The best areas to stay in Cappadocia for first-timers are Goreme, Uçhisar, Çavuşin, Ürgüp, Ortahisar, and Avanos. These are the most popular and safe towns for tourists that offer a wide variety of attractions and amenities.
In this post, we will be looking at where to stay in Cappadocia for the first time, and the best places for hot air balloons.
Cappadocia is a historic region in central Turkey and one of Turkey’s most popular natural wonders. It’s a World Heritage UNESCO site, famous for its epic sunrise hot-air balloon rides and breathtaking landscapes.
Over millions of years, wind and rain eroded soft layers of lava and ash from Mount Erciyes, Mount Hasan, and Mount Güllü, forming the Cappadocia region. With thousands of years of history, magnificent rock formations, magical fairy chimneys, enchanting cave dwellings, and spectacular underground cities, Cappadocia is absolutely worth visiting.
Cappadocia was inhabited during the Hittite Empire, and has become a huge refuge for Christians residing to escape from the pressure of the Roman soldiers. Houses and churches carved into the caves and rocks were used for hiding and escaping persecution.
Cappadocia is one of the safest places in Turkey for tourists, even for solo female travelers, but as you travel to any tourist area, you should be aware of pickpocketing, and be aware of your surroundings.
And the hot air balloons are totally safe because they are supervised by the Turkish Directorate General of Civil Aviation. If the weather conditions are not allowed, the ride will be canceled, which is common in winter. Make sure to choose an experienced balloon company with seasoned pilots. Spring and Autumn is the best time to have balloon rides.
Goreme, Urgup, and Uchisar are the three most popular towns in the Cappadocia region. Goreme is the best area to stay in Cappadocia for first-timers because it is the transport and accommodation hub of Cappadocia. If you stay here, you will be located in the middle of the action, with easy access to famous attractions such as the Open Air Museum, Red Valley, Pigeon Valley, and Uchisar Castle.
Uçhisar is located 5 km from Goreme. It is the best place for relaxing and enjoying a bit of luxury because it is home to some of the best luxury cave hotels in, as well as it’s quieter and less touristy than Goreme. Ürgüp is located 7 kilometers from Göreme. It is a bit more upmarket, and is not as touristy as Göreme but it is busier than Uchisar.
There are many kinds of accommodations from luxury boutique hotels to backpacker hostels, but you can choose to stay in one of the many cave hotels in Cappadocia for a unique experience. Many of the stone hotels provide terraces with views of hot air balloons rising over the fairy chimneys.
Cappadocia is a huge region, made up of small towns spread out around the various hills and valleys. You can travel on foot, by car, bus, scooter, or by car. To experience the best of the region, I recommend spending at least 4 days exploring without rushing.
Cappadocia’s name comes from Katpaktukya, a Persian word, translated as the land of beautiful horses in ancient times. Today, horses are a mode of transport for tourists and still important to the locals.
|💖 Best Area for first-timers:||Göreme|
|💎 Best luxury hotel:||Mithra Cave Hotel|
|🏨 Best mid-range hotel:||Sultan Cave Suites|
|💰 Best budget hotel:||Divan Cave House|
- Where to Stay in Cappadocia: 6 Best areas
- Göreme, where to stay in Cappadocia for first-timers
- Uçhisar, quieter, less touristy, and more luxurious compared with Göreme
- Ürgüp, where to stay in Cappadocia for luxury
- Çavuşin, an authentic Turkish village
- Ortahisar, one of the most spectacular fairy chimneys of Cappadocia
- Avanos, famous for its pottery and carpet making
Where to Stay in Cappadocia: 6 Best areas
1. Göreme, where to stay in Cappadocia for first-timers
Göreme is the best place to stay in Cappadocia for first-time travelers because it is the tourist hub of Cappadocia. If you stay here, you will be located in the middle of the action, within easy reach of famous attractions such as the Love Valley, Red Valley, Open Air Museum, and Uchisar Castle. Göreme offers plenty of lodging, dining, and nightlife options.
Goreme is a safe main town of Cappadocia, located close to the fairy chimneys in Göreme national park. The Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia have been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1985.
Hot air balloon rides could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Flights are usually in the early morning, so you would experience one of the best sunrises of your life.
Goreme is the best place to stay in Cappadocia for hot air balloon views and rides. You can hike up to the highest viewpoint in Göreme to enjoy the amazing sunset and sunrise, and see the balloons flying over the town. In addition, many hotels have terraces offering stunning views of hot air balloons.
