Note: This post details what to do in Cappadocia…
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And now back to our post…
WHAT TO DO IN CAPPADOCIA
I added a few to make a top 15 list in this video:
Top 12 Things to Do in Cappadocia
Check out things to do with kids in Cappadocia if you are coming with children. For everyone else, here is your guide for choosing which things to do in Cappadocia.
Photo courtesy of Photos.com – arfabita
Everyone has different interests and budgets so this is one of those highly subjective posts in which the order is not so important. You know what you like. After reading this you will have a better idea of what to do in Cappadocia. The next step is to play matchmaker for yourself and prioritize. For most of these items your hotel should be able to help you get set up, but be sure to check on the internet (or face to face if you can) to confirm that you are getting the best deal (I am assuming that most people are looking for a good deal, but I understand that for some people the best deal is not having to waste time confirming everything).
And with that let’s get to it…
[NOTE: Prices updated fall 2015.]
– This is by far the most popular thing to do in Cappadocia and for good reason. Apparently more balloon trips are made here than anywhere else in the world. The landscape is crazy and the view from above is a great way to see it. The number of hot-air balloon companies has been capped at 26 By reputation Royal Balloons and Turkiye Balloons are excellent. I have flown with both of these companies and had great experiences. (I get nothing from them for this recommendation.) The pilot makes a big difference, but I rarely hear anyone complain about their trip. Most people only fly once so they do not have anything with which to compare their experience. Expect to pay 150-175 euros for an hour flight (if price is your highest priority, search for discount websites which advertise for as low 120 euros but don’t guarantee you which company or how many people will be in your basket). Most companies offer 90 minute options as well for upwards of 250 Euro. The basket size is important as well. A smaller basket holds 8 – 12 people whereas the largest baskets hold 20 (it used to be bigger but government regulations have lower the max basket size). You can imagine that sharing a corner of the basket with 4 people makes for a different flight than if only two others are by your side. The flights generally leave at sunrise if the weather affords, and it usually does. Our house is in the middle of the balloon routes for much of the year (depends on the wind direction). We normally see 50 to 100 balloons floating by in the early morning. Do the math and you will quickly understand why there are so many companies.
– For those who like to ride horses, Cappadocia is a great place. Hills and valleys with few trees, the landscape is perfect for riding. Make sure you get a good horse and know what you are doing. This is not for beginners. You are free to trot or gallop as you wish. The guide shows the way but every rider is on their own leading their horse. They have a few different options from which to choose. The two hour ride is between 110 and 160TL depending on the ranch.
– Just as the landscape is good for horses, the motorcycle & ATV enthusiast will enjoy the dirt trails between Göreme and Çavuşin. Unfortunately, for ATVs guided tours are generally the only option as the authorities fear people will drive onto private property and suffer the wrath of local land owners. The problem with guided tours is that the leader (the guide) is the only person who does not get dust in his face the whole time. Regardless, everyone seems to enjoy the time. Cappadocia is a perfect place for ATV riding with a good balance of hills and flats, great scenery, and dirt roads stretching for miles in every direction. I have not seen rental places outside of Göreme so expect to start from there. The going rates are 80TL for one hour and 125TL for two hours. Note that motorcycles are also available and do not require a guide. Prices depend on the bike you choose.
– For those who love simple nature and/or on a small budget, Cappadocia offers endless trails for the hiker. Pick a valley, pack a lunch and some water, and go for the day. You will find endless caves and rock climbing opportunities.
– I met a guy who came a few weeks ago, rented a bike, hit the trails and hills and canyons, found a cave and slept in it for the night. How does that sound to you? If you are this kind of person, Cappadocia is the place to be. If you do not bring your own bike, you can easily find a place to rent one. The going prices are 6TL for one hour or 35TL for the whole day.
Photo courtesy of Photos.com – Jupiterimages
– Of course, most people come to Cappadocia for the sights, and you could spend days seeing them (check out this post for a quick list). The local tour companies divide the region into different sections and offer day tours. If you do not like the tour option, there is plenty to see in the Göreme – Avanos – Ürgüp triangle that is easily accessible by public transportation. The picture below shows three different tours but the Blue Tour is difficult to book. If you want to do it, try the Undiscovered Cappadocia tour offered by Heritage Travel. The Green tour is 120TL and the Red Tour is 100TL per person. The price includes entrance fees, transportation, a guide and lunch. Expect to be gone from 9am to 5pm.
– This is my first choice for activities in Cappadocia but since it only applies to half the population, I did not feel I could put it at the top of the list. See this post and this post for all the information you need. A shave and massage is only 5TL and is quite addictive.
Photo courtesy of Photos.com – james steidl
8. Tea drinking
– Turks drink a lot of tea and usually they sit and talk while drinking it. Another wonderful way to spend your time is to grab an hour-glass shaped glass of steaming black tea, pull up a chair, and connect with a local English speaker. Chances are your hotel manager, restaurant waiter, or shop owner speaks some English and is eager to practice with you. Take the time, you will not regret it. In fact, it is my contention that the relationships you make with Cappadocians will be the most memorable part of your trip.
– As you probably know Cappadocia as we know it today is a result of volcanic eruptions and the erosion that followed. In the summer tours are offered to climb one of the two volcanoes (Hasan Dağ near Aksaray and Erciyes near Kayseri). Join a group for an overnight climb to the top. None of the volcanoes in the area are currently active so you do not need to fear an Iceland adventure.
In winter rent skis and hit the slopes. Erciyes offers a number of runs for the skiing enthusiast. Don’t expect the Swiss Alps, but you can ski on real snow on a volcano at a reasonable price. Take a day and let us know what you think.
– If you are not with a tour and want to get around in good weather, a scooter may be the way to go. At 75-80TL for the day (depends on which model you choose) the price is reasonable if you plan on covering the area. Two people can ride one if money is tight.
Photo courtesy of Photos.com – Sean Nel
– [These have come out since I first wrote this post so I am adding them.] If you are interested in having fun on the river, this is the activity for you. Go down to the river in Avanos and sign up. Expect to pay 10 euros per person (minimum 4 people, maximum 6 people) for the Gondola boats for 20 minutes.
The Jet boats hold up to 22 people and cost 30 euros per person (minimum 7 people) as of this writing. They have deals sometimes so be sure to check the price with them. We loved this crazy ride all the way up the river and back (took over an hour) at top speeds with 360 degree spins and water spraying everywhere. For reservations send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
12. Turkish Night
– [I should have included this originally.]
All you can eat and drink while watching an array of Turkic/Ottoman folk dances. This usually goes from around 8-11pm and costs somewhere around 80TL (could be less if you know someone or are with a big tour). This will be one of the more memorable experiences of your trip.
* In the heat of summer, you may want to just hang by the pool. If your hotel does not have one, I recommend Göreme Camping (a little off the road to the Open Air Museum, go left after passing the Tourist Hotel) which has a nice pool with 2 fun waterslides. They charge a daily fee. If you want something a little more peaceful many places offer a day rate for their pools.
* One thing that is desperately needed here is a rock climbing / rapelling tour. Much of the rock is difficult because of the flaky sandstone but for someone who knows what they are doing, this is a great place to test your skills.
As I read over this list I get excited myself. Most of the activities on this list of what to do in Cappadocia are fun regardless, but when done in this unique moonscape they are awesome! Come and enjoy.
Which is your favorite activity and why?
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