The First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Cappadocia, Turkey

The First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Cappadocia, Turkey

When we first arrived in Cappadocia, it didn’t feel like we were stepping out of a bus. It felt more like we were getting off a spaceship. It was the oddest-looking landscape I had ever seen with its mushroom-capped fairy chimneys and cities carved in stone. Cave dwelling has a long history in Cappadocia so people have likened its landscape to the Flintstones but to me, it felt more like the surface of the moon, completely alien and not of this earth.

One of the things that surprised me the most about Turkey was its geographic diversity. Natural or man-made, there is so much to marvel at from its calcium travertines in Pamukkale to the minaret-filled skyline of Istanbul. But for me, Cappadocia topped them all. It’s beauty, as you’ll soon see, is out of this world.

And if you think it looks stunning from the ground, wait till you see it from the skies.

GUIDE TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. How to Apply for an E-visa to Turkey
  2. Cappadocia at a Glance
  3. Best Time to Visit
  4. Traveling to Cappadocia
  5. Where to Exchange Currency
  6. Where to Stay
  7. Things to Do
  1. Turkish Food Guide
  2. Where to Eat
  3. Points of Interest (Map)
  4. How to Get Around Cappadocia
  5. How Many Days to Stay / Sample Itinerary
  6. Budget / Summary of Expenses
  7. Travel Tips

HOW TO APPLY FOR AN E-VISA TO TURKEY

Applying for an e-visa to Turkey was a cinch. Travelers used to purchase their tourist visas upon arrival in Turkey but the government decided to transition to e-Visas in 2015 to reduce waiting times at border crossings. If you’re eligible, approval is instantaneous and you’ll be able to print out your e-Visa from the comfort of your own home in minutes. Check out my post on how to apply for an e-Visa to Turkey for a step-by-step process.

CAPPADOCIA AT A GLANCE

Cappadocia is an area in Central Anatolia best known for its unique moon-like landscape. Called fairy chimneys, the strange rock formations that the region is known for were formed through the millennia by intense volcanic activity and erosion. They’re comprised of two types of rock – a harder outer basalt and a softer inner volcanic tufa rock. Sculpted by the elements over thousands of years, the tufa erodes at a faster rate, creating these alien-looking spires with dark mushroom-like caps.

For centuries, people have utilized the region’s soft volcanic rock to carve houses, cave churches, and monasteries, even underground cities going hundreds of feet deep. From what I understand, some people still live in these cave dwellings today though most of them are now used for tourism. They’re marketed as cave hotels and are a popular choice of accommodation for tourists.

Because of the region’s unique landscape, one of the most popular things you can do here is to ride a hot air balloon. Early in the morning, just before sunrise, you’ll often find hundreds of colorful balloons dotting the sky. Spectacular from the ground or from the air, it’s an unforgettable experience and a must-do in Cappadocia.

BEST TIME TO VISIT CAPPADOCIA

Spring (March-May) and Autumn (September-November) are the best times to visit Cappadocia. It isn’t peak season and the weather is moderate. Summer (June-August) can get pretty hot — up to 32°C/90°F — and it’s the busiest time of the year with tourists flocking in from the southern coast. Prices are at their peak during that time. Winter (December-February) can become bitingly cold with temperatures dropping down to -6°C/21°F.

We went in early November and it was already starting to get pretty cold, so I can only imagine what it must be like in January or February. If you don’t mind cold weather though, then winter may be an interesting time to go. I saw pictures and Cappadocia looks stunning blanketed in snow.

MAR-MAY: This is the ideal time to visit Cappadocia for the reasons outlined above. The weather is ideal and the crowds aren’t as heavy as they are during the summer peak season.

JUNE-AUG: This is the busiest time of the year in Cappadocia so pricing for accommodations and activities may be at their highest.

SEPT-NOV: Like Spring, Autumn is a great time to visit Cappadocia. The weather is similar and crowds are thinner. We we there in November and it was already getting pretty cold, so September or October may be better.

DEC-FEB: This is the coldest and slowest time of the year in Cappadocia. Winters can be frigid but if you can brave it, then it’s a beautiful time of the year to go. Accommodations and activities may also be cheapest around this time.

Climate: Annual Monthly Weather in Cappadocia

To help you better understand the weather in Cappadocia, I’ve included average temperature and annual rainfall graphs below. Suggested months to visit are indicated in orange.

