Best Free Things To Do in Cappadocia: (Budget Trip Cappadocia)

Read our complete guide to the best free things to do in Cappadocia, with which you don't miss out on a full Cappadocia experience.
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Arijana & Matej
Arijana & Matej

Croatian-Slovenian full-time travel duo, photographers, bloggers and travel journalists for over 4 years. We write in-depth travel guides about destinations we have personally visited, providing practical travel tips and recommendations.

Best free things to do in Cappadocia - free things to see in Cappadocia - best places to visit in Cappadocia that are free

We first visited Cappadocia in September 2021, and since then, the prices of Cappadocia ticketed attractions have more than tripled in some cases.

For example, if you visit two of the main attractions in Cappadocia, where you can walk through the fascinating landscape and history, like the Zelve and Goreme open-air museums, you will pay upwards of 20 EUR per person for one and 33 EUR for both. And if you add to that some other paid places, the total cost for tickets can easily reach 50 to 70 EUR per person.

Price rises have been a general trend around Turkey in the past few years, so we felt that creating this complete guide highlighting the free things to do in Cappadocia is especially relevant now. Finding free stuff in Cappadocia is also quite important because the top things to do in Cappadocia involve costly experiences, like the famous hot air balloon rides. After all, Cappadocia is one of the best places to visit in Turkey.

That’s why if you want to save money on your Cappadocia visit, do these free things we list below and then splurge on a balloon ride. You can read all about our hot air balloon ride experience in our Complete Guide To Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia.

Best free things to do in Cappadocia

  • Watch hot air balloons for sunrise
  • Watch a sunset at one of the stunning sunset spots
  • Walk and hike Cappadocia trails (Rose, Red, Love)
  • Explore ancient castles
  • Walk around Cavusin Village, Valley & Chapel

Here’s our free Cappadocia itinerary that you can follow to see the best things in one full day.

Cappadocia Itinerary with free things to do

1. Watch a sunrise from a sunrise viewpoint

Start your day early to catch a breathtaking sunrise over the unique landscape of Cappadocia.

Hundreds of hot air balloons fill the sky above Goreme so head to one of the many sunrise viewpoints in the region for a magical start to your day. This is the absolute best free thing to do in Cappadocia!

Best free things to do in Cappadocia - watch a sunrise and hot air balloons taking off above Goreme - free things to see in Cappadocia

If your budget permits, book a stay at one of the Cave Hotels, which has a stunning terrace from which you can watch the sunrise. We stayed in Goreme on a budget, but luckily, our hotel, Seven Stone Hotel, also had a terrace!

Watching hot air balloons from hotel terrace in Cappadocia - best free things to do in Cappadocia - free things to see in Cappadocia
View from our terrace at Seven Stone Hotel

In our Sunrise and Sunset Viewpoints Guide, we listed the best sunrise viewpoints, so check that article for inspiration and travel tips.

Car rental in Cappadocia

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2. Walk around Uchisar Castle

Explore the area around the impressive Uchisar Castle, the highest point in the area. It offers panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and fairy chimneys.

While Uchisar Castle has an entrance fee of 7 EUR, you can explore and walk around it for free. The views at the top are great, but if you’re on a budget, it’s not a big deal if you skip it.

Free things to do in Cappadocia - What to see on a budget in Cappadocia - Uchisar Castle
You can walk all around the Uchisar Castle for free

A great way to take in the views of Uchisar Castle is to have a drink or grab lunch in one of the restaurants nearby. We enjoyed lunch at the Dream Spot Restaurant, which has some of the best views and tasty food.

Best free things to do in Cappadocia - grabbing a drink or lunch with views of Uchisar Castle
Lunch with a view at Dream Spot Restaurant

To reach Uchisar Castle, you can walk from Goreme in about 1 hour. By car, it’s just 10 minutes away. A taxi is 5 EUR one way, and the local bus (dolmus) leaves every 30 minutes from Goreme (7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.).

But the best way to get to Uchisar Castle is by walking the Goreme – Love Valley – White Valley – Uchisar – Pigeon Valley loop trail (check all loop information here).

Instead of going towards Uchisar on the road, this trail takes you through the Love Valley and past the fascinating fairy chimneys, then into the White Valley before coming up to Uchisar Castle.

TRAVEL TIP

Please note that it’s best to use the AllTrails App to follow this trail, as some parts are not well-marked.

Hiking in Cappadocia to Uchisar Castle - free things to do in Cappadocia
Uchisar Castle seen from above the Love Valley

3. Visit the Pigeon Valley

Next door to Uchisar Castle is Pigeon Valley, another free valley you can visit in Cappadocia. It’s named after the numerous pigeon houses carved into the cliffs.

Walking around Pigeon Valley for free in Cappadocia - best free things to do in Cappadocia

Hiking Travel Alert

The loop trail we mentioned that goes from Goreme to Love Valley and then to Uchisar Castle also involves hiking the last part from Uchisar through Pigeon Valley down back to Goreme. But unfortunately, during the past few years, there were some incredibly aggressive dogs that bit tourists on several occasions inside the Pigeon Valley.

That’s why we only recommend seeing parts of the Pigeon Valley before retracing your steps back to the road, and either walk the road back to Goreme or take a bus or taxi. You can read lots of these reviews on this loop information page.

