Exploring Cappadocia in All Angles: Awesome Things To Do in Cappadocia, Turkey

By Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor November 20th, 2015 Posted in Destination, Travel Blog, Travel Guides 43 Comments

The sun is shining really hard. The light and heat is reflected on the white smooth rocks all around me. The valley is twisting, colored in all shades of red and white, crazy rock formations are blocking my way. It looks like I’m walking on Mars. So if you’ll ask me if there are beautiful attractions in Cappadocia, you know what I’ll say.

Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Cappadocia.

In fact, I am on the planet earth, in the middle of Turkey, but wandering around in the lunar landscape of Cappadocia, a land that you can explore from up above and down under.

Here are Attractions in Cappadocia

UP ABOVE

Everyday, at dawn, Cappadocia sees one of the most spectacular daily shows in the world. About a hundred hot air balloon rise up into the sky right before sunrise. The sight in itself is already magical, but wait until the first rays of sun show up. The light will suddenly make all the bright colors of the balloon appear, and will slowly fill up the valleys, revealing their rock formations in sharp contrast and in all their surreal colors.

To witness this Cappadocian “sunrise”, you can walk up to the view point in Göreme, that is also a perfect place to admire the sunset. Of course, you can also get into one of these balloons yourself! It’s a pricey experience, but one that you can’t forget. Be prepared for a mustached pilot with white gloves, a smooth landing, fairy chimneys so close you could touch them, and a few minutes later so far they look like needles, and a glass of champagne at the end!

Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Goreme National Park.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmGAJfR_ABA&w=640&h=360]

Another, less expensive way to get this point of view from Up Above on the valleys of Cappadocia, is to go to Uçhisar to visit the “castle”. This pointy rock formation looks above all of Cappadocia. You can see it from afar and it can come very handy when trying to get your bearings. Looking just as weird as all other rocks in Cappadocia, a hundred steps will lead you to the top of this rocky peak. From up there, the 360° view reveals all of the surrounding valleys and villages.

Attractions in Cappadocia
The view from the top.

Liking the heights? I’ve got another one for you, a secret one. I’m sure you’ve heard about the open air museum in Göreme already, where painted churches inside rock formations can be visited. Well, let’s skip this easy touristic step for now, and go on a real adventure.

The hidden church is standing near the open air museum, but you can access it freely, because of its weird location and the fact that more than half of the people who tried to find it came back empty handed. I got these statistics from the owner of the shop located at the bottom of the road climbing up towards the church, so it’s pretty official.

I’m not going to make this too easy for you. Otherwise, what’s the point of even looking for a hidden church? Bring good shoes and a torch. Go towards the open air museum and turn to follow to sign saying “Sakli Kilise”. Climb up that road until you are as high up as it’s possible (remember, we’re in the Up Above part of this post?), and put the cliff on your right. You are now looking for a few steps carved right in the side of the cliff that will lead you to the church. The hidden church is often closed, but you’ll still be able to see the very bright paintings through the bars if you brought a bit of light.

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DOWN UNDER

Scared of heights ? Don’t worry, there’s something for everyone in Cappadocia. This region is famous not only for its natural beauty, but also because of the use made of this particular landscape throughout history. I already talked of the churches often hidden in rock formations, but, in other places, whole cities were built underground.

Related Article: Looking for Luxury Hotel? Check out our Ultimate List of Best Luxury Hotels in Turkey.

Derinkuyu, near Nevşehir, is one of those cities. Eight stories are accessible, although it’s supposed to be only a small part of the city! To go explore, think about bringing something warm and a torch. Claustrophobic people might not appreciate the visit that much, and there’s no denying how creepy it can be to walk in a place so organized and civilized, knowing that there’s no one left today from that society. You’ll see a church, some homes, the places where they kept the animals, where they stored food, where they studied, creepy I tell you, but also fascinating.

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The Shoestring Hostel Cave House in Göreme.

Another “Down Under” experience typical of Cappadocia is to sleep in a cave. Like their ancestors, a lot of buildings in the towns of Cappadocia are completely or partially embedded into these particular white smooth rock formations. You then have a good chance of sleeping underground, or at least in a round cave, with the bare rock as walls and ceiling. Some said that sleeping in these places brought them unusual dreams, with this feeling of being into the earth. Myself, I had come from Istanbul in a night bus, so I checked there was no spider in my cave and then slept like a rock (like a rock, get it?). Still, who knows what these ancient caves can do to your mind?

GROUND LEVEL

Your scared of heights and claustrophobic? It’s rather unfortunate but your case is not lost. Cappadocia is also a hikers paradise, with trails running through the most famous valleys (Pigeon Valley, Love Valley, Red and Rose Valleys).

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The open air museum is full of painted churches to visit at ground level, and there’s enough small shops and restaurants in those villages to keep you busy shopping and talking to the friendly owners for a while.

And if all else fails, just sit by the pool with a view on the valleys and enjoy the sunshine, that’s a cure for all ailments!

Believe me, there’s no shortage of awesome things to do in Cappadocia!

Related Articles:  Thrace Region: Turkeys’ Hidden Gem, Things To Do in Istanbul, Guide to Historical Turkey

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About the Writer:

things to do in CappadociaCora is a french writer and passionate green traveler. She loves hiking, swooning over any kind of wildlife and has a reputation for getting easily lost. You can follow all her adventures, from accidentally stabbing a cab driver with a broken tent from getting, once again, lost while hiking in Cappadocia, on her personal blog at The Path She Took.

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43 thoughts on “Exploring Cappadocia in All Angles: Awesome Things To Do in Cappadocia, Turkey

  1. Great post! There are some sites mentioned here which are new to me, so I’m looking forward to checking them out. Thanks for this info. i love turkey 🙂

  2. First of all I’ve never heard of Cappadocia but now I’m aware of its existence it’s safe to say it’s now on my list of places to visit, anything underground or hidden is what I love! I like that you didn’t give away the exact location of the hidden church, because what’s the fun in knowing before you go! Beautiful photos and a great introduction to Cappadocia!

    1. Thank you, Georigia! It’s a sign that you should do your own Cappadocia exploration. Which from the list of things to do you want try most? 🙂

  3. That cave looks brilliant, we have some here in kinver that I’ve been meaning to get to! I love historical sites for travel 🙂

  4. It’s a good thing that you didn’t give a spoiler for the hidden church otherwise it wouldn’t be as exciting anymore. I would love to find it myself when I get to Cappadocia.

    1. Go for it, Marge! Sure you will enjoy exploring Cappadocia. The hidden church is waiting for you! 🙂

  5. All photos are amazing!! I’ve hear about the Hidden Church in Turkey before!! I would love visit it!!

  6. Wow , never expected Turkey to be that beautiful ! The Hostel cave looks stunning , I know the coast are beautiful and all that . But at the moment with all these political riots going on , I wouldn’t travel to any muslim country at all . It might sound a bit racists , but it is not! I live in a foreign country myself , love all people who are nice guys , no matter where they’re from . Don’t wanna go further down that political road , that’s too far off topic . Your post is excellent , Turkey is a beautiful country and so worth people telling about !

    1. Nothing wrong in assuring safety, Klaudia. If things get better, don’t missed to explore Cappadocia, Turkey and you can check the hostel..

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