How to Spend 1 Day in Cappadocia
With one day in Cappadocia, you’ll have just enough time to squeeze in the highlights of this popular Turkish destination. See the central villages of Ürgüp and Gӧreme, take a hot-air-balloon flight, explore the fairy-chimney valleys, and learn how to make Turkish cuisine. Here’s how to make the most of one day in Cappadocia.
Morning: Visit the Fairy Chimneys
Cappadocia’s fairy-tale landscapes are even more magnificent when viewed from above—it’s consistently voted one of the best places in the world to take a hot-air-balloon ride. Rise at dawn and watch the sunrise as you float over the mountains, valleys, and fairy chimneys. For the full experience, choose a tour that includes a Champagne breakfast when you land. With just one day to take in all the highlights, opt for a Red Route tour, which covers the northern villages and fairy-chimney valleys such as Love Valley, Pigeon Valley, and Monk’s Valley. Travelers who prefer to explore independently might opt for a hop-on-hop-off-bus tour instead.
Afternoon: Ancient Wonders of Cappadocia
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Gӧreme Open-Air Museum offers insight into Cappadocia’s early Christian settlements. A guide can provide historical context and help you navigate tricky passages in these ancient cave churches, homes, and stables carved into the cliffside. Other sights that lie along the Red Route include the long-abandoned cave village of Çavuşin and the village of Uçhisar, known for its gigantic fairy chimney “castle.” Time your arrival in Avanos village to watch the sunset over the Red River. Avanos is renowned for its distinctive, red-clay pottery, and many of the shops offer demonstrations or the chance to try your hand. If you want to pick up some traditional Cappadocian handicrafts, this is the place.
Night: Turkish Delights
Immerse yourself in local culture by taking a cooking class to learn the secrets behind tasty Turkish dishes such asbӧrek (stuffed pastries), creamymanti (dumplings), or sweet baklava. After mastering traditional cooking techniques, sit down to enjoy a homemade feast with your hosts. Alternatively, have dinner at one of Cappadocia’s atmospheric cave restaurants. Popular restaurants can fill up quickly in the summer months, so book a table in advance to avoid disappointment, and look for one that includes live entertainment such as belly dancing or Turkish folk music.