Turkey for kids is like playing in a natural playground where people are just throwing candy at you. The landscape, especially in Cappadocia, is so fun to climb around and play in. Add the fact that people absolutely adore kids and gives them candy at first glance, it's a children's dreamland.
Cappadocia in Turkey is truly a playground for kids, but with incredible history and fascinating landforms, making it perfect for the whole family.
With the rise of social media, this place has grown increasingly popular with quite an interesting crowd. You'll see the influencer type everywhere: on camels at sunset, finding the perfect shot with hot air balloons, and posing in front of carpets in town. I've seen places ruined by tourism, but here, it didn't bother me. It's so picturesque and so interesting, it's absolutely worth the visit. And I can almost guarantee that you'll be taking Insta-worthy shots during your trip—it's impossible not to.
When to go
We went to Cappadocia in late September, which is their high season (September, October and also March, April). It was HOT still, so I couldn't even imagine what it was like in the summer, but I imagine it's something I would want to avoid.
Where to stay
Cappadocia is the region with all the incredible landforms, but the main town is called Goreme. You'll find a majority of the cave hotels and lots of restaurants there. That said, I don't know if I would have liked staying right in the middle of town. It's a whole racket with tourists and tourists shops everywhere. We stayed a quick 10 minutes up the hill in Usiçhar, a smaller town overlooking Goreme and other parts of Cappadocia.
Though it's still touristy in Usiçhar, it has a much calmer vibe and it's close enough to everything you need. We stayed in Pinhan Suites. It's the sweetest hotel with the sweetest owner and the sweetest staff. We drove away after 5 nights there with our hearts warm. They also have the most incredible breakfast and clean and beautiful rooms, but again, it was the people that made this place so special.
The rooftop is not one that gives you hot air balloon views at sunrise, but it's walking distance from the Usiçhar Castle which is a great spot for viewing, and a few minute drive from the Usiçhar viewpoint where some hot air balloons actually take off.
Hotels in Goreme:
Splurge: Hera Suite Hotel - Amazing rooftop to watch the hot air balloons at sunrise and just absolutely beautiful. This hotel is in a quieter part of town, but still close to restaurants and shops.
Midrange: Lunar Cappadocia Hotel - Beautiful hotel with a stunning view. Your kids still have the experience of staying in a cave with a great breakfast in the morning.
Where to catch sunset
Sunsets are a treasure in Cappadocia, watching the land turn golden and the sky turn pink. It a whole ordeal in some spots though. Reading through blogs, we saw that the best spot to watch sunset was Sunset Point, Rose valley (we should have known better). But alas, we tried it out.
Big mistake. As we were walking through the sand to get to the viewpoint, literally hundreds of ATVs came barreling through, dust flying, engines loud, dj music even louder. If the visual isn't quite there, just picture a family with small children plopped right in the middle of the movie Mad Max.
It was a racket there. Unless that's your scene, don't go there.
We decided to cut our losses that night and just head back to the hotel, but we were lucky enough to pass the Usiçhar viewpoint on our way back a catch the tail end while the kids played soccer. That's a great and mellow spot. Also in Usiçhar, the Castle is beautiful that time of night as well.
Other places to check out:
Red Valley—you can walk around the hills, or go straight to Crazy Ali's Cafe for a tea and a view.
Sunset Hill, Goreme—A popular spot but walking distance if you're in town.
What to do in Cappadocia
Cappadocia seemingly has endless things to do and see. We were there for 5 days and I still feel like we missed a bunch. Here's what we did, and a few things we missed.
Visit an Underground City!
I don't know if I've witnessed anything more impressive an underground city in Cappadocia. They were built during the Byzantine-Arabian Wars by the Byzantines to hide out to escape persecution.
Derinkuyu Underground City
This underground city goes almost 200ft and could house 20,000 people along with their animals (yes, you read that right). It's the bigger of the two main underground cities in the area, but we opted for the other, though this might be a better option if you get claustrophobic since the hallways are said to be slightly bigger.
Kaymakli Underground City
The Kaymakli Underground City is smaller than the Derinkuyu, but just as fascinating. I personally had to turn around as I got too claustrophobic, but the kids absolutely loved crawling through the tunnels and tiny spaces. You can only go 4 floors down, so it doesn't take too long to explore, but it's totally worth it.
A nice escape from the hot dry desert is this green little valley. It's about an hour drive from Goreme, but worth it as you can explore dwellings and churches in peace.
Wake up at sunrise!
You cannot miss this. It's tough to get out of bed, but it's so worth it. The kids were also happy to do it, and at ages 6 and 3 (our one year old didn't care), they were absolutely blown away.
Pasabag Valley (Monks Valley)
One of the more popular spots (for good reason). This valley is full of the iconic Fairy Chimney's and cave dwellings. The kids loved exploring, climbing, and finding secret passages.
Another bonus is that you get free entrance to Zelve Open-Air Museum a ticket here, which was one of our favorite spots.
Zelve Open-Air Museum
Goreme Open-Air Museum is a popular spot in the middle of town, but we decided to miss this as we heard it's just packed and went to Zelve instead. Great decision.
We went around sunset and since everyone was on ATVs at Sunset Hill, we had the place absolutely to ourselves. It was absolutely magical, I imagine it's more impressive than the one in Goreme as it was enormous with so much to see and explore, but above all, it sees a fraction of visitors each day.
We loved going here for sunset, but this is also a great spot to catch sunrise to see the hot air balloons from above. It's busy, but absolutely worth it and beautiful.
I hope you enjoy your time in Cappadocia. It's truly one of the most special places I've been to.