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. Wow Turkey! This place is so underrated, I think it’s exceptionally beautiful, full of history, culture and adventure. The Cappadocia looks so surreal with the hot air balloons! I will be in Turkey next year and will surely make a stop.

    1. Exciting trip it would be, Rachel! Sure you will have fun exploring Cappadocia. Can’t wait for the things you will do there. Enjoy and safe travels! 🙂

  2. Here we go again, as always, you don’t miss a good place to visit. That shoestring hostel cave house looks interesting to go to. Way to go! More places to come.

    1. The hostel cave is one of the highlights in staying in and exploring Cappadocia, Mikee! Go and explore Turkey soon. 🙂

  3. You too are having guest posts already. Wow. Anyway, those are amazinf views. No kidding. Guides like these are essential for travellers. Thanks!

    1. This is from a contest, Aika! 🙂 If ever you plan exploring Cappadocia, Turkey, just go back here and see these things to do for your guide. 🙂

  4. So cool to have a hidden church. Ofcourse you should not tell us where it is haha. The photos of the views are amazing. This is a lovely place to have visited! Xo Sabine

  5. I am intrigued. I would like to try to find the hidden church. Of course if statistics says half of the people who tried fails to, then I have 50/50 chance, right? I am sure the others all started with 100% belief they will, as I would too. Pride says I will. LOL!

    1. Still a big chance, Robert. Even 1% will do as exploring Cappadocia will give you lots of alternatives and surprises. 🙂

  6. These all look amazing! I’ve only been in a hot air balloon once, in Albuquerque, but I adored it. And I would also love to go on a hunt for a hidden church! Turkey seems like an incredible country!

    1. Thank you, Make up Fun! Exploring Cappadocia and seeing those photos by yourself will be a wonderful experience. 🙂

  7. Wow. This is amazing, the place as well as how you have written it. I am slightly claustrophobic, but I am sure I can deal with this just to experience the beauty of it. You make me want to visit this place. Also, the pictures are great!

    1. Hello Chavvi! Sure you can find more activities in exploring Cappadocia as claustrophobic. Hiking might interest you. 😉

  8. Wow what an incredible place – I have never been up in a hot air balloon but I would love too – what gorgeous photos

    1. That would be an amazing trip, Jenni. Hot Air Balloon experience is a must in exploring Cappadocia. 🙂

  9. I saw pictures with the hot air balloons, it’s really impressive. The painted churches look very interesting too.

  10. The shoestring hostel looks so quirky. I have never been here but have been in other parts of turkey and it was so beautiful.

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