Average Temperature
Annual Rainfall in Cappadocia, Turkey

Annual Rainfall
Annual Rainfall in Cappadocia, Turkey

TRAVELING TO CAPPADOCIA

There are many ways to get to Cappadocia depending on where you’re coming from. But for the purpose of this guide, let’s assume you’ll be coming from the popular tourist destinations of Istanbul, Selçuk, or Pamukkale, and interested only in direct flights or bus routes.

From Istanbul

BY AIR: It takes about 1 hr and 15 mins to fly to Cappadocia from Istanbul. Cappadocia has two airports — Nevsehir Kapadokya and Kayseri Erkilet. There are direct flights daily from Istanbul (Ataturk or Sabiha Gokcen) to either airport. Turkish Airlines offers daily flights from Ataturk/Sabiha Gokcen to Nevsehir/Kayseri while Pegasus Airlines services just the Sabiha Gokcen-Kayseri route. Nevsehir is closer to the main towns of Göreme and Urgup but Kayseri is the larger airport. If you’ve already booked a hotel, then you may want to ask them if they offer airport transfers. If not, then there are many agencies that offer shared shuttle bus transfers from either airport such as Argeus and Heritage. If you’d rather book a private transfer, then you can do so through Get Your Guide.

BY BUS: Several companies run nightly buses from Istanbul to Cappadocia, including Metro Turizm and Nevşehir Seyahat. This is the cheapest way to go but it’s also the longest, around 10 hours so it’s best done as an overnight trip. With that said, Turkish long-haul buses are among the most comfortable we’ve ever been on. We went on a 10-hr bus ride from Pamukkale to Cappadocia and we didn’t mind the distance at all. In fact, we enjoyed watching the sunrise from our bus window. More on that below.

From Selçuk

BY AIR: There are two carriers with direct flights from Izmir to Kayseri — Sun Express and Pegasus Airlines. There are none to Nevsehir. You can prearrange for a shuttle bus transfer from Kasyeri to your hotel via Argeus or Heritage, or book a private transfer with Get Your Guide.

BY BUS: As far as I know, only the Kamil Koç company offers direct bus routes to Nevsehir from Izmir. The trip takes about 12 hrs 30 mins.

From Pamukkale

BY AIR: As far as I know, there are no direct flights that will take you from Denizli to Cappadocia. You’ll need to fly to Istanbul first so it’s best you go by overnight bus.

BY BUS: This is what we did. From Pamukkale, you can take a minibus to Denizli’s otogar (bus station) then take a long-haul bus from there to Cappadocia. As advised, a direct bus ride from Denizli to Cappadocia takes about 10 hours so it’s best done as an overnight trip. Several bus lines service the Denizli-Cappadocia route, like Suha Turizm, Metro Turizm, Kamil Koç, Nevsehir Seyahat, and Öz Elbistan. You can purchase your tickets online or at the station itself. If you’ll be traveling during peak season, then I suggest reserving your tickets beforehand.

Here’s a short video I took of our overnight bus from Denizli to Cappadocia. Turkey’s buses are some of the nicest we’ve ever been on and it’s the most popular form of travel for locals. Every seat on the bus has a touch screen where you can play games, watch movies, and listen to the radio. You even have a USB port where you can charge your devices. We took Suha Turizm but all long-haul buses in Turkey are pretty much like this.

WHERE TO EXCHANGE CURRENCY

Based on my research, the only true currency exchange offices in Cappadocia are in Nevşehir. There are none in the popular tourist towns of Göreme, Ürgüp, or Uçhisar. The only bank outside of Nevşehir is Denizbank in Göreme. Other than that, I’ve read that jewelry shops can exchange your currency as well though you’ll need to be familiar with the day’s exchange rate.

Instead of exchanging currency, a common practice by travelers in Turkey is to withdraw TL from an ATM instead. That’s what we did. Not only is it the quickest and most convenient way to get TL, but ATMs are said to give the best rates as well. There are plenty of ATMs in Cappadocia. Depending on which one you use, your bank may impose daily withdrawal limits and charge you a processing fee per withdrawal. You should clarify this with your bank before your trip. You may have to activate your ATM card for overseas use as well. I did.

On top of bringing your ATM card, I suggest bringing some cash and credit cards in the event that your ATM card is rejected. You never know what could happen so it’s good to have a backup plan.

