How to Travel to Cappadocia and why you should explore another side of Turkey. How to plan a unique journey and choose accommodation? Where to stay and a route in Cappadocia! Things to do in this amazing place. I’ll also share when the best time of year to visit Cappadocia is.
So, you’ve got your sights set on Cappadocia, and you’re ready to dive into a unique Turkish experience.
Cappadocia is the hidden treasure of Turkey, and here’s why you need to explore this side of the country. Picture this: enchanting sunrises, mesmerizing sunsets, an otherworldly landscape that feels like a time machine to a thousand years ago. Cappadocia is the ultimate Turkish vacation destination, perfect for a quick getaway or an extended week-long adventure.
Why venture to Cappadocia? For evenings steeped in romance, landscapes bathed in moonlight, and a natural wonderland like no other. Plus, don’t forget to savor the local cuisine and wine. Best part? You can reach all this magic in no time, with quick flights from almost any European airport. It’s a must-visit spot, no doubt.
Where Is Cappadocia?
Cappadocia sits pretty in central Turkey, in an area known as Anatolia. The main hub in this region is Kayseri, home to an international airport welcoming flight from Istanbul and other major cities.
Getting There from Istanbul
If you’re in Istanbul, you’re in luck. It’s a less-than-an-hour flight to Cappadocia. Or, if you’re up for a road trip, you can hit the road from Turkey’s capital, Ankara, which is a 3-hour drive. Keep reading for details on how to get there.
The Not-So-Exciting Option: You might’ve heard about these one- or two-day bus tours from Antalya. Frankly, they’re not that thrilling. Half your time gets eaten up by bumpy bus rides, and you’re left with only a day or so in this stunning place. Trust me; there’s a better way.
Plan Your Own Cappadocia Trip:
Want something more exciting and budget-friendly? Organize your own Cappadocia adventure, spanning from three to five days. It’s easier than you think.
Hitting Istanbul First:
Start by making your way to Istanbul, where you can chill for a day or up to five, depending on your vibe. Pegasus Airlines often has affordable flights to Istanbul, and Turkish Airlines offers decent deals too.
Flying to Kayseri:
To reach Kayseri (your gateway to Cappadocia), catch a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul’s international airport or grab a budget airline flight from Sabiha Gökçen Airport, Istanbul’s second airport. Pegasus Airlines is a solid choice for these routes, and you can easily score tickets on Aviasales.
Pegasus operates multiple flights daily from Istanbul to Kayseri, with one-way ticket prices ranging from 35 to 50 euros. The flight takes just 1 hour.
Sabiha Gökçen Airport is a bit far from Istanbul’s international airport. But no worries, there’s an affordable solution. Take the Havataş bus to Taksim Square in Istanbul from the International airport, then hop on another Havataş bus headed to Sabiha Gökçen Airport. The transfer cost is a few euros.
Stress-Free Taxi Option:
If buses and transfers aren’t your thing, you can book a taxi online. A driver will meet you with a sign sporting your name, and they’ll whisk you off to the airport or wherever you need to go in Istanbul. Check out Kiwi Taxi for this service; it’s similar in price to regular taxis, and you can even pick your destination online.
Direct Flights with Turkish Airlines:
For a more streamlined journey, you can fly straight to Kayseri via Istanbul International Airport, but this option is only available with Turkish Airlines.
Ankara Adventure: Another way to reach Kayseri is by flying to Ankara, where you can rent a car and continue your journey. Read on for car rental details below.
How to Score Affordable Flights to Istanbul
Getting a good deal on your flight to Istanbul is easier than you might think.
Booking Your Flight:
You’ve got two main options: hop onto the airline’s website and book your ticket directly, or check out Aviasales, an international platform that hooks you up with some sweet flight deals. All you’ve got to do is pick the best one based on the price, departure times, or the airline itself.
Hunting for Bargains! When I’m snagging tickets, I’m all about the low fare calendar. It’s like your secret weapon for finding the sweet spot between the price and when you want to travel.
Hitting the Road with a Rental
Depending on where you land, you might want to rent a car. Kayseri or Ankara airports work great. My tip? Book your ride well in advance, at least a month before your trip, especially during peak season. Car rental in Turkey usually ranges from 35 to 50 euros per day, and gas is around 1.3 euros. Distances in Cappadocia are pretty short, so road-tripping is a breeze.
Nailing Car Rentals:
I’ve always used LocalRent to snag my rental wheels in Turkey. Just pick your country and city, have your driver’s license handy, and make sure your credit card has a good limit. They’ll usually hold about 200-300 euros as a deposit, which they release when you return the car. They’ve also got options for no deposit rentals on their site – I’ve used them in Cyprus, Georgia, Thailand, Montenegro, Greece, and Albania, and they’re a solid choice for Cappadocia too.
