• Post category:Asia / Turkey

While one-day tours are available from Istanbul*, I believe that Cappadocia warrants more time to truly appreciate its beauty. A couple of days seemed ideal, although you could extend it to a week, but it might become repetitive. Therefore, I opted to spend two days in Cappadocia before heading to Mount Nemrut for the remainder of my week off when I was living in Istanbul back in 2010. I’ve listed the highlights and my tips for visiting Cappadocia in two days.

Cappadocia - Soganli Valley Tour
Cappadocia – Soganli Valley Tour

Why you should absolutely visit Cappadocia

The Cappadocia region is truly unique, and despite travelling to many places in the world, I have never seen anything quite like its unusual landscape. I have been told that Les Orgues d’Ille-sur-Têt in France has similar formations. However, from the photos, I still do not think it can be compared to the region of Cappadocia. But it may be a good tip for my French visitors! I also saw the Demoiselles Coiffees in the French Alps near Serre-Poncon Lake, and although they reminded me of Cappadocia, they weren’t as impressive and didn’t have the same style.

The fairy chimneys that make Cappadocia look so special

Cappadocia - Love Valley
Cappadocia – Love Valley

The rocks in Cappadocia were formed after volcanic eruptions 2 million years ago. The wind and erosion shaped them into their current funny shapes, creating a unique landscape known as “fairy chimneys.” Due to the ease of digging into volcanic rocks, the inhabitants of the area used them to build their homes and places of worship.


I stayed in Goreme, a very touristy yet charming town in the heart of the region. I highly recommend trying a night in a cave hotel there; it is quite unusual and very much in line with all you will visit during the trip.

As Goreme is centrally located, it was a good starting point to visit the area. Some activities were also easy to reach without requiring organized transport or joining a tour. However, to fully enjoy Cappadocia, you will need to hire a car or join a tour.

If you’re on a budget or enjoy exercising, hiking can be an option. One of the most popular hikes is the Goreme Open-Air Museum. It is a protected valley with around 15 churches that were dug into the rock and decorated with frescoes in the 10th and 11th centuries. It’s easy to reach and worth visiting.

Balloon flight over the Valley

One of the most popular attractions in Cappadocia is taking a sunrise balloon flight* to see the unique landscape from above. The iconic image of the valley filled with balloons ascending with the sun is often used to represent Cappadocia in tourist brochures. This is one of the reasons why Cappadocia is sometimes considered the most magical place on Earth.

I didn’t try it because it was too expensive for my student budget. However, there are alternative options to experience a bit of the view from above, such as visiting lookouts to see the valleys from higher vantage points.

Village on a hill surrounded by stunning rock formations in Cappadocia (Turkey)

How to explore Cappadocia in two days

I was travelling solo so it didn’t make sense for me to hire a vehicle to visit Cappadocia. Plus, I found it would be more interesting to get explanations from locals about the landscape and local life. Tours are also a good option when your time is limited as they often pack a lot; you don’t waste time looking for directions and don’t get tired from driving and organising your days. I booked two one-day tours to explore Cappadocia in two days.

The first tour to Soganli Valley was fantastic. We were guided by two brothers who used to live in a troglodyte house (dug in the rock), and their stories were fascinating. We had time to walk in the valley, enjoy fantastic views, and visit two underground cities.

The second tour to Ilhara Valley was good, but not as good as the first one. I missed the personal stories from the guides that I enjoyed during the first tour. However, we still visited amazing places, like a huge troglodyte cathedral, and the river in the gorge was beautiful. Ilhara Valley is Cappadocia’s biggest canyon, and it is about one hour west of Goreme.

Things to do in Cappadocia in two days

Admiring the iconic landscape from lookouts

During your visit to Cappadocia, you shouldn’t miss Uchisar Castle, which offers stunning panoramic views of the region. The castle, carved into a large rock formation, provides an excellent vantage point to take in the unique landscape of Cappadocia. Additionally, there are several other lookouts in the area, such as Pigeon Valley and Sunset Point, that offer breathtaking views of the iconic fairy chimneys and rock formations that make Cappadocia famous.