WHERE TO STAY IN CAPPADOCIA

The Cappadocia region is comprised of multiple cities and towns, though the majority of travelers stay in Göreme, Ürgüp, Uçhisar, Ortahisar, and Avanos. So far, we’ve only stayed in Göreme, but I’ll write a brief description of the other areas so you have a basic idea of what to expect.

Göreme

Göreme is considered the hub for tourism in Cappadocia. There you’ll find Cappadocia’s main bus station as well as numerous restaurants, travel agencies, and hotels of varying price ranges to suit every budget. If it’s your first time in Cappadocia, then Göreme is definitely the most convenient place to stay. It’s also walking distance to Göreme Open Air Museum which is the most visited attraction in Cappadocia.

We stayed at a quaint B&B called Natureland Cave Hotel. For just USD 40 a night, we got to stay in a cave room carved from the area’s soft volcanic tufa rock. In my opinion, cave rooms are quintessential to the Cappadocia experience so if it’s your first time here, then staying in one is a must. Natureland Cave Hotel is lovely though it is a bit away from the main cluster of hotels in Göreme. It’s secluded so it affords you more peace and quiet, but you’ll have to walk about 10 minutes to get to all the restaurants and shops in the heart of town. Many people don’t seem to mind as evidenced by their stellar 9.3 rating on Booking.com.

You can rent a room here through AirBnB, Booking.com, or Agoda. If you don’t think that Natureland Cave Hotel is the right place for you, then you can check these links for alternate listings in Göreme: AirBnB | Booking.com | Agoda. If you’re new to AirBnB, then you can get USD 31 free travel credit when you sign up via this link.
Natureland Cave Hotel, Cappadocia, Turkey

Approximate Room Rate: Around USD 40 per night (as of June 2018)

Ürgüp

Ürgüp is similar to Göreme in terms of accommodations and services, plus it’s considered the region’s heart of wine production so it’s a great place for dining out. From what I understand, it’s a slightly more upmarket version of Göreme with nicer hotels and better restaurants, so people looking for more sophisticated options may want to stay here. Check these sites to find accommodations in Ürgüp: AirBnB | Booking.com | Agoda.

Uçhisar

Uçhisar is known for its rock castle which is the highest viewing point in Central Cappadocia. The area offers the best views of Cappadocia and is home to many luxury hotels, inns, and rental villas. It’s a quiet area with a good albeit smaller selection of restaurants. If you’re a luxury traveler, then this is probably where you’ll want to stay. Check these sites to find accommodations in Uçhisar: AirBnB | Booking.com | Agoda.

Ortahisar

Ortahisar is a sleepy town that hasn’t been as commercialized as the previous three areas. There aren’t as many restaurants or hotels here so that may appeal to travelers looking for the most authentic Cappadocia experience. If you enjoy hiking, I read that there are plenty of good hikes you can do from town. Public transportation isn’t as accessible here so it’s probably best to stay in Ortahisar only if you have a rental car. Check these sites to find accommodations in Ortahisar: AirBnB | Booking.com.

Avanos

Avanos is a town that sits by the banks of the Red River. The Red River is the source of the clay used to produce the town’s famous pottery. There are no fairy chimneys or cave hotels in Avanos but if you’re a fan of pottery, then you may want to stay here. There are plenty of shops and restaurants as well. It’s best to have a rental car, but if you don’t have one, then there are buses from Avanos that can take you to Göreme every hour and to Ürgüp every two hours. Check these sites to find accommodations in Avanos: AirBnB | Booking.com.



Booking.com

THINGS TO DO IN CAPPADOCIA

1. Ride a Hot Air Balloon

Without a doubt, riding a hot air balloon over this alien landscape is the most epic thing you can do in Cappadocia. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience and there are few better places in the world to do it than here. Sure, it isn’t cheap, but sometimes you just need to forget about the money. This is one of those times. Check out my post on riding a hot air balloon over Cappadocia with Voyager Balloons for more pictures and information. Voyager Balloons is one of the very top hot air balloon companies in Cappadocia so you’re in good hands with them.

Alternatively, you can book a hot air balloon flight through Get Your Guide. They provide several hot air balloon tours in Cappadocia, including one for just 139.20 Euros. Follow the link for more information and to book a hot air balloon ride with Get Your Guide.
Flying High over Cappadocia at Dawn with Voyager Balloons

Flight Duration: Over 1 hr / Cost: Starts at 160 Euros

2. Visit Cappadocia’s Highlights on the Red Tour

In my opinion, the Red Tour is one of the best things you can do in Cappadocia outside of the hot air balloon ride. It’s a great introduction to the area and takes you to the most striking spots in northern Cappadocia. If you were to do just one tour (other than the hot air balloon), then I suggest doing this one.

