Exactly a year ago, I visited a place called Cappadocia in Turkey. This place is so picturesque and full of magic, that words are not enough to describe the beauty. Yes, that’s one of the reasons why I never ended up writing about Cappadocia, but I have finally decided to give it a try.
Of course, I had seen pictures of Cappadocia before I arrived in Turkey, but I was not prepared for the magnitude of it all. I mean, when you visit a destination that is famous for its landscape, it is usually limited to a part of the city, or maximum the full city itself. But this is WAY more than that. It is more than 10 towns (or villages)!
I arrived here on an overnight bus from Pamukkale and boy, I was really sleep deprived. I remember waking up when the bus had already entered Cappadocia region but was 15 minutes away from my destination – Göreme.
It may sound funny but my jaw actually dropped lower than usual as soon as I saw outside the window. My mouth stayed open in a weird way even when I got off the bus and sat in a car to my hotel. Yes, it is safe to say that I fell in love at the first sight with Cappadocia.
Alright, I have spent enough energy in trying to tell you how I felt while I was there, but here’s now it’s time to tell you why Cappadocia is the most magical place on Earth.
Where is Cappadocia in Turkey on Map?
If you see the map of Turkey, Cappadocia is in the middle, just a little East of the middle. Here’s a map so that you get an idea:
Btw: Before you book you plan your Turkey trip, please research online to read the current state of affairs. I feel it is my duty to tell you that I was stranded in Istanbul during the military coup. Turkey is usually a safe destination, but the time I was there was perhaps not the best. I would totally blame myself if you plan your Turkey trip because of my blog and get in trouble. Read my Turkey travel tips for more information.
Here’s why you should visit Cappadocia in Turkey –
1) Cappadocia Looks Like Another Planet
Sometimes weird can be truly beautiful. Cappadocia’s weird landscape is what makes it magical. Its strange beauty is unique and I doubt if you will ever see a place like this anywhere else on the planet. Perhaps Mother Nature was on LSD when she created Cappadocia.
The correct way to describe Cappadocia’s landscape is actually “Moonscape” because it looks otherworldly. You may not ever get a chance to visit another planet, but a visit to Cappadocia will make you forget you’re on Earth.
Just look at this picture – how can this be real? (but it is!). As per me, this is truly magical.
Remember Planet Tatooine from Star Wars? The landscape of Cappadocia is strikingly similar. A little research on the Internet informed me that George Lucas actually wanted to shoot there, but did not get the permission so picked Tunisia instead. Reality looks even more beautiful than photoshop in Cappadocia.
I did “Cappadocia Green Tour” while I was in there and ended up visiting a few panoramic viewpoints, Derinkuyu underground city and seeing the fairy chimneys. Not every tour covers all the attractions. There are many different kinds of tours that you can do, I have handpicked a few of them for you. Check them out:
- Cappadocia Red Tour: 7 hours – Fairy Chimneys in Devrent and Pasabag valleys, Göreme Open-Air Museum, Uchisar Castle, Ugrup and more.
- Cappadocia Green Tour: 7 hours – Derinkuyu Underground City, Anatolian Churches, Ihlara Valley, Goreme and more.
- Horseback riding through Goreme Valley: 2 hours – Cappadocia is also known as “the land of beautiful horses” and this is a good way to experience this surreal destination.
- Highlights of Cappadocia in one day: 8 hours – Uchisar Castle, Underground city, Monk’s Valley, Goreme open air museum + more.
- Hidden Cappadocia: 8 hours – Private full day tour of Uchisar castle, underground city, fairy chimneys and more.
- Full Day Cappadocia Tour: 7 hours – Goreme Open Air museum, Monk’s valley, Pigeon Valley, Underground city and more.
- Goreme Museum and Fairy Chimneys: 8 hours – Deverent valley, Goreme Open Air museum, Monk’s valley and more.
My recommendation: pick the tour that has attractions that aren’t close to where you will stay. If you’re staying in Uchisar, then you don’t need to do a tour that includes Uchisar castle because you can do it on your own. Or if you’re staying in Goreme, pick a tour that doesn’t have Goreme open air museum.
But again, in a place like Goreme Open Air museum, I wished I had a guide to give me details but I didn’t. I have just mentioned the highlights, you should read all the details of what’s included before booking. Not every tour in the list includes the entrance fee.
2) Cappadocia has Fairy Chimneys!
As if the name wasn’t magical enough, these fairy chimneys are dreamlike structures that are all over Cappadocia. I will be honest, to me they look like magic mushrooms.. or penises but I will let you decide for yourself.
