A week in Cappadocia

Head to the heart of Turkey, to the high plateaux of Anatolia, to discover Cappadocia. This world-famous region captivates visitors with its unique, lunar landscapes, but also with its rich historical, religious and cultural heritage. A destination at the crossroads of Western and Eastern civilisations that will leave you breathless.

Discovering Cappadocia is like embarking on an exceptional journey of initiation. To fully appreciate the region, you need to spend at least a week here. Here are the must-see and iconic places in this Turkish region, to help you organise your stay.

A week is not too long to discover the beauty of Cappadocia, Turkey

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Cappadocia

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Day 1: Göreme, the ideal base in Cappadocia

Located in the centre of the region, Göreme is the focal point of a stay in Cappadocia. Göreme is the ideal base for a star tour, and is where you'll find the majority of the region's accommodation and restaurants. A number of tourist sites are within walking distance, making it easy to get around.

View of the town of Göreme in Cappadocia

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To discover the must-see places in Göreme and its National Park, visit our dedicated article. A visit to this not-to-be-missed area is well worth a full day out. At lunchtime, the traditional Büyük Adana Kebap restaurant will delight you with meat dishes and local specialities such as hummus.

The city of Göreme in Cappadocia

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For an unforgettable experience, and to get your day off to a good start, we strongly recommend watching the sunrise from Göreme. You can do so from the roof terrace of one of the town's hotels, such as the Kelebek Special Cave & Spa or the Sultan Cave Suites.

Sultan Cave Suites Cappadocia

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Fancy a stroll through a typical Turkish market? During the day, make sure you visit the Ürgüp market, not far from Göreme. In this traditional market, you'll find local produce from the region and spices to take home as souvenirs.

Ürgüp market in Cappadocia

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Day 2: The valleys of Cappadocia

On this second day, we're diving into a hiker's paradise! Although the valleys of Cappadocia are not always well signposted, most of the trails are accessible to everyone, even the very young. From Göreme, two routes are particularly interesting and offer a range of hiking opportunities:

The Pigeon Valley and the White Valley. From Göreme town centre, you can cross the fascinating Pigeon Valley and reach the village of Uçhisar in just 30 minutes. On the way back, don't forget to make a diversion via the White Valley (approx. 45 minutes' drive).

The Pigeon Valley, near the village of Uçhisar in Cappadocia

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The Pink and Red Valley, a 7.7-kilometre loop. Allow around 2h30 for this walk. If you have the chance, wait until sunset before venturing down: the valley takes on breathtaking orange and red colours.

Each of these valleys is equally beautiful, and it's impossible to choose just one. Fortunately, the main trails are fairly short, so it's quite possible to cover them both in a single day. If you want to take the opportunity to discover hidden troglodyte villages, you'll need a local guide: ask at your hotel reception desk or at the Göreme Tourist Office.

The Pink and Red Valley in Cappadocia

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Day 3: The underground city of Derinkuyu

Around 40 minutes' drive from Göreme, the underground city of Derinkuyu is undoubtedly the most impressive in Cappadocia. At a depth of 85 metres, it has more than ten storeys buried beneath the earth. Today, only a small part of the city is open to visitors.

The underground city of Derinkuyu is an ancient multi-storey cave city in Cappadocia.

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If you'd like to find out more about the troglodyte cities of Cappadocia, you can also visit Kaymakli, just a few kilometres away, which also bears witness to the subterranean life of the region's ancient inhabitants. However, this incredible experience is not recommended for those suffering from claustrophobia or respiratory problems.

Day 4: Between monasteries and churches...

The religious heritage of Cappadocia is little-known, but visiting the region's religious sites is nonetheless very interesting. If you want to see Greek houses, a remarkable mosque and troglodyte churches, don't miss the valleys of the monasteries and churches of Guzelyurt.

View of the Church of St. Gregorius in Guzelyurt, Cappadocia

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To visit Byzantine rock churches, head for the Ihlara valley, near the town of Aksaray. On a hike of around 28 kilometres, you'll have the chance to discover churches with unique architecture, such as the unmissable Sumbullu Kiliseri (Byzantine influence) or Ylanli Kilise (Oriental influence).

Ihlara Valley, Cappadocia

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Day 5: The secret valley of Soganli

Little-known and often overlooked by tourists, the Soganli valley is well worth a visit. On the programme for this day trip: churches and hikes with exceptional panoramic views. In the heart of the valley, theTokali Kilise church is considered one of the most beautiful in Cappadocia. Be warned, though, that access to the church can be dangerous in wet weather, as the steps are carved out of tufa (a volcanic rock found in abundance in Cappadocia).

Traditional houses in the Soganli valley, Cappadocia

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Day 6: Amur Valley and Devrent Valley

A true symbol of Cappadocia, the fairy chimneys - also known as "coiffed damsels" - are a breathtaking sight. If you want to see as many as you can, head for the Love Valley, named after the phallic shape of the chimneys. The Devrent Valley, with its lunar landscapes and signposted footpaths, also offers breathtaking views of these famous rock formations.

View of the Amur Valley in Cappadocia, with its famous fairy chimneys

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Above these natural totems, you're likely to witness a fabulous hot-air balloon show. It's not uncommon to lose track of time as you admire the sky... A must-see during your stay in Turkey.

Hot-air balloons over the Devrent valley in Cappadocia

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Day 7: The village of Mustafapasa

Before leaving Göreme for Kayseri, the capital of Cappadocia and the departure point for your return flight, take advantage of the cool morning to stop off in the village of Mustafapasa. This little-touristed town, off the beaten track, is home to a number of troglodytic houses and traditional dovecotes.

Street in the village of Mustafapasa, Cappadocia

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But don't waste too much time there: Kayseri is also well worth a visit, with its mosques and archaeological museum. Enough to end your stay on a cultural note.

Aerial view of Kayseri, capital of Cappadocia in Turkey

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by Editorial Team
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