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12 must-see attractions in Cappadocia

Cappadocia is not a city or a village, as many believe, but a region consisting of five provinces with dozens of villages and towns! Naturally, everyone focuses on the Göreme National Park, which is full of attractions and points of high interest! You see, nature has put its hand there and has created something magical. Cappadocia may have become famous during the last few years due to the hot-air balloons, but it has a rare beauty that makes it stand out from any other destination. Underground towns, cave hotels, wonderful sunsets, horse-rides, valleys with volcanic rocks and many more attractions will make you love Cappadocia.

Discover the most important attractions in Cappadocia

Cappadocia by hot-air balloon

Cappadocia is considered the global capital of hot-air balloons, which make for the main reason to travel there. Only through a balloon ride can you grasp the region’s rare geological beauty. The one hour (and something) long ride is enough to seduce you and offer you images of extraordinary beauty that will remain engraved in your memory. It might be a fairly expensive activity, but it is an once-in-a-lifetime experience that you must not miss.

Read the complete guide for Hot-air balloon ride in Cappadocia 

Suggested visit time: 3-4 hours
Open: Every day, except for days with higher than 3 on the Beaufort scale force winds
Cost: From 160€ up to 4,000€

 The know-it-all says: Every sunrise, more than 100 hot-air balloons fly!


The town of Göreme, pronounced in at least three different ways, is according to many the most beautiful place in Cappadocia…and not in vain! It is not a small thing to be walking around and seeing at its center, emerging, the famous pointed rocks, shaped by volcanic ash. The town is located in the center of the Göreme National Park and it is vibrant all day long, while it has dozens of restaurants, souvenir shops, supermarkets, tourism agencies and, of course, hotels among the carved rocks.

Suggested visit time: 1 day
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know-it-all says: In the past, it was called Korama, Matiani or Matiana and Makan!

Underground cities Kaymakli & Derinkuyu

The most well-known among the 36 underground towns that exist in Cappadocia are Kaymakli & Derinkuyu. The town of Kaymakli is the most impressive and comfortable of the two and consists of eight underground levels, up to 40m deep (only four of them are accessible to visitors). Derinkuyu, on the other hand, is more narrow and claustrophobic, but goes as deep as 18 levels under the surface, at about 85m! Inside the beautifully shaped, yet very narrow areas (rooms, kitchens, stables, cellars and more), you will see how residents used to live when they would suffer raids.

Mini Tip: It must be avoided by people who tend to feel claustrophobic, especially during rush hours. (for more tips, click here)

Suggested visit time: 1 hour
Open: Every day 08:00-19:00 (April-October) & Every day 08:00-17:00 (November-March)
Cost: 42 Turkish liras for each one

 The know-it-all says: Kaymakli used to host 3,500 people while Derinkuyu 20,000!

Horse-ride in Cappadocia

Welcome to Cappadocia, namely the land of the beautiful horses! Yes, you got that right. You are in a region that is directly connected to horses. So, you should not miss out on a ride with them. Options are many, so you should check which one best suits your tastes. The best rides are during the sunrise, with the balloons at the background, or during the sunset with the magical colors of the sun dousing the rocks, while you are riding on your horse through the valleys.

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Suggested visit time: 2-2.5 hours
Open: Every day from sunrise to sunset
Cost: From 35 to 60€ per person

 The know-it-all says: Cappadocian horses are considered to be the most beautiful in the East!

Fairy Chimneys

A bit outside Göreme we come across another rare spectacle, the Fairy Chimneys or Pasabag or Monks Valley! However you call it, it is a valley full of rocks that (also) derived from volcanic ash. The paradox here is that their tops seem like they are covered with a “chimney”, which is said to be put there by fairies! The spectacle is very extraordinary, but in order to admire it in peace you will have to get the best spot, since tourists flood this attraction as well (Check out the tips to find out which this spot is).

Suggested visit time: 1-2 hours
Open: Every day 08:00-19:00 (April-October) & Every day 08:00-17:00 (November-March)
Cost: 18 Turkish Liras combined with the Zelve Open Air Museum (combo ticket)

 The know-it-all says: The rocks are 10-15 meters tall!

Photo-shoot in Cappadocia with hot-air balloons

Hot-air balloons offer unique images, both when you are on them as well as from the ground. This is why the balloon chase has become an extremely well-known activity in Cappadocia, during the last few years. What you have to do is research beforehand the locations they take off and land, so that you track down the spots with the most wonderful theme. This way you will find the best spot to take the most super instagram photos. It is an activity that is not as easy as it sounds, but it will fill your profile with impressive images.

