I usually plan my travels. However, I had no list for things to do in Cappadocia on this visit. I had heard a lot about the Cappadocia from friends and seen numerous photos on the web. Having Roma Sinha as a part of my travel was an added benefit since she had visited Cappadocia before. The entire region is captivating so I left the tour planning to Roma & my hosts at The Castle Inn.
Here is a brief rundown on the top 11 things to do in Cappadocia when you are stretched for time.
1. Stay in a Cave Hotel – We stayed at the Castle Inn, Ortahisar. Castle inn is a newly restored & renovated 150-year-old Cappadocian house with just five rooms. The hosts at the castle inn are very hospitable and helpful. One of the preferred things to do in Cappadocia.
2. Visit Ortahisar & Ortahisar Castle – Ortahisar means “middle castle” and a stay in Ortahisar is more local & authentic. Ortahisar is famous for its friendly inhabitants, picturesque stone houses, narrow streets and lovely churches.
3. Visit the Uchisar Castle – Uchisar Castle is the highest point in Cappadocia. Climb up to view the wonderful panoramas of the surrounding clusters of fairy chimneys, Ürgüp, and Avanos. The castle is accessible by a flight of stairs. Entrance fee is 5 TL. This is a must out of things to do in Cappadocia.
4. Visit the Pigeon Valley or Güvercinlik Vadisi – Hang an evil eye on the tree as is the tradition & feed the pigeons. If you are lucky you will witness the flight of the pigeons. The views of Uchisar Castle and the surrounding valley from the Pigeon Valley are amazing.
5. Hike through the Love Valley – We got caught in a hailstorm hence could not walk the valley. I did manage to click a bird’s eye view of the valley though.
6. Walk through the Monks Valley or Pasabag – Pasabag in Cappadocia is located on the road to Zelve, coming from Goreme or Avanos. Pasabag valley contains some of the most striking fairy chimneys in Cappadocia.
7. Go Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia – Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia completes the trip to Cappadocia. Its an exhilarating experience. You see rock formations and impressive valleys giving a breathtaking view of the region. This has to be a part of your things to do in Cappadocia.
8. Eat an authentic Cappadocian Meal – Definitely try their Pottery kebab in which meat, vegetables and spices are mixed together and baked till done. Another must try dish is the Turkish Ravioli. Gonul Sofrasi run by a Turkish couple in Avanos does the best stuff so don’t miss it when around.
9. Walk through the town of Avanos – Avanos is located on the banks of Kizilirmak River, or “Red River”. Its a centuries old centre for ceramics and pottery. You can shop for stuff as well as participate in a pottery workshop. Vases, jugs, ashtrays, figurines, and plates are just a few items available. Eat traditional homemade food at the Gonul Sofrasi (our meal for five was 127 Turkish Liras). This should be a definite part of your things to do in Cappadocia.
10. Drive through Cappadocia – Cappadocia, geographically is a very small area. It consists of several towns such as Ortahisar, Urgup, Goreme, Uchisar and Avanos. All of these towns are very close with distance ranging between 5 to 10 kms. A drive through these towns makes you experience and appreciate the serenity of this region even more. A sedan will cost 70 Euros a day with insurance.
11. Visit an Underground City – There are 36 underground cities in Cappadocia and the widest one is Kaymakli underground city, while the deepest is the Derinkuyu Underground City. We visited Kaymakli underground city that has around 100 underground tunnels with low, narrow and sloping passages.