With its extraordinary topography, rich history, and delicious cuisine, Cappadocia never ceases to fascinate its visitors. Featuring subterranean rock-carved cities, enchanting fairy chimneys, and breath-taking vistas, a visit to Cappadocia offers magical hot air balloon rides, horseback rides through rocky landscapes, charming cave hotels, and sampling local wines in quaint cafés.
An unforgettable combination of natural and historical wonders that has captivated travellers for centuries, Cappadocia’s topography - created by the erosion of lava and ash spewed by now-dormant volcanoes - fascinates visitors with the unusual conical structures called “fairy chimneys”, and centuries-old underground cities carved from rock.
Cappadocia gained notoriety in antiquity for horse breeding, and has been known as the ‘land of beautiful horses’ for hundreds of years. With all this and more, Cappadocia promises an unforgettable holiday!
With travel picking up, Cappadocia hosted an extraordinary number of visitors in Q1 of 2022. The region's museums and archaeological sites were visited by 305,275 people, an increase of 54 per cent compared to the same period in 2021.
Enjoy Cappadocia from the sky, and sleep in picturesque caves
The best way to experience Cappadocia’s magical landscape is on a hot air balloon ride through its incomparable skies. The dozens of colourful balloons launch around five 'o'clock in the morning, usually from the village of Göreme, and visitors can enjoy sweeping views of Pigeon Valley, Zemi Valley, Love Valley and Pasabağ Monks Valley, along with the famous fairy chimneys and other fantastic rock formations during the ride. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
For guests seeking an authentic Cappadocian experience, the area’s cave hotels are the perfect accommodation. Rock-carved rooms bring together history and modern amenities in a luxurious blend. After a full day of sightseeing, the best way to spend the evening is to relax in the lounge of a boutique cave hotel with a glass of fine local wine.
Travel from Göreme to Ürgüp on horseback
As the ‘land of beautiful horses’, it is only fitting to go horseback riding while enjoying Cappadocia. The area’s many ranches offer guided horseback riding tours on beautiful, sure-footed horses. Watching the sunset over the Red Valley while astride a horse is a truly unforgettable experience, and while horses can cover more ground, travellers can also see many sights on foot. The peaceful Ihlara Valley is a perfect place to take a walk or hike, and along the Melendiz stream are gazebos where hikers can enjoy tea or a coffee. Jeep and ATV safaris are also available, and some of the area’s churches and valleys can be reached via off-road vehicles.
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage in 1985, the incredible Göreme Open Air Museum is a complex of frescoed, rock-carved churches featuring traces of the area’s earlier inhabitants, including the Assyrians, Hittites, Phrygians, Hellenes, Romans, Byzantines, early Christians and the Islamic world. It is a major cultural hub of the region, and The Kılıçlar, Karanlık and Tokalı churches in the Göreme Open-Air Museum are believed to have been used as necropoleis by the inhabitants of Avanos during the Roman period.
The Three Beauties fairy chimney formation in Ürgüp is one of the region’s most-photographed sites, while the 18th-century Church of Saints Constantine and Helena in Mustafapaşa was built during the reign of Sultan Ahmet I. Ortahisar Castle, in the village of Ortahisar, is a striking citadel carved into the rock. Cappadocia is home to so many important structures, especially those of Early Christianity, that it is impossible to list them all here.
Enthralling underground cities
A land of mystery, Cappadocia has been inhabited for centuries, and at a time it was inhibited from underground. Multi-level subterranean cities, carved entirely from rock, date back to around the seventh and eighth century BC, according to some studies. The underground cities of Kaymaklı, Derinkuyu, Özkonak, Mazi and Tatlarin, created to protect the area’s population from invaders, shed some light into the daily lives of their inhabitants, with rock-carved tunnels connecting dozens of living, worship, and storage areas.
Like the cuisines of every other region in Türkiye, Cappadocian cuisine was shaped by the area’s cultural heritage and the availability of fresh local and seasonal products. Visitors to Cappadocia can begin the day with a traditional Turkish breakfast, accompanied by a lovely view of the landscape and fairy chimneys. This hearty breakfast showcases local cheeses, fresh eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, and green peppers, along with olives, jams, honey, butter, and cream. Delicacies like homemade sausages, pastries, and the traditional Turkish egg dish Menemen, are complemented by fragrant Turkish tea.
Other dining delights in Cappadocia include local dishes such as apricot stew and zerdeli rice (a saffron-rice dish). In a region famous for its pottery, the testi kebab (pottery kebab) is a must-try: vegetables and meat placed in a clay pot sealed with bread and baked in a tandoor (traditional oven). Before serving the dish, the seal is broken with a dramatic flourish!
Cappadocia’s climate is ideal for growing grapes and the area has a long-established winemaking tradition. At various wineries in the area, guests can sample local vintages made from the grapes grown in the rich tuff soil of the region.
Romance in the Land of Fairy Tales
With its fairy-tale landscape, Cappadocia is one of Türkiye's most popular wedding and honeymoon destinations. Couples and their guests choose Cappadocia for its many gorgeous boutique hotels, dining options and, of course, the spellbinding hot air balloons which make for the perfect photo. Many couples immortalize their marriage proposals and wedding ceremonies during a hot air balloon ride or celebrate anniversaries and honeymoons while floating across the blue Cappadocia sky. Often featuring terraces with stunning sunset views, secluded boutique cave hotels are a popular option for wedding celebrations. Many of these hotels also have Turkish baths or other spa facilities.
For more information, visit GoTurkiye.com.
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