There's a lot to see and do in Cappadocia, from hiking and hot air balloon rides, to exploring underground cities and cave churches. Cappadocia covers a relatively large area and to make the most of your trip, you'll need to leave your base and head out to explore the region.
You can either hire a car and do it independently (public transport can be a bit sporadic) or you can choose one of the popular day tours. Tourist infrastructure is quite sophisticated and there are a number of day tours to choose from, each of which focuses on different areas in Cappadocia.
The tours are colour-coded and follow similar routes, regardless of which provider you use. We spent quite a bit of time in Cappadocia (visiting twice) and have been to all of these places. Here's a short summary of the different tours as well as some tips if you prefer to explore the region by car.
The Northern Cappadocia tour is the most popular and shows you some of the places closest to Goreme. This tour includes visits to Devrent Valley with rock formations and small fairy chimneys that form a lunar landscape. You will also see animal-like rock formations as you walk through the valley.
The next stop is Pasabagi or Monk’s Valley where you’ll see mushroom-shaped fairy chimneys. Other highlights include the Avanas, renowned for its pottery and, of course, the Goreme Open Air Museum which showcases churches and monasteries from the past.
Book the Red tour
This tour of Southern Cappadocia takes you to Ihlara Valley, created from the ashes of the volcanic Mt. Hasan. Walk through the valley and along the Melendiz River, then continue to Selime where you’ll find hollowed out citadel and cave churches in the fairy chimneys on the steep hillside.
The Green Tour also takes you to the underground village of Derinkuyu, where Christian communities hid. This is one of the larger underground cities complete with stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, churches and wineries.
Book the Green tour
The yellow tour starts in central Cappadocia, slightly outside the most visited areas, and takes you through the Red and Rose Valleys, two of the most beautiful valleys in the region. In Cavusin Cave Village, you’ll see a rock castle and the cave dwellings where people lived until the 20th century.
This tour also includes a visit to Kaymakli, one of the largest and deepest of Cappadocia’s underground cities. This city is approximately 40m deep and contains all the usual rooms found in an underground city (stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, churches, wineries etc.) The day ends in Pigeon Valley where you’ll see dovecotes, old abandoned cave homes and the Greek houses of Uchisar.
Book the Yellow tour
This tour is focused on small villages and gives you deeper insight into the heritage of the region. See the Greek houses in the village of Mustafapas (previously Sinasos) and get a window into everyday life in Cemil. Close by, you’ll find the Keslik Monastery, with its painted halls.
Sognanli Valley is also lovely to visit, with cave churches dotted around the valley. For me, the highlight is visiting the Sobessos excavation site, with Roman baths, tombs and mosaics.
Book the tour
If you’re travelling independently and have your own transport, I’d recommend a number of places on the Green or Blue tours as good day trips:
Try a hike in Ihlara Valley, and enjoy the green surroundings, complete with a rushing river
Kaymakli underground city is one of the biggest the biggest and – in my opinion – the most interesting to visit.
Pigeon Valley and Uchisar also make an interesting day trip with the Greek village and mysterious rock formations.
Selime Monastery with the surrounding scenery is also a great option.
Need more information to plan your trip to Cappadocia? Read our Cappadocia travel guide
Last Updated 4 September 2023