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Where is Cappadocia in Turkey?
It is a region in Central Anatolia that encompasses the "moonscape" area around the towns of Göreme, Avanos, Ürgüp, Uçhisar, and Mustafapaşa (Sinasos).
What makes Cappadocia special?
Cappadocia is an unique place in the whole world. Everything there from the underground cities to the particular rock formation and cave churches make this a very special place, and a trip to Turkey without visiting Cappadocia is a trip with a lot missing.
Painted cave churches: Cappadocia has several old churches and monasteries, and it is believed that by the IX century they already were over 3 thousand. What makes these churches so interesting is that they were carved into the rocks. Most of them are in the Göreme Open Air Museum, and amongst the best-preserved are the Dark Church (Karanlik Kilise) and the Buckle Church (Tokali Lilise).
Flying in a hot-air balloon: This is one of the favourite experiences for the majority of visitors. Cappadocia is already stunning from the ground but undoubtedly seeing the landscape from above is a whole different thing. It is a moment for felling mesmerized by the unique rock formations and floating among a several multi-coloured hot air balloons that gives a special touch to the scenario.
Göreme open air museum: The National Park of Göreme has beautiful and stunning rock formations, most probably the most different type you will see in life, and their shape remind fairy chimneys, aspargus and some animals. Admire the different geological tones at the park, from green, red, brown and white. There are other valleys in the surroundings that deserve a walk: Love Valley, Rose Valley, Red Valley, Zemi Valley, Kiliçlar Vadisi e Pegeon Valley.
Underground cities: One of the top touristic attractions that Turkey has to offer is certainly the opportunity to visit an underground city. There are many of them and in Cappadocia alone they are more than 100, even though only 36 are open to visitors. These cities were built in the 6th century as a refuge to those suffering persecution (both for Christians persecuted by the Roman Empire and Muslims during wars of the Byzantine period)
Derinkuyu is one of the largest and was inhabited by about 20 thousand people. It is believed to have been created by Indo-Europeans before Christ. The city is connected to other underground cities through tunnels and is over 250 feet depth spread over eight floors below ground (visitation is only allowed in the first four)
Uçhisar Rock Castle: This castle on the top of a hill presents visitors a wonderful panorama view, one of the best of Cappadocia. It is between Göreme road and Nevsehir and the sunset from there is splendid. The castle was used as a defence in the 15th and 16th centuries and it has many interconnected rooms, tunnels, and some are used as house for the pigeons in the region. The place was illuminated with led lights after renovation, which reinforces the magical atmosphere.
Pasabag Valley: In English it is known as the Valley of the Monks because it is where monks sought refuge during persecution times. There you will find some of the most striking landscapes in the world. It is famous for its fairy chimneys shaped rocks, some are 15 meters tall and have tripe rock caps, which is even more unique. Such formation is the result of wind and rain action on soft rocks. The valley is located between Göreme and Avanos.
Hiking: If you are into adventures, then this is your chance to enjoy hiking in such a marvellous place. Most of the locations mentioned so far here are great places to bring your sturdy boots and stretch your hiking legs. But remember to contact organized walk tours, as information can be poor and it may be difficult to do it without someone who knows the directions - some walk paths have either no sign or too many and it is difficult to know which points where.
Aladag National Park: This park contains stunning waterfalls and visitors can also hike and enjoy river rafting. The place offers a beautiful scenery in spring with wildflowers everywhere and in autumn when colours are changing. Most visitors go the National Park in a one day-trip from Cappadocia.
How far is Cappadocia from Istanbul?
Istanbul is 567 km distance from Cappadocia. You can fly (takes approximately 2h40 from Istanbul Ataturk and 5h from Sabiha Gokcen), take a bus (around 11h trip) or a train, but there are no direct trains from Istanbul to Cappadocia. You must go to Gezbe and take a train to Konya, and from there take a bus to Göreme.
When should I go to Cappadocia in Turkey?
To enjoy the best of Cappadocia prioritise the months of late April to June and September to October. These months offer warm days and cool nights. Reserve from 2 to 3 days at least.