Home Europe 10 Must-See Places in Cappadocia

10 Must-See Places in Cappadocia

by Kat
Triple capped mushroom chimneys in Pasabag, Cappadocia, Turkey

With its otherworldly landscape of fairy chimneys and unusual rock formations, Cappadocia, Turkey is one of the most fascinating destinations on earth. Although it is most famous for the dozens of hot air balloons that rise into the sky every morning at dawn (you can read about my experience here ), there are also other interesting activities to do in the area.

In Cappadocia Turkey, hot air balloons fill the sky at sunrise
1. Stay at a Cave Hotel

Enjoy a unique experience in Cappadocia by staying in a traditional cave hotel! I stayed at Sultan Cave Suites. Its rooftop is a popular place to take photos at sunrise. You can use carpets, pillows, a breakfast table, and even dogs as props!
View from the roof of Sultan Cave Suites

 

 

A girl watches the sunrise from the roof of Sultan Cave Suites
2. Visit Goreme Open Air Museum

In the town of Goreme, visit the UNESCO Heritage Site Goreme Open-Air Museum, a collection of cave churches. In the churches, you can find beautiful frescoes from the 10th-12th centuries.

Cave Paintings in Goreme Open Air Museum
3.  Visit Uchisar

The most prominent landmark in the town of Uchisar is the rock-cut fortress known as Uchisar Castle. It protected villagers from invaders during Roman and Byzantine times. Climb to the top of the fortress for amazing views of the area!

Uchisar Castle fortress in Turkey
4. Visit an Underground City

There are two main underground cities in the area – Kaymakli and Derinkuyu. I visited Derinkuyu, which was built in the 7th and 8th centuries B.C. At one time, the city’s population was 20, 000 and it had 16 levels! People lived there until the beginning of the 20th century, and today it is a museum. If you’re ok with crouching and walking in tight spaces, you can walk through part of the underground city.

Derinkuyu Underground City
5. Visit Pasabag

Pasabag (also known as Monks Valley) contains mushroom-shaped fairy chimneys with twin and triple caps. In ancient times, religious hermits hollowed out some of the chimneys to live inside them.

Triple capped mushroom chimneys in Pasabag, Cappadocia, Turkey

Double capped mushroom chimneys in Pasabag, Cappadocia, Turkey
6. Visit Devrent Valley

Devrent Valley is also known as Imagination Valley. Here you can spot rock formations shaped like camels, seals, kissing birds, and even Napoleon’s hat!

A camel-shaped rock formation in Devrent Valley, Cappadocia, Turkey
7. Ihlara Valley

This deep valley surrounded by rugged cliffs is the perfect place for a hike. It used to be a retreat for monks, so you can spot carved churches in the cliff face. You can also dip your feet in the Melendiz River. The terrain is flat and the hike is leisurely.

Ilhara Valley Cave

Painting in a cave church in the Ilhara Valley

Ilhara Valley in Cappadocia, Turkey

Hiking Trail in Ilhara Valley, Cappadocia, Turkey

8. Rose Valley

The rocks here were formed by volcanic explosion and thousands of years of erosion. There are three famous churches in the valley: Kolonlu Kilise (Columned Church); Haçlı Kilise (Church of the Cross), and the Uç Haçlı Kilise.
cappadocia balloon floating

9. Selime Monastery

This monastery used to house 5000 people and was built during the 8th or 9th century. Its cathedral is the largest church in Cappadocia. In the 11th century, it was converted into a caravanserai- a hotel for traders and camels who were traveling along the Silk Road. It was abandoned during the 16th century and is now open to visitors. The area around Selime Monastery is often mistaken for being a Star Wars filming location. However, while it inspired the landscape for a few scenes, it was not actually used as a filming location. It is a steep climb up the hill to the monastery, so bring water.

Landscape near Selime Monastery, which looks like a scene from a Star Wars movie

 

Selime Monastery Chapel in Cappadocia, Turkey

Selime Monastery

10. Pigeon Valley

Pigeon Valley is named for the pigeon houses that are carved into the rocks and cliffs. These pigeon coves were used by farmers who collected droppings to use as fertilizer. As well, pigeons were used for delivering messages. Today only a few pigeons are kept in the valley. During your visit to the valley, make sure to stop by the evil eye trees, which have many blue pendants hanging from their branches. These pendants (nazar boncugu) are very popular among Turkish people and are believed to protect the owner from evil.

Tree with nazar (eye-shaped amulet believed to protect against the evil eye) Photo via Chris Nelson, Flickr Creative Commons

Pigeon Valley

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Discover fairy chimneys, cave churches, hikes and incredible landscapes in Cappadocia, Turkey!

Discover fairy chimneys, cave churches, hikes and incredible landscapes in Cappadocia, Turkey!

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12 comments

Ania August 5, 2017 - 6:09 pm

Really beautiful photos of an incredible area! The first time I heard about and saw pictures of Cappadocia was during a medieval history lecture in uni. I immediately became obsessed. I haven’t had the chance to go yet, but I hope to soon! Thanks for sharing all these awesome things to see and do.

Reply
Kat August 7, 2017 - 11:31 pm

That lecture must have been interesting! There is so much history in the area. I hope you get to go soon! 🙂

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Steph August 5, 2017 - 6:14 pm

This brought back great memories for me of visiting Cappadocia over ten years ago. I love the little pigeon houses! And Ihlara Valley is a gorgeous hike. The number of hot air balloons seems to have tripled since I was there though, that must be a truly amazing sight in the morning. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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Kat August 7, 2017 - 11:32 pm

I’m glad my post brought back good memories for you!

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Mike - Travel and Destinations August 5, 2017 - 8:30 pm

I haven’t been yet but Cappadocia looks simply stunning and is now high on my list to visit! Thanks for sharing your beautiful photographs and suggestions!

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Kat August 7, 2017 - 11:33 pm

I’m glad you liked my post! I hope you can visit soon! It is a wonderful place for photography lovers.

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Loretta Widen August 6, 2017 - 10:23 am

This is definitely going on my bucket list!! Thanks for sharing!!

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Josie August 6, 2017 - 12:08 pm

One of my favourite places ever! Loved Cappadocia and I can’t encourage people enough visit. Your photos are lovely, and give a good representation of the area.

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Aireona- Nightborn Travel August 6, 2017 - 1:44 pm

I may have seen a few pictures of this place in the past, but overall, I didn’t know anything about it! Looks amazing! And I love your photos- perfect to capture your experience and the destination.

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Joanna August 6, 2017 - 2:29 pm

I’ve always seen pictures of the balloons on Instagram and seeing your picture it looks even more amazing to see the whole place !! Thank you for the discovery!!

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Luda August 7, 2017 - 3:36 am

Apart from watching hot air balloons, I had no idea Cappadocia had so many other cool things – thank you for this post! Also those eye pendants look really cool! 🙂

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Mattea August 7, 2017 - 4:15 am

Oh wow, your photographs are absolutely beautiful! I’m yet to have the chance to visit Turkey,. but if I do – Cappadocia is definitely on the list. The Cave hotel looks incredible!

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