There are so many things to do in Cappadocia, which often surprises people. Having spent years living in and exploring Turkey, it’s the one place that always blows me away. From the amazing landscapes to the jaw-dropping sunsets, this is one of my favorite places of all time.
Sightseeing in Cappadocia always shows you something new, no matter how many times you’ve been. What I love most about this area is that it’s so far away from the hustle and bustle of the city; it’s like being in another world entirely.
Located in the center of Turkey, the stunning landscapes of Cappadocia have been formed through ancient volcanic eruptions and weather erosion. Of course, there’s also a colossal amount of history to add into the mix too, and when you throw in all the different places to visit in Cappadocia, this is one location that I can truly say is unlike any other I’ve ever seen.
Best Things To Do in Cappadocia
I’ve visited Cappadocia a few times, and having lived in Turkey for a while, I know it’s a place that even locals want to experience. There are so many unique things to do in Cappadocia, but if you don’t know about them, you might assume it’s just about walking and hot air balloon rides.
But, Cappadocia is so much more than that. It’s one of the most romantic and beautiful locations on the planet, and it’s also a great place to visit with children, who will love running around and exploring the fairy chimneys. So, to help you work out where to go first, I’ve put together this list of top things to do—which will you try first?
1. Hot Air Balloon Ride
One of the best things to do in Cappadocia, and probably the most famous, is to take a hot air balloon ride. It’s one of those things that most people have on their bucket list and with good reason. It’s mind-blowing, and even if you’re afraid of heights, I’d really urge you to try and feel the fear and do it scared anyway.
If you really can’t handle leaving the ground, watching the balloons take off at sunrise is magical in itself. The best time of year to do this activity is spring and fall; in winter it’s amazing to see the snow-covered landscape, but you’re more likely to have your trip canceled due to bad weather. Click here for details and to book.
2. Sunset Quad Safari
Whether you’re traveling with kids, as a couple, or even solo, one of the most fun things to do in Cappadocia is to take a sunset quad safari tour. I’ve done this before, and I really enjoyed it – the views were simply stunning and it was so much fun.
The tour itself takes just two hours so you can easily go for a meal afterward. The route takes you around Sword Valley and Love Valley, and the fairy chimneys draped in the changing light are something I’ll never forget. Click here to learn more.
3. Stay in a Cave Hotel
I think one of the coolest things to do in Cappadocia isn’t necessarily an activity, but an accommodation. Yes, I’m talking about cave hotels. There’s something especially mind-blowing about waking up knowing you’re in a room carved into a rock rather than a freestanding building.
The cave hotels are located right in the heart of Cappadocia, and while they do cost a little more than the hotels outside of the park, it’s an experience I’d definitely recommend. I stayed at the Cappadocia Cave Suites and enjoyed everything about it.
4. Visit Underground Cities
While Cappadocia is undoubtedly beautiful from above, there are more than 200 underground cities beneath your feet. Most are inaccessible, but two are really popular and are definitely must-visits — Derinkuyu and Kaymakli. Derinkuyu was my favorite, and I was shocked at how big, yet intricate it was.
These underground cities are definitely some of the best places to visit in Cappadocia and date back to Byzantine times. Back in the day, people used to keep their animals down there with them too, so you can imagine just how large these spaces are.
I’d recommend you set aside half a day to visit both underground cities and really take your time immersing yourself in the subterranean world.
5. Hike Pigeon Valley
If you love nature, one of the best things to do in Cappadocia is to hike in Pigeon Valley. You can also take a tour which encompasses the underground cities if you’re a little short on time.
The valley is known for its ancient houses, and it’s also part of a large hiking trail in the area. It’s one of the most famous attractions in Cappadocia, and it’s a good idea to plan half a day, or a full day here if you really want to explore the natural surroundings as much as possible. Click here for tour information.
Address: Pigeon Valley/Güvercinlik Vadisi
You might not picture paragliding as one of the top things to do in Cappadocia but I can assure you, the view from this perspective is simply breathtaking.
You’ll be strapped to an instructor the whole time who will take photographs for you as you soar high above Goreme National Park. Naturally, this is one for people who have a head for heights, but if you dare, I’d say go for it.
I’m not the biggest fan of heights, but I went paragliding in Ölüdeniz, and it’s something I’m so glad I was brave enough to try – it was truly special. Click here for information and to book.
7. Kızılçukur Valley
You’ll need your hiking boots for this one, but once you get to the top, I guarantee you’ll be unable to compare the sights to anything you’ve ever seen before. This is also one of the best places to see the sunset in the area, and the space provides a panoramic view of how extraordinary Cappadocia really is.