Exploring underground cities

Our guide explained that in ancient times, the villages in Cappadocia surprised visitors because they were not fortified to defend against attacks. However, the inhabitants were well-organized and had many underground cities. The exact number of these cities is still unknown, but it is estimated to be a significant number, possibly ranging from 100 to 200 or even more.

During our Soganli Valley tour, we visited two underground cities, which turned out to be the highlights of my trip. The experience of being underground was truly indescribable.

Mazi Underground City

Our first stop was Mazi, which had six levels. This visit was quite an adventure, as Mazi is not a well-known underground city for tourists. The conditions were challenging, with no electricity, requiring flexibility, and even some climbing skills to move from one level to another. Despite the similar appearance of the rooms, I was impressed by the organized layout of the city, with distinct areas designated for specific purposes such as kitchens, warehouses, cowsheds, and communication areas with pipes.

Derinkuyu Underground City

Our next visit was to Derinkuyu, a much more tourist-friendly and well-equipped underground city. Nonetheless, the experience was fascinating, as it is currently the largest discovered underground city, reaching a depth of 85 meters and having the capacity for 10,000 people to live there. The rooms were more spacious compared to Mazi, and there was even a church located within the city!

Enjoying Cappadocia specialties: potteries, onyx, and wine


During our visit to Avanos, which is 8km away from Goreme, we had the opportunity to visit a pottery factory. The shop manager provided us with interesting explanations about the pottery-making process, and we enjoyed trying our hand at shaping our own pottery. Some of the pottery pieces on display were truly works of art, with beautiful and precise brushstrokes.

We also had the chance to try pottery kebabs, a food specialty of Cappadocia. These kebabs are made by filling a pottery vessel with vegetables, meat, sauce, and spices, and then cooking it. When it’s ready to eat, the pottery is broken open, revealing the delicious contents inside.

A pottery kebab in Cappadoccia


In addition to pottery, we also learned about onyx, as there are onyx mines in Cappadocia. We visited a local artisan who demonstrated how he works with this stone by making an onyx egg. Onyx jewellery was also quite popular in the shops we visited.


We also had the opportunity to taste some of the wines from Cappadocia, which is known for producing some of the best wines in Turkey. To be honest, they didn’t fully meet my expectations. Despite the long history of winemaking in the region (I read Turkey has been making wine for over four millenniums!), I personally found the red wines to be unimpressive, and while I preferred the white wines, they didn’t really stand out to me. I’d still recommend trying them; it’s always a good experience and I might have been unlucky with my choices!

Planning a trip to Cappadocia? I stayed in a cave hotel in Goreme and really like the original experience. View hotels here*

Have you been to Cappadocia? Share your experience in the comments below!

Where is Cappadocia?

Cappadocia is a region in Central Anatolia in the middle of Turkey. The easiest way to get there from Istanbul is by plane to either Kayseri or Nevsehir airport. Due to budget constraints, I decided to travel from Istanbul to Cappadocia overnight by bus. We departed from Istanbul at 10 pm and arrived in Goreme at 8:30 am, allowing me to spend two full days in Cappadocia.



Eloise is the creator and writer of MyFavouriteEscapes.com. She writes about her experiences exploring exotic destinations and finding hidden gems closer to home. Her goal is to share tips and stories to inspire and encourage others to go on their own adventures. She loves outdoor and nature-based activities like scuba diving, hiking, kayaking, and sailing. She grew up in France and has lived in England and Turkey before calling Australia home for the past decade. So let's get ready for another adventure!

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  1. Luke

    Great photos, makes me want to go back to Capaddocia. We took a hike through Rose Valley which was fantastic. We wanted to take one of the balloon flights but the weather wasn’t good enough. A good excuse to go back!

    1. Eloise

      Thank you, Luke. That’s unfortunate the weather got in the way. I hope you’ll find time to go back to do it!! 🙂

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