MUST READ – Where to stay in Cappadocia (2019)

Turkey's other-worldly landscape is a must see. Our guide on where to stay in Cappadocia will help you pick the best town & hotel for you...

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Cappadocia is a magical region in central Turkey unlike anything else. Far from Istanbul and the Turkish coast, Cappadocia is famous for its peculiar rock formations – like the conical fairy chimneys – and natural caves, as well as its unbelievable ancient history.

Bottom line? Cappadocia is a can’t miss destination when visiting Turkey!

That said, this is such a large, spread out region of Turkey, and you might find yourself confused as to where to stay in Cappadocia. Most people choose to stay in Göreme or Ürgüp, but we’ll also discuss why lesser-known towns, Ortahisar or Uchisar, may be a better pick instead.

We’ll also cover the best hotels in Cappadocia – ranging from budget-friendly guest homes and hostels to luxurious cave hotels!

This guide was written make your life a bit easier – you’re on vacation after all! Keep reading to learn which town in Cappadocia makes the most sense for your travel plans!

 

Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Cappadocia

  • Where to stay in Cappadocia for the first time – Göreme
  • Where to stay in Cappadocia on a budget – Göreme
  • Best area to stay in Cappadocia for Nightlife – Ürgüp
  • Where to stay in Cappadocia Off the beaten path – Avanos
  • Coolest place to stay in Cappadocia – Ortahisar

 

In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:

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Göreme
Formerly known by a few different names, Göreme changed its name when the nearby Göreme Valley began to thrive as a tourist destination.
Places to Visit:
  • Mountain bike through the rugged valleys that make up Göreme
  • Check out the varied natural rock formations at Devrent Valley
  • View the spectacular scenery with a hot air balloon tour at sunrise

 

Top 3 Recommendations for Places to Stay in Cappadocia

If you’re looking for the best accommodation regardless of area, take a look below for our top picks for the best places to stay in Cappadocia.

 

Best Hostel in Cappadocia: Natureland Cave Hotel

This stylish accommodation may call itself a hotel, but it has a selection of private and dorm rooms available at reasonable prices.

Located in a stunning valley, the main attraction of the hostel is its terrace which is the perfect location for watching the hot air balloons as they glide over the landscape. Situated just a short distance from the open air museum, rooms are spacious and clean.

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Best Hotel in Cappadocia: Evi Cave Hotel

For an authentic stay amidst the beautiful landscape of Cappadocia, chose the Evi Cave Hotel. With friendly, helpful staff and a relaxing atmosphere, this place really makes guests feel special.

Packed full of history that in some parts of the hotel dates back to the 2nd century, stay in one of their carefully designed rooms and enjoy breakfast with views of the distant mountains.

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Best Airbnb in Cappadocia: Ortahisar Homestay

If you want to experience the local way of life during your trip to Cappadocia then this charming homestay is perfect. Stay in this house made of limestone and enjoy the comfortable surroundings of this traditional home. The welcoming local family will help you with navigating the sites, offer you home-cooked breakfasts and help you to understand the history of the area.

Also, make sure to check out our Airbnb post for a 35% discount!

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Town Guide for Cappadocia Turkey

Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in Cappadocia

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Göreme

  • Formerly known by a few different names, Göreme changed its name when the nearby Göreme Valley began to thrive as a tourist destination.
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Uçhisar

  • South of Göreme lies Uçhisar, a quieter alternative base for exploring the captivating region of Cappadocia. The town’s houses sweep up to (and into) the iconic hill that lies at the center of Uçhisar
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Ürgüp

  • Home to some of the most luxurious boutique hotels in Cappadocia, Ürgüp also has a modern downtown for when you’re tired of the small lanes and quiet atmosphere of the old town.
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Avanos

  • Riverside Avanos is a relatively chilled out town in Cappadocia. The tourist trail doesn’t really extend to Avanos as a destination in itself, but instead, tourists come to admire the pottery which this town is famous for.
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Ortahisar

  • Ancient cobbled streets, ruins of stone houses, charming town squares: Ortahisar is like the beating heart of a Cappadocia long lost to the pages of history.
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Cappadocia is a magical, sprawling region of central Turkey. This place is famous for its rock formations, natural wonders, and caves, as well as its staggering ancient history.

The land that makes up Cappadocia is spread on a plateau 1,000m above sea level, a sparsely populated, semi-arid area known for its prominent volcanic peaks; the highest is Mount Erciyes at 3,916m. Its distinct culture includes ancient Christian churches carved into the rock itself.

Being such a large region of Turkey, we’ve decided to break Cappadocia down into different areas to make choosing a place to stay in Cappadocia much easier.

