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Cappadocia's wondrous lunar landscape was created around 70 million years ago, by a massive volcanic eruption. But it was the threat of a different kind of violence which lead people to dig the area's famous cave villages into the basalt. The volcanic soil had made the area rich and fertile, so there were plenty of people competing for this land. So people burrowed their cities underground, cutting into the rock and hollowing out around thirty underground cities and around a thousand churches. Creating a landscape, and a place, like no other on earth. Some of the best places to stay in Cappadocia are within these cave villages.
These days visitors to the region are the primary cave dwellers. Drawn by the crazy scenery - and the wonderful dwellings and churches, the region's dramatic and fascinating history and the opportunity for an active break against an incredible backdrop.
This peaceful scenery was created by drama and violence, but there's now a sense, in Cappadocia, of people living beside nature - there's a village-y rhythm to things. So it's a wonderful place to come to relax and to live at your own pace.
If you're here to relax, or for the scenery, then one of the first things you'll want to do is book your hot-air ballon trip. Even if this isn't the sort of thing you'd usually do you should definitely consider trying it here. This landscape is even more breathtaking from the air, when you're looking down on the 'fairy chimneys' - eroding volcanic pillars rising out of the land - and peach coloured gorges. The colours the land turns at sunset here are really something special…
Right in amongst the fairy chimneys and cliffs crenelated like honeycomb, Göreme is so beautiful that it really does defy description. It's not entirely unspoilt, as a destination this beautiful is bound to attract visitors, but it somehow manages to retain its feeling of being a traditional village. And one where visitors are welcomed.
If you've done any research at all you'll know the Göreme Open Air Museum deserves your attention, and with it its myriad of wonderful churches and all their frescoes. You might also want to stroll the trails around the Rose Valley, for the best views.
- The Fairy Chimney Inn is one of the best places to stay in Cappadocia if you're looking for a traditional Turkish cave hotel experience. Rooms are decoratively sparse, but have wonderful rugs and local textiles, and you're cut into the rocks remember, so there are impressively carved fireplaces and many nooks and crannies. Some rooms sleep up to six, so this is also ideal for families.
- If you don't like the idea of sleeping below ground but you still want a cave hotel experience, the Sultan Cave Suites are an excellent compromise. This regal house is cut into the side of a cliff, so while some of the 30 rooms are cut into the rock they're not below the earth - obviously the impressive views of Göreme are a bonus as well.
Ürgüp is one of the region's largest towns and its upmarket hotels and fine restaurants have given it the reputation for being one of the best places to stay in Cappadocia, and possibly all of Turkey as well. Ürgüp is also a good spot to explore this whole region from, and you're right near Ortahisar, where there's a castle, a monastery and a folk museum.
Most of the best accommodation in Ürgüp is in the town's honey coloured buildings, or in the back alleys of the Old Town where there are some prime examples of the local architecture.
- The Hezen Cave Hotel is a particularly fine example, and one of the best places to stay in Cappadocia if you like your accommodation rustic but chic, and with plenty of exposed stone. But most importantly, above ground.
- Serinn House is another wonderfully chic hotel in a wonderfully rustic setting. The minimalist decor makes the most of this beautiful, almost fort-like building, against this picturesque backdrop.
Uçhisar has some of the best views of the whole of Cappadocia, because from the top of its castle you can see pretty much the whole region. Uçhisar also has some wonderful Ottoman style markets.
- If you're looking for a high end hotel experience, book the Cappadocia Cave Resort. This is a big hotel - there are 79 rooms - built into the hillside with stunning views of the valleys below. As well as the theatrical setting this resort also has several fabulous restaurants, cavernous rooms and suites and an impressive spa.
- Looking for somewhere romantic? Book the Museum Hotel. Another cave hotel, the Museum Hotel is especially warm and magical - probably because these are some of the most opulent caves you'll have ever seen, with charming antiques, subtle lighting, large warm spaces and hot tubs. The Museum Hotel also has one of Cappadocia's best restaurants.
- For a great value option, one of the best places to stay in Cappadocia is the Taskonaklar Rocky Palace, a charming complex of 18 rooms with excellent views and reams of history.
Best Hotels in Cappadocia
Fairy Chimney Inn 14 rooms from $63Goreme (Aydinli Mahallesi)
A rustic hotel that offers a traditional Turkish experience. Rooms (some sleep up to 6) are sparse in decoration with stone walls, killim rugs, and fireplaces. Fantastic authentic Turkish cuisine and cooking lessons. A great value choice for groups of friends and families exploring the area.Groups - Some rooms sleep up to 6.FamiliesViews - Great views from hotelValue chic
Sultan Cave Suites 30 rooms from $91Goreme
A wonderfully traditional Sultanesque house with huge cavernous rooms. Bedrooms and suites are sparsely decorated but elegant with stone walls, attractive beds, and killim rugs. Lovely open-air restaurant and lots to do in the hills around.Views - Wonderful views over the surrounding countryside from the stone terracesGreat walks - Fantastic walking and hiking in the areaSights nearby - Cappadocia Cultural Centre on siteFour poster beds - For romantics.
