comfort and a broader overview of the region’s sights without the physical demand of driving an ATV. It’s also more suitable for families with young children or those who prefer not to drive themselves.

The ATV Tour, however, is perfect for thrill-seekers and those craving a more active and hands-on approach to exploring Cappadocia’s terrains. It’s a more personal experience, allowing for greater interaction with the landscape, albeit at the cost of comfort and the potential for crowds.

Ultimately, the choice between a Jeep Safari and an ATV Tour comes down to personal preference regarding comfort, adventure level, and the desire for an intimate vs. a comprehensive exploration of Cappadocia. Both offer memorable experiences, but for an encompassing journey with fewer concerns about crowds and physical exertion, the Jeep Safari might edge out as the preferable option for many visitors.

 

6. Sunrise Photoshoot With Hot Air Balloons

Rating: ★★★★★
Duration: Varies, usually around 1-2 hours for the photoshoot
Cost: Free if doing it yourself; hiring a professional photographer will vary in price, typically around $0-$300
Group Size: private

Witnessing the sunrise in Cappadocia, accompanied by the majestic sight of hot air balloons floating across the sky, creates a moment so picturesque it feels as if it’s been plucked straight from a dream. For those looking to immortalize this surreal experience, a sunrise photoshoot with the hot air balloons as your backdrop is an absolute must-do. The natural beauty of the landscape bathed in the soft morning light, with colorful balloons dotting the horizon, provides the perfect setting for stunning photographs.

While you can certainly capture beautiful memories on your own, booking a professional photographer can elevate your experience. They can guide you to the best spots, away from the usual crowds, and use their expertise to capture the magic of the moment in the most flattering light. However, if you’re on a budget or prefer a more spontaneous approach, you can still get incredible pictures for free. Arrive early to find a good spot, and use the natural landscape to frame your shots creatively. Whether you choose to hire a professional or go the DIY route, the key is to be present and soak in the breathtaking view before you, making memories that will last a lifetime in one of the world’s most photogenic settings.

Additionally, renting a car during your stay in Cappadocia offers the unique advantage of flexibility, especially for those keen on following the hot air balloons’ path, which can vary daily based on weather conditions. Having your own vehicle allows you to chase the scenic route of these balloons, providing spontaneous and exceptional photo opportunities beyond the predetermined spots. This mobility ensures that you can capture the essence of Cappadocia’s landscape adorned with the mesmerizing spectacle of balloons in flight, from angles and perspectives that are uniquely your own. It’s an investment that not only enhances your sunrise photoshoot experience but also enriches your overall exploration of Cappadocia’s enchanting terrain.

red and white volkswagen t-2 on brown rocky mountain during daytime

7. Cave Restaurant Experience and the Famous Testi Kebab

Rating: ★★★★★
Duration: Mealtime, approximately 1-2 hours
Cost: Varies, roughly $20-$40 per person for a meal
Group Size: as needed

Dining in a cave restaurant in Cappadocia offers not just a meal, but an immersion into a setting as ancient and unique as the region’s landscapes. Carved into the soft volcanic rock, these restaurants provide an atmospheric backdrop to enjoy traditional Anatolian cuisine, with the famous Testi Kebab standing out as a must-try dish. This culinary masterpiece, also known as pottery kebab, is slow-cooked inside a clay pot, which is then cracked open right before your eyes, releasing a burst of aromas that tease the senses before you even take a bite.

The Testi Kebab combines tender meat with vegetables, herbs, and spices, all infused together during the slow cooking process, creating flavors that are rich, hearty, and deeply satisfying. The experience is not only a feast for the palate but also a performance that adds an element of excitement to your dining experience. For those seeking to fully embrace the culinary traditions of Cappadocia, a visit to a cave restaurant to savor this iconic dish is an absolute must.

Renting a car can further enhance this experience, allowing you the freedom to explore various cave restaurants scattered across the region, each with its own unique ambiance and variation of the Testi Kebab. Whether you’re seeking a romantic dinner under the carved arches of a cave or a cozy spot that offers panoramic views of Cappadocia’s otherworldly formations, the adventure of discovering these hidden culinary gems is an integral part of the journey.

round white wooden table

8. Whirling Dervish Performance

Rating: ★★★★★
Duration: Approximately 1 hour
Cost: Around $20-$30 per person
Group Size: N/A

The Whirling Dervish Performance in Cappadocia is an ethereal and deeply spiritual experience that connects visitors with the mystical heart of Turkish Sufi tradition. Held in ancient caravanserais or specially designed halls that enhance the ceremony’s atmospheric gravity, this performance is not just entertainment—it’s a transcendental ritual that embodies the Sufi path to enlightenment through love, devotion, and the harmony of being.

