Today, dear reader, we will travel to a beautiful historical tourist spot: Cappadocia. Cappadocia comes at the top of the list when any tourist thinks of visiting Turkey.
Cappadocia has a unique volcanic rocky landscape, beautiful landscapes, amazing wild nature and historic regions dating back hundreds of years. The Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) shows that in the first eight months of 2022, Cappadocia has hosted around 2.5 million tourists.
When we talk about its rocky landscape, the work of wind and water slowly cuts through the rocks, that is, by natural factors. Humans settled in this area thousands of years ago, as far back as the Bronze or Copper Age, through many historical periods, such as the Hittites, the Seljuks, and the Ottomans.
Tourist attractions are the villages of Cappadocia, carved out of the hillsides; Byzantine-era rock-carved churches with impressive frescoes; and the labyrinthine underground cities where the first Christians once hid from invaders.
The Cappadocia valleys are filled with many things to do for nature lovers and history buffs. It is one of Turkey’s prime hiking and horseback riding destinations, while the panoramic aerial shots of those valleys made the region one of the best areas in the world to capture those shots with a hot air balloon tour.
Let’s go to our recommended Top 10 Things to do in Cappadocia.
1-Hot Air Balloon Ride
The Ride of a Hot Air Balloon is a fantastic adventure on the list of top 10 Things to do in Cappadocia. You will feel a unique experience when you explore the atmosphere from the top of the hot air balloon and see all those valleys around you; it is an ideal trip for adventure lovers and a unique experience at the same time for history and culture enthusiasts.
Hot air balloon flights take off early morning, just after sunrise. It gives passengers a panoramic view of the valleys and their rock formations.
The high season is in the summer, and may be up to 100 hot-air balloons. Hot air balloon flights take about an hour and can be up to 90 minutes.
To see the valleys flowing through the fairy chimneys by passing through the clouds in Cappadocia, it will be one of the moments when you feel the freest to flutter according to the pleasure of the wind and descend wherever the wind wants.
2- Visit Göreme The Open Air Museum
Let’s go to the next station in the Top 10 Things to do in Cappadocia; Göreme. It is an open-air museum. It consists of monasteries for monks carved into the rock, where the monks used to isolate in that place. The cave monasteries carved into the rock were built between the 10th and 12th centuries AD.
You can explore that unique world and find out what life was like in that place; you can also see the wall painting hanging on the walls of those churches, which is a witness to the Byzantine art of that era.
Göreme Open Air Museum, which has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1985, is among the most important and most visited open-air museums in Cappadocia and Turkey. The region has a fascinating atmosphere. Several travel magazines have chosen Göreme as one of the most magical villages in the world for a good reason. Don’t miss visiting it on your next trip to Cappadocia.
3- Explore The Underground Cities
Cappadocia’s underground cities were designed to be not visible from the outside. It was built to hide from the unfairness, persecution, and injustice of the people living here, especially from the Roman Empire, and became a settlement of thousands of people.
When you think about the design and view of that cities, you absolutely will be You will be surprised and ask how the construction was done despite the lack of any technology or architectural development at the time, how this extraordinary place was built and how the people lived here is truly remarkable. It arouses admiration for those who come here.
The underground cities, carved out of soft tuff rocks, are connected by air corridors and narrow tunnels. No matter how deep you go, the amount of oxygen there does not change.
In the underground cities, there are many living quarters such as barns, kitchens, wineries, living rooms, burial chambers, churches, food storage areas, cellars and water wells.
There are about 200 underground cities, that’s a high number. It is one of the essential pieces of evidence of the extraordinary life and history that went on here in its time. Only a few of these underground cities are open to visitors. Kaymaklı and Derinkuyu Underground Cities rank first among the most visited in Cappadocia. Certainly it should be among the things one sees once in a lifetime and be on the list of the Top 10 Things to do in Cappadocia.
Kaymaklı Underground City
Kaymaklı Underground City, located in the Kaymaklı district, is one of Cappadocia’s most visited underground cities. Kaymaklı Underground City is a giant network of caves which were at the beginning constructed around the 7th or 8th Centuries BCE.
The city was expanded during the Roman and Byzantine periods and was used to hide the people. It is estimated that 5,000 people lived in the underground city, which extends to a depth of about 40 meters underground.
The Underground City was built with a total of 8 levels underground and carved into soft tuff rocks and included a network of about 100 tunnels connecting various subterranean rooms.
The first floor of Kaymaklı Underground City was used as a barn for the shelter of the animals of the people living here. On the second floor, there are the church, baptismal stones and burial chambers. On the third floor, there are cellars, wineries, a cellar where food materials such as flour and wheat are stored, and a dining hall area. On the fourth floor, there are also areas where the provisions are held.
Only the top few floors are open to visitors. Nevertheless, it offers a fascinating insight into how this unique geology was used by early tribes. It takes about half an hour to visit Kaymaklı Underground City.
Derinkuyu Underground City
Derinkuyu, or the ancient city of Elengubu as it was known in the past. The exact date of the city’s construction is still in dispute. The city is a network of tunnels in the form of a maze; the town extends to more than 85m below the Earth’s surface and contains 18 levels of tunnels. It is large and big enough to hold around 20,000 people with its food and livestock stores.