You can check out my post on the Red Tour with Bridge of the World for more pictures and information, but here’s a quick rundown of all the stops you’ll be making on this tour:

Uçhisar Castle: Rock castle offering the best panoramic views of Cappadocia.
Love Valley: Valley with erotically shaped fairy chimneys.
Göreme Open Air Museum: Vast monastic complex and Cappadocia’s most popular attraction.
Three Beauties: Most famous fairy chimneys in Cappadocia.
Devrent Valley: Lunar landscape with animal-shaped rocks.
Chez Galip: Studio of master potter Chez Galip.
Paşabağ Valley: Landscape with some of the most striking fairy chimneys in Cappadocia.
Cavusin Cave Village: Ancient village built into the region’s soft volcanic rock.

Alternatively, you can book a version of this Red Tour with Get Your Guide. It costs just 29 Euros per person and it looks like you’ll be making the same stops. Follow the link for more information and to book the Red Tour with Get Your Guide.
Cappadocia Highlights (Red Tour) with Bridge of the World

Tour Duration: Around 7-8 hrs / Cost: 35 Euros

3. Discover Cappadocia on the Green Tour

Arguably the second most popular tour in Cappadocua after the Red, the Green Tour will take you to a slew of interesting sites in southern Cappadocia. Highlights include an underground city that goes 300 ft below the surface of the earth and a picturesque hike through a valley honeycombed with rock-cut dwellings and churches.

You can check out my post on the Green Tour with Bridge of the World for more pictures and information, but here’s a quick rundown of all the stops you’ll be making on this tour:

Göreme Panorama: Area offering fantastic panoramic views of the landscape.
Derinkuyu Underground City: Ancient multi-level underground city.
Selime Monastery: Rock-cut monastery and the largest religious structure in Cappadocia.
Ihlara Valley: Picturesque valley famous for hiking.
Pigeon Valley: Long and beautiful valley with interesting rock formations.

Alternatively, you can book a version of this Green Tour with Get Your Guide. It costs just 31.99 Euros per person and it looks like you’ll be making the same stops. Follow the link for more information and to book the Green Tour with Get Your Guide.
Discover Cappadocia (Green Tour) with Bridge of the World

Tour Duration: Around 7-8 hrs / Cost: 45 Euros

4. Explore Cappadocia’s Moonscape on Horseback

Cappadocia in Turkish means “land of the beautiful horses”, so what better way to explore this alien landscape than on horseback? We did this on a whim the day we arrived in Cappadocia and it turned out to be one of our fondest memories in Turkey. Check out my post on exploring the landscape of Cappadocia on horseback for more pictures and information.
Exploring the Moonscape of Cappadocia, Turkey on Horseback

Activity Duration: Around 2-3 hrs / Cost: 30 Euros

5. Explore Cappadocia on an ATV

If horseback riding isn’t your thing, then you may want to go on an ATV ride instead. We didn’t do this but cruising around on ATVs is another popular activity in Cappadocia. Many tour operators offer ATV riding but I can personally recommend Bridge of the World travel agency. We booked four tours with them and we were happy with all. Alternatively, you can book an ATV tour through Get Your Guide as well.
ATV riding, Cappadocia, Turkey

Rose Valley Quadbikes” by Bill Wu, used under CC BY 2.0 / Cropped, processed in Photoshop and Lightroom
Activity Duration: Around 2-3 hrs / Cost: 30 Euros

6. Get a Taste of Turkish Culture & Dance during Turkish Night

Accompanied by live music over dinner and free-flowing wine, you’ll be treated to folk dances from different parts of Turkey, including a whirling dervish ceremony and a belly dance. Did I mention there’s free-flowing wine? Check out my post on Turkish Night in Cappadocia for more pictures and information.

