Cappadocia Red Tour and Green Tour: Which One to Choose?

Read our first-hand travel tips, including an itinerary, attractions, and value comparison of red and green tours in Cappadocia.
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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.

Red Tour vs Green Tour - Cappadocia Red and Green Tours - Best tour in Cappadocia - Zelve Open Air museum

Cappadocia, located in central Turkey, is known for its breathtaking landscapes, unique rock formations, and rich history.

While it’s easy to explore Cappadocia by yourself, opting for a guided tour, especially if you’re short on time, is a great choice.

The region’s travel agencies offer two main day tours, the Red Tour and the Green Tour, each showcasing different attractions and experiences. In this article, we’ll compare the two so you can make an easier choice of which to book.

We explored Cappadocia by ourselves, as during our last visit on our big Turkey Road Trip, we had over a week of going around and seeing everything we wanted. But if you’re short on time and want to maximize your days in Cappadocia, then these tours are the perfect choice.

Top-rated tours we hand-picked and recommend:

Quick Information

  • Cappadocia offers two main day tours: the Red Tour and the Green Tour
  • The Red Tour covers attractions in North Cappadocia, including Uchisar Castle and Goreme Open Air Museum
  • The Green Tour explores Southwest Cappadocia, with highlights such as Ihlara Valley and Derinkuyu Underground City
  • Each tour offers unique experiences and attractions
  • The best tour for more adventure in the outdoors is the Green Tour
  • Both tours require a full day to explore and can be done with or without a tour guide
  • The exact tour itineraries of the Red and Green Tour in Cappadocia depend on the travel agency
  • It’s almost impossible to avoid visiting a tourist trap or two on the way between different attractions

Cappadocia Red Tour vs Green Tour

Choosing between the Cappadocia Red Tour and the Green Tour can be a difficult decision, as both itineraries offer unique experiences and attractions. The best tour itinerary depends on your interests and preferences.

The Red Tour takes you through North Cappadocia and includes highlights such as Uchisar Castle, Goreme Open Air Museum (or Zelve Open Air Museum), and Pasabag Valley (also known as Monks Valley). You’ll also have the opportunity to see the captivating fairy chimneys and visit a pottery workshop in Avanos town. The Red Tour is a great option for those interested in panoramic views, historical sites, and unique rock formations.

Cappadocia Open Air Museums - Red Tour vs Green Tour
Cave Dwellings and rock-cut churches
Cappadocia Red Tour vs Green Tour - Zelve Open AIr Museum
Zelve Open Air Museum – Cappadocia Red Tour

On the other hand, the Green Tour covers Southwest Cappadocia and features attractions like Ihlara Valley, Selime Monastery, and Derinkuyu Underground City. You’ll have the chance to hike through the stunning Ihlara Valley, visit the largest underground city in the region, and explore the rock-cut monastery. The Green Tour is perfect for nature lovers and those interested in exploring the region’s volcanic rock formations up close.

Cappadocia Red Tour vs Green Tour - Ihlara Valley Cappadocia
Ihlara Valley – Cappadocia Green Tour
Exploring Derinkuyu Underground City in Cappadocia on the Green Tour - Red Tour vs Green Tour
Exploring Derinkuyu Underground City – Cappadocia Green Tour

Both tours take up almost a full day, so if you want to do both, you need to plan for two days. Whether you choose the Red Tour or the Green Tour, you’ll be able to witness the beauty and uniqueness of this region and its UNESCO World Heritage sites.

It’s important to note that both tours require a certain level of physical fitness. While the Red Tour involves some hiking and walking, the Green Tour requires more physical endurance, as it includes longer hikes and visits to underground cities. If you have limited mobility or prefer a more relaxed pace, the Red Tour might be a better option for you.

Derinkuyu Underground City, Cappadocia, Turkey - Green Tour Cappadocia vs Red Tour Cappadocia
Walking through narrow passageways of Derinkuyu Underground City

While it’s possible to do both tours by yourself, joining a guided tour with a tour guide can enhance your experience, as you can get insightful information and local knowledge.

Additionally, it’s the best way to get an organized itinerary with transportation included. For the price, these tours offer incredibly good value for money.

