I love looking at pictures of Cappadocia. The region always surprises me with stunning landscapes views, quirky trends, and the Turkish culture behind the touristic face. Sitting in Turkey’s Anatolian region and part of the Nevsehir province, Cappadocia is the country’s second most popular tourist destination.
Many round the world backpackers put Cappadocia on their list of destinations after Istanbul, and for honeymooners, romance awaits. Considering Cappadocia is a landlocked region in Turkey with no beaches, holidaymakers are often surprised at the popularity. Yet, the area offers something no other place in the world can even match.
A surreal lunar-like landscape with fairy chimneys, cave hotels, hot air balloons ride, underground cities and intriguing history that includes the early days of Christianity. If you have not already been, put Cappadocia on your bucket list when you visit Turkey. I guarantee the area never disappoints, and the following photos prove it.
14 Pictures of Cappadocia and Places to Visit
1: Goreme – Center of Cappadocia
Although there are many places to stay in Cappadocia, Goreme earns regional fame as the central hub. If arriving by bus from other parts of Turkey, you will end up at Goreme bus station. Goreme is home to the famous open-air museum with its collection of 14th and 15th-century cave churches. This is the top-visited attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage site in Turkey. Read about Goreme in Cappadocia.
2: Visit Picturesque Cavusin Village
Cavusin town separates into two parts, the new part with modern housing and the old with quaint cave houses and hotels. The old part is home to the 5th century Saint John chapel. Also, expect a fantastic view towards the Rose and Red Valleys, two popular walking trails. Cavusin’s cultural Greek heritage lives on in the architecture of original houses. More about Cavusin in Cappadocia.
3: House of Memories in Ortahisar
Ortahisar, one of Cappadocia’s main villages, keeps a working person ambience despite tourism being a significant income. The down-to-earth atmosphere is seen in the few restaurants and tea houses. While staying there, I came across this lovely shop called the House of Memories, an antique shop with numerous Turkish goodies for sale. Sitting by the castle, the shop had a quaint feel, as if living in another world.
4: Experience a Cappadocian Sunrise
In most of Cappadocia, expect to wake up to a dramatic sunrise or end the day with a calming sunset. One recommended activity while in Cappadocia is to take an early sunrise hot air balloon trip. Wake up at 5 a.m., but after breakfast, as the sun rises, ascend for a fantastic bird’s eye view of the famous fairy rocks.
5: Visit the Goreme Open Air Museum
The top attraction in Cappadocia, the Goreme open-air museum, is a collection of 14th and 15th-century ancient cave churches. Carved out of tufa rock and used by early Christians, they are a well-respected UNESCO World Heritage site. With a little bit of imagination, everyone can transport to those days when humans lived in the caves. (Goreme open air museum.)
6: Devrent Valley in Cappadocia
One fantastic thing to do while exploring Cappadocia and the province is to admire the marvellous rock structures. They were formed over thousands of years by wind erosion, and in Devrent valley, specific structures resemble odd and quirky things like this camel. Devrent translates into imagination, reflecting how certain rocks can be seen differently if you change your perception. More about Devrent Valley.
7: Ancient Biblical Frescoes of Turkey
In many areas of Turkey, authorities made a mess when restoring ancient structures. Luckily, they did an excellent job in Cappadocia. When entering the cave churches, look up to see marvellous biblical frescoes adorning the ceilings. Each fresco has a story to tell because people could not read and write back then, so frescoes preserved the Bible’s teachings.
8: Monks Valley in Cappadocia
Although the Goreme open-air museum is the best way to see how people lived in Cappadocia, many other outdoor museums exist. For example, Zerve valley is where Nicholas Cage filmed Ghost Rider, but I recommend Monk’s Valley. I wouldn’t go back, having seen it three times, yet for first-time visitors to Cappadocia, the valley amazes and surprises everyone. More about Monks Valley.
9: Wonderful Views of Mount Hassan
The great thing about hiring a private guide is that they take clients to lesser-known attractions. This happened on my last trip when my guide suggested we stop by Yuksek church. I had never heard of it despite researching and visiting Cappadocia numerous times. (One reason to hire local guides.) When exiting the church, this marvellous view of Mount Hassan stood in front of me on a clear day. About Yuksek church.
10: Visit Ortahisar Village
Ortahisar isn’t as famous as Goreme, yet for a day out, can be adventurous. After seeing the castle view, head to the outskirt areas of the village for a fantastic view of the traditional stone Cappadocia houses. (Why visit Ortahisar.)
11: Pottery in Cappadocia
Ask one who knows Turkey well, and they will say Cappadocia has an excellent reputation for pottery. The red river runs through the area, and locals take red clay from the banks. They have made pots for centuries and often ship them throughout the country. To see traditional pottery makers in action, head to any of the pottery workshops in Avanos.
12: Soganli Abandoned Village
Soganli is off the beaten track but worth making the detour for. As well as an impressive collection of historical cave churches with ancient biblical frescoes, the village is famous for being abandoned. Sitting up the hillside of 20 houses is a large stone boulder, and every so often, debris comes running down the hillside. Hence the reason nobody lives there. More pictures of Soganli village.
13: Saruhan Caravansary
Cappadocia sits in Turkey’s Anatolian region, which was a significant point on the old Silk Road. Traders coming through needed safe places to rest the night and know that their animals and goods were looked after. Hence, Cappadocia is home to numerous caravansaries. The most famous is Saruhan on the outskirts of Goreme, which also sells Turkish night tickets. (Pictures of Saruhan.)
14: Quirky Cave Houses and Hotels
As well as quirky cave churches, Cappadocia has many hotels and cave houses. Yes, in this part of Turkey, some people live in caves. Of course, most have been modernised to keep with current lifestyles, but the marvellous stone architecture makes them unique. So when you visit Cappadocia, be sure to book into a cave hotel for a surreal experience. What is it like to stay in a cave hotel?
To see more pictures of Cappadocia, browse the Cappadocia travel guide, which talks about famous, popular and off the beaten destinations. Alternatively, if you plan to explore other areas in Turkey, browse the other category destinations. Full of suggestions of where to go and what to do, it also talks about the history, traditions, and culture of wonderful Turkey.