Must-visit places in Cappadocia
After getting familiar with how to get to Cappadocia and the whole new experience of the balloon flights, then it is time to also get to know the other spectacular places in Cappadocia.
The morning miracle with the hot air balloons normally finishes around 9 am, so after that you still have the whole day to discover the area and the amazing rock formations.
What you shouldn’t miss in Cappadocia:
1. Obviously the hot air balloon morning scenery from Göreme and from the Love Valley
2. Göreme: Göreme is one of the most unique and authentic cities of Cappadocia, because of its Cave Hotels.
This type of accommodation is very special for Cappadocia. Cave Hotels are trying to imitate how life was in the early centuries in Turkey’s lovely Cappadocia region. - However, this time for tourists it is more like the luxus way of living, not even comparable with the original versions of cave houses.
And it is a very unique thing apparently because there are only a few places in the world where you can sleep in a cave room.
Walking around Göreme’s tiny streets, checking out the carpet sellers' repertoire, nice hand-carved mini-Göreme- , and Fairy Chimney decorations is a great experience.
3. Rose Valley:
Rose Valley is a very nice place to walk around.
It is a little bit different from Love Valley, because in Love Valley, the Valley itself is deep enough so that the hot air balloons can fly around between the walls of the valley. On the other hand, in Rose Valley, it is not that deep, and easier to walk across it. In Rose Valley, we find a lot of huge rock formations, which were actually the homes of people hundreds of years ago.
It is incredible, how could people carve their homes in the huge rocks sometimes at such heights that it is unbelievable how could they do it without modern tools and technology.
There are adventurous parts in the valley where you have to climb ladders or very steep hill-sides.
In many parts of Rose Valley, there are different paths, and none of them is really “the Path”, you can just go in the direction which you like the most. I would recommend you to start your Rose Valley here and then walk back in the direction of Göreme in a way, that you exit the Valley at the Göreme Open-Air Museum. It is a nice walk, in some parts even a hike! So comfortable trainers are a must-wear.
If you want to have a guided tour and learn about Cappadocia’s history and the rock formations from a guide, then you can do it in the Göreme Open-Air Museum.
On the way back to Göreme, check out the little market on the left-hand side after you went down some stairs. You can buy spectacular Turkish lamps there. BUT don’t buy it immediately at the first seller, the next vendors may offer better prices. And you can bargain at least 40% off from the original price they say!
Pasabag, on its other name, the Monks Valley is one of the most spectacular and iconic places of Cappadocia. You can see dozens of mushroom-shaped fairy chimneys concentrated to (compared to their sizes) a very small area.
After strolling around the chimneys, make sure to climb up to the level above, where you get a very different, also beautiful view from the height of the chimneys.
The entrance fee for Monks Valley is 20 Turkish Lyra. (2019)
Pigeon Valley is another stunningly beautiful valley of the area. There is a car park next to the road. You just need to walk a few meters from the parking place, and the beautiful scenery is right in front of you. Of course, you can also have a longer walk down in the valley if you wish.
You might wonder why is this place named “pigeon” valley. On the caves you see a lot of small holes mostly in the upper part.
These holes have been carved especially for pigeons. With these rudimentary birdhouses, which were carved by the people, the locals wanted to attract pigeons to move to this area, near their homes. But why? Because they needed their poo. Funny but true.
They needed pigeon poo, to fertilize the ground, so the soil gets better, which would result in a better harvest.
Uçhisar is the town near Göreme. From Göreme’s viewpoint you have a very nice view of the Uçhisar Castle in the distance.
Visiting the castle is a great experience. As because this is the highest point in the area, you can have a really nice view of Göreme and the stunning Valleys around. The way to the top is quite steep but is totally worth the effort. If you become hungry while climbing up to the castle, then Uçhisar is a good place to try out the famous Pottery Kebab. Pottery Kebab is made in small single-serve pots, which are coming from Avanos, the pottery village nearby. Beef, tomatoes, capsicum, and onions, with the addition of a mixture of herbs are placed in the pots and potato is put on the top at the hole. Once it is cooked, they bring the pottery to the table, and in front of the guest they cut down the upper part of the pot, and that's how the pottery becomes also the plate at the same time. That’s how the meal is cooked. It is delicious.
In some of the tours they take you to small jewelry shops next to Uçhisar, where you not only can check out the beautiful pieces of jewelry, but also have the chance to visit the workshop area, where they machine gemstones and prepare them for the base of jewelry and decoration.
The entrance fee for Uçhisar Castle is 9 Turkish Lyra. (2019)
As I mentioned, there is this little pottery village, Avanos. There you have the chance to look into small potteries, and see craftsmen making beautiful pots, mugs, vases. You can find very beautiful hand-painted designs.
Derinkuyu Underground City:
The Derinkuyu Underground City is Turkey’s biggest excavated underground city. It was built probably around the 8-7th century B.C. The deepest point of the city is around 60 meters under the ground, and it is so huge, that it could give a shelter for around 20.000 people and their livestock, plus for food storage. In war times there were times when people had to hide in this underground cave city for months. The ventilation system of the complex was built in such a proper way, that fresh air could reach even the deepness of 60 meters. Inside the underground city, the routes could have been closed with huge stone doors, which couldn’t be opened from the outside. And because there were times when people and whole villages had to hide for a couple of months there, people had the most important places for themselves also underground. They had chapels, schools, stables, oil presser rooms, etc.
Nowadays it is unbelievable, how could people live “locked” under the ground without the sunlight and proper place to move and live. It is a very interesting experience to visit the underground city, and realize after ~30 minutes being there, that how hard life these people actually had.
Visiting Derinkuyu is not recommended for Claustrophobic people! And for tall people, it can be challenging in some places.
The entrance fee for the Derinkuyu Underground City is 42 Turkish Lyra. (2019)
Zelve Open-Air Museum:
If you haven’t visited the Göreme Open-Air Museum, then you should visit this cave complex. It is a massive, but stunningly beautiful, unique cave town with numerous church ruins.
The entrance fee for the Zelve Open-Air Museum is 18 Turkish Lyra. (2019)
Last, but not least, the Ihlara Valley,
Ihlara Valley is a 15 km long, up to 150 meters deep valley. It is famous for its churches and houses which had been carved in the walls of the valley by the monks who have settled in the valley from the 7th century on. It is very nice to have walk on one of the paths surrounded by real wild nature. And for lunch check out the nice traditional restaurant at the bank of the Melendiz Stream.
IF you don’t want to discover the area on your own by car, then you have the option to book a spot on a day-tour, where they take you to the touristic places with a guide. You can choose from many types of tours, based on the sights you want to visit, and the duration. Most probably you will be able to book the tour directly at your hotel reception.
In my opinion, these are the must-visit places in Cappadocia. If you haven’t read yet, check out my post about the hot air balloon tours. And stay tuned, because a new blog post will also arrive soon about the Turkish Riviera!
Have a nice day!