Arriving in Cappadocia is like entering a Lord of the Rings landscape. All around, the rocks have been whipped into smooth regular curves like frosting on a cake.
“It’s like being on the moon.” “It’s out of this world.”
Cappadocia boasts some of the world’s most unusual and spectacular landscapes. Also known as Kapadokya.
History – Volcanic eruptions created this surreal moonscape: the lava flows formed tuff rock, which wind and rain sculpted into sinuous valleys with curvy cliff faces and pointy fairy chimneys.
Istanbul to Cappadocia
Fastest, and not expensive if you purchase your ticket in advance, are several daily nonstop flights from both Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW) to Kayseri’s Erkilet Airport (ASR) and Nevşehir’s Kapadokya Airport (NEV) on Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airlines and AtlasJet.
24 hours in Cappadocia
Take a Shuttle/ Private car to Goreme –
Check with your hotel if they can arrange an airport pickup. It will be cheaper to pay in Turkish Lira, or you can book a shuttle/private transfer online.
Check-in into a cave hotel –
The cave hotels of Cappodocia remain a popular place for tourists of the area to stay in, particularly in the towns of Goreme, Guzelyurt, Urgup and Uchisar. We stayed at Dervish Cave House in Goreme and this place was fantastic! The staff was very helpful and attentive, the location in Cappadocia was central to most attractions, we could easily walk to numerous restaurants for dinner, and sleeping in a real cave was an awesome experience. It’s been one of my favourite places, too.
Walking/Hiking tour –
Rose and Red Valleys are most famous for a short 2-3 hour hike, named due to the rocky landscape’s stunning pink patina.
A 3 mile hike through a valley that looked like a cross between Love Valley and the Grand Canyon was great fun. We hiked among stone spires that were pink, red, and white. The valley was beautiful and like nothing we had ever seen before. We did a guided tour but you can do it on your own – ” You will get lost and that’s part of the fun.”
Begin the tour by hiking down through Meskendir valley to Red and Rose valleys where you can see different natural rock formations and tunnels through the rock, as well as man-made ones, in the form of rock-cut churches with their magnificent murals. You can also visit three churches, the Meskendir Kilise, the Kolonlu Kilise (Church with columns) and Haclı Kilise (Church with a cross) which has beautiful frescoes. Before climbing up and admiring the sunset from a view point above Haclı Kilise you can enjoy a glass of fresh juice or a cup of Turkish tea or coffee at Emin’s cafe.
Sunset horse ride
If you want to do more activities than you can opt for a hourse ride, there are alot of companies that do sunset horse rides. Or you can go to one of the famous sunset points and see the sun going down. It is quite a show and it lowers over the wild landscape of this region.
Turkish culture night –
If you are interested and you haven’t seen it in Istanbul, than go for an authentic Turkish cultural night which offers dinner and show. Or you can go to one of the restaurants and try Testi Kebap. But don’t make it a long night as you have to get up early morning for balloon ride 😉
Balloon Flight –
Cappadocia is the land with sensational sunrises and sunsets with an unforgiving terrain, kilometres of panoramic vistas and breath-taking nature can pass under you while suspended in an open basket. This was a highlight of our trip. Seeing Cappadocia from a hot air balloon was a magical experience and gives you a very different view of uniquely beautiful Cappadocia.
Picture romance with champagne. Hands-on adventure with the experts. Serenity in the skies. This is more than just a balloon ride – it’s a ballooning experience you’ll never forget.
Göreme Open Air Museum
A trip to the Goreme Open Air Museum is a must if you are interested in history. The ancient artwork in the old churches dotted through the site is well worth the trip into the mountains. You can enter into areas where the dwellers cooked and worshipped and view amazing alien like landscapes. Like much of Turkey’s attractions, getting there early is a must to avoid the crowd. It is not really my thing, but well worth the visit!
Love every minute of this 2 hour tour on our ATVs. Love the sightings and enjoying riding the ATVs in such terrains! The landscape is truly breath-taking and the route is set up to be challenging without being dangerous. The price was quite reasonable when booked through the hotel. There were a few stops at particularly picturesque areas.
Tip: the roads are VERY dusty, so be sure to bring a bandana for your nose and mouth and some sunglasses!
Definitely this place deserves more time and there is a lot more to do in Cappadocia.
If you have an extra day, you can visit the underground cities. Night life in Goreme is fantastic. And if you are in Cappadocia on a full moon night, you can hike Rose valley at night.