10 Reasons to Visit Cappadocia, Turkey

Updated August 12, 2020.

It’s that day of the week again: Faraway Friday! And this week I’m letting you in on the top 10 reasons you should the enchanting, striking, and ancient region of Cappadocia (also known as Kapadokia). Here are the reasons it simply can’t be missed:

10. Food Traditions

Cappadocia is a different world. Its people are proud of their heritage and long history, and they want to show it to you. All you have to do is show an interest. They are particularly proud of their food, and they want you to eat or drink it with the full experience!

They had to explain how we open the lunch in clay pots
I did it!
Turkish Coffee–tradition and ceremony comes with it, but I prefer the weaker stuff!
Keep reading: What to Eat in Turkey

9. The Tiny Tour Guides

These kids were the most enthusiastic tour guides (and performers) I’ve ever met! You paid them a few Turkish lira, and they’d take you into the small underground rooms on their family’s land. The rooms are probably part of a large Hittite city, but they had not been excavated yet. But these kids were happy to show us around!

Posing with the kids. They wanted their picture taken with the Americans!
Guarding the entrance until we paid our Lira!

8. The Pottery

The Cappadocian people still make their traditional pottery the same way they have for centuries. The pitchers with the hole in the middle were most interesting to me. They would make these pitchers very large (and heavy), and servants would walk around with the pitcher on their shoulder to make it easier to carry and pour.

Andrea showing off her skills
Traditional pottery

7. Stay in a Cave Hotel

How many places in the world can you stay in a cave? We didn’t stay in the nicest ones, but it was an awesome thing to do! It’s the real Cappadocian experience because people actually do live in the caves full-time all over the region.

The Shato Cave Hotel
Our Cave Hotel Room
A Cave Community
More here: Legendary Hotels of the World

6. The Terrain

You’re still on Earth, but you might start to second-guess that when you get to Goereme, Cappadocia! It’s a desert, but even more interestingly, the wind has carved out the impressive Love Valley and Fairy Chimneys over the millennia. In fact they each deserve their own mention on this list. My friend Andrea and I went hiking one day and got up to some shenanigans!

Andrea against the backdrop of Love Valley!
It appears I fell in. And It’s eating me!
More here: The Ultimate List of Hiking Tips

5. The Fairy Chimneys

Over the centuries, the wind has eroded parts of Love Valley into these huge columns all throughout the area.

Fairy Chimneys

4. Love Valley

Love Valley is like a canyon, and it’s stunning. The stark white rock is such a contrast from the brown of the rest of the region, especially when enjoyed from the air!

Love Valley from a hot-air balloon
Hiking Love Valley
More here: Epic Landscapes of the World

3. Go on a Hot-air Balloon Ride

Because of the terrain and climate in this region, the winds are just right to fly the largest hot-air balloons in the world, which can hold up to 60 people! It is still one of my top travel experiences ever, and it was 100% worth the cost and early wake up time. Someone came to pick me up at my hotel in the wee hours of the morning, and I got to watch the sunrise at eye-level. It was also fun to watch them from our cave hotel each morning as well!

Above the skyline
Proof I was there!

2. The Cave Churches

Turkey is now primarily Muslim and has been for centuries. But I was struck by the way that the Christian faith is so intertwined in their history, and it has even been protected and preserved. There are many cave churches all over Turkey, but some of the churches with the most impressive paintings on the walls and ceilings are here in Cappadocia–much older than Michaelangelo’s work in the Sistine Chapel.

Paintings inside a cave church
Best-preserved church paintings on the ceiling; this church was closed off from all light for centuries, preserving the colors.

1. Underground Hittite Cities

I chose this as the #1 reason because this is one of the ways the Bible has been proven right, and as a Christian, that is meaningful to me. For centuries, the only mention of Hittites known in recent history was in the Old Testament, giving non-believers a reason to believe the Bible is a series of made up stories, not historical accounts. But in the 1830s, archaeologists began uncovering these underground cities here in Turkey.

Over the next decades, the extensive network of these underground cities revealed that these are the Hittites cities referenced in the Bible and the Torah. I highly recommend taking a tour of one or more of these underground cities. We took a tour with some cute kids on our road trip to Cappadocia, and again on our own later in the trip. It was fascinating!

Our most adorable tour guides!
Vent for air and to let smoke out when cooking
We were told this was a lecture room for school!

Are you ready to plan your trip to Cappadocia? I’m ready to go back!

Want more? Check out all my recommendations on my dedicated Turkey Page!

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