Cappadocia Guide, Turkey

Goreme village, Cappadocia, Turkey

Goreme, fairy chimney capital of the world, and Cappadocia.

Cappadocia: Goreme, Urgup

A morning balloon-to-balloon photo in Cappadocia.

Cappadocia (also spelled Capadocia and Kapadokya) in Anatolia, central Turkey offers the country’s best natural sights, a fantasy land of phallic pinnacles in otherwise flat rural landscape.

Tour buses with guides can be an interesting and informative way to see the region but naturally they keep on moving, so perhaps don’t bother with them as this is a landscape that demands that you wander in wonder, find your favourite view, settle down with a picnic and bottle of raki and watch the rocks grow.

Things to do in Cappadocia

Hiking in Goreme National Park, Cappadocia, Turkey

Hiking in Goreme National Park.

– Take an early morning balloon ride. It’ll be pricey, cold and noisy (not what you might expect, but hot air comes at a price! ) but the views are incredible. This was probably the bugcrew’s best ever balloon trip.

– take a tour around or even better hire some wheels (we really enjoyed scooters hired in Goreme but cycles would suit fit folk), get a picnic bag organised and cruise around randomly. A rare and tranquil pleasure replete with fantasy views.

– walk/hike in beautiful Goreme National Park, Pasabag, Ihlara Valley and canyon, Pigeon Valley.

– Visit the Open Air Museum to see little old rock-cut churches decorated with lively, colourful religious frescos.

– Take a horse riding tour from Akhal-Teke Horse Riding Center.

– Visit Uchisar Castle, a tall rock outcrop riddled with tunnels and windows visible far and wide.

– Take a tour into an underground city such as the biggest, Derinkuyu, or Kaymakli, unless you are claustrophobic or reluctant to spend a valuable day travelling in a minibus in order to stoop through an endless series of dull and featureless tunnels. OK, to be honest, that is a time and money waster, don’t bother!

Cappadocia weather

Best seasons are Autumn – from September to November – when daytime temperatures average around 20C, and spring – from March to May – with averages of 15C, but with possible showers.

Winters can be very cold from December to February with probable snow and lows of -2C. Summer runs from June to August and can see temperatures going over 40C on occasion and jam-packed tourism destinations.

Cappadocia places to stay

Goreme hotel cave room, Cappadocia, Turkey

A typical cave hotel room in Goreme. Not cheap and not especially comfortable – no windows and quite cramped – but a fun experience and cool in summertime.

Urgup and Goreme Hotels: Stay in Goreme or Urgup (photo below) if possible as they are convenient, calm and have a number of excellent restaurants, though don’t rush for a pricey, cramped fairy chimney room unless you’re in it for the laughs. Cave rooms are inevitably dark and possibly uncomfortable to boot. It may be advisable to find a room with a big view of pinnacles and a decent bathroom attached!

Both Urgup and Goreme offer a selection of upscale hotels and backpacker pensions or guest houses. Goreme is smaller, quieter and prettier and leans towards low end travellers while Urgup is the traditional home of more pricey, larger hotels that can accommodate tour groups, particularly on the edge of town.

Derinkuyu underground city

Derinkuyu underground city, Cappadocia, Turkey

A tour of Derinkuyu underground city, 18 storeys deep and once home to 20, 000 people. And that’s as good as it gets, touristically speaking. This is definitely not an attraction for claustrophobics!

Cappadocia Sights

twin phallic rock towers, Cappadocia, Turkey

The hard stone caps on the pinnacles protected them while rains eroded the surrounding softer rock underneath, leaving the pointy bits upstanding.

fairy chimneys and souvenirs Cappadocia, Turkey

And finally, thank god, a souvenir shop.

Getting to Cappadocia

– Plane: Fly Istanbul to Kayseri airport and maybe rent a car or take a taxi/bus, or pre-arrange a hotel pickup for the 60 minute drive to Goreme or Urgup, 80 kms (50 miles). And BTW, it’s cheaper to buy flights when you’re in Turkey (or via a Turkish agent) than from outside the country.

– Bus: The cheapest way to get there is a night bus from Istanbul to Cappadocia. It’s 780 kms (454 miles) and takes about 11 hours. If you board the bus at the Harem Bus Terminal it’ll shave an hour off journey time.

– Train: Much more comfortable is take a sleeper train overnight to Ankara, a short taxi ride to Ankara’s ASTI bus terminal then take a 4 hour bus ride to Nevsehir and a taxi from there to your hotel. Alternatively there’s also a sleeper to Konya; from there it’s a 3 hour bus ride too Nevsehir.

– By Car: It’s a very long drive, fuel is costly and views are not that great. It’s 780 kms (454 miles) and takes about 11 hours.