Alternatively, you can book your Turkish Night experience with Get Your Guide. It costs just 35 Euros per person. Follow the link for more information and to book a Turkish Night experience with Get Your Guide.
Turkish Night: An Evening of Dance & Debauchery in Cappadocia, Turkey

Activity Duration: Around 2-3 hrs / Cost: 40 Euros

TURKISH FOOD GUIDE

Considered one of the world’s greatest cuisines because of its diversity, long history, and the legacy left behind by an imperial kitchen, it seemed that every region we visited had something interesting and tasty to offer. Check out my post for a list of 27 delicious things to eat and drink in Turkey.
Turkish Food Guide: 27 Delicious Things to Eat in Turkey

WHERE TO EAT IN GÖREME

1. Nazar Börek Cafe

A TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence awardee, Nazar Börek Cafe is a gem of a restaurant that serves traditional Turkish dishes like börek, gözleme, and böregi. Börek, from which the restaurant gets its name, refers to a family of filled filo (or yufka) pastries popular in Ottoman cuisine. Pictured below is the potato börek. It had a soft moist texture reminiscent of Spanish tortilla de patata, but in pastry form. It was delicious and one of my favorite things to eat in Turkey.
Nazar Börek Cafe, Cappadocia, Turkey

Nazar Börek is located along Müze Cad, not too far from Cappadocia Voyager Balloons.
Nazar Börek Cafe, Cappadocia, Turkey

Nazar Börek Cafe

Address: Müze Cad. No:30, 50180 Göreme Belediyesi/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey
What to Eat: Börek, gözleme, and böregi
Expect to Spend: Around 15TL per person with drinks
How to Get There: Nazar Börek is located along Müze Cad. which is just off the main road. It’s about 50 meters from Cappadocia Voyager Balloons.

2. Omurca Art Cave Cafe

Another TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence awardee, Omurca Art Cave Cafe is a charming little place that’s owned by artist and craftsman Harun. Not only did Harun decorate the place and build all the furniture himself, but he cooks all the food as well. It’s a great place to just kick back and relax while enjoying a home-cooked meal with glasses of house-made wine. Pictured below is a plate of güvec, which is a type of casserole made with pepper, onion, garlic, tomato, aubergine, potato, and spices. Yum!
Omurca Art Cave Cafe, Cappadocia, Turkey

Omurca Art Cave Cafe is set in the heart of Göreme’s maze of alleys and fairy chimneys so it can be a little hard to locate. You can refer to the map below to help you find it.
Omurca Art Cave Cafe, Cappadocia, Turkey

Omurca Art Cave Cafe

Address: 50100,, Kazım Eren Sk., 50180 Göreme Belediyesi/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey
Operating Hours: 12NN-12MN, daily
What to Eat: Güvec, testi kebap
Expect to Spend: Around 25TL per person with drinks
How to Get There: Omurca Art Cave Cafe is buried deep within Göreme’s maze of hotels and fairy chimneys so it’s a little difficult to find. Scroll down to the map below to see exactly where it is.

3. Coffeedocia

Coffeedocia is a great place to have breakfast, especially if you’re arriving in Göreme by overnight bus. Located just off the otogar (bus station), we randomly walked into this place with our luggage in tow when it was still too early to check in at our hotel. Breakfast was wonderful and the Segafredo coffee was good. They have a full menu as well with a wide selection of desserts.
Coffeedocia, Cappadocia, Turkey

As described, Coffeedocia is right next to Göreme’s otogar. It’s an ideal place to enjoy a meal if you’re coming or going by bus.
Coffeedocia, Cappadocia, Turkey

Coffeedocia

Address: Turgut Özal Myd. No:12, 50180 Göreme Belediyesi/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey
Operating Hours: 8AM-1AM, daily
What to Eat: Pastirmali yumurta, menemen
Expect to Spend: Around 15TL per person with coffee
How to Get There: Coffeedocia is adjacent to the otogar parking lot. You can’t miss it.

POINTS OF INTEREST IN CAPPADOCIA

To help you get your bearings, I’ve created this map so you get a better sense of where everything is. All of the places recommended in this guide are pinned on this map.

HOW TO GET AROUND CAPPADOCIA

Personally, I prefer exploring on our own so we try not to go on guided tours. But in Cappadocia, I felt it was necessary. Attractions are spread out over large distances so unless you have a rental car, it’s tough to go from one place to the next. Derinkuyu underground city and Ihlara Valley, for example, are over an hour away from Göreme. Public transportation in the form of minibuses does exist between towns, but not all attractions are within the towns themselves. On top of that, you’ll need to wait around for the minibuses which only adds to the travel time.

For these reasons, I suggest going on guided tours. The Red and Green Tours will take you to all the major spots in Cappadocia. Entrance fees are already included, as is lunch, and you don’t have to worry about missing any attractions. We booked our tours with Bridge of the World and I found their prices to be reasonable.