Göreme Open Air Museum is one of the must-see attractions in the Cappadocia region and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located 15 minutes walk from Goreme village center, it is a rocky settlement area that houses historical Byzantine monasteries and the best cave churches of Cappadocia.
At the Göreme Open Air Museum, you can admire ancient cave dwellings and churches. These well-preserved rock-cut churches were carved by early Christian monks, with beautiful frescoes with original colors that date back to the 10th, 11th, and 12th centuries.
Famous churches to visit are the St. Barbara Church, Elmali Church, Yilanli Church, Dark Church, Carikli Church, and Tokali Church where you can view the relics of ancient Byzantine art.
The Love Valley is famous for its phallic-shaped fairy chimneys. It offers the best panoramic viewpoints, along with Pigeon Valley, Rose Valley, Red Valley, and White Valley. Horse riding is a very popular activity along these valleys.
Pigeon Valley is one of the most popular hiking trails in Cappadocia, located between Goreme and Uchisar. The valley takes its name from many pigeon houses carved into the soft tufa over the years. You can feed them with some food. The valley offers a spectacular view over Cappadocia.
Göreme is also located within 10 minute’s drive by car from the Red Valley and Rose Valley, one of the best sunset spots in the region. The Rose Valley is home to rock-carved Kolonlu Kilise and Haçli Kilise, which house paintings dating back to the 9th century. You can take the 5h full hike passing through Meskendir, Rose, and Red valleys.
Cappadocia is famous for its underground cities. You can take a day trip to Derinkuyu town to see ancient cities built underground, Kaymakli or Derinkuyu Underground City. Kaymakli is the first underground city opened to visitors in 1964. Derinkuyu was the second, built to defend against Muslim invaders.
Kaymakli is the widest underground city in the region, and Derinkuyu is deeper. You can view cave dwellings, churches, stables, and storerooms. Kaymakli is better for photo opportunities because it is usually quieter.
Being the most popular town that is packed with restaurants, and shops, as well as its excellent proximity to the major sights, Goreme is the best area to stay in Cappadocia without a car. Buses, taxis, and tours are all within easy walking distance. It is home to the main bus station connecting Istanbul and Pamukkale.
The closest domestic airports are the Kayseri Airport and Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport. Many hotels offer shuttle buses for travelers to get to Göreme. There are also airport transfers and private airport shuttle transfers.
There are plenty of restaurants in Göreme serving Turkish dishes. The Testi Kebab or Pottery Kebab is the most famous dish of the Cappadocia region. The kebab will be served to you in the clay pot, and the waiter will use the mini hammer to crack open your pot.
You can also find plenty of little cafes, cute rooftop terraces, and lots of shops that sell carpets, ceramics, gifts, and handicrafts.
Goreme offers the widest range of accommodation options ranging from boutique hotels to budget hostels. Cappadocia is known for its cave hotels and Goreme is a town full of rock formations and caves. Why not book a cave hotel for a unique experience?
Stay in Göreme if you are a first-timers; you travel without a car; you’re relying on public transport; you want the best views of hot air balloons every morning; you don’t mind staying in a touristy and busy area; you are backpackers; you want stay close to museum’s caves, fairy chimneys, cave churches, and Üçhisar Castle.
Best places to stay in Göreme:
Luxury ($$$): Mithra Cave Hotel This cave house is one of the best places to stay in Cappadocia for a hot air balloon view. Located in the heart of Cappadocia, the hotel offers a terrace with beautiful panoramic views of the hot air balloons rising over the valley. The cave rooms have Ottoman and Greek style with handcrafts, carpets and curtains facilities.
Mid-range ($$): Sultan Cave Suites This cave house is located atop Aydinli Hill, offering breathtaking views of the balloons passing over the hotel. There is a free shuttle from the bus station and paid airport transfers from the airport.
Mid-range ($$): Divan Cave House This family-run cave house is located in Göreme, 600 m away from the bus station in Göreme, and is a 15-minute walk from the Göreme Open Air Museum. There is a large terrace offering views of the hot air balloons taking off in the morning, as well as a Turkish restaurant, hot tub, and nearby activities like hiking, jeep safaris and hot air balloon rides.
Budget ($): Stone House Cave Hotel This cave hotel is located in the heart of Goreme, 20 minute walk from Goreme Open Air Museum. There is free wifi, free car parking, modern bathrooms and facilities, as well as a lovely courtyard and terrace that offers spectacular views of the fairy chimneys.
2. Uçhisar, quieter, less touristy, and more luxurious compared with Göreme
Uçhisar is located only 5 minutes from Göreme by taxi, and 45 minutes by foot. Uçhisar is a smaller, quieter, and less touristy town, with more luxury cave hotels with panoramic views of the fairy chimney landscape. Uçhisar is the best place for relaxing and enjoying a bit of luxury.
