10 Things to Do in Cappadocia, Turkey (with Map & Photos)

Cappadocia (Kapadokya in Turkish) is a region located in central Turkey. It houses the provinces of Kayseri, Nevşehir, Aksaray and Niğde. It is famous for its geological formations (especially its fairy chimneys), cave churches, underground cities and for being an ideal place to fly in a balloon. In this post I want to show you the 10 essential things to do and see in Cappadocia, Turkey.

Cappadocia What to see
Cappadocia what to see

Since I discovered this place, I knew that the day I stepped foot in Turkey would not only be to visit the beautiful city of Istanbul, but that I would not leave the country without taking a trip to Cappadocia. I had dreamed of visiting Cappadocia and it exceeded my expectations. Cappadocia is a magical place and it is difficult to describe in words how special it is. You have to go and experience it in the first person. I'm sure you will love it as much as I do.

Essential things to do and see in Cappadocia, Turkey


Before starting with the list of the essential places to visit in Cappadocia, I wanted to recommend that you stay in Göreme, since this way most of these places will be very close to you.

1. Rose Valley & Red Valley (Valley of the Roses and Red Valley)


Cappadocia What to see
What to see in Cappadocia

Some of the most beautiful landscapes that I saw in Cappadocia was visiting the Valley of Roses and the Red Valley (Rose Valley and Red Valley). They are located next to each other, therefore it is a good idea to plan the visit to both places in the same morning or afternoon. Preferably, I recommend going in the afternoon to be able to enjoy the sunset from one of the two valleys.

The best way to explore the valleys is on foot. You can also take a horse ride. There are several trekkings that you can follow, of different duration. You will see that they are signposted but my advice is to get a map of the valleys before you go. The most ideal would be to trek from Rose Valley to Red Valley, to finish watching the sunset from here.

You can spend as much time as you want to go through the valleys, but at least I would say that about 3 hours is not bad. It depends on how long you have and what you want to ride. Inside the valleys there is a cafeteria where they serve juices and little else. There are also services.

To get to the Valley of the Roses and the Red Valley you have to go towards Göreme Open Air Museum. Once you pass the Tourist Hotel & Resort Cappadocia you will see a path on your left. Keep going straight on that road until you see a parking lot next to a stall. There you can leave your car / ATV / motorcycle, since they cannot enter the valley. At the stall you can buy drinks. You can also get there from Çavuşin.

2. Pasabag or Valley of the Monks, an essential place to see in Cappadocia


What to see in Cappadocia
What to see in Cappadocia

Another place that left me speechless on our trip to Cappadocia (Tuquía) was Pasabag, also known as the Valley of the Monks. You will see numerous earth pillars and some of the tallest fairy chimneys in the region. They usually end in the shape of a cone and some of them are joined together. There is also a chapel dedicated to Saint Simeon. Do not forget to enter the caves dug in the chimneys, where monks used to hide.

To get to Pasabag from Göreme, take the road towards Avanos. Once you pass the small town of Çavuşin, keep an eye out for the signs, as you will see a sign pointing the way to Pasabag on your right.

3. Love Valley, a unique place in Cappadocia


What to see in Cappadocia
What to see in Cappadocia

Another place that I recommend visiting in Cappadocia is the Valley of Love (Love Valley). They say that the name of this valley is due to the fact that the geological formations look like huge penises. I do not know if it is true but what is true is that this is what makes the place so popular and recognized.

This place can be visited in two ways: walking the roads that cross the valley or enjoying the views from the viewpoints. From this last place, you will have beautiful views, especially at sunrise, when the Cappadocian sky fills with balloons. 

To get to Love Valley from Göreme, you also have to take the road to Avanos. Before reaching Çavuşin take the detour to the left.

Exact location of the dirt road that leads to the valley: 38.663408, 34.829787. Exact location of the viewpoint of Love Valley: 38.659377, 34.818878.

4. Uçhisar Castle


What to see in Cappadocia
What to see in Cappadocia

About a 10-minute drive from Göreme, is the town of Uçhisar. Of this town, what stands out the most is the Castle of Uçhisar. It prowls its dovecotes, churches and tunnels. You can also climb to the top of the castle, which is the highest point in all of Cappadocia. From there you can get to see Mount Erciyes.

If you do not have your own vehicle, there are buses that connect Göreme and Uçhisar. If that day you woke up with a lot of energy, you can also walk from Göreme, through the Pigeon Valley (Valley of the Pigeons). They are about 5km.

The final stretch of the road that connects Göreme with Uçhisar is full of viewpoints. You can easily get there by car or walking.

5. Open Air Museum Göreme, Capadocia


What to see in Cappadocia
What to see in Cappadocia

One place to see in Cappadocia is necessarily the Göreme Open Air Museum. It has several monasteries located next to each other. There are numerous chapels whose walls are covered with frescoes. I found them accurate on the inside. It is a highly recommended visit if you want to learn more about the day-to-day life of those who inhabited these monasteries.

The entrance costs 100 TL (about 9 €). You can also rent an audio guide. From Göreme, it takes about 20 minutes on foot.

6. Devrent Valley, also known as Valley of Imagination


What to see in Cappadocia
What to see in Cappadocia

The Devrent Valley is also known as the Valley of Imagination. This name is due to the fact that many of its rocks have very curious shapes that are reminiscent of different objects or animals. Walking through the valley commenting on what each formation reminds you of is one of the most fun plans to do in Cappadocia.

On my first visit to Cappadocia I was unable to visit this place due to lack of time. However, on my second visit I didn't want to miss it. One of the most famous formations is the one you can see in the photo above. Would you say it is shaped like a camel or a snail?