If there are enough people in your group to split the cost, then an alternative would be to rent a car. Many travelers do. According to Turkey Travel Planner, you’ll need to pay a minimum of 100TL per day to rent the cheapest M/T car. Most rental cars in Turkey have M/T so expect to pay a lot more for A/T. I can’t drive stick so this wasn’t feasible for us, plus I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of having to seek out places on our own and potentially getting lost. But if you’re comfortable with the prospect of driving, then this would be a good option. It will give you the most freedom.

HOW MANY DAYS TO STAY / SAMPLE ITINERARY

A minimum of two full days, no less. If you do both the Red and Green Tours, then you’ll see pretty much all the major sights in Cappadocia. Each tour takes a full day which is why I’m suggesting a stay of no less than two. If you plan on taking a hot air balloon ride, then you can do it on either of those days. It starts bright and early at around 5:30AM, and they’ll have you back at your hotel in time for your tours.

If I were you, I’d throw in an extra day just to take it easy and do some exploring on your own. Cappadocia is captivating and one of the most interesting landscapes I’ve ever seen. It’s fun to just walk around and soak in the atmosphere. Maybe you can go horseback riding, cruise around on ATVs, or do some independent hiking. It’s a magical place so you’re bound to enjoy every minute of your stay there. Here’s a sample 2-day itinerary to help you plan your trip. The Red and Green Tours cover everything so there isn’t much to it.

DAY ONE

• Hot Air Balloon Ride
• Red Tour
DAY TWO

• Green Tour
• Turkish Night

BUDGET / SUMMARY OF EXPENSES

The unit of currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TL), though Euros and US Dollars are widely accepted as well. But just because you can pay for things with Euros or USD doesn’t mean that you should. Some things are better off paid in TL because they can turn out to be more expensive when converted to Euros or USD. Basically anything that was quoted in Euros or USD — like hotels and tours — I paid for with USD, and everything else — like meals, souvenirs, transportation, entrance fees, etc. — I paid for with TL.

Naturally, how much money to bring depends on which activities and tours you’d like to do. Assuming you’ll be staying for three nights (ie two full days), going on both the Red and Green Tours, riding a hot air balloon, and sharing a hotel room with one other person, then a budget of 300 Euros each for the entire two days should cover everything. This takes into account your hotel room, tour and activity costs, meals, and pocket wifi rental.

I know 300 Euros sounds like a lot for two days, but half of that goes to the hot air balloon ride so if you don’t plan on doing it, then you’ll be spending much less. If you’ve never ridden one though, then I strongly urge you to just go for it. There’s no better place in the world to do it than here in Cappadocia. It’s something to scratch off your bucket list and you may wind up regretting it if you don’t.

ACCOMMODATIONS

This is highly subjective. It depends on several factors like hotel preference and number of travel companions. We booked a room at Natureland Cave Hotel for about USD 40 a night.
MEALS

If you’ll be going on the Red and Green Tours where lunch is already included, then you’ll only need to pay for your dinner, drinks, and snacks. I’d say around 50TL for two days is enough. Budget more if you plan on dining at fancier restaurants.
POCKET WIFI RENTAL

If you’re sharing the cost with one other person, then you’ll be paying about USD 6 each for two days.
TOUR & ACTIVITY FEES

If you go on the Red and Green Tours, as well as the hot air balloon ride, then you’ll be paying around 240 Euros for everything.
TOTAL

At today’s exchange rate, that comes out to about 297 Euros per person for the entire two-day trip. As described, more than half of that goes to tours so you’ll be paying significantly less if you don’t do them. But in my opinion, you’ll be missing out on a lot if you don’t.

TRAVEL TIPS

1. Plan your Trip with Sygic Travel (formerly Tripomatic)

This is my go-to travel planning app. I use it to plan every trip. With Sygic Travel, you can plot points of interest on a map, including your hotel, so you can see exactly how far you need to travel between points. It enables you to lump attractions together per day based on their location. With pocket wifi, it can turn your mobile phone into a GPS tracking device so people with a terrible sense of direction (like me) never get lost again. Pretty sweet right? Check out my post on the Sygic Travel app for more information.

DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

You can follow the link to check out our Cappadocia itinerary on Sygic Travel. You can also get a download link to our entire 2-week Turkey itinerary in editable Word format by signing up for our FREE newsletter below.