Regardless of which tour itinerary you choose, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the unique rock formations and historical sites that make Cappadocia a truly special destination and one of the best places to visit in Turkey.

Not sure which places are worth visiting in Cappadocia?

Read our travel guide full of our first-hand travel tips: Best Things To Do in Cappadocia

Cappadocia Red Tour (Cappadocia North Tour)

The Cappadocia Red Tour takes you through the enchanting attractions of North Cappadocia.

Throughout the Red Tour Route, you’ll have the opportunity to take in the stunning panoramic views of Cappadocia’s otherworldly landscapes. The tour perfectly blends natural beauty and historical sites, making it a must-do for anyone visiting the region.

Red Tour Itinerary

Below is a standard Red Tour Itinerary for the top-rated tour we recommend. However, depending on the travel agency, they might visit some places earlier or later in the day.

Cappadocia Red Tour Itinerary

  1. Hotel Pickup
  2. Uchisar Castle
  3. Pasabag Valley (Monks Valley)
  4. Zelve Open Air Museum
  5. Devrent Valley (Imagination Valley)
  6. Lunch
  7. Avanos Pottery Workshop (Shopping)
  8. Love Valley
  9. Hotel Dropoff

The tour begins with a visit to Uchisar Castle, located at the highest point in the area. From the top of the castle, you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of Cappadocia’s unique landscapes.

Aerial view of Uchisar castle - Cappadocia Red Tour

Next, you’ll explore the famous fairy chimneys of the region near Pasabag Valley (Monks Valley). These natural rock formations, resembling chimneys, were created by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago.

In Goreme and other towns of Cappadocia, you will notice that some of the fairy chimneys have been transformed into cave dwellings and, later, hotels.

Aerial view of Pasabag Valley and fairy chimneys on Cappadocia Red Tour
Monks Valley and Fairy Chimneys

Other highlights of the Red Tour Itinerary are the Goreme Open Air Museum and Zelve Open Air Museum. These UNESCO World Heritage sites are home to several rock-cut cave churches and monasteries adorned with beautiful frescoes and wall paintings, as well as countless cave homes. As you walk through the open-air museums, you’ll be transported back in time to a completely different era of the region.

The itinerary of our recommended Red Tour includes a visit to the Zelve Open Air Museum instead of the Goreme one. We believe Zelve is a much better choice. Plus, it’s less crowded.

On the other hand, if you want to visit both, we recommend joining the Red Tour that includes Zelve and then going to the Goreme one by yourself, as it’s located just outside of Goreme town.

Inside Zelve Open Air museum - Cappadocia Red Tour
Cave Dwellings at Zelve Open Air Museum
Details at Zelve Open Air museum - Cappadocia Red Tour vs Green Tour
Old Mill at Zelve Open Air Museum

After visiting the open-air museum, the tour also includes a visit to Devrent Valley or Imagination Valley, known for its unique rock shapes, which resemble animals and mythical creatures. You do need some imagination to see them!

Rock formations, Fairy Chimneys - Cappadocia Red vs Green Tour

Arijana Tkalčec on Kekova boat tour in Turkey

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Once you’ve seen the main attractions, lunch is served in one of the restaurants. While the food is usually quite basic, it’s tasty and a great addition to the tour.

The tour concludes with a visit to the Avanos Pottery Workshop and ceramics shop and a quick photo stop at the fascinating Love Valley.

Viewpoint of Love Valley in Cappadocia - Red Tour itinerary
Love Valley on the Cappadocia Red Tour

Red Tour Price and Variations

The Red Tour in Cappadocia costs between 30 USD and 75 USD per person, depending on ticket inclusion. It’s great value for money, considering the provided tour guide, arranged transportation, and an organized itinerary with lunch.

While the Red Tour offers a standard itinerary, there are different variations depending on what you want to see.

The main two Red Tour options suit 99% of travelers and are the best choices. It’s simply a choice between visiting the Goreme Open Air Museum and the Zelve Open Air Museum.

Standard Red Tour with Goreme Open Air Museum40 USD – check availability
Red Tour with Zelve Open Air Museum (tickets included)75 USD – check availability
Cappadocia Red Tours

Cappadocia Green Tour (Cappadocia South Tour)

The Cappadocia Green Tour takes you on a journey through the captivating attractions of Southwest Cappadocia.