Slightly to the west is Göreme, most travelers’ starting point in Cappadocia and a backpacking destination. It’s known for the Göreme Open Air Museum – a collection of cave churches and frescoes dating from the 10th to the 12th centuries AD. Göreme is the gateway to seeing one of Cappadocia’s most famous sights: the fairy chimneys – conical rock formations numbering in the thousands formed by eons of weather and erosion.

To the southwest of Göreme is Uçhisar. Besides its specific sights, the town is famous simply for how it looks: hundreds of low and rustic colorful houses seem to splash like a wave against the jutting hill – typical of this entrancing region. Atop the hill is the incredible Uçhisar Castle, a massive rock with a castle’s worth of rooms carved into it.

One of the largest towns in Cappadocia, Ürgüp, makes for a useful base for exploring the region – but with its many cave hotels and restaurants, you may not want to leave! Nearby is the town of Ortashiar, known for its jagged castle and authentic, untouristed feel.

Lastly, on the banks of the ‘Red River’ – is Avanos, a slow-paced provincial town that’s a center for a pottery tradition dating back thousands of years. There is not much of a tourist scene exists here, so you’ll have the riverside (and its beautiful sunsets) to yourself.

Still undecided from this overview? Well then! Let’s hop out of this sweeping air balloon ride and dive right into the nitty-gritty details of where to stay in Cappadocia!

And yes, we’ve listed plenty of the best cave hotels in Cappadocia too. Because you can’t visit this region without visiting a cave!

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Check out this post to read our full review!

 

Cappadocia’s 5 Best Towns to Stay in

Though a mountainous region, Cappadocia is well linked by its roads; bus routes regularly ply the most obvious routes between major towns – and there’s even a Tour of Cappadocia cycling road race here every summer. Boats roll up and down the river, too, connecting Avanos with other riverside towns and villages.

From heavily touristed and used to visitors, to more authentic local towns and villages, there’s a fair variety to the settlements nestled in the peaks and valleys of Cappadocia. So if you’re after something more nightlife-oriented, or if peace and quiet are more your scene, we’ve got you covered on where to stay in Cappadocia.

So without further adieu, here are the top towns of Cappadocia broken down for easy digestion.

Related: Make sure to check out our Turkey Travel Guide as well!

 

1. Göreme – Best Town in Cappadocia for First-Timers

Formerly known by a few different names, Göreme changed its name when the nearby Göreme Valley began to thrive as a tourist destination. However, the town itself is a marvel of humans in harmony with nature; people still live in homes hewn into the spires of rock themselves, and cave churches dot the surrounding area.

For all intents and purposes, this is the center for all tourism in Cappadocia and therefore a sensible choice if this is your first time to the region – tours and connections to other towns are easily organized here. This is also where to stay in Cappadocia if you are on a budget because there are so many options.

The town itself is very small and can be traversed easily on foot, which makes it easier to try the selection of delicious kebabs and pides (Turkish flatbread pizzas) on offer at its various eateries.

Goreme, Cappadocia

image source: Flickr

 

Top Things to do in Göreme Turkey

– Mountain bike through the rugged valleys that make up Göreme.

– Get lost in the stunning Göreme Open Air Museum.

– Try a ‘pottery kebab’ – break open the pottery to reveal your chosen dish…

– … And wash it down with an apple tea.

– Catch a glimpse of the legendary fairy chimneys.

– Try a spot of valley hiking (but stay hydrated)…

– Feel the romance of the grassy Love Valley.

– Check out the varied natural rock formations at Devrent Valley.

– Wonder at the sharp scenery of Zemi Valley.

– Visit Cavusin Greek Village with its labyrinthine cave homes and the 5th-century Monastery of John the Baptist.

– Admire the famous rugs and carpets that Göreme is famous for – and try your hand at haggling.

– View the spectacular scenery with a hot air balloon tour at sunrise.

– Catch a magnificent sunset and watch the town as it changes color.

– And finish it all off with a relaxing trip to the local hammam (Turkish bath).

 

Best Hostel in Göreme: Ali’s Guest House

Close to the best spots in Göreme, this hostel is right in the middle of the action and close to local transport links to make visiting the sights simple.

Run by hospitable staff who will be more than happy to help you, the hostel owners are keen to teach people about Turkish culture. Choose to stay in either a reasonably priced private or dorm room and meet other travelers to share the experience with.

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Best Hotel in Göreme: Imperial Cave Hotel

Spend peaceful nights sleeping in a room carved out of a cave. The luxurious surroundings of the Imperial Cave hotel are just a short walk from the city centre and a quick stroll to the famous viewpoint.

The hotel boasts a beautiful terrace where guests enjoy sunset meals with views of the hot air balloons taking off. Rooms here are spacious and comfortable with a side of luxury; you can even choose to have an open fireplace in your room and your very own sauna – not what you would expect from a night spent in a cave!

