Cappadocia is the land of fairy tales, so if you’re looking for the best things to do in Cappadocia, look no further. You shouldn’t miss ANY!
1. Take A Hot Air Balloon Ride
Taking a hot air balloon ride has to come in first on the things to do in Cappadocia list!
With tourists flocking from around the world to experience this once in a lifetime thrill, it’s become so iconic and is now what the region is most famously known for!
For a really special experience, the Göreme: Hot Air Balloon Flight with Transfer & Champagne is highly recommended.
Glide over the fairy chimneys and rock-cut houses of Cappadocia on a 1-hour hot air balloon flight, and get privileged views of the unique landscape from the air.
Watch the sun rise over the valleys, and enjoy a Champagne toast upon your safe landing.
Considering how unbelievable the landscape is, the prices are not so expensive in hot air balloon terms.
Morning rides are roughly €150 per person but just be sure you book in advance.
Not only do you get to experience the insane landscapes from above but you can tick off one of the top bucket list items in the world.
Peak season runs from: April – June & September – October.
2. Watch The Balloons From A Rooftop
Over the last few years, the region has become pretty famous for it’s magical rooftops photos, as the hot air balloons rise in the background.
Believe it or not, it’s no photo shop.
Over 150 balloons go up almost every day, and the best place to watch them rise from is directly above your hotel. On your accommodation’s rooftop!
We spent a couple of nights at Koza Cave Hotel, which gives some of the best possible views of the balloons at sunrise.
Koza Cave Hotel was restored using reclaimed stone, iron and wood building materials. The rooms themselves are in caves and the breakfast/rooftop set up is insane!
If you’re heading to Cappadocia, the most important thing is where you choose to stay. Waking up to that magical sunrise on the rooftop is a must!
One of our favourite things to do in Cappadocia was wake up for sunrise and watch the magic unfold!
3. Visit A Balloon Landing Site
If the hot air balloons are booked up in Cappadocia, and you want to venture further than your hotel rooftop, then this is for you.
Ask at your accommodation where the nearest balloon landing site is!
Taking a trip to the landing sight can be just as magical as getting inside one, especially if you’re a little nervous about flying.
You can stand right up close, and take some incredibly unique photos that you’re unlikely to capture anywhere else.
We ventured out to the middle of a random field and were the only ones there.
Surrounded by nothing but blue skies and balloons it was a memorable experience that will stick with us forever!
4. Stay In A Local Cave
The soft sandstone in Cappadocia made it easy for locals to carve out caves large enough to create their own homes inside.
So nowadays the unique area of Cappadocia is known for its vast landscape of caves and rock formations that have been transformed into hotels.
We as tourists are fortunate enough to be able to stay in them, and they’re some of the coolest and most unique accommodations you’ll ever experience.
The photo below is the hotel pool at Local Cave House Hotel, which we visited for the day.
However we also stayed at Koza Cave Hotel (home to the best rooftop in Cappadocia) and Wings Cappadocia, when we decided to venture a little further out to Uchisar.
5. Find The Cutest Of Puppies
The cute puppies became a Cappadocia Instagram sensation in 2018, going viral from a photo at a specific hotel in Cappadocia.
Since then there have been several insta celeb pups appearing on everyones screens.
We managed to track down Findik and Zues, of Mithra Cave Hotel, and they are certainly the cutest little dudes in town!
If you’re looking for cute animals then all you have to do is walk the streets of Goreme and we’re sure you’ll find some.
6. Visit The Carpet Shops
After also seeing this carpet courtyard on Instagram, we had to add it to our list of things to do in Cappadocia.
Sometimes the perception of a place can be warped through Instagram editing and manipulation, although Cappadocia didn’t disappointed.
The carpet set up at Galerie Ikman is insane, and felt like something out of a movie.
Since this place has become popular for shooting photography, the owner has a structured system where you have to buy something from his store if you want to take photos. Which seems fair enough.
We grabbed a couple of pillows for our narrowboat and took some memorable Turkish photos to add to our journal.
Alternatively, the owner has set up his own private photoshoot sessions that he charges a small price for. All captured using his drone – genius!
For a great tour that includes the carpet shops, Cappadocia Highlights: Private Full-Day Tour with Lunch is perfect.
7. Catch Some Sunset Magic
No matter where you perch your self for sunset, they’re all just as magical in Cappadocia.
There’s something about the region that just ticks all the boxes.
Although our favourite viewpoints came from the top of the valleys and are pretty epic when it comes to witness the colours.
Pigeon Valley and Rose Valley in particular were a couple of our favourite sunset spots in Cappadocia!
If you’re looking to head out with a group for an epic tour then check out the Cappadocia Sunset ATV Tour.