Apart from luxury hotels, Uçhisar village is also famous for its Uchisar Castle, located on the highest point in Cappadocia. The castle was always the main defense point of Cappadocia to prevent attacks from the enemy in the 15th and 16th centuries.
The castle is the big rock on top of Uçhisar’s hill and the most beautiful fairy chimney in the region. It offers panoramic views of the region, Mount Erciyes on clear days.
Uchisar is very hilly, there will be difficulties if you have walking problems on steep streets. You can stroll along its cobbled paths, explore some see quirky houses, souvenir shops, and cute cafes with some traditional Turkish dishes, and Jandarma cave station
Nevsehir Kapadokya Airport is 30 minutes away from Uchisar town, while Kayseri Erkilet Airport is one hour away. Goreme is 5km away, and can easily be reached by public bus. Bus from Göreme Otobüs Terminali to Uchisar departs every half an hour.
Uchisar has become one of the best places for accommodation in Cappadocia. It features some of the most luxurious resorts and cave hotels with international standards in the whole region.
Stay in Uçhisar if you want quieter than Göreme; you prefer a bit of luxury; you want incredible views of Cappadocia.
Best places to stay in Uçhisar:
Luxury ($$$): Wish Cappadocia This hotel is located in Uchisar, in a peace and quiet area. The hotel offers a sun terrace where you can watch the hot-air balloons, as well as an on-site bar and free car parking. The hotel’s on-site restaurant offers local food and Cappadocian wine with the views of the Pigeon Valley and Erciyes Mountain.
Mid-range ($$): Caldera Cave Hotel This cave house is located in Uchisar, 100 m from Uchisar Castle and Fairy Chimneys. The hotel has a sun terrace, free private car parking, and guest rooms come with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, private bathrooms with free toiletries.
Budget ($): Hermes Cave Hotel This cave hotel is located in Uchisar town’s center and only 50 m from Uchisar castle. It offers spectacular views of Uchisar and Pigeon Valley. You can enjoy Cappadocian wine, Mediterranean, and Turkish cuisine, on the terrace while watching the sunset.
3. Ürgüp, where to stay in Cappadocia for luxury
Ürgüp is located 20 km east of Nevsehir, 7 kilometers from Göreme. While Goreme is more for backpackers, budget travelers and youngsters, Urgup is a bit more upmarket. Urgup is not as touristy as Göreme but it is busier than Uchisar.
Urgup is the most developed and the largest town in the Cappadocia region. It has a mixture of the modern town and Cappadocia traditional architectural style.
Urgup has a history similar to other towns in the Cappadocia region. It was once ruled by Alexander the Great and invaded by Romans, and then Christianity arrived in the region. Urgup was known with different names such as Osiana and Hagios Prokopios in the Byzantine Period, Bashisar in the Seljuk period, and Burgut Castle under Ottoman rulers, and Ürgüp during the Turkish Republic.
Ürgüp is famous for its Wish Hill, known as Temenni Tepesi in Turkish. Temenni Tepesi has various names such as Temennos in the Hittites period, Arslan Gazi Rock Pre-Proclamation of the Republic and today Temenni Hill. The hills offer sweeping views of the city.
Temenni hill is home to the tomb of Aslan Gazi, a beautiful flower garden, discos, bars, tea houses and cafe.
Ürgüp is also famous for its wineries which offer free wine testing all year round. Turasan Winery is the most famous winery, established in 1943. It has tastings in the factory store and brief tours of the production facilities and cellars. It is a great place to buy a bottle of authentic Cappadocian wine.
If you visit Ürgüp in September, you can have a chance to attend the Vintage Festival held annually, and enjoy the variety of wine tasting.
You can also visit the Asmali Konak filming location on Ürgüp. Asmali Konak is a popular Turkish TV soap opera. It is an old restored Greek house with a beautiful courtyard and open to the public sometimes.
Within 5 km south of Ürgüp, you can find the Mustafapaşa village, formerly known as Sinasos, one of the nicest villages in Cappadocia. It was the center of Cappadocia and the whole village consists of such mansions built by richOttomans. The town now contains a huge number of beautiful, abandoned houses, an Ottoman period university college now housing a modern university, and the Aşağı Mosque, as well as the church of Constantine and Helen, and Old GreeHousee.
Ürgüp is a major shopping center, a great place to shop carpets, jewelry, antiques, leather, ceramics, and hookahs. El Sanatlar is a permanent handicrafts market that sells souvenirs and the Turkish Bath. Ürgüp has some vibrant nightlife with discos and bars.
