Cappadocia Travel Guide
When to Go to Cappadocia
The best time to visit Cappadocia is from March to May (during Spring) and September to November (during Autumn). It is during the low season and temperatures are moderate.
We visited Cappadocia in November and it was great, though it gets colder throughout the day.
The high season in Cappadocia is from June to August (during Summer). Pricing for flights and accommodation will be at its highest so I’d say avoid it if you can. The summer season can get pretty hot – up to 32°C/90°F.
The winter season is from December to February. The landscape here changes vastly during this period. Though it can be beautiful in a different way, temperatures drop down to -6°C/21°F.
How many days do you need to explore Cappadocia?
Many people say 2-3 days would suffice in seeing the major attractions, but if you are here for a honeymoon, please stay longer! Matt and I stayed here for 7 days and enjoyed it to the fullest, taking it a slow and relaxing pace. If you are hard for time, I would say try to accommodate at least 4-5 days, especially if you want to take a hot-air balloon ride. The hot-air balloon rides are very dependent on weather and wind conditions. If it gets too windy, there is a chance that on that morning itself, it may get rescheduled to the next day (that’s what happened to us!). So do book on the first day, and keep your fingers crossed.
How much does it cost to travel to Cappadocia?
The average cost to fly to Cappadocia is $750 – $950 per person during the low season. During high season, it will average $1,200 – $1,500.
There are no direct flights from Singapore to Cappadocia, and you will have to transit in Istanbul. The flight time to Istanbul is 11 hours. I would recommend you take the chance to spend a few days to tour Istanbul before flying to Cappadocia!
The cheapest month to fly to Istanbul is in November. We found tickets to be around $700 – $900.
From Istanbul, you can get to Cappadocia by flight (1 hour 20 mins), bus (10-12 hours) or car (8 hours). Flights are the easiest option and I would recommend you take the plane. There are many flights each day, not costing much, and the journey is only 1 hour 20 mins.
You can take either from Istanbul Atatürk Airport (much closer to the city centre) and Sabiha Gokcen Airport. Cappadocia has two airports, the main one is Kayseri Erkilet Airport (ASR), and another is located outside of Nevşehir in a village called Tuzköyü. Though it is a little closer to the main towns in Cappadocia, there aren’t as many flights going there.
Turkish Airlines and Pegasus (low-cost Turkish carrier) fly to Kayseri. We flew Pegasus and our tickets were $50/person.
Cappadocia has a wide range of accommodation, from budget to luxury. You can get a room in a 4 or 5-star cave hotel for about $150 – $250 a night. For $300+, you can get a family suite for 4 or more.
If you are new to Airbnb, use this link for $62 off.
Language: While people in Turkey do speak English, it may not be so commonly spoken in Cappadocia.
Temperature: There are 4 seasons in Cappadocia. It gets cold during the nights.
During Winter (Dec – Feb), expect temperatures to range from 5-7°C
Spring (March-May) 0-21 °C
Summer (June-Aug) is 11-29°C
Autumn (Sep-Oct) will range 1-25°C
Time Zone: GMT +03:00
5 hours behind Singapore
Currency: The unit of currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TL). 1 SGD = 3.97 TL
US dollars are accepted as well, but I would not recommend it. You will get change in TL, and you won’t get a good exchange rate.
Do bring along enough foreign currency with you as there are not many exchange offices, even in the popular tourist towns.
Credit cards & ATMs: Most luxury hotels will accept credit cards, but small shops and budget hostels would probably not have. Do bring along enough cash.
Connectivity: Pick up a 4G Wifi + Powerbank from Changi Airport before you leave for Cappadocia.
Plugs: The standard plug used in Cappadocia is different from Singapore. Electrical outlets in Turkey are round so plugs are typically Type C or Type F. Be sure to bring the right power adapters for your devices. Electrical voltage is 230V. I always bring along a universal travel adapter. (make sure it has surge protection)
Safety: From our experience, Cappadocia is largely safe. You may experience occasional hard-selling from tour vendors (though we did not experience this in the towns). As safe as Cappadocia is, exercise common sense when traveling.
Where to Stay in Cappadocia?
Cappadocia is a region with many towns, Göreme being the main town in Cappadocia. It is about an hour drive from Kayseri Erkilet Airport (ASR).
Most people choose to stay in Göreme or Ürgüp, but lesser-known towns like Ortahisar or Uçhisar are pleasant too.
Göreme is the main tourist centre of Cappadocia. Many tourist shops, tour operators are based here, making it very convenient for you to stay here. The main bus station is also located here. You have many options, from budget to luxury here. The Goreme Open Air Museum is reachable on foot. Check out hotels in Göreme.
Ürgüp is built on a hill with beautiful views and many luxurious boutique hotels. This area has very few low-end hotels and is a more upmarket version of Göreme. There are no major sites here, but the main town is pretty. There is a winery and several upmarket restaurants to go to. Ürgüp is perfect for the sophisticated traveller. Check out the hotels in Ürgüp.
Uçhisar is south of Göreme and has the highest viewing point in Central Cappadocia (rock castle). It is a quieter alternative base for exploring Cappadocia. We stayed at Taskonaklar hotel during our trip, and it was incredible (read our review). Each morning we woke up to an amazing sunrise and a magical scene of hot-air balloons in the air. We highly recommend staying here (per night $250+), otherwise, you can also check out the hotels in Uçhisar here.
Ortahisar is a sleepy town with ancient cobbled streets and charming town squares. It is not as commercialised, so if you are looking for an authentic experience, it might be for you. There are several good hikes here. Public transport is not as accessible here, so I would recommend staying here only if you have a rental car. Check out the hotels in Ortahisar.
If you are looking to stay off the beaten path, Avanos is a slow-paced town that is known for its pottery tradition that dates back thousands of years. There isn’t much of a tourist scene here, but it is located on the banks of the Red River so you will get nice views of the sunset. Check out the hotels in Avanos.
During our trip, we rented a car from Flintstones Travel. It is relatively affordable and it will save you a lot of time, especially if you only have a day or two in Cappadocia.
Top Things to Do in Cappadocia
1. Ride a hot air balloon during sunrise or sunset
This is THE most famous thing to do in Cappadocia. I was initially apprehensive paying about US$150 (off-season) for an hour ride, but after doing so, I would do it again in a heartbeat. This was undoubtedly the most memorable thing we did in Cappadocia). There are over 40 hot-air balloon operators in Cappadocia but do go for the highly-rated ones, like Voyager Balloons.
2. Visit the Göreme Open Air Museum (The Red Tour is the most popular tour in Cappadocia and it covers #2-3)
3. See the three-headed fairy chimneys at Pasabagi, also known as Monks Valley
4. Visit the Derinkuyu Underground City (I recommend taking the Green Tour which covers #4-6 in a day)
5. Explore Ihlara Valley
6. Pigeon Valley
7. Hike through the Red Valley
8. See a stunning view from the viewpoint of Ortahisar Rock Castle
9. Go horseback riding (Cappadocia actually means “Land of Beautiful Horses”!)
10. Explore Cappadocia on an ATV
11. Watch live pottery demonstration in Avanos (check out this day tour that includes lunch)
12. Enjoy a Turkish dance and folk dance show in an underground cave restaurant
Matt and I usually prefer to explore on our own, but in Cappadocia, as attractions are spread out over large distances unless you have a rental car, it is not easy to go from one point to another. Also, if you have limited time in Cappadocia, say 2-3 days, you would definitely want to cover as much as you can. The most popular and well-known tours are the Red Tour and Green Tour.
Make sure to get travel insurance before you go. Our friends at Singsaver have compiled the best travel insurance plans for your trip here.
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