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Here are some Epic Things to do in Cappadocia

You may have heard about this place. A destination filled with otherworldly landscapes. A place with stone castles, cave hotels, skies strewn with hot air balloons and countless women with beautiful ball gowns on, posing on rooftops. It’s Cappadocia. Overall, truly a place unlike anywhere else. Straightaway, you’ll feel it. Surely, you’ll feel like you were whisked into a fantasy land from a fictional novel. So, when you venture to this unique and magical place, here are some epic things to do while in Cappadocia.

Where even is, Cappadocia?

Although, first things first. Where is Cappadocia, you ask? I mean, you know it’s in Türkiye. But where exactly is, Cappadocia? Some even inquire if it’s a real place. So… contrary to popular assumption, Cappadocia is an entire region.

Several balloons taking flight – this was shot from the basket of the hot air balloon I was in

It’s an “ancient” area adjacent to the mountains. It’s right smack dab in the middle of what is modern day Türkiye. Neveshir is a province in the Cappadocia region. Göreme is a town right in the center of the Neveshir province. There’s a lot to see and do in Göreme, so it’s a good place to consider basing yourself.

Recreational Adventure Activity

There are just specific things you have to do when in certain destinations. Among the things that would factually quantify as a “must do” is going on a Hot Air Balloon excursion.

The balloons all firing up and taking flight right at sunrise

Let’s get this out out of the way: this excursion is not inexpensive. However, the good news is, it’s worth every penny. Further, if you happen to be afraid of heights or not a fan (as I have historically not been), it’s likely you’ll still have a wonderful time doing this.

You can find out everything you need to know about doing a hot air balloon excursion: here.

Tip: very important – try to plan this as early on in your trip as possible. Flight cancellations are very common (it happened on our trip) and you don’t want to miss out on doing this!

See the Fairy Chimneys at Zelve-Pasabaglari

Archeological Site

Welcome to Zelve Valley. These fascinating formations are called ‘Fairy Chimneys.’ I can honestly say, I’ve never seen formations like this anywhere else. Have you? Zelve Valley is uber pleasant to walk around in when the weather is tepid. I visited in the fall and it was perfect. Warm and sunny, yet, cool with a light breeze.

Pigeon Valley

Attraction featuring scenic views, landscapes and ancient carved Pigeon houses

Having a theatrical moment standing on a rock overlooking Pigeon Valley and it was a sight to behold!

Pigeon Valley is pretty cool. Because, how often do you see landscapes like this. Moreover, how often do you see Pigeon cave houses?

Okay, so what’s with the name, you’re wondering?

One of the many ‘Pigeon houses’ carved from the volcanic tuff (rock of volcanic ash) in Pigeon Valley

Pigeon Valley, Güvercinlik Vadisi in Turkish, is located between Göreme and Uchisar. It used to be a place for pigeon farming. The problem is, the land in this area is barren. It’s impossible to grow anything. Thus, pigeons were used as a food source and also as fertilizer.

Up until the (19)80’s, residents of Cappadocia still inhabited these Pigeon homes! The houses are carved out of the natural volcanic tuff in the landscape.

A pigeon house kitchen
Having Turkish tea on the terrace of a pigeon house!
A pigeon house dining room

Our awesome tour guide took us inside a ‘pigeon house’ that is still in tact and furnished. It was super interesting looking in each of the different rooms. We sat out on its terrace and had Turkish coffee. What an interesting looking “neighborhood,” right?

Wanna know one of the reasons for the many, many windows in the pigeon houses? It’s, of course, to invite the pigeons to fly on inside.

A better look at several pigeon houses in a row – the most interesting “suburb” I’ve yet to see!

I have to say, the Pigeon houses here are the most interesting suburb I’ve seen to date.

Zelve open Air Museum

An actual open air Museum

If you love history, you will surely enjoy exploring and learning in Cappadocia. The Zelve open air museum is a delight. Basically, it’s an entire area that has been preserved. Now, the entire area is a museum that can be viewed inside and out.