This is one of the most interesting things to do around Cappadocia for a sense of how big the area is. I couldn’t believe the landscapes, and there really isn’t anywhere else that looks quite like it. I found it to be a really peaceful spot too, even though it’s popular; I felt totally at one with nature.
8. Turkish Breakfast with a View
One of my favorite things to do in Cappadocia, in fact, one of my favorite things to do anywhere in Turkey is to have a full-on breakfast, known locally as kahvalti. Trust me, you won’t be hungry until dinner, and you’ll definitely want to take photographs to capture the feast in front of you.
The great thing about breakfast in Cappadocia is that you get the amazing backdrop along with a fantastic meal. I enjoyed every bite at Wish Terrace and the views were just as delicious as the food.
9. Take a Pottery Workshop
Taking a pottery workshop is a great way to spend a few hours in Cappadocia, and you’ll learn a lot about the traditional crafts of the local area. Not only will you learn plenty but you’ll get to make your own piece of pottery to take home, as well as enjoy some delicious refreshments.
Out of all the stuff to do in Cappadocia, this is one of the most unique, and even children will love creating something handmade to take home and keep as a memory of their time. Click here for tour details.
10. Go on a Yoga Retreat
If you’re deciding what to do in Cappadocia and you’re looking for something a little different, a yoga class or retreat is a great choice. You’ll find a few different options, but the magic of sunrise is the best time to enjoy this sacred practice, overlooking Goreme National Park.
When figuring out what to do in Cappadocia, it’s easy to stick to sightseeing, but there are more activities to enjoy than you might think; I was surprised myself. I loved my yoga experience in Cappadocia and being in such a beautiful and natural environment definitely helped me to connect to my breath and unwind. Click here for details.
11. Explore the Fairy Chimneys
The fairy chimneys are the most famous tourist attractions in Cappadocia, and the best thing is that they’re not off-bounds. If you’re traveling with kids, this is the ideal time to let them run around and explore. I visited Cappadocia with family, and my nieces loved to play hide and seek behind these huge rock formations and climb as far as we’d allow them to.
Visiting feels like you’ve traveled to another world, and you’ll find these rock formations in all valleys, however, Pasabag Valley is home to some of the largest. When the sun rises and sets, the rocks seem to change color, giving you a different view every time.
12. Selime Monastery
One of my favorite things to do in Cappadocia is to visit the stunning Selime Monastery, part of the Green Tour that shows you several locations in one trip. This monastery dates back to the Byzantine era, and it’s absolutely huge. Despite its age, it’s also extremely well preserved.
You can literally feel the history all around you, and it’s a great spot to go to on a warm day because the cave makes it feel so much cooler. Spend some time deeply exploring this monastery because you don’t want to miss the details, such as the kitchen and the different hallways. Click here for Green Tour information.
Address: 68500 Yaprakhisar/Güzelyurt/Aksaray
13. Goreme Open Air Museum
Without a doubt, one of the best and most famous places to visit in Cappadocia is the Goreme Open Air Museum. This is a well-known spot that shows you the very best of the area; walking around feels like you’re in the middle of history. Out of all the Cappadocia attractions, definitely visit this one.
One of the best ways to see the area is to take a walking tour, where your guide will be able to tell you the history of all you’re seeing. Take your time and absorb the serene atmosphere of this area. Click here for tour details.
14. Wine Tasting
A visit to a local winery is one of the best things to do in Cappadocia for couples. The tour takes four hours, so there’s plenty of time to learn about how wine is made in this part of the world and enjoy a few glasses yourself.
Turasan Winery is famous in the area, and they grow their own grapes. Seeing the harvest is really beautiful, and I enjoyed the peaceful feel around the area. I also enjoyed the wine, and I’m sure you will too! It’s the largest winery in the area, so there is plenty to see and do. Click here for tour details.
15. Explore Ihlara Valley
Ihlara Valley is one of the best spots in Cappadocia for hiking, and the canyons offer such a wonderful contrast of colors, from rock to green and back again. This area is pretty easy to walk around; you just need comfortable shoes and plenty of time to explore. Whether you’re a beginner or an avid hiker, this place is suitable for all levels of experience.
Taking a guided tour allows you to know more about what you’re seeing and means you won’t miss the hidden spots that might otherwise pass you by. I really enjoyed my visit to Ihlara Valley, and it’s somewhere I definitely want to go back to. Don’t miss this off your itinerary. Click here for tour details.
Address: 68500 Ihlara/Güzelyurt/Aksaray.
