Cappadocia in 3 words: extraordinary, touristic, hot air balloon

Why Cappadocia?
To make a hot-air balloon tour, to have some photos of fairy chimneys, to taste wine…

How many days are ideal for the trip to Cappadocia?
You should set aside 2 days for Cappadocia. The tourist season lasts from April to November. If you go there in December, like I did, you will only see Japanese. During the tourist season you have also a chance to meet people from many other nations. For ideal weather conditions in Cappadocia, go in the spring.

How do you go Cappadocia?
It took me 4 hours to go from Ankara to Goreme by bus. The 4-lane highway is smooth and uninterrupted. The distance between Ankara and Cappadocia is 270 km (167 miles), the distance between İstanbul and Cappadocia is 730 km (453 miles). Since there are many places to visit in Cappadocia it will be easier to travel by car. But if you say you can’t stand long journeys by car, you can first come to Cappadocia by plane and then you can hire a car.

You have two options to come from İstanbul to Cappadocia by plane. The first is the daily flights of Turkish Airlines from İstanbul to Tuzkoy Airport which is 30 km (18 miles) away from the city center, Nevsehir. The other option is the İstanbul-Kayseri flights of Turkish Airlines and Pegasus. The distance between Kayseri and Nevsehir is 100 km (62 miles). You can consult your hotel for detailed information for transportation to Cappadocia, because some hotels have facilities like picking up their customers from the airport. Furthermore, there are bus shuttles serving passengers going from the airport to the city center.

My favorite places (touristic attractions, museums, restaurants, cafes, shops) in Cappadocia would surely guide your trip here.

Green stands for Restaurants, Quick Bites, Coffee Shops and Bars;

Red, for touristic attractions; Blue, for shops.

Since Cappadocia map is periodically updated, loading time maybe longer at times, please reload the blog page.

Where to go in Cappadocia?
Even though the Cappadocia district is known as Nevsehir, it actually covers some other cities like Kırsehir, Nigde, Aksaray and Kayseri. Locally known as ”fairy chimneys” these natural formations also have a historical dimension. For centuries, different civilizations have used fairy chimneys or caves as houses and churches. This is the most important point that makes Cappadocia extraordinary and the leading tourist destination of Turkey. The places that should be seen in Nevsehir are the towns like Avanos, Ortahisar, Uchisar, Goreme,Urgup, and underground cities, caravansaries, Soganlı Valley , Ihlara Valley, Gülsehir and Hacıbektas.

Don’t be scared that there are so many places to see, because when you see the most popular destinations you can say that you have been in Cappadocia. Although I went to Cappadocia twice, for both of my trips I just stayed there one night; that’s why what I’m going to share with you will be limited to Avanos and Goreme. Avanos is a town situated next to the longest river of Turkey the Kizilirmak (Red River).

You should definitely visit the Open Air Museum in Goreme. You’ll see the magnificent fairy chimneys and the churches carved into the mountains. Especially if you’re fond of taking photos, this site is for you.

If you want to get a bird’s eye view of this incredible area, you should try a hot air balloon over Cappadocia. The pricing of the hot air balloon companies, which you can see everywhere, varies between 80 € and 250 € depending on the season and which kind of tourist you are (foreign/domestic). When I went there in mid-December, it was 80 €, but some companies charge foreigners 120 € for the same balloon ride. In other words, the companies try to extract as much money as possible.

What do you recommend to eat in Cappadocia, Alper?
I suggest you stay one night in Uranos, Sarıkaya. This place offers an ideal environment for crowded groups and foreign tourists and a dinner accompanied by performances. Think about a circle shape amphitheater with a stage at the bottom and a table in front of the tiered seats above the performance area. Moreover, this place is 30 meters inside the rock: that’s why there is no telephone signal at all. While you’re having your dinner, you really enjoy watching traditional performances varying from a traditional marriage proposal ceremony to a belly dancer to the folkloric dance from the Antep province to the Black Sea Region. The price is very convenient. I had never thought about participating in a Turkish Night in Cappadocia, yet it was a quite amazing experience even for me.

Where to stay in Cappadocia?
There are two main places to stay in Cappadocia; one in Goreme and the other in Urgup. I think that as a popular touristic destination, Urgup, dominated by luxurious hotels, has lost its ancient natural character. If you would like to feel Cappadocia better, then you should stay in Goreme or Uchisar. Actually, it doesn’t matter because all of these regions are really close to each other.

Anything special to buy from Cappadocia?
Most probably, pottery is the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about shopping in Cappadocia, as the small town of Nevsehir, Avanos is famous for pottery. All around the town you can’t see anything except for the pots and ceramic workshops. The unique red mud used for constructing pots is extracted from this region. The history of pot making dates back to the Hittites. You can still watch the potters while they’re doing their jobs in the workshops in the town center and its vicinity. If you want to kick the wheel like them, I mean if you want to construct your own pot, you can do this for a nominal fee, 5tl. And if you want to buy just a souvenir, there are showrooms in the workshops.

You can also visit Turasan Winery, which is located in Urgup, and taste wines. You can buy wines at the end of the visit. Of course, you don’t have to go to the winery to buy the wine of Cappadocia. In town centers, you can easily find any kind of wine from the sellers out of the tourist resort areas.

Besides pottery shops and wine shops, there are many shops or stands in which carpet, kilim (rug) and authentic products are sold. But these won’t be different from other products sold in any other tourist destination.

Anything to watch out for?
I especially advise foreigners to make bargains with sellers while buying souvenirs or any other kind of thing in shops situated around the museums and bazaars. Say that you can only give half of the price. I came across such an unfortunate situation in the bazaar located between Goreme Open-Air Museum and the parking area.

Be careful during your visit to the underground city in Cappadocia since there are uncomfortably close areas.

translated by Sevim Karaca
edited by Joy Crow