The one place that really stood out from my visit to Turkey was Cappadocia. It was relaxed, approachable and friendlier. The region is home to one of the world’s most unique landscapes from pinnacles, valleys and rose-coloured sands. It’s also a very cheap place to visit.

Discover the best things to do in Cappadocia with this travel guide, including my budget-friendly advice and top tips for visiting the area.

#1 Stay in a cave hotel

Cappadocia is famous for its cave and staying in one of the many cave rooms available is a must thing to do in Cappadocia….even if they are a little dingy and dusty!

We stayed at Bedrock Cave Hotel, which was very affordable at $26 (in 2017) a night based on 2 sharing a double room. It’s ideally located and the rooms were very well decorated. The customer service was great and they have a comfortable roof terrace with a great view. If you think the cave rooms might be a bit claustrophobic or dark, stay 1 night then move to a regular room.

You can also find cheap options on Vrbo or Airbnb, including for cave hotels.

Cave room Cappadocia

#2 Hot air balloon ride

Most visitors come to Cappadocia for one reason – to take a hot air balloon ride. Make sure you do it right with my Cappadocia hot air balloon price & other tips blog.

As well as enjoying a hot air balloon ride, you can also get a fantastic view from the ground. Wake up before sunset and head to a high point with a good idea of the area. I went to the rooftop terrace of my hotel, Bedrock Cave Hotel, which was perfect.

free things to do in Capadoccia

#3 Enjoy Sunset View Point

15 minutes walk from the centre of town up a short hill is Sunset Viewpoint…..you can probably guess, but the name is the best time to go. Ask your hotel or any local and they will point you in the right direction.

There is the main viewing area, which can get pretty crowded. I walked a bit further along the mountain to an empty area, which offers the same good views, but with a much quieter experience.

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#4 Hiking in Cappadocia

One of the best things to do in Cappadocia is hiking. There are tons of different options for hiking in the area. After some research, we decided on doing what are considered the 2 best in the area, Pigeon Valley and Rose Valley:

Hike option 1: Pigeon Valley

Everyone we spoke to about doing this walk said that we would need to take a bus or taxi 1 way as the walk is too long to do both ways. It really isn’t! We did both ways comfortably in half a day, with plenty of breaks and a stop for coffee and food when we reached Uschisar Castle, which is the endpoint.

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The walk is signposted from the centre of town. It was easy to get lost as the paths fork sometimes and the direction is not clearly marked. Take one of the free maps with you from the local tourist offices, although we mostly used Google Maps, which showed the path.

If you find yourself on a steep climbing section, then you have taken the wrong turn. We didn’t bother paying to go into Uschisar Castle as we felt it was enough seeing it from the outside. The town surrounding it is interesting to wander around as many of the buildings here are cut into the rock. It’s amazing to see.

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Free things to do in Cappadocia

Hike option 2: Rose Valley

Most hotels will offer to drop you at Rose Valley free of charge. We were shown a hike we could do and told to take the bus or taxi back. Again, this really isn’t necessary as it isn’t very far from the town, although a slightly longer walk than Pigeon Valley as a return hike. Rose Valley was a highlight and my favourite of the 2 walks.

The area was beautiful and, as we were visiting off-season (end of September), it was deserted. There are so many cool cave churches along the way. We got lost lots (which resulted in us doing double the intended distance!) and, again, relied on Google Maps to point us in the right direction. Take plenty of water and food with you as this was a more remote walk than pigeon valley. Although there were a couple of cafes dotted about, they were all shut.

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#4 Explore hidden Cave Churches

There is an open-air museum which has an entry fee. There are so many free ones dotted about the town, though, we didn’t feel the need to go. We spoke with a couple who said that the entry isn’t worth it as the free ones are just as good.

The best place to go is Rose Valley, where there are lots. The bigger ones are marked on the maps (from the tourist office) and on Google Maps. But we also stumbled across some small hidden churches as we wandered about, getting lost. As it was off-season and empty when we were there, exploring these caves felt really quite magical.

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How much does it cost to visit Cappadocia

This is my total budget breakdown for visiting Cappadocia in 2017.

In total, I stayed 3 nights in Cappadocia, sharing a double room and was travelling on a very tight budget. The costs below are the total per person. The amounts in Euros were paid in cash in this currency.

  • Internal return flight from Istanbul: $60
  • Return Airport shuttle (organised by the hotel): 20 Euros
  • 3 nights accommodation (including breakfast): $39
  • Food (2 dinners, 3 lunches and snacks):  $20
  • Hot Air Balloon flight: 100 Euros

Total: $257 ($119 + 120 Euros)

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2 thoughts on “Cappadocia Travel Guide: Top Budget-Friendly Attractions & Tips

  1. Hey, just wondering how long does it take to explore (and maybe got lost) Rose Valley and Pigeon Valley? I’m going on a trip to Turkey next week 🙂

    1. Hi Sherlyn
      The pigeon walk took about 2 hours total including getting lost (you will only get lost 1 way as you follow the same route back!). You will want to add at least an hour to see the town and castle when you get there and to stop for a drink – that’s assuming that you won’t want to pay the entry to go into the castle.
      Rose Valley took us a bit longer. I’d allow for 4-5 hours as, not only is getting lost very easy here, but there are lots of cave churches to explore and nice views that you will want to take in. If you do the walk all the way back into town, you will pass the Open Air Museum so you might want to stop here and make a full day of it.
      Both were half day activities, although Rose Valley was notably more strenuous (longer distance and also more up and down along with climbing up to the cave churches).
      Have an amazing time in Turkey!
      Bex 🙂

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