As the dervishes, clad in their iconic white robes, begin their hypnotic dance, spinning in meditative trance, spectators are invited into a world where every whirl represents a journey towards the divine, symbolizing the revolution of all existence around the core of life. This ancient ceremony, known as the Sema, is a powerful cultural and spiritual spectacle, leaving an indelible impression on all who witness it.

For those looking to immerse themselves fully in this captivating experience, it’s recommended to read a little about the history and significance of the Whirling Dervishes before attending. Understanding the profound symbolism and religious dedication behind the performance deepens the appreciation of the ceremony. Additionally, while photography is often allowed, remember to be respectful of the solemnity of the Sema, capturing the moment with sensitivity to its spiritual significance.

9. Blue Tour Cappadocia

Rating: ★★★★★
Duration: Approximately 8 hours
Cost: Around $60-$70 per person
Group Size: Typically 10-20 participants

The Blue Tour in Cappadocia offers a unique exploration of the region’s mesmerizing northern landscapes, combining natural wonders with historical intrigue. This tour is tailored for those who wish to dive deeper into Cappadocia’s less trodden paths, featuring visits to the enchanting valleys like the Zelve Open-Air Museum, a stroll through Pasabag (Monk’s Valley), and an exploration of the ancient rock-cut churches at the Göreme Open-Air Museum. The highlight for many is the panoramic view from the top of the Uçhisar Castle, offering breathtaking vistas over the lunar landscapes of Cappadocia.

Expect a day filled with awe-inspiring sights, learning about the historical and geological significance of the area, and ample opportunities for photography. This tour is perfect for adventurers and history enthusiasts alike, providing a comprehensive overview of the northern part of Cappadocia’s majestic terrain and ancient settlements. The Blue Tour’s rich itinerary also includes a visit to the Devrent Valley, renowned for its animal-shaped rock formations, igniting the imagination of all who wander through.

To optimize your Blue Tour experience, wear comfortable walking shoes for the mild hiking segments and carry a hat and sunscreen to protect against the sun. Though the tour includes breaks for lunch and refreshments, bringing water and snacks is advisable. Embrace the journey through Cappadocia’s captivating northern region, where every turn reveals a new natural sculpture or a whisper from the past, ensuring a memorable adventure in this magical land.

rock formation

10. Traditional Pottery Workshop in Cappadocia

Rating: ★★★★★
Duration: Approximately 2-3 hours
Cost: Around $40-$60 per person
Group Size: Small groups, typically 5-10 participants

Immerse yourself in the ancient art of pottery, a craft that has flourished in Cappadocia for millennia, influenced by the region’s rich history and abundant clay deposits. The Traditional Pottery Workshop offers a hands-on experience that connects you with Cappadocia’s artistic heritage, allowing you to shape, design, and even paint your own ceramic masterpiece under the guidance of local master potters. This workshop is not only an opportunity to learn a new skill but also to engage deeply with the cultural traditions that have shaped Cappadocia’s identity.

Expect a warm, intimate setting where the rhythmic spinning of the pottery wheel and the tactile pleasure of molding clay create a meditative atmosphere. This activity is perfect for those looking to explore the creative traditions of the region, families seeking a unique bonding experience, or travelers eager to take home a personal piece of Cappadocian artistry. The workshop caters to all skill levels, from complete beginners to more experienced artists, ensuring everyone leaves with a piece they’re proud of and a deeper appreciation for the craft.

To make the most of your pottery workshop experience, wear comfortable clothing that you don’t mind getting a little dirty, and be prepared to get your hands (and possibly more) covered in clay. This is part of the fun and the creative process. Booking in advance is recommended, especially during peak tourist seasons, to secure a spot in this popular activity. Taking a traditional pottery workshop in Cappadocia is more than just an activity; it’s a way to connect with the earth and history of this magical region, creating memories and artifacts that will last a lifetime.

person holding white ceramic round bowl

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