2. Rent a Pocket Wifi Device

A constant wifi connection is a must when traveling these days, especially with Sygic Travel’s GPS tool being such a lifesaver. We never go anywhere now without renting a pocket wifi device first.

We rented the device from Alldaywifi for just USD 5 a day with unlimited data. We used it all throughout our Turkey trip — from Istanbul to Selçuk to Pamukkale to Cappadocia — without experiencing any interruptions in service. It also came with a powerbank which proved very handy. After using the device the entire day, the battery would go red around 6-7PM so we’d plug it in to the powerbank for a couple more hours of juice.

You can have it delivered to any hotel in Istanbul or pick it up at Ataturk Airport. Before departing Turkey, you can leave it with your hotel’s reception desk as they currently don’t offer airport drop-off. Delivery and pickup within Istanbul is free, but anywhere else will incur a shipment cost of USD 10 each way.

Follow the link to rent a pocket wifi device from Alldaywifi. I suggest reserving it at least a week before your trip.
Alldaywifi, Turkey

3. Book Early, Pay Cash, and Get Upgraded to the Comfort Flight on Voyager Balloons

Thanks to Turkey Travel Planner, we got a free upgrade from the Standard to the Comfort flight with Cappadocia Voyager Balloons. Standard flights take up to 28 people at a time while Comfort flights take a maximum of just 16. If you make a reservation with them via THIS LINK and select “Standard Flight” under Flight Type, be sure to choose “Turkey Travel Planner” under the How did you find us? dropdown and key in the Promotion Code TTP01. This will get you upgraded to the early morning Comfort flight (the best one) at no extra charge. Standard flights cost 160 Euros per person. If you pay in cash, then Voyager Balloons will give you a 10 Euro discount per person, so you’ll wind up paying just 150 Euros for what would normally cost 180 Euros for the Comfort flight. Not bad eh? You can confirm the promo on THIS PAGE of Turkey Travel Planner.

Our pilot told us that about 40% of morning flights get cancelled due to unfavorable weather conditions. If you’ll be staying in Cappadocia for several days, then I strongly urge you to book your flight on the very first morning you’ll be there. That way you can still move your flight to another day in case it gets cancelled. It would be a shame to go all the way to Cappadocia and not be able to go up in a hot air balloon.

4. Try Pottery Kebab at a Restaurant that Requires Advanced Booking

Testi or pottery kebab is a casserole-type dish that’s prepared in a clay pot or jug. It’s an Anatolian specialty and a must-try in Cappadocia. For the best experience, go to a restaurant that requires advanced booking. Pottery kebab takes hours to prepare so a good restaurant will require you to make a reservation at least three hours in advance. You can ask your hotel for recommendations. If a restaurant offers pottery kebab on the spot, then it’s highly likely that they pre-make batches earlier in the day and just reheat them when you order. That’s what happened to us so I’m not recommending that restaurant.
Pottery Kebab, Cappadocia, Turkey

Testi Kebabi” by Tracy Hunter, used under CC BY 2.0 / Cropped, processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

5. Check for Discount Passes

There are many websites that offer discount passes to tours and services. Among the sites I use, the ones with the most activities in Cappadocia are Get Your Guide and Viator. Both are solid, reputable companies that offer tours and activities to many cities around the world, including Cappadocia. If you’re looking for deals on tours, transfers, shows, etc., then you may want to search through the Get Your Guide and Viator websites for a list of attractions deals in Cappadocia. Here’s a quick look at some of Get Your Guide’s most popular deals in Cappadocia: (pictures borrowed from getyourguide.com)

6. Get Travel Insurance

To be honest, it was only recently when we started buying travel insurance. Back when we traveled just once or twice a year, travel insurance felt more like an added expense, one we didn’t need. But now that we travel more, I understand how important it is to have it. Fact is, you never know what can happen on the road. It’s one of those things that you hope you never have to use, but if you do wind up needing it, then you’ll be thanking the gods that you had it. Or cursing them if you didn’t.

Though I do find it more necessary now, it’s still up to you if you think you need it. A 3-day food trip to Seoul may not really call for insurance but if you plan on doing more active things like bungee jumping, kayaking, or even going on a city bike tour, then I’d say travel insurance is a must. Here in Cappadocia, I think it would definitely be good to have it.