Get your adrenaline pumping with an ATV tour of Cappadocia’s most beautiful valleys, topped off with views of the sunset from Rose Valley.
8. Explore The Valleys
One of the most common way to explore the valleys in the magical region of Cappadocia is via the popular Green, Blue or Red tours.
The organised Green, Blue and Red tours always cover a valley or two, as they are on most peoples things to do in Cappadocia list.
The easiest way to book onto a Green, Blue or Red tour is via Enka Travel.
Enka Travel is one of the most popular adventure tour companies in Cappadocia, and run all 3 tours:
Green Tour (Full-Day Small Group)
Blue Tour (Full-Day Small Group)
Red Tour (Full-Day Small Group)
If you’re looking to explore the valleys yourself here are a few of our favourites:
Located just outside of the city Goreme, Love Valley earned its name because of the penis shaped fairy chimney formations that can reach heights of 100 ft (30m).
These strange tall rock structures that resemble some interesting phallic shapes are in fact eroded volcanic ash dating back some 60 million years.
Famous for the rock formations, mountain ridges and lush valley floor, Love Valley is recommended as one of the best hiking trails in Cappadocia.
Love Valley is also said to be popular with couples that visit there to make marriage proposals.
This Valley is possibly the most famous Valley in Cappadocia.
Pigeon Valley earned its name from the many man-made pigeon houses that have been carved into the soft volcanic rock.
Since ancient times Pigeons have been used in the Cappadocia region for food and also fertiliser for the barren soil.
Although pigeons no longer play such an important role in the area, their dovecotes have been maintained by locals.
You will see the dovecotes built into the rock formations, inside excavated cave houses and also churches throughout the region, however, they are particularly numerous in this valley.
Pigeon Valley is another great spot for walking or you may choose to explore Pigeon Valley on horseback or with a quad safari.
The Rose Valley is a beautiful valley hidden behind the town of Urgup. It has some amazing rock formations with some great rock – carved churches.
Also known as sunset valley, the name ‘Rose’ came about thanks to the incredible colours it produces at sundown.
The rocky landscape turns a beautiful pink/red shade as the sun dips lower at the end of another magical day in Cappadocia.
There are countless tracks in this valley connecting the small villages and towns. It’s often possible to see villagers working in the area and they may even offer you some grapes or apricots!
If you want to see the beautiful sunsets in the valleys, the From Göreme: Cappadocia Valleys at Sunset ATV Tour is definitely the one.
9. Walk Around The Fairy Chimneys
Fairy chimneys can be found all over Cappadocia, although the most famous ones happen to be in Love Valley.
A good day trip is to take a walk around the base of Love Valley and see what you can find.
From penis shaped rock formations, to some interesting natural history, the fairy chimneys are certainly a highlight of Cappadocia.
For those looking for a more adventurous way of exploring the fairy chimneys, there’s the Quad Safari through the Sword, Love & Rose Valleys.
On this tour you’ll enjoy an exhilarating quad bike ride along the valleys of Cappadocia, ride your very own quad bike through Rose Valley, and escape from the hustle and bustle of Cappadocia on a 2-Hour Quad Safari.
10. Visit Uchisar Castle
Uchisar Castle is the tallest accessible point in Cappadocia standing at nearly 200 feet (60m) high.
If you opt to stay in Uchisar, the castle is easily walkable and offers great panoramic views of the area.
We spent a couple of nights at Wings Cappadocia, backing onto the castle grounds it was a great spot to enjoy breakfast from!
Historically Uchisar castle was home to about 1000 people and was the main point of defence for the region. With views for miles, residents could see any enemy armies that might be approaching.
Nowadays, the road leading to the entrance is usually lined with local women selling their wares and souvenirs rather than invading armies.
From the outside the castle looks like a mass of rocks that were carved in a hurry, but this has always been the traditional way of carving buildings out of the natural rock in the area.
Inside the castle the stone floors and walls are bare and there is nothing to see. However, the best part of the visit are the stunning panoramic views across the landscape as far as to the top of Mount Erciyes.
The castle is now abandoned as people feared for their lives when the roofs started collapsing in the 1960’s.
Uchisar Castle has since been turned into a tourist attraction for history lovers and photographers that visit!
If you opt for the famous Red Tour (Full-Day Cappadocia Red Plus Tour) then you will likely finish your day at Uchisar Castle and enjoy sunset from the highest point in Cappadocia.
11. Rent An Old Car & Explore Cappadocia
An alternative way to see the area and tick of the things to do in Cappadocia is to drive yourself.
With classic Mercedes’ and off road ATV’s available amongst the choices of transport, it’s certainly a different way of getting around on your travels.