Going the Bus Route
If you’re all about the budget, buses are a smart way to get around. They might be slower and less comfy, but they’re lighter on your wallet. From Kayseri Airport to Göreme, buses run every hour, taking about 1 hour for the 60 km journey.
Bagging a Bed in Cappadocia
To find the perfect place to crash in Cappadocia, Booking.com is the bomb. It’s tried and tested, and I’ve been using it for a good couple of decades.
The Göreme Gambit:
When it comes to picking your base for exploring, consider Göreme. Why, you ask? Well, it’s like Cappadocia’s buzzing tourism hub, with the main rock monasteries and natural wonders right nearby. It’s super tourist-friendly, even for first-timers, and it’s got all sorts of digs to suit every budget, including those famous cave hotels.
That is a Special Treat! Now, speaking of cave hotels, they’re a bit pricier than regular ones. But hey, it’s not every day you get to live like ancient Christians who used to hide in these caves to escape from Muslims. The modern amenities are on point, and those evening views from the terrace. They’re pure magic.
Where to stay in Cappadocia
If you’re after a panoramic view of those UNESCO-protected fairy chimneys, check out Panoramic Cave Hotel in Göreme.
If you’re looking for something a tad cheaper but still comes with a terrace and views of Göreme at night, Katpatuka Cave Hotel’s your jam. It’s an optimal balance of price and quality, plus they throw in free parking. It’s a genuine cave transformed into a solid three-star hotel, and the owner’s hospitality is off the charts. I highly recommend it.
Foodie Adventures in Cappadocia
Don’t miss out on the signature dish in Göreme called “tandır kebab.” It’s beef cooked in a clay pot in the oven, and when it’s served, they unveil it like a surprise, and you dig in from a clay bowl. Trust me, it’s delicious and unique. Also, sample the local red wine; the soil here gives it a slightly tangy and pleasant kick.
Lamb Kebabs Galore: If you’re a fan of lamb kebabs, you’re in for a treat – there are tons of varieties to try here.
Your Cappadocia Itinerary
Here’s the game plan. Start from Kayseri, move on to Göreme, and then explore the surrounding areas like Nevşehir, Ürgüp, Güllüdere, Avanos, and Çavuşin. These spots are home to the most famous valleys, whimsical rock formations, and some epic hiking trails. You’ll be driving around 50-90 km a day, so budget for fuel accordingly.
A Volcano Adventure:
If you’ve got the time, make the trek to the extinct volcano, Erciyes. It’s a stunner, with two peaks reaching around 4,000 meters. There are plenty of hiking and biking trails around it, and if you’re visiting Cappadocia, I recommend dedicating at least two days to hit the slopes. Erciyes is a top-notch ski resort, open from December to the end of April. You can read about our skiing experience on Erciyes and find all the need-to-know info in the article “Skiing in Turkey – Erciyes Resort”
More to Do in Cappadocia
Cappadocia is like the Disneyland of hot air ballooning, drawing in folks from all corners of the globe. Every morning, you’ll spot 150 to 300 hot air balloons taking flight all at once. It’s an awe-inspiring sight, and the flights happen at sunrise. If you’re curious about the experience and costs, as well as some stunning photos, you’ll find it all in the article “How to Go Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia or $400,000 in the Air!”
Weather in Cappadocia and When It’s Best to Go
Cappadocia is a year-round destination; the tourist buzz never really stops, just takes a bit of a breather in winter. Speaking of winter, you might encounter some snow, and temperatures in December can range from -1 to +5°C. But as you roll into April and May, the weather warms up to a delightful +20°C, making it the prime time for both leisurely strolls and hot air balloon rides. Early autumn in Cappadocia, especially in September and October, is a treat with the harvest season in full swing, offering an abundance of fruits and veggies.
We’ve ventured to Cappadocia three times – in early May, in September, and during the chill of December. Summertime sees a traditional influx of tourists, often bussed in from the coastal regions of Antalya. It’s mainly because of the crowds that I’d advise against visiting Cappadocia in the summer; besides, it gets scorching hot, so you’re better off spending that time by the sea.
Travel Insurance in Turkey
We purchase our travel insurance online via the Hotline Finance website (Ukraine), then print out the policy and let go of any worries about our health and wallets. Don’t forget to include the “Adventure Activities” option if you plan on more than just beach lounging and hitting the local bars.
Now, why is insurance necessary, you might ask? Well, I’m sure you already know, but let me reiterate. Insurance serves two crucial functions: it saves you money and time, plus it provides quick access to specialists when the need arises.
Car Rental in Turkey
For us, renting a car is a game-changer. It adds a layer of freedom and comfort to our travels, and that’s key.
In Turkey, we prefer using the trusted car rental website, LocalRent – Turkey. They’ve got the best local car rental agencies listed. We usually steer clear of big international rental companies due to their high prices and unclear rental conditions.