Shaped by wind and water, the rock formations, rock-hewn churches, cave dwellings and underground cities of Cappadocia are otherworldly. Fairy chimneys cleaved from the earth and shaped by centuries of erosion punctuate the Pasabaglari Valley, giving it a moon-like appearance. Owing to its intriguing history and unique landscapes, Cappadocia Turkey holidays are popping up on many discerning traveller’s bucket list.
During each of our Cappadocia holidays, you’re introduced to both natural and cultural places. You can walk along the Melendiz River, experiencing traditional village life as you meander through the beautiful Ihlara Valley. Here you’ll find dozens of Byzantine cave chapels to explore, most of them decorated with exquisite biblical frescoes. These dramatic cave dwellings really do have to be seen to be believed.
The multi-level, underground city of Derinkuyu is equally as magnificent, with its ancient dwellings spread out over eight levels and more than 85m beneath the ground. It’s the largest underground city in Turkey and is big enough to have housed around 20,000 people and their livestock. But perhaps the main attraction on holidays to Cappadocia is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Goreme Open-Air Museum, a monastic complex composed of churches, rectories and dwellings.
Owing to the unusual and volcanic landscapes of Cappadocia, our walking holidays in Turkey are popular with those wanting to uncover the country’s diversity. But if you prefer to get a bird’s eye view of the unique scenery, a hot air balloon ride takes you on a once-in-a-lifetime trip above the Rose Valley and Goreme Open-Air Museum.
Holidays to Cappadocia
8 Daysfrom£ 1,399
Guided Group (Excl. Flights)
Trek through Turkey's amazing rock formations in Cappadocia
Hot air balloon ride over the fairy chimneys: The fairy chimneys are among the most iconic sights in Cappadocia. Rising from the landscape like fairytale dwellings, these surreal rock formations are the result of millennia-old volcanic eruptions, which were then sculpted into cave dwellings by the Cappadocians. This World Heritage Site is a dreamlike landscape where you’ll also find spectacular chapels dating back to the 11th century. To float above the fairy chimneys in a hot air balloon is a unique experience that needs to be on every traveller’s bucket list.
Watch the sunrise over Red Valley: Right at the very heart of Goreme National Park, Red Valley is a breathtaking landscape made up of surreal rock formations. Their reddish-pink hue formed by the tuff rocks gives the valley its name and it has become a much-loved place to visit in Cappadocia. As the sun rises over the valley, it creates an ethereal ambience, making this a phenomenal natural wonder that must be seen on our Cappadocia holidays. As you stroll along the valley floor, you’re swept into a time gone by and you can delve into the history of the area at the many churches.
Visit the Goreme Open-Air Museum: Home to a stunning collection of ancient churches, chapels and monasteries, the UNESCO-listed Goreme Open Air Museum is a must-see site in Cappadocia. There are over 600 churches peppering the landscape where visitors can come and delve into the history of Christianity. Inside these Byzantine buildings in the Goreme Valley, you’ll find the most intricate frescoes adorning the walls and ceilings. Many of the paintings are red patterns and animals that date back to the 11th and 12th centuries. Two of the churches that display the most beautiful frescoes are Dark Church and Buckle Church.
Watch a Whirling Dervishes Ritual: Embedded deep into the Turkish culture, the Whirling Dervishes is a unique spectacle of a spiritual Sema Ritual that is performed in the form of music, chanting and dance. The ceremony takes place in the well-preserved 13th century Saruhan Caravanserai, an ancient location once used along the Silk Road, which is just as impressive as the ceremony itself. The performance is utterly mesmerising and often has a profound effect on its audience.
Take a Turkish bath: No trip to Turkey would be complete without experiencing a traditional Turkish bath, also known as a hammam. These types of steam baths have been around since the 16th century and are an important part of Turkish culture. For centuries, the hammam has been used by the Turks for religious and spiritual purification. In later years, it also became a place where they could go to entertain and socialise. Nowadays, people from all over the world use Turkish baths for relaxation and health benefits.
Good driver. Excellent guide. Hotels well chosen. Itinerary great. Initial Airport pickup bit chaotic.
