If you’re looking for an amazing travel destination that is full of natural beauty and historical significance, look no further than Cappadocia! This incredible region in central Turkey is home to some of the most unique landscapes in the world.
With its soaring rock formations and fairy chimneys dotting the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Goreme National Park, Cappadocia is a must-see for anyone visiting Turkey.
In this article, we will outline a 2-day itinerary that will allow you to maximize your time and explore the best of what this region has to offer. So pack your bags and get ready for an adventure!
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Things To Do In Cappadocia In Two Days
Hot Air Balloon Ride At Sunrise
If there is one thing Cappadocia is known for, it’s the epic hot air balloons during sunrise. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience and something you won’t want to miss on any Cappadocia itinerary.
Watching the balloons slowly rise into the sky while the sun slowly emerges from the horizon is breathtaking. Along with the beautiful colors and silence, it is truly a surreal experience.
From above, not only do you get some of the most amazing views of the region, but you can see the iconic fairy chimneys from a unique perspective.
But make sure you sign up for your hot air balloon tour as soon as you can, since they can fill up during the peak season and the balloons only take off during optimal conditions.
Goreme Open-Air Museum
After you are done with your hot air balloon ride, it is time to see some of the most famous sights in Cappadocia. There is perhaps nothing more famous in the Goreme Historical National Park than the Goreme Open-Air Museum.
It contains numerous cave houses, churches and monasteries from the 10th to the 13th centuries. Inside these cave houses and churches are some of the most beautiful and well-preserved frescoes, serving as prime examples of Byzantine art in the region.
The museum is a great place to learn about the history and culture of Cappadocia. Though there is a separate entrance fee for the Dark Church, it is definitely worth the price. It is built inside a rock cave and has gorgeous frescos & vaulted ceilings
Derinkuyu Underground City
No visit to Cappadocia is complete without visiting one of its underground cities, and there is no better one to visit than the Derinkuyu Underground City.
The city is believed to have been built by the Hittites in the 8th century BC and was used as a shelter from natural disasters and war. Derinkuyu is the largest of the underground cities in Cappadocia, with 18 levels that are connected by tunnels. It is thought that the city could house up to 20,000 people.
The city remained hidden for centuries until it was discovered in the 1960s. Nowadays, visitors can explore the tunnels and rooms that remain and get a glimpse into the ancient life and culture of the region!
The small village of Goreme is the center of the Goreme Historical National Park. Not only is this village full of unique fairy chimneys, but many of these rock formations have been used to create unique cave hotels and restaurants. It is no wonder that Goreme is one of the best places to stay in Cappadocia!
Wandering through the streets of Goreme is like stepping into a different world. Stroll around the streets and take in all the cultural differences. If you are looking to purchase some souvenirs from Turkey, there are plenty of boutique shops where you can purchase something from the region.
When the sun is about to set, make sure you head up to Goreme Sunset Viewpoint, otherwise known as Lover’s Hill. This is one of the most accessible viewpoints in the region, and you have incredible views of the region, especially Uchisar Castle.
Try Testi Kebab
After the sunset, it is time to find some dinner. One of the most unique dishes in Cappadocia is Testi Kebab, otherwise known as pottery kebab.
The dish is prepared by marinating meat overnight, usually lamb, and then cooking it in a sealed clay pot. Once the meat is cooked, it is served with rice, bread, and yogurt.
You can find this dish at many restaurants in Goreme, but one of the most popular ones is Kapadokya Lezzet Sofrası.
Red and Rose Valley Hike
If there is one way to enjoy all the cool rock formations and fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, it is through one of the hikes in the region. There is perhaps no better hike that showcases all the beauty of the area than the Red Valley and Rose Valley Hike.
The hike takes you through historical cave churches where you’ll find frescoes from the Byzantine Era. However, you’ll also find plenty of cave churches that have been abandoned and are now in ruins. The hike takes around 3-4 hours, depending on your pace.
Make sure you bring plenty of water with you, as there are very few places to stop along the way. Also, don’t forget to wear sunscreen and a hat, as the sun can be quite intense! It is important to avoid the midday heat, especially if you are visiting in the summer.
If you are visiting this with children, you might need to carry them in certain parts of the hike.
Zelve Open-Air Museum
Zelve Open-Air Museum is one of the places you must visit in Cappadocia. Unlike the Goreme Open-Air Museum, you won’t find well-preserved frescoes here. But instead, Zelve Open-Air Museum was a valley inhabited since the Byzantine Era.
It was a settlement until 1952, when the Turkish government relocated the residents due to the depleting structural stability of some of the cave formations there.
Nowadays, visitors can still see every part of a functioning settlement – from the homes to the churches to the mills and more.
Uchisar Castle is one of the most popular places to visit in Cappadocia, and for good reason. It is one of the highest points in the region, and historically was used for defense. From the top of the castle, you can easily see any invaders coming from miles away.
Like many landmarks of the region, Uchisar Castle is made from soft volcanic tuff rock, which was being carved out as more and more people wanted to live in the castle for protection. This has created many tunnels and rooms for travelers to explore.
Time your visit to Uchisar Castle so that you can see the sunset. As one of the highest places in Cappadocia, the sunset there is arguably the best in the region.
Enjoy Whirling Dervish Show
There is no better way to end your 2 day Cappadocia itinerary than enjoying the beautiful Whirling Dervish performance at night.
The Whirling Dervishes are a group of Turkish men who perform a religious ceremony called Sema. The Sema is a form of dhikr, which is the remembrance of Allah.
During the performance, the dervishes will spin around in circles while wearing white robes and hats. They will often go into a state of trance, and it is said that they are able to reach a level of spirituality that cannot be attained through any other means.
The best place to see the Whirling Dervishes is at Saruhan Caravanserai. Just make sure you get your reservation in advance and have your transport sorted out!
This concludes our 2 day Cappadocia itinerary! We hope you’ll enjoy your time in one of the most magical places in the world!
Guest Author: Sean is the co-founder of The Turkey Traveler, the #1 travel blog on all things Turkey related. Offering insider tips, recommendations, and guides, The Turkey Traveler is your ultimate resource to help you plan a trip to Turkey.