16. Visit Love Valley
You can visit Love Valley as part of Cappadocia’s Red Tour, and it’s a must-visit. You might wonder why the valley has its name, and it’s down to the rock formations, (which are phallic-shaped), but you can overlook that and just adore the beauty of the landscape.
Love Valley is one of the best things to do in Cappadocia for families because children can run and climb to their heart’s content. As with most other valleys in the area, it’s particularly impressive at sunset, but even if you visit in the middle of the day, you’ll be glad you went. Click here for Red Tour details.
17. Visit Carpet Galerie İkman
If you’ve looked at places to visit in Cappadocia online you’ll probably have seen a picture of a carpet shop. This place is a definite must-visit and is somewhere that will likely fill up your camera reel, fast. I loved looking at all the different colored carpets, although I didn’t give in to the temptation to buy one.
If you’re serious about looking after your Instagram feed, the Cappadocia Instagram Tour will take you around several amazing spots including a different carpet store with equally beautiful displays. Click here for more details.
18. Hike in Sword Valley
A full day of hiking in Sword Valley and beyond is a great way to spend your day, and you’ll definitely sleep well at the end of it. There are so many things to see in Cappadocia, and I found a day hiking showed me many of them in one go. If you’re visiting for just a few days, I’d definitely recommend this type of tour.
Sword Valley itself is really beautiful, and the fairy chimneys here are uniquely sword-shaped, (hence its name). This space is also bigger than some of the other valleys, which allows you plenty of room to roam and explore. Click here for tour details and to book.
19. Enjoy the Sunset
One of the best free things to do in Cappadocia is to simply sit back and enjoy the sunset. You don’t need to go anywhere to do this – just stand outside in awe. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the sunsets in Cappadocia are some of the best I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been to a lot of places.
One of my favorite things to do is to sit on the hotel terrace with a warm glass of çay (tea) and become completely absorbed in admiring the sky. It really brings home just how small we are in the world and how amazing Mother Nature is.
20. Discover Devrent Valley
Taking a tour around Devrent Valley will show you even more of Cappadocia’s stunning landscapes, and this is another valley that’s both large and easy to wander around. It’s one of my favorite things to do near Cappadocia when I want to spend some time with my thoughts.
You’ll hear this valley also known as ‘Imagination Valley’, because a lot of the rock formations look like animals and other figures. If you use your imagination, you can see different shapes depending on the light. I could sit here and look at them for hours. Click here for tour information.
21. Relax in a Traditional Hammam
A visit to a hammam, also known as a Turkish bath, is a relaxing thing to do, not to mention how great it is for your skin and well-being. Relaxing in a traditional hammam is one of the best things to do in Cappadocia after you’ve tired out your legs exploring.
After you’ve spent ten minutes in a sauna, sweating out all the impurities, you’ll go into the main room and have your skin washed and scrubbed. In the end, you’ll feel cleaner than you ever have before and a little like you’re floating on air – it’s heavenly. Click here for details and to book.
22. Walk in Pasabag Valley
I’ve mentioned Pasabag Valley in passing but spending some time here and hiking the area is always a great idea. I really liked this valley in particular; it’s large, and this is where the biggest fairy chimneys can be found. There are also plenty of green spots, which I was really surprised to see.
For me, it’s one of the places to see in Cappadocia that should make it onto your must-see list, and if you plan to spend at least half a day there, you’ll be able to get some amazing photographs. You may hear this place called ‘Monks Valley’ too, but they’re one and the same.
Address: 50502 Aktepe/Avanos/Nevşehir
23. Take a Cookery Class
The last time I visited Cappadocia, I took a cookery class and I enjoyed it so much I intend to go again. Traditional Turkish food is really delicious, and even the street food will make your mouth water. Cappadocia is famous for mantı, (a type of dough with filling), often called Turkish ravioli, and you’ll learn how to make other delicious snacks, such as Gözleme ( a traditional Turkish stuffed turnover).
This tour takes four hours, so it’s an ideal way to spend half a day, combined with another activity. Make sure you arrive hungry as there are lots of snacks to try along the way. Click here for tour details and to book.
24. Enjoy Entertainment at a Turkish Night
You might be surprised to learn that there are many things to do in Cappadocia at night. One of my favorite things to do in the evening is to enjoy a Turkish night, full of traditional entertainment and food. Most hotels offer a Turkish night around once per week, where you’ll be able to witness belly dancing, whirling dervishes, and traditional music performances.
This is a family-friendly show, and children will love watching the entertainment and taking part along the way. I went to a show that included food and drinks, and it turned out to be such a fun evening. Click here for details.
