cappadocia travel

Cappadocia Travel Guide: Places to Visit

Cappadocia is a historical region located in central Turkey. Known for its distinctive landscapes, Cappadocia features unique rock formations, fairy chimneys and cave dwellings carved into soft volcanic rock. The region has a rich history, with evidence of human habitation dating back to ancient times. Cappadocia’s surreal scenery and underground cities make it a popular tourist destination, offering hot air balloon rides, hiking opportunities and a glimpse into its cultural and geological heritage. Like most tourists, we recently travelled to Cappadocia to experience a hot air balloon flight and here we present our travelogue. Visitors can use our travelogue as a travel guide and get useful tips.  

Getting In & Transportation

Tourists can access Cappadocia through various transportation options. Renting a car provides flexibility for exploring Cappadocia and its surrounding areas. Travellers can drive from major cities like Ankara or Kayseri to reach Cappadocia.

For air travel, the nearest airport to Cappadocia is Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport (NAV) and Kayseri Erkilet Airport (ASR). Both airports offer domestic flights from major cities in Turkey. Travellers can also fly into major international airports like Istanbul Airport (IST) or Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW) and then take a domestic flight to either Nevşehir or Kayseri. Tips: We highly recommend getting into Cappadocia via air travel as there is no direct train transfer and bus ride durations from major cities can be very long (8-12 hours)! We took a flight operated by Pegasus (a low-cost budget airline) from Istanbul to Kayseri and paid just USD 30 per person. 

We booked a shared airport transport from Kayseri Airport online (USD 13 per person) – the driver had our names on signboard and waited for us at the airport. The trip from the airport to our hotel took about 1 hour. 

Tips: There is no direct flight from Cappadocia to Pamukkale. We flew direct to Antalya and took a day tour to Pamukkale instead. The tour package price was USD 18 (low season price) not inclusive of entrance fee.

Kayseri Airport
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Typical van used for transfers and tours in Cappadocia


Many tourists prefer to stay in unique accommodations in Cappadocia, namely, Cave or Stone Hotels. Cave hotels in Cappadocia are built into the natural rock formations, utilizing caves and underground spaces. Many of these hotels have rooms and suites that are literally carved into the soft volcanic tuff rock. Stone hotels in Cappadocia are constructed using the local stone, which is abundant in the region. While not necessarily carved into the rock like cave hotels, these accommodations showcase the use of natural materials, creating a harmonious blend with the landscape. We stayed 2 nights at the Goreme Reva Hotel, a stone hotel which is about 5 min walk to the town centre. We booked the family room for USD 80 per night inclusive of breakfast. 

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Goreme Reva Hotel - Family Room

Hot Air Balloon Flight

Prices for standard hot air balloon rides in Cappadocia typically ranged from approximately 100 to 400 Euros per person depending on whether it is low or high season.  These flights usually last around 1 hour and offer stunning views of the unique landscapes. They normally offer a light breakfast since the pick up time from hotel is 5-6am and provide non-alcoholic sparkling juice and certificate after completion of the flight. 

After booking, the flight operator will normally ask for passport information – we were told that these are standard practices for insurance purposes. Keep in mind that the hot air balloon season in Cappadocia is weather-dependent and flights may be canceled or rescheduled in the case of adverse weather conditions. Tips: Allow for at least a 2-night stay in Cappadocia if you are planning to book a hot air balloon ride. Make sure you book the balloon flight on the first day – if it is cancelled, then the 2nd day can be your back-up (though it is not guaranteed the weather will cooperate!). Tips: The balloon flights operate during winter seasons and snowy conditions – scheduled balloon rides are normally cancelled due to strong wind conditions and not the snow. 

Our experience: We booked our hot air balloon flight via Klook for about 100 Euros per person (low season price). The package included hotel transfers, light breakfast, post-flight drink and certificate. There was about 20-30 people in the basket. We selected “Goreme Valley” as the flight location as it was deemed to have the most scenic view of fairy chimneys. The boarding location was very to our hotel in Goreme and we got picked up in a van at about 6 am. We thoroughly recommend booking through this Klook link

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Light breakfast included in the hot air balloon flight package
Preparation of hot air balloon on the ground
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Several hot air balloons next to us
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Boarding the balloon basket
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View from our balloon basket

Places to Visit

The public transportation system might not be as convenient for exploring remote or less-accessible areas in Cappadocia even though there is a local bus network that connects major towns and villages. Most tourists either rent cars at the two airports or take part in the available commercial tours. We joined the red tour (6 hours) which cost about USD 27 per person including lunch. The following describes the attractions and places included in the red tour

1. Göreme Open Air Museum

Göreme Open Air Museum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Cappadocia, Turkey. It is renowned for its collection of rock-cut churches and monastic dwellings dating back to the 4th century. The site features remarkable frescoes, Byzantine art and unique architectural elements carved into the soft volcanic rock. The museum provides insights into the religious and cultural history of the region, showcasing the rich heritage of early Christianity in Cappadocia.

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Goreme Open Air Museum
Goreme Open Air Museum

2. Göreme Town

Known for its unique landscape and historical significance, Göreme is characterized by fairy chimney rock formations and cave dwellings. The town serves as a popular base for exploring Cappadocia’s cultural and natural attractions. Göreme offers a range of accommodations, restaurants and shops catering to tourists exploring the region.

Goreme Town - many fairy chimney structures
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Goreme Town
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Shops @ Goreme Town
Cheap souvenirs @ Goreme Town

3. Pasabag

Pasarbag, also known as Monks Valley, is a region in Cappadocia, Turkey, famous for its unique fairy chimney rock formations. These distinct rock pillars were formed by erosion and weathering of volcanic tuff, creating a surreal landscape. Pasabag is particularly known for its mushroom-shaped rock formations and has historical significance as a former religious retreat. Visitors to Pasabag can explore the site, marvel at the natural rock structures and gain insights into the geological and cultural history of Cappadocia.

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Pasabag entrance
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Pasabag - the structures can be a source of amusement 🙂

4. Uchisar Castle

Carved into a large rock formation, Uchisar castle offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. It served both as a defensive stronghold and a residential area during ancient times. The natural rock structure features tunnels, rooms and windows, showcasing the region’s unique geological formations. Uchisar Castle is a popular tourist destination, providing visitors with an opportunity to explore the historical and architectural aspects of Cappadocia’s rich heritage.

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5. Avanos Pottery Village

Avanos Pottery Village is renowned for its traditional pottery craft. The town is located on the banks of the Kızılırmak River, where red clay suitable for pottery is abundant. Local artisans in Avanos have been practicing the art of pottery for centuries and visitors can witness the creation of handmade ceramics using traditional techniques. The village is a hub for pottery workshops and studios, offering tourists the chance to observe the craftsmanship and even participate in pottery-making activities.

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A pottery workshop @ Avanos
Pottery making demonstration

6. Devrent Valley

Devrent Valley, also known as Imagination Valley, is a distinctive geological formation in Cappadocia, Turkey. It is characterized by surreal rock formations that resemble various shapes and figures, sparking the imagination of visitors. The rocks in Devrent Valley have been eroded into whimsical shapes, often compared to animals, objects and mythical creatures. This unique landscape attracts tourists interested in geology and offers a picturesque setting for exploration and photography.

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Devrent Valley

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