Have you seen those Instagram photos with plenty of hot air balloons floating in the backdrop? Well, they are definitely not Photoshopped, because this magical place is real and it is in Cappadocia!
If you think this region in Türkiye is all about hot air balloon rides, I am here to prove you wrong as there are plenty of things to do in Cappadocia! This is a traveler's paradise known for its scenic desert landscapes, ancient cities, and unique rock formations.
Find out what you can enjoy round the clock in this internationally-recognized heritage site!
Red Valley is definitely at the top of the list as one of the most gorgeous valleys in Cappadocia. It has a magnificent sunset viewpoint, casting a picturesque shadow on the sandstones in the backdrop.
There are multiple options to get there, including driving to the exact viewpoint. If you are feeling adventurous, you can go on an easy hike from the entrance of the Meskinder trail.
Start with a 3 km walk from Goreme town and head to Meskinder trail. From there, you will continue on the Rose Valley trail where you will spot a historic cave church that is worth visiting (you can get some snacks as well). Then, you will head to the Red Valley trail where a couple of commercialized cafes and Instagrammable spots await you.
It takes about 2 hours to hike up the trail. The entrance fee is 6 Turkish Liras (SGD 1) and the valley is open every day 24/7.
You can’t claim you’ve been to Cappadocia if you’ve never been on a hot air balloon ride. This star attraction attracts the largest crowd of visitors, with over 600,000 people flying over Cappadocia in 2019 alone!
Most tourists may choose to watch the sunrise from their hotel but I recommend taking photos from a hot air balloon as it is a whole different experience! While there is no specific takeoff site, the best place to get a bird’s eye view is flying above Love Valley as you watch the sunrise behind the valleys.
The hot air balloon tour will last about an hour and if you are lucky, you will get an extra half an hour to admire the scenery! There are usually two flight sessions: before sunrise at 5 a.m. or during sunrise. Do bring a sweater as the weather can get chilly when you are up in the air!
Depending on the agency you’ve engaged with, it will cost between 1,150 to 1,830 Turkish Liras (SGD 58 to SGD 92).
The Goreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia have a span of nearly 100 km square feet in area. It features rock formations eroded from weathering, creating uniquely shaped rock formations, valleys, and fairy chimneys.
One of its main attractions is the Zelve Open Air Museum, a former Muslim-inhabited town with a monastery. It also has a cheaper entrance than the ever-popular Goreme Open Air Museum costing only 65 Turkish Liras (SGD 3) versus 480 Turkish Liras (SGD 25).
Although there are fewer religious artworks in Zelve and less well-maintained churches, it is still a pleasant location to visit.
The museum operates from 8 am to 5 pm every day, however, I recommend touring this heritage location in the morning.
Hate walking? Then try riding into the sunset with an ATV tour! Here in Cappadocia, you will go on an off-beaten track to see the best valleys in just two hours including Red Valley, Rose Valley, Love Valley, and a small village area as well.
The ATV tour is exhilarating enough for adrenaline junkies as you maneuver around desert trails, stopping at each viewpoint for 15 minutes. If you prefer to go at your own pace, you can choose a private tour to get the most out of your sightseeing trip. The tour guide will provide all the necessary gear so you’re all covered!
Within Cappadocia is a town well-known for its pottery making and that is no other than Avanos. Here is where generations of traditional pottery makers live to preserve this longstanding tradition, providing workshops to tourists who are willing to get their hands dirty.
Inside this town is an art district where you will find thousands of ceramics and antique items you can purchase as souvenirs. Many shops provide such workshops and the price is not fixed, although it can range anywhere from SGD 15 to SGD 60 depending on the length of duration.
Unleash your inner pottery skills and don’t worry if you are a beginner, you will get the best instructors to guide you along!
To date, there are over 200 underground cities in Cappadocia, with 36 discovered locations, and only a handful that are open for tourism such as the Kaymakli Underground City. The largest known underground city is the Derinkuyu Underground City, built by Christians to protect themselves from raids and persecution for their faith.
With an impressive 55-meter multi-functioning ventilation shaft (it is also a well), the Derinkuyu community remained underground for centuries until the early 20th century. Much of the structure remains intact with clear sections for storage rooms, stables, kitchens, and religious places.
It is best to visit in the afternoon when there are fewer tourists to enjoy the space. However, do note that it can be quite claustrophobic with its narrow passageways. The tour will take around 1 to 1.5 hours and costs 100 Turkish Liras (SGD 5).
This list covers the top things to do in Cappadocia so make sure you find time to check them all out! I recommend spending at least two nights here to cover the main highlights and leeway for unforeseen weather conditions for hot air balloon rides.
Share this article with your partner-in-crime and plan out your itinerary together! Want to explore other parts of Türkiye? Here’s our 10-day itinerary covering all the best parts of this country!