25. Uchisar Castle
If you don’t mind walking up a lot of steps, Uchisar Castle is one of the best places to visit near Cappadocia with the most amazing views. From the top, you’ll be able to explore the castle itself and gain a panoramic view over the entire area. As you can imagine, sunset is an insanely magical time to visit.
The ironic thing about this “castle” is that it’s not a regular castle at all; it just looks like one. Instead, it’s a rock formation that has eroded to look particularly fortress-like. It’s thought to date back to around the 14th century, and it’s still as majestic even today.
Quick Travel Itineraries For Cappadocia
Now you know what to see in Cappadocia, how can you link them together and make sure you see as much as possible during your visit? The good thing about Cappadocia is that although it’s a large area, a lot of the main sights are relatively close together, meaning you can really pack a lot into a few days.
1 Day in Cappadocia Itinerary
One day in Cappadocia isn’t a huge amount of time, but you can fit in a few things if you get up early enough. If you’re keen to take a hot air balloon ride, you’ll need to book that ahead of your trip and factor that into your visit – preferably book a sunrise slot to give you extra time.
Goreme Open Air Museum is a must-see and you should also visit Derinkuyu underground city as a bare minimum. That will give you a full day, but one which will allow you to see an overview of Cappadocia.
2-3 Days in Cappadocia Itinerary
Two to three days in Cappadocia will allow you to see the main parts and a couple of valleys. Again, if you want to do the hot air balloon ride, it’s best to schedule it at sunrise so you still have a full day ahead of you.
On day one, visit the Goreme Open Air Museum, which should take you half a day. From there, go to Derinkuyu underground city and explore the vast subterranean space. In the evening, schedule a Turkish night and enjoy some traditional entertainment and a delicious meal.
On day two, wake up early and go for a full Turkish breakfast with a view. With your appetite satiated, it’s time to don your walking boots and head off to Love Valley and Ihlara Valley. These are both doable within one day but expect to have sore feet at the end.
1 Week in Cappadocia Itinerary
A week in Cappadocia allows you to see a lot of the local area. On your first day, wake up early and enjoy a full breakfast with a view. This will set you up for the day ahead before you visit Goreme Open Air Museum and Derinkuyu underground city. I like to link these two activities together because they flow well and they’re within close proximity.
On day two, schedule a hot air balloon ride and take in the captivating views. Then, head to another underground city—Kaymakli. After a couple of hours there, grab your comfortable shoes and head to Pasabag Valley to see the huge fairy chimneys.
Take a full-day hiking trip on your next day to give you a full overview of the area. In the evening, attend a Turkish night and enjoy the entertainment. Day four could include a trip to Uchisar Castle and Devrent Valley. On day five, head off on a quad safari trip, and take a pottery class in the afternoon.
You may be feeling tired by day six, so enjoy a relaxing hammam and take a cookery class in the afternoon to fill you up. On your final day, head to Sword Valley and check out the amazing rock formations, before heading back to your hotel and enjoying your last night with some delicious Turkish food and flavors.
Things To Do in Cappadocia: FAQs
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about visiting Cappadocia:
Cappadocia is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed area famous for its history, diverse landscapes, hot air balloon rides, and cave hotels.
You can visit Cappadocia at any time of year but the spring and fall months offer ideal conditions.
Cappadocia is definitely worth visiting. It’s one of those places that should be on everyone’s bucket lists.
Three days is enough to see the basics of Cappadocia, but I recommend spending a week here if you want to really delve into the area.
Cappadocia is a very safe area to visit.
Hot air ballooning is probably the most popular thing to do in Cappadocia but exploring the underground cities is a close second.
Mantı, often called Turkish ravioli, is a famous dish from the Cappadocia area.
Three days in Cappadocia will show you the beauty of the area, but you may not be able to see everything.
Some cave hotels are quite expensive, at around 2500 Turkish lira/$90 per night, however, prices do fluctuate throughout the year. Food and drink are on par with the rest of Turkey and are not any more expensive.
If you don’t mind heights, a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
I know you’re itching to book your vacation and head off to Cappadocia now. I’d be surprised if you weren’t. There are so many places to visit in Cappadocia that it’s like going to another planet and exploring a totally new world for the first time. I also know you’ll probably want to go back.
For me, Cappadocia is a magical world that, although not a hidden secret, really does feel secluded. It’s almost like being in a bubble from the modern world, where everything slows down, and you’re laser-focused on the beauty of nature. All you need to do now is work out when you’re going to go.