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Cappadocia (Kapadokya) Tourism And Travel Guide
11.6° C / 52.9° F
April to October
2 to 3 Days
Nevsehir Kapadokya Airport (40 kms)
Kayseri Railway Station (70 kms)
Located in the central Anatolian region of Turkey are many villages and small cities with fairy chimnies, cave churches and moonscapes. Due to similarities in landscape, the entire cluster is collectively known as Cappadocia and offers some world-famous tourist attractions. Goreme is the hub of tourism in Cappadocia and is considered as the centre of this region. Get all the information you need in this Travel Guide to Cappadocia from its amazing Hot Air Balloon rides to enchanting and magical landscapes.
How To Reach
Cappadocia has 2 airports, both of which are connected to Istanbul. Kayseri Erkilet Airport (ASR) is more than 1 hour away from the centre of Cappadocia while Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport (NAV) is a bit closer to the centre. From India, the best way to travel would be to fly out from Mumbai or Delhi via Turkish Airlines (daily direct departures) and then catch a domestic connecting flight to Cappadocia.
Kayseri is the closest train station to Cappadocia and is about 1 hour away from the centre. There are several trains that connect to Keysari from other parts of Turkey but all are routed via Ankara. It would take about 12 hours by train from Istanbul, including a change at Ankara.
Cappadocia is located almost in the centre of Turkey and is easily accessible by road from all over the country. Buses to Nevşehir are available daily. From Istanbul, a bus journey could take up to 12 hours. You can also hire a private vehicle, which would take about 8 hours. A road trip from Ankara or Konya is more convenient as it is only a 4-5 hour drive.
The best way to see Cappadocia is through its popular Hot Air Balloon rides. Roughly 100 balloons go up every single morning and a 1-hour ride gives you a beautiful overview of the area's landscape.
If you want to explore specific areas of the region, hiring a private taxi is the best way, since public transport is not easily available. You can also hire a bicycle or a scooter if you are travelling solo or as a couple.
Weather & Best Time To Visit
Spring (March to May):
The weather in spring is perfect for outdoor activities like walking trails and hot air balloon rides. This makes it a very good time to visit this region. You can expect an average temperature of 10°C to 18°C in these 3 months. Another added advantage to this season is the popping up of spring flowers which makes the region quite colourful.
Summer (June to August):
While the summer is hot, the temperature is not as high as other parts of the country. The average high is about 25°C, which is a relief from the 30+ degrees in other parts of Turkey. However, this period sees a huge rush of tourists and heavy crowds might dampen your holiday spirit. Some interesting events that take place during these months are the Cappadox Festival which happens every June and also festivals for Dried Apricots and local Handicraft at Avanos.
Autumn (September to November):
Autumn would probably be the best time of the year to visit Cappadocia since the weather is more favourable and there are also plenty of events and activities to keep you engaged. Outdoor activities like Bird Watching, Hiking Trails and Cycling are ripe this season. The average temperature is between 15°C to 20°C. Light showers might be experienced 2-3 days every month.
Winter (December to February):
The winter season can get quite harsh, with temperatures falling below 0°C. There are chances of snow during these months which makes it the perfect time for snowsports. You can enjoy snowboarding, skiing and sledging at Mount Erciyes.
Things To Do
Hot Air Balloon Ride:
Undoubtedly the most popular thing to do in Cappadocia is going on a hot air balloon ride and float over the fairy chimneys and alien-looking landscapes. This activity is perfectly safe for adults and children alike. However, if you are afraid of heights, even just looking over at all the balloons flying over, is an amazing sight.
An exciting thing to do in Cappadocia is to explore the underground cities of Kaymakli and Derinkuyu. While there are 34 more such cities, these are the 2 important and largest ones. The construction of underground cities, in general, seem to have been done during the 15th Century BC but they expanded and were fully formed during the Byzantine period. These underground labyrinths of caves and tunnels were used for centuries and were abandoned only in the 20th century.
Hiking & Horse Back Riding:
Cappadocia ihas many hiking trails and offers panoramic views to those who are determined enough to reach the top. For those who do not want to walk much, there are many horse ranches in Cappadocia that offer short and long tours of these valleys on horseback. Definitely an interesting experience!
Learn Pottery At Avanos:
The town of Avanos is famous for its pottery. Stroll around the little lanes and watch the men at work. Not only can you shop for amazing curios, but you can also participate in a workshop and try your hand at pottery yourself. The town is located 8 km from Goreme and is definitely worth visiting.
Cave hotels are hotels that cut into the hill/mountain with cave-like rooms and stone walls. From luxurious hotels to boutique ones, there are plenty to choose from depending on your budget. The views from these hotels are very pretty. It instantly takes you back a few hundred years ago and gives you a traditional Turkish experience. If only for a night, it is still worth it!
Cappadocia has many bazaars and malls for you to shop to your heart's content. Some popular choices are Kapalı Çarşı in Kayseri - which was built by the Ottomans and is one of the largest bazaars in Cappadocia. You can also try Kayseri Forum, which is a mall with domestic and international brands, Ürgüp Market in Ürgüp and Göreme Market in Göreme.
Popular items tourists tend to buy when visiting Cappadocia are Homewares like Bath Towels and Soaps (Sultan's Charm), Ceramics/Pottery (Le Palais du Urdu or Chez Hakan in Avanos, Argos in Goreme), Carpets (Tribal Collections in Goreme or Sultans Carpet in Goreme), Wine (Kocabağ Winery Shop in Uchisar) and Jewellery & Precious Stones (Göreme Onyx in Uchisar).
Turkish cuisine is loved by the world and if you are a foodie, you cannot go back without trying some of Cappadocia's famous foods & popular restaurants.
Testi Kebab a.k.a Pottery Kebab is a dish that is cooked for 4 hours in a sealed clay pot. When it is served to you, the pot is cracked open right in front of you! You can try this out at Dibek in Goreme or Old Cappadocia Cafe & Restaurant. Another interesting dish is Lahmacun, which is a variant of a Pizza.
Ever visited a Cave Restaurant? Enjoy Turkish delicacies in this charming family-owned restaurant called Top Deck found in Goreme. There are only about 10 tables in this small joint, so make sure you make a reservation if you go during peak tourist season. Other Cave Restaurants you could visit are Inci Cave Restaurant and Pumpkin Goreme Restaurant and Art Gallery.
If you are on a budget, try out Cafe Safak in Goreme for some delicious homecooked food. Enjoy Turkish Coffee at Coffeedocia in Goreme, it is also a great place to click some pictures. Most of the restaurants also serve vegetarian and vegan food if you ask for it. Some popular ones are Organic Cave Kitchen in Goreme, Cafe Mavi in Urgup, Seyyah Han in Cavusin and Turkish Ravioli in Goreme.