Cappadocia is a region in central Turkey that’s famous for its unique rock formations, cave dwellings and underground cities. It’s also home to the expansive Goreme National Park, which contains some of the country’s most important historical sites.
Cappadocia has been inhabited since prehistoric times and has served as an important crossroads between Asia Minor and Europe throughout history; it was first settled by Hittites before being conquered by Greeks, Romans and Byzantines (who named it “Kapadokya”). The area became Christianized during Byzantine rule but fell into decline after being invaded by Seljuk Turks in 1071 CE .
Today Cappadocia is popular among tourists who come here to explore its stunning landscapes while staying at boutique hotels or bed-and-breakfasts located within caves carved out of soft volcanic tufa rock formations known as “tuff.”
Cappadocia is located in Central Anatolia, Turkey. It’s about a 5-hour drive from Istanbul and 3 hours from Ankara. The best way to get there is by plane or bus; however, if you’re on a budget and don’t mind driving for hours, then this will be your best option!
You can also take a train from Istanbul to Kayseri where you can then catch another bus or taxi to Cappadocia. If you want more information on how long it will take you depending on which route you choose, check out our travel guide here: https://www.tripadvisor/blog/cappadocia-traveler-guide
Cappadocia offers a wide range of accommodations, from budget-friendly hostels to luxury hotels. If you’re looking for somewhere in the middle, there are plenty of options that won’t break the bank.
But where should you stay? There are several regions within Cappadocia–the best known being Goreme–and each has its own unique character. Here’s a rundown:
- Goreme: This area is home to many hotels and guesthouses, as well as some Airbnb listings (which are great if you want an authentic Turkish experience). It’s also close enough to all attractions that it’s easy to visit them on foot or by car without feeling too far away from civilization (though there aren’t any restaurants or shops nearby). If this sounds like your kind of place, consider staying here!
Cappadocia is an incredible place to visit, with some of the most unique landscapes in all of Turkey. Here are some must-see attractions and activities:
- Goreme Open Air Museum: This UNESCO World Heritage site is a must-visit, featuring a collection of rock-cut churches and monasteries that date back to the 10th century.
- Hot Air Ballooning: Cappadocia is famous for its hot air balloon rides, which offer breathtaking views of the region’s unusual rock formations and valleys.
- Uchisar Castle: This fortress is carved into a volcanic rock formation and offers sweeping views of the surrounding landscape.
- Pasabag Valley: Known as “Monk’s Valley,” this site features unique rock formations that resemble giant mushroom shapes.
- Derinkuyu Underground City: This ancient city was carved out of the soft volcanic rock and served as a refuge for early Christians during times of persecution.
- Zelve Open Air Museum: This site features rock-cut dwellings, churches, and tunnels that date back to the Byzantine period.
- Pigeon Valley: This valley is named for the thousands of pigeons that once roosted in the rock formations and was used by early settlers to collect pigeon droppings for fertilizer.
- Devrent Valley: Known as “Imagination Valley,” this site features rock formations that resemble animals and other shapes.
- Avanos: This town is famous for its pottery-making traditions, and visitors can watch artisans at work and even try their hand at making their own pottery.
- Ihlara Valley: Located about an hour’s drive from Goreme, this valley features a scenic hike through a narrow gorge with rock-cut churches and monasteries along the way.
Where to Eat
Cappadocia is known for its traditional dishes, and you’ll find plenty of restaurants serving up the local fare. If you’re looking for a place to eat with a view, check out one of these restaurants:
- The Red Cave Restaurant in Goreme offers great views over the town and surrounding countryside. It’s also known for its homemade wine and meze (appetizers).
- For something more casual, try Ilhan Restaurant in Urgup–it’s right on top of a hill overlooking the city center. This place serves up grilled meats and local specialties like stuffed zucchini flowers as well as pizza made with fresh dough from their own bakery!
If street food is more your style then head over to Old City Square where there are lots of stalls selling kebabs, soups and other treats from around Turkey.
Nightlife in Cappadocia is vibrant and varied. There are bars and clubs, music venues, live performances and more to choose from.
If you’re looking for something a little different than the usual bar scene, check out one of these places:
- The Cave Bar – This underground cave bar is located inside a hotel called Nevsehir Cave Suites Hotel & Spa. It has an amazing atmosphere with live music every night! You can also enjoy dinner here if you want to make it into an evening out (the food is pretty good).
- The Seven Colored Earth Restaurant – This restaurant serves traditional Turkish cuisine but also has some other options on its menu including salads and pasta dishes as well as local specialties like kofte kebab (meatballs) made from lamb meatballs cooked in tomato sauce served with rice pilaf or bulgur wheat pilaf; chicken shish kebab grilled over charcoal fire served with yogurt sauce; roasted lamb chops marinated overnight before being grilled over charcoal fire until crispy on the outside yet tender inside served with yogurt sauce; baked eggplant stuffed with ground beef then topped off with creamy tomato sauce served alongside rice pilaf or bulgur wheat pilaf; stuffed peppers filled with ground beef seasoned then baked until tender before being topped off again
Balloons in Cappadocia
Cappadocia, Turkey is the most popular location in the world for hot air ballooning, with over half of the world’s balloon trips taking place in the region last year, and almost half a million people taking to the skies. Hot air balloon rides in Cappadocia typically last between 45 minutes and one hour and the baskets used are usually made to fit either 16, 20, or 24 passengers plus the flight captain. The price typically includes all of the experience, including pickup and drop-off at your hotel, breakfast beforehand, and drinks and snacks afterward.