QUICK GUIDE TO CAPPADOCIA
A short guide to the unique region of Cappadocia, Turkey
Why I Love Cappadocia
Ethereal landscapes. Rich history. Fresh food. Laid back towns and villages. Cappadocia has everything you could ever want in a place to explore. The fascinating landscape and nature will keep your eyes feasting, soaking in the history will tickle your imagination, the delicious food will stimulate your taste buds, and the people are curious about you just as you are about them. Cappadocia is a place where you can experience unique things you never even knew you wanted to do (sleep in a cave hotel) and experience things that are on your bucket list (hot air balloon ride, anyone?). I spent five days in the region and I left realizing I only scratched the surface of what Cappadocia has to offer.
What to Do
EXPLORE THE VALLEYS
Due to Cappadocia’s unique landscape, there are many fascinating valleys to explore. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re on a totally different planet! Check out the colourful sunset at Red Valley, laugh at the Love Valley, and use your imagination at Devrent Valley. Otherworldly vistas await! Just remember your hat and water as it is pretty exposed out there…
ADMIRE HISTORIC SITES
Cappadocia is an ancient land, rich with history. There are many rock churches to stumble upon, including the humble El Nazar. There is the amazing Goreme Open Air Museum, including its fascinating Dark Church. You’ll want a couple hours for this place alone. And don’t forget to look underneath your feet, too – Cappadocia is riddled with underground cities!
Cappadocia’s people are very friendly and sometimes there are opportunities to learn about specific aspects of their lives. For example, you can learn about pottery, how to make it and its history in the Avanos area. Or you can watch the performance of a sacred ritual by a Whirling Dervish. You can also meet the women who have been making traditional dolls just like their mothers and grandmothers did for centuries.
TICK OFF BUCKET LIST ITEMS
The bucket item I managed to complete in Cappadocia was hot air ballooning over a non-city landscape. I know I am not the only one with this on a bucket list. Cappadocia is a great place to experience the neat sensation of floating high up in the sky in a balloon because of its fantastic landscape. The fairy chimneys, the countryside, and the far off volcano are stunning from up above!
GET OFF THE BEATEN PATH
If you’re looking for lesser known (but still fabulous) things to see in Cappadocia, there are tons. You will never be lacking for something to do or see or explore. Valleys, museums, small towns and villages, ancient sites being excavated – ask and Cappadocia will provide!
Where to stay
Being the hub of Cappadocia’s tourism industry for decades, you can’t go wrong staying in this town. Its history dates back to the time of the Hittites (1800 to 1200 B.C.), and it is that richness that makes Göreme an amazing World Heritage Site.
Kelebek Cave Hotel
Carved into Cappadocia’s ubiquitous soft rock, this beautiful hotel has fantastic views of Göreme and the valleys beyond. It offers a mix of rooms ranging from the traditional fairy chimney room to luxury suites. There is even a luxury Hamam on site as well as a great restaurant. I definitely recommend this hotel!
HOW to SAY
Turkish is the official language of the Republic of Turkey. It is a hard language to learn but it is well worth the effort to learn some key phrases beforehand. People are most appreciative when you at least try a few words!
Yes / No
Evet / Hayir
Entrance / Exit
Giriş / çıkış
Men / Women
Bay / Bayan
Do you speak English
İngilizce biliyor musunuz?
My name is
How to Get There
Fly or take a long distance bus from Istanbul or Ankara. The main towns in the region are Göreme, Ürgüp, Avanos, and Nevsehir.
Cappadocia is very easy to visit solo. I found it safe, people were curious about me but not in an obnoxious way, and there was so much to keep me occupied. If you’re on a budget (i.e. renting a car is not feasible), there are many tours to a wide variety of places. As a solo female, I had no issues either. I kept my usual wits about me and it was fine. I also loved that the night buses leaving Cappadocia go the extra step to keep women comfortable: solo female travelers are only ever seated next to another woman!
When to Visit
April to June and September to November are the best times to visit – temperatures are more moderate and the crowds will be a little less.
Just like arriving, you can either fly or take the bus when leaving Cappadocia. If busing (a surprisingly comfortable option), book your ticket at least one day in advance during peak times as buses do sell out. Göreme’s bus station (otogar) has about four companies from which to choose. Make sure you confirm where the bus will drop you as some final destinations are serviced by a shuttle rather than the bus itself (i.e you’ll be dropped off somewhere for the shuttle).