Go steady on the dusty roads but if you’re a confident driver then it could definitely be an option. It’s perfect for a day out around the valleys.
It’s a little more expensive if you don’t hire it with the driver and choose to take it by yourself.
12. Try The Local Food
Of course everyones first thought is the famous Turkish kebabs, which are delicious, but there’s so much more to offer!
Turkish food combines culinary traditions from Central Asia and influences of the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine.
Often dinner will start with a selection of meze (appetisers) served before the main course.
A typical meze menu would include fresh salad leaves and tomato with yoghurt and garlic, savoury pastries, chopped salad and various vegetable dishes.
Main courses are usually grilled meat or fish, skewered meat, kebabs, meatballs and stews.
The signature dish of Cappadocia is manti. These are small pasta packets (like ravioli) usually stuffed with meat or cheese and served with a tomato or garlic sauce.
From the Lahmacun to Pide and Humous to Pilav, we absolutely stuffed our faces.
Oh and don’t forget to try a Baklava for desert.
We ate some of the cheapest and tastiest vegetarian foods in Turkey so a little DIY food tour should be on your things to do in Cappadocia list.
Alternatively, the Full Day Guided Cultural & Historical Food Tour will take you to all the best spots.
13. Don’t Miss The Beautiful Souvenir Shops
Turkey has a huge tradition of craftwork. From its famed textiles and ceramics to engraved metalware, wooden backgammon boards, and colourful felt slippers, there’s something for everyone.
Travellers looking for foodie treats are in luck, with plenty of Turkish food products making great gifts. Lokum (Turkish delight) is a favourite souvenir.
There are so many cute souvenir shops dotted around Cappadocia you will be spoilt for choice.
We found some beautiful, colourful lanterns and also some small balloon ornaments that we really liked.
You can buy something for yourself as a reminder of this magical place. Or even a gift for someone else to encourage them to visit themselves one day!
Where To Stay In Cappadocia
Luxury – Koza Cave Hotel
This Göreme ecological hotel is situated in a historic cave house overlooking Pigeon Valley.
It features free Wi-Fi, and has a terrace with panoramic views of the fairy chimneys.
Koza Cave Hotel offers rooms fitted with traditional Turkish rugs and furnishings.
Several rooms have a living room with a fireplace. Some feature a spa bath and a private terrace.
The Cave Hotel has a tour desk that offers information on local attractions and can assist with car hire and bicycle rentals.
The hotel also offers a shuttle service and a 24-hour reception desk.
Mid-Budget – Charming Cave Hotel
This cave hotel in the heart of Goreme has rooms built into volcanic rocks with vaulted ceilings and traditional Turkish style décor.
The hotel offers free WiFi and a hot tub.
All the rooms at Charming Cave Hotel have a private bathroom. Some rooms also offer a flat-screen TV or a terrace with views over the fairy chimneys.
Charming Cave Hotel’s restaurant serves traditional meals prepared with organic products.
Breakfast comes as an open buffet with homemade jams and local honey.
Budget – Goreme Palace Stone Hotel
Goreme Palace Stone Hotel features free WiFi throughout the property and views of garden in Goreme.
The accommodation offers a shared kitchen, a shared lounge and currency exchange for guests.
All guest rooms at the hotel feature a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, DVD Player.
A private bathroom with a shower, a hairdryer and free toiletries are also included.
At Goreme Palace Stone Hotel all rooms include a wardrobe and a shared bathroom.
Guests at the accommodation can enjoy a continental breakfast.
For more places to stay in Cappadocia, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.
More Cappadocia Blogs
Cappadocia Instagram Spots – The Ultimate Guide
Love Valley Cappadocia – All You Need To Know
Red & Rose Valley Cappadocia – An Epic Sunset
Pigeon Valley Cappadocia – A Stunning Sunset
Sunday 20th of March 2022
Hello, thank you so much for this informative article. I was looking for renting an old car for self-drive but I couldn't find any only, there were only with drivers. Do you know any suggestion where we can rent an old or vintage car for self-drive without a driver.
Thank you in advance
Sunday 20th of March 2022
Unfortunately not sorry, we also only saw the rental available with a driver.
Thursday 2nd of January 2020
Thanks for the informative articles. Can you suggest contacts of some local drivers for half or full day private tour. I am not interested taking a group tour.
Monday 6th of January 2020
Hey thanks so much! We actually just hopped in local taxis and didn't use any specific tours.
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Friday 6th of December 2019
thank you for providing very nice information about Cappadocia
Friday 6th of December 2019
No worries, thanks for reading!
horse riding cappadocia
Saturday 23rd of November 2019
land of beautiful horses cappadocia good post and photos thanks..
Saturday 23rd of November 2019
Yes! Next time we need to find the beautiful horses!