Throughout the Green Tour Route, you’ll see the unique volcanic rock formations characteristic of Cappadocia. The tour provides a unique perspective of the region’s geological wonders and allows you to immerse yourself in its natural beauty.

Green Tour Itinerary

Below is a standard Green Tour Itinerary for the top-rated tour we recommend. However, depending on the travel agency, they might visit some places earlier or later in the day.

Cappadocia Green Tour Itinerary

  1. Hotel Pickup
  2. Photo stops at panoramic views of Goreme and Narlıgöl Crater Lake
  3. Selime Monastery
  4. Ihlara Valley
  5. Riverside lunch at Belisırma
  6. Derinkuyu Underground City
  7. Photo stop at Pigeon Valley
  8. Hotel Dropoff

The tour begins with two photo stops at a panoramic view of Goreme, then a view of the Narlıgöl Crater Lake.

View from Uchisar castle - Cappadocia Green Tour

The first big attraction on the Green Tour is Selime Monastery, an impressive rock-cut monastery dating back to the 8th century. The Selime Monastery, also known as Selime Cathedral, is the largest religious building in Cappadocia. It offers a glimpse into the region’s rich history and provides panoramic views of the surrounding area.

The next stop on the Green Tour Itinerary is the picturesque Ihlara Valley, known for its stunning landscape and the Melendiz River flowing through it. You’ll have the opportunity to hike along the valley and admire the beauty of the surrounding nature.

Ihlara Valley River Cappadocia Turkey - Cappadocia Green Tour hiking
River at Ihlara Valley – Green Tour

After a hike through Ihlara Valley, lunch is served in Belisırma, usually in a picturesque riverside restaurant. Much like on the Red Tour, the lunch on the Green Tour is quite basic but still tasty and good enough to refuel you for the next part of the tour.

When you’re done with the lunch, you head to, in our opinion, the best thing to see in Cappadocia, the fascinating Derinkuyu Underground City, the largest excavated underground city in Cappadocia and Turkey.

Derinkuyu Underground City - Green Tour Itinerary - Cappadocia Green vs Red Tour

This fascinating underground complex was once used as a shelter by early Christians to escape persecution. Then, for many more centuries, it was used in various situations where hiding below ground was needed, like during Mongolian attacks and hiding from Ottomans. There were also times in somewhat recent history during the Greek and Armenian persecution in the 20th century.

As you explore the underground city, you’ll witness the intricate network of tunnels with narrow passageways, rooms, ventilation shafts, and storage spaces that were used by up to 20000 inhabitants.

Derinkuyu Underground City - Best Cappadocia Tour - Green Tour
Ventilation in Derinkuyu Underground City

Optionally, you can also visit Kaymakli Underground City, another fascinating underground city, depending on your Green Tour Route.

Fun fact: Derinkuyu Underground City was once connected by a 9km long tunnel to Kaymakli Underground City.

Derinkuyu Underground City to Kaymakli Underground City - Green Tour Cappadocia
Narrow tunnels connecting underground cities in Cappadocia

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

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The Green Tour finishes with a photo stop at Pigeon Valley, where hundreds of small pigeonholes are carved into the rock. These are known as Pigeon Houses, where pigeons were kept in the past for their droppings, which were used as fertilizer.

Pigeon Valley dovecotes - pigeon houses in Cappadocia - Green Tour Cappadocia
Pigeon Houses

Green Tour Price and Variations

The Green Tour in Cappadocia costs between 50 USD and 90 USD per person, depending on ticket inclusion. Much like the Red Tour, the Green Tour is great value for money when you consider the provided tour guide, arranged transportation to further away areas of Cappadocia, and an organized itinerary with lunch.

Most travel agencies’ Green Tour itinerary focuses on at least two main attractions: Ihlara Valley and an underground city like Derinkuyu or Kaymakli.

Standard Green Tour with Derinkuyu Underground City90 USD – check availability
Green Tour with Kaymakli Underground City80 USD – check availability
Cappadocia Green Tours

How to do the Cappadocia Red and Green Tour by yourself

If you prefer to explore Cappadocia on your own but want to follow a similar itinerary like the Red and Green Tour, it is possible to do so using public transport, taxis, or by renting a car.

