There is a strange landscape in the Turkish plains of Anatolia, just like a fairy tale image. In Cappadocia (Turkey), rocks with bold and original shapes connect colourful and rounded hills. Humans have been digging their houses on the ladders of those hills for centuries in great harmony with nature.
You can explore the region of Cappadocia in many ways: on horseback, trekking, on Jeeps… or even better, you can enjoy the views from the air. But you cannot see everything from up there, because much of the beauty of this land is in caves and beneath the earth’s surface.
We have prepared this useful guide about what you need to know before travelling to Cappadocia in order to help you to visit some of the most beautiful and strange landscapes in the world.
How to get to Cappadocia
Most of the travellers that visit Cappadocia usually do it via Istanbul. It is a perfect plan, because Istanbul is one of the most interesting cities in the world. If you have time, take two or three days to visit the mosques, bazaars and neighbourhoods of Istanbul, without forgetting to embark on a wonderful cruise on the Bosporus waters at sunset.
After this quick immersion into Turkish culture, you will be ready to continue your trip to Cappadocia.
The quickest way to go from Istanbul to Cappadocia is by plane. You can fly to any of the two airports located in the area: Kayseri Erkilet (ASR) and Nevsehir Kapadokya.
The flagship airline, Turkish Airlines, has several direct flights per day from Atatürk Airport (in Istanbul) to Kayseri Erkilet. It also has flights from Atatürk to Nevsehir Kapadokya twice a day.
If you want to look for something cheaper, you can also try with the Turkish low cost airline, Pegasus.
Even though sometimes Pegasus’ fares are cheaper than the bus (I speak from experience), finding cheap air tickets is not always possible, so maybe you would prefer taking a bus.
I have taken long-distance buses more than once in Turkey and I can say that they are comfortable. Therefore, I recommend you to make the trip at night so you can spare a night in a hotel and sleep in the bus.
From Istanbul, the trip is about 12 hours. The trip from Ankara is 5 hours, 12 hours from Izmir and 9 from Antalya.
Unlike the buses, the Turkish trains are not as fast and comfortable. However, if you are one of those romantic travellers who love trains, you can reach Kayseri quite easily, because it is on an important rail route.
When to visit Cappadocia
The best moments to visit Cappadocia are spring and autumn. During summer, besides having to meet crowds of tourists, you will have to face temperatures over 30 degrees. On the contrary, temperatures can reach -10 degrees during winter.
How to move around Cappadocia
Cappadocia is an area with really low population density. Because of that, public transport is rather scarce.
The most common way to move around Cappadocia is by hiring some private tour or a driver who knows the area. For short trips, you can do some hiking, which is a healthy option that can make you discover the less visited areas.
What is the currency in Cappadocia
The legal tender in Turkey is the Turkish lira. Even though you can change it at the two airports of the area, hotels and agencies, you will most likely get a better exchange rate in Istanbul. For example, you can change your money at the branch that the Spanish company Global Exchange has in Ataturk Airport, in Istanbul.
Some of the attractions and sightseeing tours can be paid in Euros or American dollars, but when they convert the price it is usually jacked up, so it is better to pay it in Turkish liras.
How much time should you spend in Cappadocia
There are two main tourist circuits: the Red one and the Green one. After doing both of them you can leave knowing that you have seen the most remarkable places of Cappadocia.
But you will need at least two full days for completing them. However, if you have made a long trip to enjoy this wonder, maybe you should stay for a little bit longer and explore it at your own pace.
What to visit and what to do in Cappadocia
Cappadocia is a place where you will see something beautiful anywhere you look. However, these are the things you have to do and the places you cannot miss:
- Subterranean cities: there are up to 8 levels underground full of tunnels and caves in Kaymakli and Derinkuyu, Gaziemir or Maziköy.
- Goreme Open Air Museum: with its monastery and the church carved into the rock. This complex was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984.
- The Three Beauties: three huge stone pillars stand up alone in the plain.
- Devrent Valley: full of rocks with impossible shapes, even for a place like this.
- Pasabag Valley: one of the most striking ones in Cappadocia. The chimney-like rocks here are huge.
- Selime Monastery: it’s similar to Göreme monastery, but it is also a place of worship for Star Wars fans, because it is said that the planet Tattoine was inspired here. It was not filmed here (it was filmed in Tunez) because of the civil war that was taking place in Turkey at that moment.
- Ihlara Valley: perfect for hiking. A beautiful canyon.
- Go for a hot-air balloon ride: even though is somewhat expensive, it is said that the best experience in Cappadocia is to fly over it in a hot-air balloon at sunrise. Why don’t you try it?
Where can I change my money for the trip?
As I have told you before, with Global Exchange you can exchange your money for liras at Antalya Airport, at any of the two branches that it has in the arrivals area. Outside this country, Global Exchange provides you foreign exchange services at the principal airports of more than 20 countries. Check your country’s branches at travel confidently, always with the money ready to pay everything you need.
And if you are already there and you plan on changing money upon your arrival (or your coming back home), we will make it easier with a 15% on the margin applied to your change at any of the Turkish branches. To benefit from the discount, show this coupon at the branch and start your trip off on the right foot.