Several historical eras, such as; the Phrygians, the Persians, and Christians of the Byzantine Era, have lived through the most giant cut-out Underground City in the world, and thousands of people lived there. Derinkuyu was rediscovered by an anonymous local in 1963. The region was on the list of UNESCO World Heritage in 1985.
Derinkuyu Underground City has large stone doors that can be closed from the inside, and each floor too could be closed off singly. There were more than 600 entrances found within private homes leading to the subterrestrial city of Derinkuyu.
Derinkuyu Underground City is also one most famous places to see in Cappadocia. The visit will take about 60 minutes to see the Underground City.
4- Explore The Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia
The Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia of Paşabağı valley is one of Cappadocia’s most famous touristic spots. When you see it first, you will think that you are in some kind of mythical atmosphere or a fairy tale. Another activity of the Top 10 Things to do in Cappadocia is to enjoy nature and the unique beauty of the Fairy Chimneys by walking there.
In the valley, which was used as a hermitage by monks during its time, there are many rock-cut monasteries, churches, chapels and settlements, as well as structures such as tunnels and mills.
The Fairy Chimneys, which formed by the erosion of such tuff structures of the region by the high winds and precipitation from the slopes of the valley and the flood waters, look like a mushroom in their appearance in this region.
You can see an extensive hiking trail consisting of hundreds of Fairy Chimneys welcomes you when you enter the valley. You can have an excellent and fun tour of the Paşabağı valley by walking among the beautiful Fairy Chimneys and taking lots of photos.
The three-hatted Fairy Chimney in the centre of the valley is the most famous Fairy Chimney in the valley. This is also a chapel where St. Simeon was secluded for 15 years.
5- Stay in a Cave Hotel
There are several caves in Cappadocia, but there is another fantastic thing you can try; it’s to stay in a Cave Hotel carved out of volcanic rock, the natural landscape. Cave hotels provide you with a magical view of the city landscape, and some of them also allow you to see fairy chimneys.
It is not difficult to find a cave hotel that fits your budget; there are many of them with different features, each according to its price. There are many cave hotels throughout Cappadocia, such as cities; Göreme, Uçhısar, Urgup or Nevsehir. Staying in a Cave Hotel is an unmissable experience to do in Cappadocia. We recommnded that adventure in the Top 10 Things to do in Cappadocia.
6- Uçhisar Castle
Uçhisar Castle, a castle located in the town of Uçhisar, was used as a fort to protect the army of the Romans and Byzantines during their times, and it was also used as a watchtower.
Uçhisar Castle considers the highest point of Cappadocia city and a place where you can see a magical view of the most beautiful fairy chimney formations; the castle was also built around a giant fairy chimney.
The castle is a magical spot to see on the list of Top 10 Things to do in Cappadocia. It’s a perfect destination for history enthusiasts and nature lovers. You can see extraordinary views of Güvercinlik Valley, Avanos, Ortahisar Castle and Göreme National Park from the top of the castle.
There is also no need to tell you about the beauty and elegance of the sunset view from the top of Uçhisar Castle; you should see it for yourself. It’s enough to say to you; it is a touched soul’s view.
7- Explore Cappadocia Valleys
The Cappadocia Valleys, with their unique landscapes, fairy chimneys, churches carved into the rocks, houses, settlements and open-air museums, come at the high of the list of the Top 10 Things to do in Cappadocia.
There are many valleys in Cappadocia; these valleys are distributed throughout Cappadocia. In the magnificent valleys of Cappadocia, which was formed by the erosion of soft tuff rocks with the effect of rain and flood waters for millions of years, you will witness fairy chimneys famous for their different shapes, settlements dating back centuries, hidden rock churches, and extraordinary landscapes that will make you feel like you are in another world. Absolutely, it is from the Top 10 Things to do in Cappadocia.
The valleys in Cappadocia are named for their geographical structure, the shapes and colours of the rock formations and fairy chimneys.
Love Valley is one of the most fantastic valleys of Cappadocia. The valley starts from Örencik and ends on the Göreme-Avanos road.
The reason it is called Love Valley; is because marriage proposals are usually made here, and it got popular among couples, the choice of this place for marriage proposals and the shapes of the fairy chimneys in the valley.
Love Valley is one of the best destinations for hiking and walking lovers. It is also possible to enjoy the sight and smell of wildflowers and herbs, as well as the view of fairy chimneys in the valley and the rocks formed by nature. They are beautiful landscapes that will transport you to another world of nature’s magic.
Güvercinlik Valley (Pigeon Valley)
Güvercinlik Valley (Pigeon Valley) is one of the most popular and impressive valleys of Cappadocia with its nature. It is a perfect place for wildlife and bird lovers. The valley is located between Uçhisar and Göreme and takes its name from pigeons.
Pigeon Valley is famous for its charming landscapes and pigeons. You can go through the valley to the barrows, watch the valley from the top of the famous blue bead tree, and feed the pigeons. You can enjoy the charming nature and take many pictures as a beautiful memory of this unique experience.