There is a local bus between Goreme and Uchisar every 30 minutes, usually starting at 7:30 am until about 8 pm. To reach Zelve, there is also a local bus (dolmus), but it’s less frequent. From Zelve, you can walk to Pasabag Valley.

The only way to reach Ihlara Valley is by taxi or renting a car. Once at Ihlara, you can walk around the area to reach Selime Monastery. There’s also a bus connecting the upper and lower parts of Ihlara Valley in the season.

Getting to Derinkuyu Underground City is easier, as you can get a bus from Goreme to Derinkuyu through Nevsehir (change the bus there) – about 1-hour total ride.

Red Tour vs Green Tour - Cappadocia Red Tour - Cappadocia Green Tour - Doing the tour by yourself
Check availability: Car Rental Deals 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.

For accommodation, Goreme is a popular town with a wide range of cave hotels and guesthouses to choose from – some with amazing rooftop terraces from which you can watch hot air balloons taking off.

Getting around Cappadocia is relatively easy, with local buses and taxis available for getting around between most main attractions and towns. Alternatively, you can rent a car to explore the region at your own pace.

Remember to check the bus schedules and plan your itinerary accordingly. Up-to-date timetables are posted at the Goreme Bus Station, or you can ask your hotel.

Cappadocia Red vs Green Tour - Cappadocia Red Tour - Cappadocia Green Tour - Accommodation
Our rooftop terrace at Seven Stone Hotel

Car rental in Cappadocia

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which one is better, the Cappadocia red tour or the green tour?

The choice between the Cappadocia Red Tour and the Green Tour depends on your preferences. If you have limited time, the best tour is the Green Tour, as it goes to further away parts of Cappadocia that are harder to reach without your own transport, like Ihlara Valley.

Which Cappadocia tour is more children-friendly?

Both the Cappadocia Red Tour and Green Tour can be enjoyed by children. However, the Red Tour may be more suitable for younger children as it involves less strenuous walking. The Green Tour includes longer hikes and visits to underground cities, which may be more suitable for older children.

Can you do the Cappadocia red and green tour in one trip?

Yes, it is possible to do both the Cappadocia Red Tour and the Green Tour in one trip. However, we recommend dedicating a full day to each tour in order to fully experience and appreciate the attractions included in each itinerary.

Are Cappadocia attraction tickets included in the red and green tours?

Yes, our recommended Red and Green Tour packages include Cappadocia attraction tickets. However, depending on the one you book, you might need to purchase entrance tickets for each attraction. In that case, we recommend checking the Museum Pass Cappadocia, which provides access to multiple attractions in the region without paying separate entrance fees.

Are there private red and green tours in Cappadocia?

Yes, there are options for private red and green tours in Cappadocia which you can customize to fit what you’d like to see the most and at your own pace. Private tours are more expensive compared to group tours, but if you’re a family or more than a few people traveling together, it’s absolutely worth it.

Do red and green tours include lunch?

Yes, both the Red and Green tours in Cappadocia typically include lunch in their itineraries. While the lunch options are usually basic, they’re tasty and perfect for fuelling up.

Final thoughts – are the tours worth it?

In conclusion, the Cappadocia red and green tours are definitely worth it for anyone visiting the region. They provide a comprehensive and well-organized way to explore the highlights of Cappadocia and make the most of your time in this enchanting destination.

The only things we don’t like about some tours in Cappadocia are the compulsory visits to tourist trap spots, like gemstone shops, and the visit to the Avanos pottery workshop. While we do understand that Avanos is famous for its unique pottery and that supporting local businesses and products is important, the prices in shops that tours like this visit are highly inflated. That’s why we recommend setting your expectations and treating those stops like visiting a museum/exhibition.

Still, with organized itineraries, transport, and a guide providing valuable information on the sights and attractions, these tours offer great value for money.

View from Uchisar castle - Cappadocia Red Tour - Cappadocia Green Tour
View from the top of Uchisar Castle

Thank you for reading our guide to the Red and Green Tour in Cappadocia. 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.

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