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Bucket list destination:

Cappadocia

  • Central Anatolia, Turkey

Last updated: 09 July, 2024
Expert travel writer: Jeremy Seal

Cappadocia is a fantasy land where the soft rock has weathered into a profusion of arches, caverns and eye-popping protuberances that resemble gigantic mushrooms or massive meringues.

The locals have followed nature’s example, hollowing the volcanic stone into homes, barns, fresco-painted Byzantine-era churches, and even so-called underground cities, enormous warrens where whole communities once sheltered from raiding Saracens and Mongols.

Of particular appeal to the culturally curious and to walkers alike, Cappadocia has in recent years acquired a wealth of architecturally distinctive and delightful hotels.

The natural beauty and culture of this World Heritage Site can now be experienced in levels of comfort and sophistication not associated with Turkey’s steppe interior.

Orientation

Cappadocia is a compact region about 50km wide at the very centre of Turkey, with a central hub provided by the neighbouring towns of Goreme and Urgup. The other small towns of particular interest – Uchisar, Ortahisar, Mustafapaşa and Avanos – all lie within a 15km radius. Many of the best sites and walking routes are concentrated in this central area, but there are more far-flung ruins and valleys, especially to the south.

Tours, tickets & transfers

14

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this destination, plus helpful tickets and transfers

  • Goreme

2 Days 1 Night Cappadocia tour from Istanbul by plane is the most easy way to explore Cappadocia.We will pick you from your hotel in Istanbul and drop off to your hotel again.You don't have to worry about anything. We have thought and arranged everything for you. You just enjoy your trip. This package will tick all the boxes for you. What is the highlights of this tour? *Goreme Open Air Museum *Kaymakli Underground City *Pasabag Fairy Chimneys *Pigeon Valley *Uchisar Castle *Avanos *Hike in Red Valley *Love Valley *Goreme Panaroma **Please Note** *With this 2-day tour, you will see all the beauties of Cappadocia at a limited time.Due to this limited time, flights to Cappadocia are the first flights in the morning. (Usually 06.40 am flight, subject to availability). Your pick up time from Istanbul hotel will be around 4 am. *This tour does not include assistant services at airports. *The price does not include balloon flight tickets.Please ask for reservation and price information.

Price €470

Min age 0

Rating 4.93 / 5 [234 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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  • Istanbul

Although many cross-country tours in Turkey only allocate a day to Cappadocia’s preternatural landscape and innovative architecture, most travelers find that a two-day tour strikes the right balance between seeing the region’s highlights and sacrificing time elsewhere in the country. See all of the highlights of Cappadocia comfortably during this two-day tour departing from Istanbul. Don’t risk running out of time to see all of the region’s unique natural heritage; instead, make sure you get to experience all of Cappadocia’s surreal landscapes, its cave churches, and the underground city.

Price €379

Min age 0

Rating 4.24 / 5 [158 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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  • Istanbul

Tick through Turkey’s classic sights on this spellbinding 7-day tour that starts and finishes in Istanbul. Traveling by air-conditioned coach with an expert guide, explore the emotive World War I battle sites of Gallipoli, the breathtaking Greco-Roman ruins of Ephesus, and the fairy-tale landscapes of Cappadocia. In-between, ogle the white rock terraces of Pamukkale, swim in the hot springs at Hierapolis, view the ruins of Troy and much, much more. The tour includes six nights’ accommodation plus breakfast and dinner on each day.

Price €1,239

Min age 8

Rating 4.71 / 5 [148 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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  • Istanbul

4 Day Turkey tour all by flight. If you would like to visit most famous places in Turkey, this tour is exactly for you: including Cappadocia, with its valley, canyon, cave hotels, balloon rides(Balloon ride is Extra Cost Optional), hills and unusual rock formation; Ephesus, one of the most important cities of the Roman Empire and Pamukkale, the city contains hot springs and travertines, terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water.

Price €1,100

Min age 0

Rating 4.8 / 5 [70 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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  • Istanbul

Experience all of the must sees during Cappadocia Tour, Ephesus Tour, Pamukkale Tour. Watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon as you float above the fairy chimneys that dot the landscape. Stay in one of the charming cave hotels built into the volcanic rocks of Göreme. Tour the famous sites of the region such as the underground city of Derinkuyu, Uçhisar Castle, Göreme Open Air Museum, Selime Monastery and the Ihlara Valley. Discover the ancient city of Hieraplois in Pamukkale. Relax in the beautiful white travertines heated by thermal water. Retain your youth with a dip in Cleopatra’s Pool. See what remains of the Temple of Artemis, one of the ancient seven wonders of the world and visit the Virgin Mary’s last dwelling place. Have an adventure you’ll never forget your Pamukkale Tour from istanbul.

Price €1,095

Min age 0

Rating 4.78 / 5 [69 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Travel advice

When to go

High summer is low season, but increasing numbers of visitors put up with the heat and volcanic dust to combine Cappadocia with a Turkish beach holiday.

Despite an outside chance of rain, spring and autumn are excellent times to visit; October can be particularly busy. Don’t rule out mid-winter, when high pressure can bring crisp blue skies and Cappadocia can be at its uncrowded best.

Getting there and away

There are daily flights from Istanbul to Cappadocia’s main airport at Kayseri and also to smaller Nevsehir. It’s roughly a 45-minute drive from the airports to central Cappadocia, and taxi transfers can be arranged through your hotel.

Getting around

Taxis are easily available in larger towns such as Goreme and Urgup. Most destinations are served by frequent, cheap dolmus (minibuses), which pick up or drop off passengers at any point along their route.

On the back roads lifts are commonly offered, though it’s normal to make a contribution in such cases. Car hire is easy and cheap. Roads are generally in good condition and traffic mostly light.

Where to stay

With a few exceptions accommodation is in towns or villages rather than in the countryside. The majority of hotels in the region are ‘cave’ hotels – often, in fact, a mix of rock-cut and 19th-century freestanding masonry. Hugely characterful, most have only a small number of rooms and offer a unique insight into these historic dwellings.

Most visitors stay in the three main towns – Uchisar, Urgup and Goreme. Uchisar offers a superb central setting, a lovely low-key atmosphere, good shops and restaurants, great views and easy access to some of the region’s best walking trails.

Goreme is Cappadocia’s original tourist centre, set among the region’s signature ‘fairy chimneys’. It is a little busier than Uchisar and Urgup, but has bags of charm. Urgup is more of a proper town, rather than a tourist destination, with more in the way of markets and shops, but still feels nicely low-key.