I recommend you visit it next to Pasabag, since it is quite close, just 8 minutes by car. In between the two sites, don't miss the Zelve Open Air Museum. It is much less popular than the Göreme Open Air Museum but it is also very interesting.

7. Flying in a balloon in Cappadocia, an essential thing to do in Cappadocia


What to see in Cappadocia
What to see in Cappadocia

One of the most magical experiences you can have in Cappadocia is flying over the region in one of the many hot air balloons that take off at sunrise. Something you should know when planning your trip to Cappadocia is that not every morning you can fly in a balloon. In principle the flights are offered every morning but some days the flights are canceled due to weather conditions.

Because of this, I recommend that you book your balloon flight in Cappadocia on the first day of your visit. In this way, if it is canceled, you have more days and, therefore, opportunities to be able to fly another day. We were not very lucky and we were left without flying in a balloon. We have to go back!

Flights are made in Göreme. There are numerous companies that offer this service. They all work in a similar way. They will pick you up at the hotel, they take you to their establishment for breakfast, the flight takes place (it lasts approximately 1 hour), they drink cava to celebrate and they take you back to the hotel. It usually costs around € 75.

As I have already mentioned, I recommend hiring your balloon excursion as soon as you know the date of your first sunrise in Cappadocia. You can book the balloon flight in advance from this page or from this other page, depending on the price.

8. Watch the sunrise and sunset in Cappadocia


Although we could not fly in a balloon in Cappadocia, the first morning we were lucky to see how dozens of flights went up into the sky while the sun said good morning to us. Flying in a balloon in Cappadocia has to be magical but watching the sunrise with all the balloons in the sky from the mainland is also an experience full of magic.

Some of the best places to watch the sunrise in Cappadocia (and the sunset) are as follows:

DAWN FROM LOVE VALLEY. On our second visit to Cappadocia we saw two amazing sunrises from Love Valley. In one of them the balloons flew towards us and it was a real wonder. I share the exact coordinates of the two places where we saw the sunrise in Love Valley. The first day was from 38.655944, 34.820705 and the second day from 38.661945, 34.821236.

What to see in Cappadocia
What to see in Cappadocia

SUNSET POINT (GÖREME). It is a very popular place to watch sunrise and sunset as it can be reached on foot from Göreme. From here you can see places like Pigeon Valley, Uçhisar Castle and the Red Valley in the distance. Sunset Point exact location: 38.640564, 34.832147.

SUNSET FROM RED VALLEY. For an unforgettable Cappadocia sunset, head to Red Valley. From here you will have beautiful views of the entire region. There is a car park and stalls where you can have a drink while the sun goes down. I recommend you go a bit into the valley, right up to this point: 38.655879, 34.861718.

What to see in Cappadocia
What to see in Cappadocia

DAWN FROM ROSE VALLEY. If you want to see very close how the balloons inflate and how they take off, I recommend going to Rose Valley. We first approached the exact point where several balloons took off (38.655016, 34.847929) and then we went up to a viewpoint right next to it (38.655736, 34.844401).

SUNSET IN ROSE VALLEY. From this other point in Rose Valley, we were able to see a very beautiful sunset all alone. I share the exact location: 38.657219, 34.848297.

What to see in Cappadocia
What to see in Cappadocia

UÇHISAR. Uçhisar Castle is the highest point in Cappadocia. From here you can see incredible sunrises and sunsets. Another place from where you have incredible views is on the final stretch of the road that goes from Göreme to Uçhisar.

If you stay in a hotel with a roof terrace, you can enjoy a sunrise without having to go far. On our first trip to Cappadocia, we saw an amazing sunrise from our hotel, Koza Cave Hotel.

Something to keep in mind is that each day the balloons go in one direction or another, depending on the wind.

9. Visit an underground city: Kaymakli or Derinkuyu


What to see in Cappadocia
What to see in Cappadocia

Cappadocia has numerous underground cities. Two of the best known are Kaymakli and Derinkuyu. The cities began to be excavated in the times of the Hittites and for several centuries they were home to different peoples that hid from the invaders.

Kaymakli is the largest city in terms of breadth and Derinkuyu the deepest (85 meters deep). Both underground cities are south of Göreme, Kaymakli 25 km and Derinkuyu about 40 km.

On my first visit to Cappadocia I did not visit any underground city but on my second visit I did not want to miss it. We visited Kaymakli and found it to be absolutely amazing. It has a total of nine underground levels, of which four can be visited. You will have to go through quite narrow tunnels, so be careful if you are a bit claustrophobic.

The entry costs 60 TL (5.40 €). They recommend hiring a guide but we did not do it since the first price that a man told us at the entrance was 200 TL (€ 18). I thought it was a bit of a scam so we decided to continue on our own and read the information on the internet. The way forward is marked with arrows.

10. Pigeon Valley


What to see in Cappadocia
What to see in Cappadocia

We finish this list of what to see in Cappadocia with the Pigeon Valley (Valley of the Pigeons). It is located right next to Göreme, so you can walk to it. It is a very good place to take a pleasant walk among different rocky forms, among which are churches and houses in abandoned caves. You can also see this place from the viewpoints that surround it.

These are other points of interest in the region, in case you have enough time to visit more sites or want to know what else you can see or do in Cappadocia: Zelve Valley or Ihlara Valley. Another good plan is to walk around Göreme, have tea, visit a carpet store (they are spectacular), take an ATV tour or simply get lost in the valleys of Cappadocia.

Cappadocia Map