We buy travel insurance from World Nomads because every long-term traveler I know recommends it. From the sound of it, they’re the best in the industry by a mile. Not only do they provide a high coverage limit for medical expenses (up to USD 5 million with the Standard package), they also cover things like trip delays, missed flight connections, theft/loss of passport and luggage, etc. Follow the link or use the widget below to learn more and get a free travel insurance quote from World Nomads. It’s super quick and easy.

7. Know When and How Much to Tip

Tipping is generally modest in Turkey, around 5% at restaurants and a few lira for porters and other similar services. Try to tip in TL as much as possible and give it directly to your server. At inexpensive restaurants, around 5% is enough. At fine dining establishments, 10-15% is expected. For porters at hotels, airports, or train and bus stations, 2-3TL per bag should suffice. Taxi drivers usually aren’t given a tip, but you should round the fare up to a convenient amount (ie 20.30TL to 21TL). Tips to tour guides and drivers are at your discretion. If you were happy with the day’s tour, then a group tip of around 20TL for the guide and 15TL for the driver would be appreciated. Keep in mind that this is the total tip from the entire group, not each individual.

8. Bring the Right Power Adapter

Electrical outlets in Turkey are round so plugs are typically Type C or Type F. Be sure to bring the right power adapters for your devices. Electrical voltage is 230V.

9. Consult Turkey Travel Planner

A bible for all things Turkey. Tom Brosnahan is an American travel writer who’s been visiting Turkey for the greater part of 40 years. He’s about as knowledgeable and well-connected as any non-local, and his website — turkeytravelplanner.com — was an invaluable resource when planning our trip. The navigation is a little confusing but the wealth of information is impressive. I suggest referring to it should you need more in-depth knowledge of Turkey.

Have fun!

I’m not an expert on Cappadocia nor Turkey but I do hope that you find this guide useful. I’m only sharing some of the things I learned from our trip. If you have any suggestions or simply want to share your own experiences, then please feel free to do so in the comments section below. You’re welcome to join our Facebook Travel Group as well. We’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for stopping by and have an awesome time exploring the moonscape of Cappadocia!

OUR GEAR

These are some of the things we brought with us to Cappadocia. As you can tell, I document a lot of content for this blog so most of the things I bring are photo and video equipment. 😆 If you’d like to see what other gear we use, then you can check out our “What’s in Our Backpack?” post. (NOTE: The following links are Amazon affiliate links.)

Disclosure

Some of the links in this guide are affiliate links, meaning we’ll get a small commission if you make a purchase at NO extra cost to you. We only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as this helps us make more of these free travel guides. Thank you!




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There are 12 comments for this article
  1. Cappadocia at 7:07 pm

    One of the best article on the web. I am from Cappadocia and I loved reading your article. Well done.

  2. JB Macatulad at 11:15 pm

    @Cappadocia: Thank you so much! That means a lot coming from a local. We loved Cappadocia so much that we hope to spend more time there. Hopefully soon! 🙂

  3. Cappadocia at 1:17 am

    Cappadocia has one of the best landscape in the world, this reason region attracts many photographers, honeymoon couples and wedding planners. Everyone tries to get the best foto shuts to make their special event unforgettable. Make sure to bring a nice camera and suitable dress to get the best out of Cappadocia

  4. JL at 4:41 pm

    Hi, Thanks for this blog! planning to visit Cappadocia in March 2019, and i guess everything i need to know is right here 🙂 Im still hesitant though, is March would be the best time to visit? 🙂 id like to have a nice view of the sunrise and sunset. any suggestions?

  5. JB & Renée Macatulad at 8:59 am

    Hi JL, March should be a great time to visit. Sunset point in Goreme is the perfect place to view the sunset or sunrise. We went up there one day and it was absolutely breathtaking. Hope that helps and enjoy Turkey! 🙂

  6. Pingback: The Cave Cities of Cappadocia - Turkey - Uncharted Backpacker
  7. Pingback: KAPADOKYA GEZİSİ – Gezi Rehberi
  8. Janus at 5:01 am

    With regard to walking Ihabe heard that packs of stray dogs might round on you so I’d be wary of doing that alone. Turkey has a big problem with dangerous stray dogs.

  9. JB & Renée Macatulad at 11:15 am

    Thanks for the tip Janus, but we actually found the stray dogs in Turkey to be rather friendly and well cared for. They seemed much healthier than stray dogs in other countries, particularly in Southeast Asia. I guess some people had different experiences from us.

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