Top 10 Things to do in Cappadocia
- Try local specialties. Delicious foods from the region often make use of fresh ingredients and pottery from nearby Avanos. Examples include testi kebap (pottery kebab) which has a dramatic table-side presentation or guvec, a delicious stew cooked in a clay dish. For a sweet treat, try a local dessert called aside.
- Visit an Open Air Museum. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and located just 1 km from the town of Goreme, the Open Air Museum has well-preserved examples of churches and monasteries carved into the volcanic rock formations. You can visit on your own or opt to join a full day tour (often referred to as the Red Tour,) which also gives you highlights of the fairy chimneys and towns in the region of Northern Cappadocia.
- Head underground to explore the past. The underground cities of Derinkuyu or Kaymakli are amazing and you will find winding pathways hundreds of meters deep where tens of thousands of people (and their livestock!) lived for months at a time. It's advisable to rent a car to visit the underground cities, or allow yourself plenty of time to use public transport. This is a popular reason to sign up for the Southern Cappadocia (Green Tour), which also takes you to Selime Monastery and the lush Ilhara Valley.
- Watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon. There is absolutely nothing like taking to the skies each morning for the flight of hundreds of hot air balloons over the fairy chimneys, canyons and valleys of Goreme. It's a bucket list item for many, and is well worth the pre-dawn wake up call! If you absolutely can't make it into a balloon, the next best thing is to watch from Goreme's Sunset Point as the balloons take off overhead.
- Take in the sunset from a castle - take your pick from many impressive castles carved into the caves of the region: Uchisar, Ortahisar and Cavusin all provide memorable sunset views. Our particular favorite is Uchisar as you will be able to see furthest out over the landscape of Cappadocia.
- Try to make your own pottery in Avanos. The main water source for the Cappadocia region is the Red River, which flows through the town of Avanos just north of Goreme. Clay from the river has been used for centuries to craft some of the region's famous pottery. Stop by one of the artisan workshops after a stroll along the Red River, and you may be able to try your hand at the wheel!
- Enjoy traditional Anatolian dances, cuisine and drinks at Turkish night! Perfect for those who are looking for fun after the sun goes down, Turkish Night provides you with nearly 3 hours of entertainment including the Whirling Dervis prayer ceremony, traditional folk dancing, belly dance and of course, audience participation. Guests are treated to delicious Turkish food along with unlimited beer, wine and the most popular - raki, the potent, anise-flavored grape brandy.
- Turkey is famous as a destination for shopping with exotic spices, luxurious fabrics and carpets, evil eye trinkets and more. Good choices to take home from the Cappadocia region include handmade embroidery on scarves, bracelets or earrings, ceramics/pottery, hand-woven carpets or kilim, and delicious dried apricots or mulberries. Cappadocian wines from local producers such as Kocabag or Turasan make a great gift as well.
- You could spend weeks hiking in Goreme and discovering hidden orchards, farms, caves, and churches. Some of the most famous valleys to explore include Love Valley, Red Valley, Rose Valley, Pigeon Valley, or Zemi Valley and many can be done as a morning or afternoon activity. Lucky Horse Ranch is located in beautiful Gorkundere Valley, close to nearly all of them!
- Explore Cappadocia on a horseback tour in Goreme! (Of course, we saved the best for last.) Cappadocia is known as the Land of the Beautiful Horses and there is no better way to experience it than with your local guide on a beautiful Anatolian or Arabic horse. Many of the highlights of this list could be incorporated into your horseback tour as well and multi-day camping trips can give you even more time to explore this beautiful region.
We hope this has given you a taste of things to do in Goreme and around the Cappadocia region. If you have questions or would like any help planning your own holiday or finding the best deals, feel free to send us an email today!