This is a whistle stop tour of lots of the major sites in Turkey. Starting in Istanbul, going over to Gallipoli, then down the west coast to Troy and Ephesus, going over to Pammukale, then down to the turquoise coast and Kas before going to Antalya, inland to Cappadocia and then finally back to Istanbul. It covers a lot of distance and is pretty full on, but the sights make it all worthwhile. If you like archaeology and history in general then this is great trip. But the optional boat trip on the coast and the balloon ride in Cappadocia are also moments of pure relaxation. In hindsight, I think the trip might be better as a 3 week trip with some more down time. It was pretty rushed sightseeing in Istanbul at the end, though another option is just to add more days on at the end.
When is the best time to book a Cappadocia holiday?
The best times to enjoy walking holidays in Cappadocia are in the spring and autumn when its quieter and the temperatures are cooler. July and August can be extremely hot, and the summer months usually draw crowds of tourists. From April to early June, and September to October, are lovely times to visit as there is little rainfall and the temperatures are pleasant for walking. There is a good chance of snow during winter and although the scenery looks beautiful, it can become too cold for walking.
What are the fairy chimneys in Cappadocia?
Rising up from the ground, the fairy chimneys are unusual rock formations that have created Cappadocia’s surreal landscape and earned the region its UNESCO World Heritage status. The rocks have formed over time from centuries of volcanic eruptions which produced thick ash that hardened throughout the years to become the soft rock known as tuff. Eroded by the natural elements, the hard rock inside was all that was left, thus forming the incredible fairy chimneys.
What are the best things to see on Cappadocia holidays?
Blessed with diverse scenery of lunar-like landscapes, rock-hewn churches and underground cities, there are plenty of things to see in Cappadocia. Wander around the distinctive fairy chimneys that pierce the skyline of the Pasabaglari valley or venture beneath the earth at Derinkuyu to explore the subterranean dwellings which once housed approximately 20,000 inhabitants and their livestock. Goreme Open-Air Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to monastic churches and houses, is also a must-visit site on a Cappadocia holiday.t
Where are the best walking trails in Cappadocia?
Throughout Cappadocia you’ll find wonderful trails that lead you among the wildlife and geological wonders. Rose Valley is particularly stunning, and it can be reached from the old village of Cavusin as you walk to the vantage point at Sunset Point for magnificent views. Although it is more challenging than other routes, the walk through White Valley is definitely worth the effort. Pass the white rock faces and follow the river to Love Valley where you’ll enjoy views of Cappadocia and the fairy chimneys. The Pigeon Trail, so named because of the dovecotes that are carved into the dwellings, is another worthy route that winds from Uchisar to Goreme.
What are the best things to do in Cappadocia?
Without a doubt, a hot air balloon ride over the Rose Valley and Goreme Open-Air Museum is one of the best experiences you can have in Cappadocia. To see the spectacular landscapes of fairy chimneys and rock-cut houses from above is an exhilarating adventure that you’ll treasure for a lifetime. If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, walk through the Red Valley to catch the stunning sunset. Alternatively, sit back and enjoy a traditional Turkish performance by the Whirling Dervishes at Saruhan Caravanserai. A jeep safari of the Red Valley takes you on a thrilling ride off the beaten track along canyons and to remote corners.
Is Goreme walkable?
Made up of beautiful valleys and ridges, Goreme’s landscapes are ideal for walking. Follow wonderful hiking trails that meander between gorges and plateaus where you can enjoy panoramic views of the region. The Zindanonu Valley is particularly scenic and offers spectacular views over Goreme and the open-air museum. Walking in the Goreme Valley introduces you to cave churches adorned with Byzantine frescoes. Exploring on foot gives you the opportunity to enter the rock-hewn dwellings, wander through the alleyways and truly immerse yourself in the fascinating history of Goreme.
Do I need hiking boots for Cappadocia?
Cappadocia has a diverse landscape, much of which is made up of mountainous terrain which is rocky and uneven in places. While it’s not essential to wear hiking boots we would advise it as there can be lengthy walking days and they offer the best protection for your feet. Depending on when you book your trip, you might want to take waterproof boots just so you’re prepared for any rainy weather.