Taskonaklar Rocky Palace 18 rooms from $103Uçhisar
An excellent value boutique hotel with stunning views. Traditional rooms and suites combine history and romance. Stone walls, killim rugs, fireplaces and stepped terraces. An excellent choice for a couple or family, plenty to explore in the immediate surrounds.Value chicViews - Great views from hotelLocal markets - Good for local colour.Romantic - Good for couples.Recommended by - Tablet
Kayakapi Premium Caves 32 rooms from $139Urgup, Cappadocia
A stunning and unique hotel comprising of restored historical caves carved into soft stone cliffs of Kayakapi neighborhood, in Göreme National Park. Rooms highly luxurious with white-washed walls, antique furnishings and fireplaces. With Turkish baths, a gym, an outdoor swimming pool and restaurant.Unusual - Restored historical caves carved into soft stone cliffs of Kayakapi neighborhood, in Göreme National ParkSwimming Pool - Outdoor, with a separate kids areaViews - Across ÜrgüpLocal markets - Good for local colour.
Kale Konak 14 rooms from $137Uçhisar (Nevsehir)
A traditional Turkish building at the highest point of Uchisar. More medieval rustic than rustic chic. Large traditional rooms and suites with no frills attached. Stunning views and easy access to restaurants and outdoor pursuits. A great value choice for a family.Views - Breathtaking views over the surrounding countryside and Argeus MountainSights nearby - Situated right next door to Uchisar CastleGreat walks - Good for walkers.Local markets - Good for local colour.
Hezen Cave Hotel 10 rooms from $160Urgup, Cappadocia
A sunny sandstone hotel in a lovely village. Rustic chic rooms and suites have creamy furnishings, light stone walls, and splashes of deep red. Wonderful terraces and views over beautiful landscapes. A chic, but understated spot to explore the region from.Romantic BreakViews - Great views from hotelLuxuryLocal markets - Bazaars of Urgup and Goreme.Recommended by - Tablet, I Escape
Serinn House 5 rooms from $150Urgup, Cappadocia
A small chic boutique hotel. Luxurious rooms combine minimalist style and tradition for luxurious effect. Four poster beds, shiny parquet floors, cavernous stone arches, chandeliers and modern furniture. Lovely terraces with gorgeous views. An understated spot.Views - Wonderful views over Urgup and the surrounding mountainsCountry EscapeLocal markets - Good for local colour.Great walks - Good for walkers.Recommended by - I Escape
Argos in Cappadocia 53 rooms from $185Uçhisar
A cluster of old stone houses and sumptuous suites and tunnels set on a hill and in the rock face. Luxurious and romantic rooms have stone walls, sumptuous furnishings and hot tubs. Lovely terraces have stunning views over the landscape. Very romantic but family friendly too.Architectural - Ancient stone houses and tunnels carved from the cliff face.Views - Wondrous views over breathtaking landscape.LuxuryRomantic BreakRecommended by - Tablet, I Escape, Kiwi Collection
Gamirasu Cave 30 rooms from $211Ürgüp
A charming hotel set in a cave system in the rural Turkish village of Ayvali. The elegant rooms are full of character with antique furnishings and exposed vaulted ceilings. Relax by the pool or take a horse riding trek through the surrounding countryside. A Turkish delight.Romantic Break - This unique and picturesque cave hotel, with deluxe suites and stunning surrounds, makes for a special getaway for two.Families - With excellent multi-person suites, children's menus and babysitting services, it's perfect for family holidays.Sights nearby - The hotel sits just six miles from Nikolos Monastery and Mazı Underground City.Great walks - Make the most of the superb walking in the nearby Goreme National Park.
Museum Hotel 30 rooms from $251Uçhisar
A stunning luxury hotel in magical surroundings. Historical, romantic and opulent cavernous interiors make for a perfect honeymoon or couples getaway. Rooms and suites have subtle lighting, large warm spaces and hot tubs. Fabulous restaurant, spa, and gorgeous countryside to explore.Foodies - One of Cappdocia's best restaurants.Views - Beautiful valley views.ArchitecturalRomantic BreakRecommended by - I Escape, Tablet, Relais & Chateaux
Cappadocia Cave Resort & Spa 104 rooms from $307Uçhisar
A stunning hotel built into the hillside with stunning views over the valleys below. A theatrical setting and architectural marvel with cavernous rooms and suites, fabulous restaurants, and an impressive spa. A luxury spot in a privileged location.Views - Great views from hotelSights nearby - Situated close to Uchisar castleSwimming Pool - Indoor and Outdoor PoolsPrivate Hot TubRecommended by - Tablet, Small Luxury Hotels