Ürgüp has the best quality and greatest selection of accommodation options. There are fancy hotels, historical mansions, as well as the budget cave houses for all budget travelers.
Stay in Ürgüp if you want a large selection of hotels and restaurants; you want a quieter area than touristy Goreme.
Best places to stay in Cappadocia in Ürgüp:
Luxury ($$$): Taru Cave Suites This 5-star hotel is located in Urgup, 1 km from Nikolos Monastery, 26 km from Mazı Underground City. There is a restaurant, a hot tub, free private car parking, a bar and a shared lounge. The hotel offers an airport shuttle service to Nevsehir airport.
Mid-range ($$): Yunak Evleri Cappadocia This is a unique cave hotel carved into a mountain cliff, located inCappadocia’s landscape of fairy chimneys.The rooms dating back to the 5th century and a 19th-century Greek mansion, with hardwood floors, traditional carpets and handcrafted furniture.
Budget ($): Dere Suites Cappadocia Located in Urgup, this property offers cave rooms with free Wi-Fi, authentic interiors and modern amenities. There is also a wine cellar, and a bar offering local and imported drinks.
4. Çavuşin, an authentic Turkish village
Çavuşin Village is located along the Goreme-Avanos road, between Goreme and Avanos. It is famous for its abandoned rock houses, beautiful churches, and charming hiking trail.
The village is one of the oldest settlements in the region with a history dating back to the first century. Christians who lived here created rock-cut dwellings and stone houses to escape from Roman attacks.
There are many churches, monasteries, and mosques built during the Byzantine period. You can view many interesting religious-themed paintings in the Sergeant Church, Baptist Yahya Church, Three Crossed Church, Saint Jean Church, and Crossed church.
The 5th-century church of Saint John the Baptist is located in the old town, on the top of the village. It is the second oldest and one of the most prestigious cave churches in Cappadocia. The church is free to visit and it’s worth going up the mountain.
Cavusin is also famous for its pottery that dated from the Hittites era. The village is also home to many ceramic and pottery workshops, where you can experience pottery and pottery making in old times. You can buy souvenirs and antiques here to bring home to your friends and families.
Cavusin is a great place for trekking, hiking, and walking because it is the starting point for hikes into Rose Valley, Red Valley, and Meskendir Valley with many beautiful hiking trails. There are also horse and ATV safari tours to explore the area.
The Zelve Open Air Museum is an amazing cave town, located 5 kilometers south of Avanos. The Museum is home to the oldest Cappadocian architecture and religious paintings. The ticket includes the entrance to Pasabag Valley.
The three Zelve Valleys include numerous churches such as Columned Church, Fish Church, and Grapes Church. There is also a mill and winery in Valley 1, as well as a pigeon house, stable, and mosque in Valley 3.
The Pasabag Valley, also known as Monks Valley, is one of the most popular fairy chimney areas of Cappadocia, located just about 1 km away from the Zelve Open Air Museum and Devrent Valley. The fairy chimneys here are shorter than at the Love Valley and Gorkundere Valley, and have mushroom shapes.
Cavusin has limited restaurant options, but there are regular public buses to popular towns such as Avanos, Goreme, and Ürgüp, if you want more dining options.
Stay in Cavusin if you want to experience authentic rural in Cappadocia; you want easy access to beautiful hiking trails; you want a small and quiet town; you want to stay close to Paşabağ;
Best places to stay in Cappadocia in Cavusin:
- Luxury ($$$): Seki Cave Suites
- Mid-range ($$): Underground Cave Suites Hotel
- Budget ($): Cappadocia Fairy Tale Suites
5. Ortahisar, one of the most spectacular fairy chimneys of Cappadocia
Ortahisar is located 6 km from Ürgüp and 10 km from Nevsehir. Ortahisar means middle fortress in Turkish, named after a massive 90 meter high Ortahisar Rock Castle. The village is also surrounded by vineyards.
Ortahisar Castle is the center of Ortahisar where the first settlement of the town started. It is smaller and less famous as the Uchisar Castle, but as one of the most spectacular fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, it is worth visiting.
Ortahisar Castle was used for protection and shelter in ancient times, surrounded by steep valleys on three sides. There are rooms, tunnels, and a staircase inside the castle. There are many souvenir shops and cafes on the skirts of the Ortahisar Castle.
The castle was under the rule of the Hittite, Phrygian, Lycian, Persian, Roman and Byzantines, and Turks. Climbing to one of the highest points of Cappadocia can be difficult but in the summit, you can enjoy the stunning views of the valleys below as well as the views over the Erciyes Mountain.
