Central Cappadocia’s treasures away from the masses

Cappadocia in Turkey is unique in many ways: its distinct landscape of fairy chimneys is mesmerizing, to say the least. We all know the dreamy pictures of hot air balloons floating above the out-of-this-world-view. With its uniqueness come busloads of tourists aiming for the ultimate Cappadocia experience. The result is that you get stuck in a place flooded with people, ruining the experience’s magic. That is why we reveal how to discover Central Cappadocia away from the herds.

Click to see central Cappadocia on a map

Zelve Open Air Museum: picture-perfect Cappadocia!

In the heart of Cappadocia, you will find the Göreme Open Air Museum. It is the first (and sometimes even only) stop for most people visiting Cappadocia. If you want to stay away from the crowds, you will find it is almost impossible in Göreme, especially in high season. If you are interested in reading more about it, this article from resident Duke Dillard will tell you all about it. Still, it is possible to experience Cappadocia in the high season while having the place almost entirely to yourself. If this is how you prefer things, keep reading!

Just a few kilometers past Göreme, you will find the Zelve Open Air Museum. And while it may not have as many well-preserved churches covered with frescoes as its Göreme counterpart, this museum certainly makes up for that lack, with a more immersive feel of Cappadocia. What can you expect? A beautiful and authentic site with fascinating caves, churches, wineries, and much more.

During a morning visit in August, we virtually had the place to ourselves and felt as if we could almost feel what it must have been like to live in this place of silence, serenity, and beauty. Life must have been harsh, but also in harmony with nature and the elements.

Saruhan Kervansaray: a stop on the Silk Road

There is more to Cappadocia than fairy chimneys, caves, and churches. With a strategic position along the Silk Road, you will also find caravansarais, some of them carefully restored, like Saruhan Kervansaray. Built in 1238, the caravanserai provided a place to stay for travelers and their animals after a day’s journey. It had a courtyard and a Turkish bath, and a masjid (a place to pray). You will be charged a small entrance fee that covers the privately financed restoration of this historic building.

At no more than a 10 minutes drive from Göreme, you are likely to be the only visitors to this stunning building. If you are interested in seeing the whirling dervishes perform, the caravansarai hosts a performance every night. You will find more information on their website. (link in the title)

Cappadocia

Paşabağ: impressive fairy chimneys

Paşabağ is located on the way to Zelve Open Air Museum. It is a small site that can easily be a stop on your way to visit Zelve. Our advice is to visit early morning or late in the evening. There is no entrance fee, and the site is accessible at all times, making it easy to avoid the crowds to enjoy the magic of these giant chimneys intensely.

Cappadocia

Cappadocia

Çavuşin Kilisesi: one-stop church

When visiting all of the above from Göreme, you will be passing Çavuşin Kilisesi, a rather impressive chimney hosting a church with a view. As this church is situated along the main road, it is easy to spot if you have to deal with other visitors. So just hit the brakes whenever the parking lot is empty and work your way up.

Cappadocia

Cappadocia

These places are within a very short drive from Göreme and will let you discover Cappadocia in a very different way. We are not claiming you shouldn’t visit Göreme Open Air Museum, but merely offering alternatives to those preferring a different traveling mode.

Ready to come and see it for yourself? Taka Ev is the perfect place to stay in Cappadocia. It’s beautifully and centrally located, with stunning cave rooms and views to die for. And as if this wasn’t enough, the owner, Murat, is an invaluable source of information about the area. In another article, we are taking you a little further afield to Cappadocia’s hidden gems, just outside the national park perimeter.

Hot Air Balloons Cappadocia Turkey

Practical information

Would you like to read what visitors have to say before you go? Check out this post from fellow travelers explaining why Cappadocia is the most magical place on earth. Make sure to spend enough time in the area, as there’s a lot to see and do in Cappadocia. Most people think a visit to Cappadocia isn’t complete without a balloon ride. If you’re one of them, book your flight on the first day(s) of your stay. If it gets canceled due to adverse weather conditions, you’ll have the option to reschedule your flight. Still, trust us when we say the real magic of Cappadocia isn’t the balloon ride.

Unsure about the Cappadocia weather? Check out our ‘weather in Turkey’ page!

Please note that the open-air museums in Cappadocia have opening times and that you will need to pay an entrance fee to explore them.

Click on the links below for current ticket prices and opening times of the locations.

✔️ Have you been to Cappadocia, and did you visit some of these gems outside of the National Park? Then please head over to our Turkey Trip Planner to leave a review. Alternatively, if you plan on visiting, you can add the places to your bucket list.

There is no shortage of charming places to stay in Cappadocia, but we can’t recommend Taka Ev highly enough. As an alternative, those preferring a vacation rental will see that this rental in Cappadocia has charm and spectacular views in abundance.

The nearest airport is Kayseri, which has easy connections with Istanbul airports if required.

Click to see more great places to stay in central Cappadocia on a map
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Check the weather

Never wonder about the weather in Turkey again. The Turkish climate is as diverse as the country with significant differences between the regions.

This page contains the current weather and weather statistics for all regions in Turkey.

Prepare your trip

How to order a tourist visa for Turkey?

What about public transport?
Can you skip the line at Istanbul Airports?

General Turkey travel information, essential to help prepare your trip, on one page!

LISTS & REVIEWS

Bookmark your favorite places, find other destinations nearby, get directions from your location, and read or leave reviews.

Our Turkey Trip Planner wad designed to do just that. You'll find all our favorite spots in one place, including scenic road stops.

Map of Turkey

Do you like to see things on a map? On our interactive tourist map of Turkey, you'll spot nearby points of interest right away. We've done the heavy lifting for you. Just click on the icons to go to each post.

Enjoy our practical and inspirational map of Turkey!

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