Cappadocia guide for first timers

Cappadocia guide for first timers

CAPPADOCIA

Cappadocia was on my bucket list for a while now, and I was excited to plan my trip to Cappadocia almost half a year in advance. Travelling through Cappadocia is such a unique experience and you will find yourself like on an another planet. Cappadocia is known for fairy chimneys valleys, sandy rock formations, caves or attractive instagrammable hot air balloons.

Located in the center region of Turkey, the nearby cities with airports are Kayseri or Nevsehir. The central village of Cappadocia region is Goreme, where you will be most likely staying in order to discover the surrounding areas.

Cappadocia is a beauty, as soon as you will witness it through your eyes, no wonder it is part of UNESCo Heritage list.

Things to do and see

1. Goreme open air museum
It is an essential stop while in Cappadocia. It is about 15-20 min short walk from Goreme, and aim for about 2h visit in there. It is an open air museum showcasing rrock-cut churches, chapels and monasteries dating back to 10-12 centuries. In addition to this, surrounding area of the museum is spectacular as well with Cappadocia's deserted rock formations. The Goreme open air museum is under Unesco heritage sites and there is an entrance fee of 30 TL. 

2.Uçhisar Castle
Ushisar castle is on a tall volcanic rock, visible from miles around. The castle is located in Ushisar village, in between of Nevsehir and Goreme. Climb abot 120 steps to admire the beautiful views from the castle. 

3. Ride a hot air balloon
Almost every sunrise, you can witness hundreds of balloons setting up to rise. Due to the unique Cappadocia landscape, tourists tend to book this experience. This will be unforgettable experience overlooking the spectacular mother nature. 

There are many hot air balloons companies in Cappadocia. The best is to do some research and check reviews online before booking. I recommend to book it when you get there, through your hotel, as there is no difference in booking it in advance or day before. Baskets for balloons are large, fitting about 30 people in one go. Flight duration is usually around one hour and prices starts from 160 euros per person. Bare in mind that hot air balloons trips may be cancelled due to poor weather or wind conditions. Therefore, allow yourself few days in Cappadocia to make sure that you will get this experience.

Alternatively, if you don't want to go for a ride on a hot air balloon. Don't miss the stunning views on them. Many people may be looking for what time or where is the best place to see the balloons. Balloons are set off from sunrise, so depending on your month of travelling, aim probably around 5 am. I recommend to leave your accommodation early and go to the hills early to get a great spot, as many people will be doing the same. Moreover, balloons are setting off in between of red and rose valley. Hence, I recommend to climb to Lover's hill for a view. However, balloons will be visible anywhere you are. From the roads, from your hotel room or even from Goreme's centre. 

Cappadocia guide for first timers

Cappadocia guide for first timers

                  Cappadocia guide for first timers

4. Discover Cappadocia valleys on horse back
Other alternative ways to explore this beautiful landscape is on a horse back. I have booked my sunset tour via Cappadocia Ranch. This amazing 2-3 hours of experience with a small group of people and experienced staff will add on the sweet ending for the day. Whether you have experiences in horse riding or not, this tour is suitable for anybody. Slowly riding through rose and red valleys, you will see many more nice nature creations as well as old villages.

5. Adrenaline on ATV
If you prefer more fun, you can book an ATV tour around the Cappadocia. This tour in a group and a leader will give you a great adrenaline swishing through the nature and stopping for the views. However, on ATV you will be limited with roads through valleys, so bare that in mind. Speak to your hotel to book a tour for you. 

6. Red and Rose Valley
One of the nicest way to explore Cappadocia will be obviously on foot. Hiking through Red and Rose valley, you will be able to see not only the scenery, but also the old churches and small villages around. The hike around this serene environment is easy, and you don't need any special hiking tools either. Just comfy shoes, sunscreen and plenty of water will do.
The best way to start your hike is from Sunset Point where you would head on your first trail in Rose valley (Güllüdere 1). There are actually two trails through Rose valley, Güllüdere I and Güllüdere II. The Red valley got its name because the pink rocks which change intensity dependng on the time of the day is just located next to the Rose Valley. Hiking trails are clearly marked. However, if you decide to wander off the trail to explore caved and tunnels, you are doing it in your own risk. Remember your way back to the trail. Time wisely when hiking, make sure to be back in the city before the sun goes down.

