Getting around in Cappadocia


Cappadocia is a relatively small area of Türkiye: from Aksaray in the west to Kayseri it’s about 160km (100mi), while from the northern limit of Hacıbektaş to the southern city of Niğde is about 130km (80mi). And thanks to well positioned towns and good travel infrastructure, getting around this iconic region is pretty easy.

Göreme, Cappadocia’s main tourist hub, sits almost squarely in the middle and enjoys good transport connections, making it a very sensible choice as a base for exploring the region. It’s easy to visit most of the area’s top tourist sights using a combination of public transport and taxis, but if you’re hoping to tick off some of the more undiscovered spots you may find it easiest to rent a car for a couple of days. 

No matter what adventure you’ve got planned, here are our tips for getting around Cappadocia. 

Take the dolmuş with the locals

The principal form of public transport in Cappadocia is the dolmuş. These minivans run set routes around the region’s towns and villages and are mainly used by locals, but tourists are more than welcome. In larger places, like Göreme, there are dedicated places where dolmuşes arrive and depart, often with ticket offices and sometimes information centers, while in villages, dolmuşes simply stop in the center of town on request. They are extremely good value, providing a budget way of getting around between the region’s top spots, although there’s often a limited or non-existent service to places further off the beaten track. Göreme is a good place to check out the local dolmuş routes, as it’s a hub which intersects with most routes: if a dolmuş is going somewhere you want to go, chances are you’ll find it here.

Take advantage of Cappadocia’s plentiful taxis © patrickheagney / Getty Images

Take a taxi for greater freedom

Handy as they are, there are numerous parts of Cappadocia that you’ll find hard to reach using the dolmuş, and it’s here that the region’s many taxis come in handy. You can either hail a taxi from the street or book one in advance with companies like Goreme Taxi. If you only need to take a short hop, the former is fine, as drivers use the meter and do not tend to overcharge: this option is particularly convenient if you are planning on doing a one-way hike, as the taxi can take you to the start point or pick you up at the end. If, on the other hand, you’re hoping for a whole day out – to reach less accessible areas, such as the Soğanlı Valley – you’d be better off arranging a car and driver, and negotiating the price, in advance. Your accommodation can almost always help with this.

A woman sits against a white car parked in front of a field full of hot air balloons in Cappadocia
Explore all the corners of Cappadocia with your own set of wheels © Oleh_Slobodeniuk / Getty Images

Explore more with a car

If you truly crave independence and want to explore every nook and cranny of Cappadocia, then consider hiring a car for a couple of days. Although not bargain-bucket, pricing isn’t extortionate, and there are outlets for most of the major rental companies in numerous places around the region, including at Nevşehir and Kayseri airports, and in Göreme town center.

Driving in Cappadocia is easy: the roads are well-maintained and there are signposts directing you to all towns and tourist sights. You’ll rarely have to contend with much traffic either, unless you’re driving into Kayseri or Aksaray city centers. The road into Göreme from Avanos can occasionally get a bit busy too, usually in the evening when the Open-Air Museum is closing. Parking is almost invariably free. All things considered, if you want to explore at your own pace and take in some of Cappadocia’s less-frequented highlights, a rental car is your best option.

Rear view of man walking in a gravel road towards love valley in Goreme, Cappadocia
Cappadocia’s hiking trails deliver scenic views in high definition © Gabriel Mello / Getty Images

Do it on foot along the hiking trails

Cappadocia is an extremely popular destination for hikers, with its dramatic and unusual valleys lending perfect landscapes in which to take a long walk. Although there aren’t any especially long-distance trails to take, there are several excellent routes which make great day hikes as well as handy ways to get from A to B. Most trails start from Göreme: you can walk from here to Uçhisar along Pigeon Valley or Love Valley, or to Ortahisar on the Red Valley or Zemi Valley trails. Further west, the Ihlara Valley hike from Ihlara village to Selime is one of the region’s best routes, combining spectacular scenery with sites of great historical import.

Accessible travel in Cappadocia

Unfortunately, accessible travel in Cappadocia is still very much in its infancy. Dolmuşes are not adapted for wheelchair users, and few taxis are either, though these are available if you book in advance. Getting around in town centers isn’t always easy, as pavements are often uneven, but many towns have put considerable effort into improving accessibility in recent years.

While attractions such as the underground cities and Byzantine-era rock hewn churches are mostly not accessible for wheelchair users due to staircases or narrow entranceways, it is possible to enjoy many of the area’s highlights from the outside.  Göreme Open-Air Museum, for example, has made its pathways accessible so wheelchair users can enjoy views of the amazing rock formations. Paşabağı is another site which offers a fairly well made path around the rock formations. Unfortunately, the famous hot air balloons are not able to offer trips for wheelchair users, but the large, flat viewing area above Göreme offers the chance to watch the stunning spectacle of the sunrise and mass balloon take-off.



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