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2. Uçhisar – Best Area in Cappadocia for Families

South of Göreme lies Uçhisar, a quieter alternative base for exploring the captivating region of Cappadocia. The town’s houses sweep up to (and into) the iconic hill that lies at the center of Uçhisar and is home to the amazing attraction of Uçhisar Castle, a warren of tunnels with a stunning vista over the surrounding area from its top.

Less touristed, though with a heightened sense of being in the surreal landscape that Cappadocia is famous for, Uçhisar is a great choice for those looking to get away from the regular tourist trail and do things for themselves. Get lost in its narrow streets and marvel at the view from higher ground.

Uchisar, Cappadocia

 

Top Things to do in Uçhisar

– Explore Uçhisar Castle and the extensive caves that shoot through the hill upon which it is perched.

– Admire the amazing, unrivaled view of the area from the top of Uçhisar Castle.

– Be adventurous and explore the cave houses of Pigeon Valley.

– Hike to White Valley via the trail starting in town.

– Do a spot of wine-tasting at Kocabag Winery.

– Check out one of the local stores specializing in onyx ornaments.

– Wow your taste buds with the Anatolian cuisine cooked by locals at the cosy Sakl?

– … And relax at Kapadokya Peri Cave – a cafe with a fairy chimney for a terrace.

 

Best Hostel in Uçhisar: Uchisar Cave Pansion

For an amazing local experience, this family-run hostel is perfect. There aren’t any dorms on offer here, but their cosy rooms are very reasonably priced and the location – in walking distance to the main sites – means excellent value for money.

Featuring clean cave rooms and affordable rooms with valley views, take in spectacular sunrises across the ancient valley.

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Best Hotel in Uçhisar: Cozy Villa Cappadocia

Great for families, this villa is set in the surroundings of a pretty garden that is overlooked by the stunning mountainous landscape. Spacious and immaculately clean, the hotel is decorated in a modern style with chic design features and is run by a helpful family.

Spend time in the garden tasting their homegrown fruits and evenings unwinding on the terrace.

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3. Ürgüp – Where to Stay in Cappadocia for Luxury

Home to some of the most luxurious boutique hotels in Cappadocia, Ürgüp also has a modern downtown for when you’re tired of the small lanes and quiet atmosphere of the old town. Ürgüp is the place for you if you like things local, but equipped with modern amenities.

It isn’t packed with nightlife options, however, and the things to do in town fall short of more touristed hubs like Göreme, but Ürgüp is well positioned in a more central though western location for exploring more of what the enchanting Cappadocia has to offer.

Urgup, Cappadocia

image source: Flickr

 

Things to do in Ürgüp

– Wander through the magical, Instagrammable old town of Ürgüp.

– Spare some good thoughts at Temenni Wishing Hill and visit a saint’s tomb.

– Go and see the surprisingly grand mosque at the center of town.

– Check out Ürgüp’s charming belediye – town hall…

– … And visit Ürgüp Museum just across the road for some history lessons.

– Hop on a water taxi and take in the stunning views of the town from a different angle.

– Go wine-tasting at Turasan Winery, where the Greek-Ottoman tradition continues.

– Snap a sunset pic at the iconic landmark that is Three Graces Fairy Chimneys.

– Marvel at the surreal moonscape of Pancarlik Valley.

– Take a road trip south to mystifying Sobesos – a 4th-century Roman city.

 

Best Hostel in Ürgüp: Naturels Pansiyon

There is not a lot of choice of hostel accommodation in Ürgüp, but Pansiyon fills the gap. The natural cave house is set in a 300-year-old building and is run by a family who will welcome you in and tell you all about the area.

Just a few steps away from the centre of the action, you can choose from a private stone or cave room and meet other travellers over breakfast on the terrace.

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Best Hotel in Ürgüp: Kayakapi Premium Caves Cappadocia

Choose to stay in the lap of luxury at this beautifully designed hotel where each room is unique. Set in the rocky hillside, the hotel’s staff are brilliantly helpful and every detail is thought out – they even provide transport to the restaurant from your room.

A spa and heated pool make for the perfect place to unwind after a busy day’s sightseeing.

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4. Avanos – Where to Stay in Cappadocia Off the Beaten Path

Riverside Avanos is a relatively chilled out town in Cappadocia. The tourist trail doesn’t really extend to Avanos as a destination in itself, but instead, tourists come to admire the pottery which this town is famous for.

The pottery is still made in the same millennia-old Hittite factories – as it has been done for 2,500 years, namely using the red silt from the aptly named ‘Red River’.