Suggested visit time: 2-3 hours
Open: When hot-air balloons fly
Cost: Free

Goreme open air museum

The Goreme open air museum is the gem of the region and a monument protected by UNESCO, for about 40 years! It has easy access from the center of Goreme, as it is just 1.5km away, and it welcomes hundreds of visitors daily. The open air museum has a strong Hellenic scent on every step, as it is entirely consisted of orthodox cave churches, which date back to the 10th to 12th centuries AD. Of course, the Dark Church is the one that steals the show, as it is one of the most beautiful cave churches in the world!

Mini tip: Every chapel has maximum capacity of 20 people. (For more tips, click here)

Suggested visit time: 2 hours
Open: Every day 08:00-19:00 (April-October) & Every day 08:00-16:30 (November-March)
Cost: 54 Turkish liras & 18 for the dark Church

 The know-it-all says: In Cappadocia there are more than 600 churches!!

Cappadocia’s local cuisine

Cappadocia’s local cuisine is based on the combination of meat and vegetables, while dishes are paired with spices, which make for a stronger and fuller flavor. The yaprak or sarma (vine leaf rolls with filling), the börek, the pancakes with greens (Gözleme), the soups with vegetables and legumes will start your appetite, while the Turkish Ravioli (Manti) and Meatballs with sauce, cooked in clay pots, will become your allies against hunger! Finally, the dish that you will find everywhere is the Pottery Kebab. It is a combination of meats (lamb, chicken or beef) with vegetables that are cooked in a ceramic pot for 4-6 hours. Bon appetite..

Check out here the best restaurants in Cappadocia

Cost: 10-20€ per person

 The know-it-all says: Fruit and vegetables are stored, even today, in underground caves and are conserved up to 6 months!

Sunset at Red Rose Valley Cappadocia

Get ready for a sunset different from the usual (link Santorini), a sunset at Red Rose Valley. What makes it so unique is the shift of colors in the atmosphere as the sun sets. The red-pink rocks sometimes reflect and sometimes absorb the orange color of the sun, creating a magical scenery. After all, this is what makes Red Rose Valley the number one spot for someone to enjoy the sunset in Cappadocia. Don’t forget to buy some hot tea from the location’s café, and enjoy it on one of the wooden benches!

It is truly magical how the colors in the atmosphere change every minute, as the sun is setting. And this happens because its colors get tangled with the red-pink color of the rocks.

Suggested visit time: 1.5-2 hours
Open: Always
Cost: 10 Turkish Liras (until sunset)

 The know-it-all says: Inside the valley, there are many hidden churches!

Love Valley

The Love Valley has a different meaning from what you might be expecting! The reason it was named like this is because the rocks inside the valley are shaped like phalluses! The peculiar formations daily attract hundreds of people, who come to exchange vows of love and be photographed with the heart-shaped swing located at the “entrance” of the Love Valley. If you are looking for a more quiet, beautifully themed place in the valley, you will find it at its side!

Check out the Tips for its location

Suggested visit time: 1 hour
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know-it-all says: There are more than 100 phallus-shaped rocks!

Avanos Cappadocia

The small town of Avanos is located on the bank of the Red River (Kizilirmak or Halys), just 10 minutes away from Göreme. Avanos is the best place to escape the tourist crowds, while it is famous, in the whole of Turkey, for its ceramics. In fact, ceramic art is the most important thing for residents, who grew up developing it. Cross the chain bridge to the opposite side where you will have the chance to relax and enjoy a different Cappadocia, more laid back, without large crowds and carved rocks.

Suggested visit time: 5-6 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know-it-all says: Apart from the ceramics, it is also known for their hand-made carpets!

Zelve Open Air Museum

The Zelve Open Air Museum is the most characteristic example of an organized settlement in Cappadocia. It stretches across an area of about two kilometers and makes the visitor understand the way of life among the rocks! It is an amazing experience that instantly immerses you in the life and culture of the first residents of Cappadocia, since there are storerooms, wineries, houses, stables, grain mills and many more. Get inside and discover the real life of old Cappadocia.

Suggested visit time: 2 hours
Open: Every day 08:00-19:00 (April-October) & Every day 08:00-17:00 (November-March)
Cost: 18 Turkish Liras combined with the Fairy Chimneys (combo ticket)

 The know-it-all says: It was inhabited until 1952!


Travelen.eu is regularly updated on ticket costs and operating hours, but you should always visit your choice of destination’s official site for confirmation.