Pigeon Valley - best free things to see in Cappadocia
You can observe Pigeon Valley from the Free Pigeon Valley Viewpoint

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4. Visit Cavusin Village

Next, continue your way to Cavusin, a village known for its ancient cave dwellings and rock-cut churches.

Cavusin Village, a free place to visit in Cappadocia - places to visit for free nearby Goreme
You can visit the old part of Cavusin, where some of the rock-cut houses have been recently restored.

One of the best free attractions in Cappadocia is the historic Church of St. John the Baptist, with its well-preserved frescoes and fascinating history. You can walk all around it and get some great views from above.

St. John the Baptist Chapel - best free things to do in Cappadocia - what to see instead of paid open air museums
St. John the Baptist Chapel – a free attraction in Cappadocia comparable to the paid open-air museums

You can walk to Cavusin from Goreme in about 45 minutes, passing by the unique Sword Valley on the way.

Sword Valley - easiest accessible free thing to do in Cappadocia
Picturesque Sword Valley with Rose Valley and Rose Valley seen in the background

Cavusin Village is a great starting point for one of the best hikes in Cappadocia and the last part of this full-day free things to do in Cappadocia itinerary.

5. Hike the Rose Valley

From Cavusin, the next nearest free thing is a scenic hike through the Rose Valley, named for the pink hues that color the rock formations at sunset. Along the way, you can explore hidden cave churches and fairy chimneys surrounded by stunning natural beauty.

Rose Valley - Valley of Roses - Cappadocia sunset - best free things to do in Cappadocia

The Rose Valley, Red Valley, and Meskendir Valley are the best alternative and free areas for seeing rock-cut churches and cave dwellings. This is a great place to visit in Cappadocia if you don’t want to visit any of the paid famous attractions like Zelve Open Air Museum and Goreme Open Air Museum.

In Rose Valley, you can visit fascinating churches, like the Column Church (Direkli Kilise), a big and very well-preserved church, and the Crusader Church, with still-preserved frescoes and wall paintings. Both of these churches are free to visit.

Rose Valley rock-cut Cave Dwellings and Churches - best free things to see in Cappadocia

Arijana Tkalčec and Matej Špan on a hot air balloon flight in Cappadocia

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6. Watch a sunset at Red Valley

There’s hardly a better free thing to do in Cappadocia than to end your day by watching the sunset over the Red Valley, known for its vibrant hues and dramatic rock formations.

Red Valley viewpoint in Cappadocia - best free things to do in Cappadocia

There are multiple spots right above Red Valley, which is also the ending point of the Rose and Red Valley hike, where you can watch the sunset.

Free things to do in Cappadocia - watching a sunset at Red Valley
You can easily find a quiet spot to watch the sunset

But the best spot, in our opinion, is the Red Valley Viewpoint, which takes another 15 to 20 minutes to hike from the first viewpoints. It offers a stunning view of the landscape, and you can see many of the landmarks from there.

You can find practical travel tips in our Best Sunrise and Sunset Viewpoints in Cappadocia guide.

Watching sunset at Red Valley Viewpoint, the best free thing to do in Cappadocia

Cappadocia Travel Tips

Cappadocia is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit is during spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is mild and the landscapes are in full bloom.

There are lots of budget options in Cappadocia, not only for attractions and landmarks but also for accommodation and transport.

While the most famous Cave Hotels in Cappadocia are, of course, priced at a premium, there are lovely small-scale hotels and guesthouses with plenty of amenities, which are still affordable for most travelers, even backpackers.

Transport is also something where you can save some money, as there are affordable local buses (called dolmus) connecting many parts of the Cappadocia Region. The bus is the cheapest way to get around between Goreme, Uchisar, and Nevsehir.

Check the up-to-date bus travel times at the Goreme Bus Station or ask your hotel in advance.

However, renting a car is a great idea if you’d like to explore parts that are further away from Goreme, like Derinkuyu Underground City and Ihlara Valley. You can read all about it in our Guide to Renting a Car in Cappadocia.

Budget options for getting around Cappadocia - renting a car - taxis - buses - free things to see in Cappadocia
The rental car we had during our last week while exploring Cappadocia

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you go around Cappadocia without a car?

Yes, you can explore much of Cappadocia without a car, as there are affordable buses, but also taxis and private transport available.

Do you need to pay to see Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia?

No, fairy chimneys are free to see all around Cappadocia in the many valleys around Goreme.

Can you hike in Cappadocia for free?

Yes, hiking in Cappadocia through its picturesque valleys is FREE.

Final thoughts on Cappadocia budget travel

While Cappadocia has become a much more expensive destination in the last few years, like many parts of Turkey, it can still be quite affordable. As we showed in this guide, you can easily see most of the Cappadocia highlights on a budget, if not free. Many of the unique rock formations and rich history can be observed for free in the various valleys, which are also free to visit.

Watching hot air balloons take off above Goreme, the absolute best thing free thing to do in Cappadocia
Watching hot air balloons take off for sunrise will forever be the best free thing to do in Cappadocia!


Thank you for reading our Budget Guide listing Cappadocia’s best free things to do. We hope we helped you plan your trip. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

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Arijana & Matej
Arijana & Matej

Full-time travelers, photographers, bloggers and travel journalists.

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We're Arijana and Matej, a couple and travel blogging duo from Croatia and Slovenia who thrive while slow-traveling. And we have been doing it for over 4 years.

During and after our travels, we love publishing in-depth, researched and above-all, useful travel guides, full of personal first-hand information on the places we personally visited.

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