In case you’re curious, these strange formations exist because of volcanic eruptions and were carved beautifully by the wind. Yes, erosion can be pretty too.
3) Magic Carpet Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia is INSANE
One of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of Cappadocia’s moonscape is by flying over it. Yes, it’s expensive but Cappadocia is one of the cheapest locations in the world to experience a hot air balloon ride. It may be cheaper than the most but it is definitely the most beautiful one.
A hot air balloon ride experience is a must do in every single Turkey itinerary. It normally costs around $200, which includes a pickup, breakfast, the ride itself, champagne and a drop back to the hotel. There are many tour operators that offer this but since it can be risky, I’d suggest you pick the best.
Here are a few Hot Air Balloon Ride tours that I have handpicked for you:
- Deluxe Cappadocia Balloon Flight
- Royal Queen Flight by Royal Balloons
- Hot Air Balloon Flight by Tourmania
After weeks of research, I picked Turkiye Balloons and I was very happy with their service. Thankfully, they don’t overstuff their balloon baskets and I was able to capture the moment without other people in them. Oh, and they have some of the most experienced pilots.
I will never forget the stunning bird’s eye view of these Fairy Chimneys from up above when I went for a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia.
Suggested: Itinerary for Istanbul in 3 days
4) Caves Everywhere.. and you can have one too
If Cappadocia wasn’t magical enough, things get better because there are caves everywhere, even inside the weird rock formations.
These caves were built many centuries ago and some are still inhabited. Of course, most of them have turned into hotels, so if you can have your own cave when you visit Cappadocia.
Thankfully, these cave hotels are not just for the rich travelers and are for literally every budget. Even some hostels are built inside them! The best thing is that the interiors stay cool and it feels like a natural air conditioner.
I stayed in Ottoman Cave Suites in Goreme and Kale Konak Cave Hotel in Uçhisar. They are both fantastic and the location is perfect. They are both equally good but the only thing that makes a difference is the location as they are in different cities. Goreme is in the middle of it all and has fun vibes where as Uçhisar is more fancy and high end.
To know more about where to stay in Cappadocia, scroll till the end of this article.
5) Cappadocia’s Epic Sunrises and Sunsets Will Spoil You For Life
Waking up early is something I do rarely, but you will be surprised to know that I woke at 4 am every morning while I was in Cappadocia. The sun rises here at 4:30 am in summers and the view is worth a million dollars.
It’s beautiful to see how the colors change from orange to beige and the sky gets bejeweled by hundreds of hot air balloons! This sight is magical enough to make anyone forget the real world.
If you want to click pretty photos of yourself in Cappadocia, then here are a few dresses that I have handpicked for you from Amazon: (these are affiliate links and I will earn a small commission if you purchase what I recommend without any additional cost to you)
6) Cappadocia’s Derinkuyu Underground City Will Stun You
Cappadocia is stunning not just above the surface, but also beneath the ground. There are underground cities that were created many centuries ago and some of them are more than ten levels deep. And no, these were not just used as temporary places of shelter but people lived here permanently. Wow!
It gets even stranger – more than 40 underground cities have been discovered in Cappadocia and some of them are connected to each other via tunnels. These were hidden for many years and one of the biggest was discovered in 2014. As per some archeologists, they were created in the 1200s BC. Whoa!
I visited Derinkuyu underground city and I was shocked to see the remains of schools, chapels, stables, and storage cellars that were many levels beneath the ground. If you suffer from claustrophobia (like I do), you can still visit them because they are surprisingly airy.
7) Cappadocia Has Some Seriously Spectacular Viewpoints
If you’re a sucker for viewpoints, then Cappadocia will not disappoint you. It’s landscape is hilly, which makes it easy to find elevated areas where you can chill for hours and enjoy the view. I never had to research about or hunt for a viewpoint while I was there. I found a few while exploring on my own.
I was lucky that some of the locals that I had met in Cappadocia took me to those viewpoints without me even asking. Some of the most popular viewpoints are Goreme’s sunset point, Uchisar castle, Three Sister Rock panorama point and Red Valley sunset point. In fact, the last one is so magical, that people actually come here for wedding shoots. I saw three newly married couples and I couldn’t help clicking them.
8) Cappadocia Looks Like THIS Under Snow
Cappadocia is not just a summer destination but it can be enjoyed through out the year. It came to me as a surprise that it snows in Cappadocia in the winters. Cappadocia’s weather is unpredictable and it has been known to snow in March too! Here’s another picture that will surely steal your heart.