You’ll feel like you almost have the town to yourself staying here, wandering around the narrow lanes that snake up into the Anatolian hills. Greek-Ottoman architecture still has a place here, and there are a few grand houses in town that will catch your eye. Sunsets from the banks of the river are sublime.

Avanos, Cappadocia

 

Top Things do in Avanos

– See the pottery artisans at work – and maybe grab a souvenir or two.

– Take a signposted walking tour of Avanos and admire its charming historical buildings.

– Walk the Torre di Grado overlooking the sea and take in the stunning Italian scenery.

– Go on a relaxing and romantic gondola ride along the river…

– … Or a more hair-raising jet boat ride!

– Visit ancient Zelve on the slopes of the White Mountain, home to the highest number of chimney fairies in Cappadocia.

– Explore the ancient and incredibly unique Özkonak Underground City to the north.

– And of course, catch a beautiful riverside sunset whilst sipping çay – Turkish tea.

 

Best Hostel in Avanos: Kirkit Pension

If you’re backpacking with a group of friends then this Pension is a great choice for you. Choose from a selection of private double, triple or family rooms that are all that are set inside a picturesque garden.

The quiet village and friendly local atmosphere means that you can integrate into the community and enjoy exploring the surrounding area.

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Best Hotel in Avanos: Riverside Mansion Hotel

Newly decorated in a stylishly unique design, this hotel is the perfect mix of comfort and location. The peaceful surroundings alongside the river means guests get the chance to relax in stone rooms that could be out of the pages of a luxury travel magazine.

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5. Ortahisar – Coolest Place to Stay in Cappadocia

Ancient cobbled streets, ruins of stone houses, charming town squares: Ortahisar is like the beating heart of a Cappadocia long lost to the pages of history. Donkeys pulling carts over the cobbles regularly trot through town and old men linger over çay at streetside cafes.

A small working town famed in Turkey for its citrus fruits (especially lemons), Ortahisar is now home to a growing number of boutique guesthouses and luxury hotels as the world gets wise to the surreal, otherworldly and anachronous beauty of this small Anatolian town.

Ortahisar, Cappadocia

image source: Flickr

 

Things to See and Do in Ortahisar

– Visit Uzengi Valley and check out the views from one of its pigeon-house caves.

– Go admire Ortahisar’s kalesi (‘castle’) perched atop a jagged, alien-like rock – said by locals to be the tallest fairy chimney in Cappadocia.

– Marvel at the collection of antiques and knick-knacks at the eccentric House of Memories.

– Rise and shine to a sunrise viewed from the centre of town near the castle.

– Get to know more about the area via the Ethnographic and Culture Museum.

– Tuck into the highly recommended juicy lamb tandir at Evi Tandir.

– Relax at Ali Baba Cafe and admire the view down across Ortahisar.

– Simply walk around, get lost, and soak up the atmosphere of Cappadocia’s most authentic town.

 

Best Hostel in Ortahisar: Ortahisar Cave Hotel

With a complimentary breakfast for the budget-conscious and reasonably priced rooms, this wallet-friendly cave hotel fills the gap for hostel accommodation in Ortahisar. The laid-back atmosphere and Ottoman-style decor of the rooms will enchant you into relaxing on a rugged, rocky backdrop.

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Best Hotel in Ortahisar: Anitya Cave House

A slice of subterranean luxury, Anitya Cave House is a great place to stay in an untouristed area of town, but still in walking distance of many good restaurants Complete with chic, rustic furniture, the rooms are warm and comfortable, but most lavishly of all the stunning sunrise is visible from the terrace at this hotel.

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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Cappadocia

This region of Turkey is quite like anything we’ve ever seen before. Nowhere else in the world can explore and hike around crazy rock formations and natural caves, and then sleep in them! People in Cappadocia have been living amongst the infamous rocks and caves for thousands of years. Now, tourists have the opportunity to experience a part of this lifestyle!

Quick Tip: One of the most popular ways to see Cappadocia is by hot air balloon. Well worth the splurge!

Surprising to most, Cappadocia is actually a large region, spread out amongst several towns, so we wrote this guide to help you pick the best town in Cappadocia for your next stay. Most people choose to stay in Göreme, but there are other towns that offer unique views, activities, and atmospheres.

Still wondering where to stay in Cappadocia? Natureland Cave Hotel is our top pick – complete with dorm beds and private rooms – this hotel is a great choice for anyone on a budget, who still wants to experience sleeping in a Cappadocia cave hotel. Evi Cave Hotel is our other top pick, thanks to its laidback atmosphere and helpful staff!

We hope this guide was helpful, and you’re ready to escape to Turkey’s other worldly landscape!

Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.

 

For more information on safety in Turkey, check out our separate guide here!

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