Cappadocia guide for first timers

Cappadocia guide for first timers
Cappadocia guide for first timers

7. Imagination valley
The Devrent valley, or also known as Imagination valley. In this valley, you won't find any cave churches, only natural formations for your imagination. It is located towards the Urgup town. As I am aware, there is no local buses going there. Thus, you will have to arrange your own transport or book through a tour.
8. Love valley
Located just outside of Goreme, this valley is known for its large tall rock formations.

9. Derinkuyu undeground city
Derinkuyu underground city is an ancient deep underground city i Nevsehir Province. It was used as a shelter for about 20,000 people. It is the largest excavated underground city in Turkey and is one of several undeground cities in Cappadocia. Another nearby underground city is Kaymakli. However, Derinkuyu is known for its depth, and only half of the underground city is accessible to visitors!
10. Pigeon valley
What more can be said to this. Another valley known for witnessing hundreds of pigeons in flight.

11. Carpet shops
Turkey is obviously famous for its traditional colourful carpets. While discovering Goreme, make sure to check some of their carpets shops as well to explore the variety of colourful colours around the shop. 
                Cappadocia guide for first timers

                Cappadocia guide for first timers

12. Views from Church of St.John the Baptist
This is the oldest church in the area and is located in the small town/village of Cavusin. You can easily spot the church when in the town, go towards the end of the sight and you will see signs and steep stairs up on a hill. Explore the empty church and the views of the stunning landscape around. A great spot also for a sunset gazing. 

13. Explore the ceramic and pottery culture
Besides mysterious fairy chimneys in Cappadocia, pottery and ceramic is another attraction for visitors. Especially Avanos is a town famous for pottery. Visit family run potter shops and studios to explore their handmade products, great for gifts and memories!


Cappadocia guide for first timers

Cappadocia guide for first timers

Cappadocia guide for first timers

Cappadocia guide for first timers


Cappadocia guide for first timers

Cappadocia guide for first timers

Cappadocia guide for first timers

Cappadocia guide for first timers

Cappadocia guide for first timers


Food & drink

While in Cappadocia, you will have endless choice of places to have a drink or eat. The main courses will be grilled skewered meat, kebabs and meatballs. Restaurants will offer variety of Turkish, Mediterranean or international food for you to choose from. 

1. Viewpoint cafe and restaurant
2. Organic cave kitchen
3. Fat boys restaurant & cafe
4. Kale Terasse Restaurant
5. Coffeedocia

                        Cappadocia guide for first timers

Cappadocia guide for first timers

Where to stay?

Goreme is a hub for toursim in Cappadocia, here you can find majority of accommodation, travel agencies, restaurants or souvenir shops. Staying in one of the Cappadocia's cave hotels is an immersive experience of 21st century cave living.

During our stay we have been accommodate in a beautiful Vezir Cave Hotel Suites located just few steps away from Lover's Hill or Goreme's centre. I have written more details on my stay on my previous hotel review post. Book your stay through my Booking.com link to get travel credits to apply for your stays! 

Cappadocia guide for first timers

Cappadocia guide for first timers

How to get around

Cappadocia is a large place consisting of many small and large villages. Hence, there is not an easy transportation. There are couple of factors for you to think before choosing the best transport system - think of your time, budget, comfort, weather, distance of end location. Taking these in consideration, you have few options on how to get around Cappadocia:
1. Local buses
2. Cappadocia green and red tours or other packaged tours
3. Rent a car or a scooter
4. Hire a private taxi/driver
5. Hike
6. Combination
The nearest airports are in Nevsehir or Kayseri. Book in advance your airport shuttle with your booked hotel. It takes about an hour from the airport to get to Goreme. Here, you can explore the surrounding either by yourself (foot/car hiring) or book various tours through either travel agencies or your hotel.
Cappadocia guide for first timers

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