Although the roads of Güvercinlik Valley are a bit challenging, the region is also ideal for nature walks and trekking.
Ihlara Valley in Cappadocia is the perfect destination for lovers of nature and green scenery. It is about 100 meters deep and 10 km long, an awe-inspiring and beautiful canyon. It was formed by volcanic activities, erupting lava and the erosion of the Melendiz River for thousands of years in the nearby Hasan Mountain.
Many monasteries, churches, settlements and fairy chimneys were formed by natural means and carved into the rocks by human hands in this region, where you will encounter many traces of life here in the period. Ihlara Valley attracts the attention of local and foreign visitors with its fantastic natural formations and magnificent natural beauties. We recommend you visit Ihlara Valley on your Cappadocia trip.
When you see the valley from above, you are enchanted at first. Afterwards, a fantastic and impressive staircase begins to descend into the valley. It takes about 5-10 minutes to fall into the valley with the stairs.
When you go down to the valley, there are beautiful paths to follow and many places to explore on the right and left on the road divided into two by the Melediz river. Melendiz Stream, which flows along the Ihlara Valley, also accompanies your walk with its beautiful sound and appearance.
There are over 4,000 rock-cut settlements and hundreds of hidden cave churches and houses with beautiful frescoes as living quarters in the valley. This makes it an ideal place for lovers of history, civilization, and nature.
Kızılçukur Valley (Red Valley)
Kızılçukur Valley (Red Valley) is the ideal place for sunrise and sunset views in Cappadocia. Red Valley, located near Göreme and home to red tuff rocks and fairy chimneys. The valley took its name from the colour of its stones; its nature attracts a lot of attention from both local and foreign visitors. It is considered one of the most beautiful valleys of Cappadocia.
Red Valley has one of the best hiking and trekking tracks in Cappadocia. It is an ideal area and activity for those who love hiking. It is also an excellent spot for photography lovers because of the abounding colours of wonderful nature; red is the colour of the rocks, green is the colour of wild plants, and the colour of the clear sky; is blue.
8- Horse Safari Tour
Horse Safari Tours, among the unique natural beauties of Cappadocia, are among the popular excursions and nature sports activities that can be done in Cappadocia. We recommend a Horse Safari in Cappadocia, also known as the “Land of Beautiful Horses”.
Horse Safari Tours in Cappadocia are usually made from horse farms located between Avanos and Göreme. Horse safari tours are generally held between 09:00 in the morning and 4:00 p.m.
Enjoy a Horse Safari on the trails of Cappadocia’s beautiful valleys, fairy chimneys and vineyards, accompanied by unique views. It is a unique experience for nature lovers and horseback riding, which we recommend among the Top 10 Things to do in Cappadocia.
9- Visiting Ceramics and Pottery Workshops
Pottery and ceramics, a centuries-old tradition of Cappadocia, is kept alive, especially in workshops in Avanos.
Here, you can buy ceramic and pottery products for yourself and your loved ones, attend the ceramic and pottery workshops, watch the pottery makers and learn the tricks of this tradition. You can even make your pottery, as the owners of the workshops and shops will let you join them and create your own piece by yourself.
Visiting Ceramics and Pottery Workshops is a different and unique experience, as it is known that crafts or handicrafts are helpful things that improve mood and bring relaxation. We recommend it to you in the Top 10 Things to do in Cappadocia.
10- Visit Zelve Valley Ruins and Open Air Museum
Zelve Valley Ruins and Open Air Museum are among the most visited popular places in Cappadocia, where fairy chimneys can be seen in the best way. Zelve Valley Open Air Museum, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage list, is located between Avanos and Göreme in Cappadocia.
You will see many monasteries, churches, settlements and fairy chimneys that were formed by nature factors and carved into the rocks by human hands in this region. Zelve Valley attracts attention with its fairy chimneys and also with its magic nature. We strongly recommend that you visit Zelve Valley on your trip to Cappadocia. It is one of the activities from the Top 10 Things to do in Cappadocia.
One of the recommended activities in Zelve Valley is enjoying nature and unique beauty by walking among the fairy chimneys. There is a beautiful fountain at the entrance of the valley and a total of 15 churches.
In the first valley of Zelve Ruins, which consists of 3 valleys, there is a mosque made of cut stone and carved rock. In the second valley, there are living places used in the past and places where the people used them as kitchens. In the third valley, there are many settlements and churches.
The area is also in a very convenient location for hiking and also walking. You can also go to higher hills and watch the valley from the top and take lots of photos.
Thus, we have provided you, dear reader, with a rich list of the recommended Top 10 Things to do in Cappadocia and the recommended things; not only the activities you can do, there are dozens of other things that you can choose from.
Cappadocia is one of the best tourist destinations in Turkey, as it abounds with all the ingredients that make it a fantastic tourist destination, stunning scenery, historical places dating back thousands of years, and unique experiences that you can discover there, such as flying balloons and other adventures.
We hope that our example will be the best helper and guide for you on your trip to Cappadocia. Enjoy your trip and wait for a new guide to another tourist spot. Here are some of our best videos from around Turkey – including the Ancient City of Ephesus, Uskudar and more!