Virtual Hot Air Balloon Ride

You’re very interesting in riding in a hot air balloon. But, is an actual hot air balloon excursion out of your budget for your Cappadocia trip? Or, perhaps, you have a debilitating fear of heights? Well, in any case, if there is something holding you back from booking an actual Hot Air Balloon ride, there’s an alternative.

My hubs and I geeking out during the virtual hot air balloon experience

At the open air museum entrance, there is a virtual hot air balloon experience. It’s pretty interesting and very inexpensive. Worth a go if you’re curious or won’t be doing an actual balloon flight during your trip.

Cost: VR Balloon experience – 25 Turkish Lira per person (or about $2.60 USD each). Finally, if you want to take photos in the balloon, it’s 5 Turkish Lira per person (or about $0.50 cents USD each).

Tip: there is a market of shops at the entrance of the open air museum as well. Lots of vendors selling everything from purses to knick knacks and everything in between. Great place to get souvenirs or things you’re looking to bring back with you.

Kaymakli Underground City

An ancient city, literally underground

The underground village of Kaymakli is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. It’s comprised of hundreds and hundreds of tunnels. Those who inhabit this region still use the tunnels for various purposes.

My tour guide is pointing to an actual hand carved stone door they used to roll in front of tunnel entrances to block intruders from entering
Perhaps, most importantly… this underground city has a winery
Bath tub? Sleeping Area or is it versatile?

Actually, there are an abundance of underground settlements in Cappadocia. It’s another very unique thing about the region. Basically, over the years, the city was subject to frequent raids. These “underground cities” were built to seek refuge in times of danger.

Expect lots of narrow passageways, openings that may require bending and small spaces throughout

Additionally, some of the underground cities in Cappadocia are large enough to accommodate 30,000 people!

Tip: if you are claustrophobic in any way, you might run into some panicky moments at this attraction. Certainly, there are several very narrow tunnels and walkways, including low ceilings and entry points that require bending.

Know before You go

Are you trying to decide what season to visit Cappadocia? Like many destinations in the region, it is advantageous to visit in Spring or Fall due to cooler weather, fewer crowds and reduced rates for stays and excursions.

That being said, if you do visit in the summer, it’s peak season so you can expect large crowds and the highest prices of the year. Although it’s not as popular to visit in the winter, I know travelers who’ve went and loved it.

Cappadocia gets quite cold and they do get snow in the winter. It makes for a very different experience and many believe it has its charm! Also don’t worry – weather permitting – the hot air balloons fly year ’round in Cappadocia.

Headed to Türkiye?

Check these out!

An Amazing Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

Pera Palace Hotel Istanbul – the Opulent Stay you Need!

Charming Cave Hotel Cappadocia – a unique, unforgettable happy Place

Travel Tips & Resources to Help You Plan an Epic Trip!

Going – I’ve subscribed to Going (formerly, beloved, Scott’s Cheap Flights) for awhile now and it’s an amazing resource for finding… did you guess cheap flights? Yes, you can set your preferences from airports to flight class and get destination deals right to your inbox. It’s fab! I use the Premium paid version, but they have a FREE version too. So what are you waiting for?! Let’s get Going!

Booking.com – the majority, if not almost all of my stays are booked on Booking.com. It’s a reliable site to book and manage your reservations. It’s a great way to find boutique stays and unique accommodations at the best rates! You can also easily communicate with your accommodation through the app.

Expedia – If I am looking for a flight to a specific destination for specific dates, I find myself booking many flights on Expedia. It’s user friendly and straight forward. I often find the most cost effective rates, while earning points for every flight I book (in tandem with the points I receive from the credit cards I pay with).

Viator – most of the activities, tours and excursions I book for my trips are booked through Viator. Whether you’re seeking a guide for the day, a group tour, a cooking class, Viator has you covered!

Get Your Guide – this is another great marketplace to find tours, excursions and activities to book for your upcoming trip.

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