Apart from the castle-rock, Ortahisar is home to numerous churches such as Pancarlik church, Cambazli church, Balkan stream church, Sarica church, Kepez church, Tavsanli church, and Uzumlu church.
You can learn about daily local life, traditional carpet weaving, and Turkish Hammam at the private cute little Ethnographical Museum in the center of Ortahisar town.
As one of the biggest lemon exporters of Turkey, Ortahisar is surrounded by underground lemon depots where locals store them in the underground until riper.
Ortahisar offers easy access to many lovely hiking paths at the White Valley, Pancarlik Valley, Red Valley, Rose Valley, Uzengi Valley and Balkan Deresi.
Due to the increasing popularity of Ortahisar, there are many boutique hotels that were converted from old stone mansions.
Best places to stay in Ortahisar:
- Mid-range ($$): Elika Cave Suites & Spa
- Mid-range ($$): Hezen Cave Hotel
- Budget ($): Splendid Cave Hotel
6. Avanos, famous for its pottery and carpet making
Avanos is located near the Kizilirmak River, 8 km from Göreme, and 13km from Ürgüp. It’s less touristy and is not quite as central as Ürgüp and Göreme, but it still has a selection of hotels and restaurants. The town is famous for its pottery, carpet making and winemaking.
Avanos has various names such as Venessa in the ancient periods and Avanos during Byzantine periods. Avanos has been famous for its ceramic production since Hittite civilization.
Kizilirmak (Red) River, Turkey’s longest river, provides red soil, and the red clay to make the ceramics. You can buy authentic pottery souvenirs at the local masters.
You can take a guided tour to visit traditional pottery workshops and demonstrations to learn how to make ceramics and pots, as well as a carpet demonstration to learn how to make a carpet.
The Chez Galip Hair Museum of Avanos is also an interesting place to visit. The museum displays thousands of hairs. The museum is located in the basement of the pottery shop.It is a strange place with a romantic story. It was founded by local pottery master, Chez Galip after a French woman he loved left town. He took a lock of her hair and established the hair museum.
You can visit the beautiful building, Sarı Han, or Yellow Caravanserai, 6 km east of Avanos. Whirling Dervishes ceremonies, which are performed nightly at the Sarihan Caravanserai.
There is a small selection of hotels and cave houses in Avanos, you will find something for your budget.
Best places to stay in Cappadocia in Avanos:
Luxury ($$$): DoubleTree By Hilton Avanos Cappadocia This 5-star hotel is located in the city center of Avanos, offering indoor and outdoor pools. There is a 24-hour room service, a Lobby Lounge, sauna and hammam facilities, and a free on-site car parking.
Mid-range ($$): Adanos Konuk Evi This guest house is located in Avanos, offering traditional, handmade furnishings. The rooms have a well-equipped kitchen carved from natural stone. There are horse riding trips and karaoke.
Budget ($): Sofa Hotel This cave house is located in Avanos center, Cappadocia. It offers traditional interiors decorated with Cappadocian rugs and antiques. The hotel provides free WiFi and parking on site.
Where to stay in Cappadocia for the first time?
Göreme is the best area to stay in Cappadocia for first-time visitors because it is the tourist center of Cappadocia. If you stay here, you will be located in the middle of the action, within easy reach of famous attractions such as the Open Air Museum, Rose & Red Valleys, and Uchisar Castle. Göreme offers plenty of hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops options.
Which is the best city to stay in Cappadocia?
Goreme, Urgup, and Uchisar are the three best towns to stay in the Cappadocia region because they are the most popular areas with plenty of things to do and see for tourists.
Is it better to stay in Göreme or Urgup?
It is better to stay in Göreme than in Urgup if you are a first-time visitor. Göreme is more touristy and busier than Urgup. Urgup is quieter, and a bit more upmarket.
Is it better to stay in Göreme or Uçhisar?
It is better to stay in Göreme than in Uçhisar if you are a first-time visitor. Göreme is more touristy and busier than Uçhisar. Uçhisar is quieter, and a bit more upmarket.
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So you have it, where to stay in Cappadocia and the best places for hot air balloons. Overall, Göreme is the best area to stay in Cappadocia for first-timers due to its close proximity to top tourist attractions, as well as many choices of hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops.
The ideal length of stay in Cappadocia depends on personal preferences and travel itinerary. However, most travelers recommend staying for at least 3-4 days to explore the area’s unique landscape, take part in hot air balloon rides, visit underground cities, and experience local culture and cuisine.