I visited Cappadocia in the summer months but I’d go back in a heartbeat to see how it looks under snow. I can’t decide if it looks more beautiful with or without snow. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
9) There is a LOT to explore in Cappadocia
Cappadocia is massive and even if you spend a week here, you will barely just touch the surface. There is a love valley (Zemi valley), red valley, rose valley, Ihlara valley, pigeon valley, and many other valleys. You can go hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, historical tours, culture tours and what not.
Yes, there are many things to do in Cappadocia so you will definitely not be bored when you visit it. Honestly, you don’t really have to do everything here but you can just chill and explore your surroundings at your own pace.
You can also explore Cappadocia’s stunning art shops, cave monasteries, Uchisar palace, – seriously, there is so much to do in Cappadocia that I will write a separate post about it.
BONUS: Cappadocia will make you an Instagram superstar.
Haha – this point is especially relevant for new bloggers because it is difficult to take a bad photo in Cappadocia.
How to Get to Cappadocia
Super simple! There are flights and buses in and out of Cappadocia and I have experienced both.
The nearest airports to Cappadocia are Kayseri (Kayseri Erkilet Airport – ASR) and Nevsehir (Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport – NAV). If you want to reach Cappadocia on a flight, then you need to look for the ones that are servicing these airports.
Turkish Airlines and AnaduloJet fly to Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport from Istanbul, Ankara and Antalya. Kayseri Erkilet Airport is serviced by a lot more carriers as well as the previous two – such as Pegasus, Eurowings, TUI Fly too. If you live in Germany, then you can get to Cappadocia on a direct flight from Cologne / Bonn to Cappadocia with Eurowings. Turkish Airlines also runs seasonal flights from many German cities to Kayseri.
If you’re backpacking on a budget and are wondering how to get to Cappadocia from Istanbul in the most affordable way, then I’d recommend an overnight bus. Mine was super comfortable and I slept all night.
There are many bus companies but I was only able to use my non Turkish card to book a seat on a bus company called “Metro Turizm”. My ticket costed me 60 TL, which is less than 10 Euros. I booked in advance and I was able to select my seat next to another girl (because I traveled solo to Turkey). Metro Turizm runs buses from many parts of Turkey to Cappadocia. I arrived in Cappadocia on an overnight bus from Pamukkale. In fact, the bus was from Denzili, which is the nearest city to Pamukkale.
I used this website for my bus ticket and it is the only website that accepted my international card. At my time, many pages were not in English and I copied pasted everything on Google Translate to figure things out.
Where to stay in Cappadocia, Turkey?
If you’re visiting Cappadocia for more than 4 days, I’d suggest you stay in both – Göreme and Uçhisar. They are both beautiful but different and you should try to enjoy sunrise views at both locations. Here are a places that I recommend you book yourself a cave to make the most out of your visit to Cappadocia –
01 | Kale Konak Cave Hotel, Uchisar, Cappadocia
This hotel is super fancy and pretty. The views from the balcony are amazing and you will have a lot of fun exploring this hotel. This place is more suited for couples or families not solo travelers.
Location: Right behind the famous Uçhisar Castle
Price range: $95 – $120
Book Now: Check deals on Booking.com
02 | Ottoman Cave Suites
This place has massive suites that are inside caves. These suites are very big in size and so are the bathrooms. The hotel is very pretty and I loved their breakfast. The location is amazing and most of the famous attractions are within walking range.
Location: 2 minutes walk from Goreme town center, Goreme bus stop
Price range: $60 – $80
Book Now: Check deals on Booking.com
03 | The Dorm Cave By Travellers
I made a friend in Cappadocia who was staying here and loved this place. It’s a very cute hostel with bunk beds inside caves.
Location: 5 minutes walk from Goreme town center, Goreme bus stop
Price range: $8 for a bunk bed and $25 for a private room
Book Now: Check deals on Booking.com
04 | Sultan Cave Suites
This place is really famous on Instagram because of its rooftop (and therefore expensive), but famous doesn’t always mean the best. Personally, I prefer Ottoman cave suites but you can have a look at Sultan Cave suites too.
Location: This hotel is on an elevated part of main Goreme town center, so wear comfortable shoes.
Price range: $300
Book Now: Check deals on Booking.com
Ready to visit Cappadocia in Turkey?
If you want to lose touch with reality in a fairy tale destination, then Cappadocia is definitely for you. Which point about Cappadocia did you like the most? I’d love to know, so let me know in the comments. Please do me a favor, if you enjoyed this article, then please share it and spread the love.
I’m yet to see a place as lovely as Cappadocia. Every corner here is picture perfect and will transport to another world. Let this part of the world charm you as well and sweep you off your feet on a magic carpet [balloon] ride.
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