Renting a car in Cappadocia: How-to & Is it really needed?

Planning a trip to Cappadocia? Learn from our experience why renting a car in Cappadocia is a good idea - and the alternatives.
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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.

Renting a car in Cappadocia - is it worth renting a car in Cappadocia - should you rent a car in Cappadocia

With all the confusion about needing a car in Cappadocia, we decided to write this guide on renting a car in Cappadocia. But most of all, we want to make it easier for you to decide whether you actually do need a car in Cappadocia or if you can survive without it.

On one of our trips to Turkey, we did a big Turkey Road Trip, driving all the way from Istanbul down to Izmir and the Turquoise Coast (Fethiye and Kas), then to Antalya, Ankara, and back to Istanbul. We know how important having a car in Turkey is for a fast-paced exploration with minimal money spent.

But we actually visited Cappadocia separately just before the road trip. We flew from Istanbul to Kayseri Airport and then took a shuttle bus to Goreme, where we rented a car for the week.

Thinking back, renting a car directly at the Kayseri Airport would be a much better choice. That way, we could pick up the car right at the airport, have it for the full duration of our Cappadocia trip, and then simply return it at the airport when flying out. Plus, the car rental at Cappadocia airports is cheaper than in Goreme town.

That’s why in this guide, we’d like to give you information to avoid mistakes like that, so you can have a hassle-free experience in Cappadocia.

Ortahisar Castle Viewpoint - renting a car in Cappadocia - is it worth renting a car in Cappadocia
The cool viewpoint of Ortahisar Castle is easily reachable by car. Otherwise, getting there from Goreme is a bit of a struggle.

Is having a car a must in Cappadocia?

Having a car is not a must in Cappadocia. The region is well-developed and offers plenty of options for exploring it, from local buses connecting main attractions to shared and private guided tours and some alternatives like walking/hiking for the main spots.

But the more important question is whether you should rent a car in Cappadocia. The answer is yes, absolutely, as renting a car in Cappadocia is definitely worth it.

One thing is exploring Cappadocia, and another is exploring Cappadocia efficiently, and for that, a car is a must.

But for us, the biggest benefit was being able to “chase” the hot air balloons in the mornings. Because of the wind, you never know at which spot there will be the most balloons. So when they didn’t show up at one spot, we could easily just drive to another.

Cappadocia attractions worth renting a car for

While we agree that you do a lot by public transport or taxi, spots like Selime Monastery, Ihlara Valley, and Derinkuyu Underground City are worth renting a car for. You can set your pace and hike Ihlara as long as you want and even enjoy a riverside lunch in Belisırma. Plus, not rushing through the narrow passageways of the underground cities is a much better choice.

Getting to Ihlara Valley in Cappadocia by car - renting a car in Cappadocia - is renting a car in Cappadocia worth it
Derinkuyu Underground City by car - renting a car in Cappadocia

But a place you definitely need a car for is Lake Tuz, located just outside of Cappadocia, about a two-hour drive to the west. The salt lake of Tuz is the second largest lake in Turkey, famous for its pink color (although it wasn’t pink on our visit!). There are no tours that can comfortably take you there, so a car is a must.

Sunset at Lake Tuz - Renting a car in Cappadocia - is a car needed in Cappadocia

TRAVEL TIP

If you’re planning a road trip, check out our Ultimate Turkey Road Trip Guide, which gives you lots of options for adding Cappadocia to the road trip, which is usually not the case in many itineraries.

Our experience renting a car in Cappadocia

Having a car during our last week-long visit to Cappadocia proved to be the best decision of our trip. We rented an automatic, but we actually wanted a manual (we’re the most comfortable driving manual cars).

Since we booked our car last minute, they only had one automatic Fiat Egea left at the rental company we used in Goreme. That’s why we recommend booking your car in advance for the best deals.

Renting a car in Cappadocia - is renting a car in Cappadocia worth it
Fiat Egea – the car we rented in Goreme, Cappadocia

Navigating Cappadocia by car offered us the flexibility to set our itinerary to avoid crowds at the main attractions like Zelve Open Air Museum and reach further away spots like Derinkuyu Underground City with ease.

On top of that, we also got to drive to the Red Valley Viewpoint, for which you usually first have to hike the Red Valley to get to – or take a taxi. While the Red Valley is one of the best hikes in Cappadocia, having a car is essential if you’re short on time and just want to quickly get to a really cool Cappadocia sunset spot.

Enjoying a sunset at Red Valley viewpoint in Cappadocia - renting a car in Cappadocia - should you rent a car in Cappadocia
Enjoying a sunset at Red Valley Viewpoint in peace, knowing that getting back to Goreme by car is easy

In addition to reaching sunset spots last minute, renting a car in Cappadocia enabled us to have a full week of hitting all kinds of sunrise spots all around Goreme. This would otherwise require A LOT of walking or expensive taxi rides.

Despite the extra costs for car rental, insurance, and fuel, having a car in Cappadocia was invaluable, especially because we love optimizing our travel in the best way possible. We love saving time on transportation, and rather using it to explore more places.

Camper at Love Valley, Cappadocia - renting a car in Cappadocia - should you rent a car in Cappadocia
Wish we had that camper van in Cappadocia – look at the view they woke up to!

Is driving in Cappadocia safe?

Cappadocia is known for its unique terrain with uneven and narrow roads, but driving in Cappadocia is perfectly safe. Beyond a few dirt roads that you need to take to reach some off-the-beaten-path gems, the roads are mostly paved and in great condition.

While in the past, a 4×4 vehicle was more of a necessity in Cappadocia, that is no longer the case for many years, and any rental car in Cappadocia is good enough for the roads there.

Balloons in Cappadocia flying low in Goreme - renting a car in Cappadocia - road conditions in Cappadocia
The main road from Goreme towards Cavusin and Avanos

Regarding safety, while Turkish drivers are considered aggressive, we really haven’t noticed this in Cappadocia. In fact, after covering thousands of kilometers on our big Turkey Road Trip, we can’t remember a specific moment when Turkish drivers were overly aggressive in their driving.

While it’s true that they drive faster in some areas in Turkey and crossing the road might be a hassle sometimes, it’s no different from other countries we traveled through – much the same as our home countries of Croatia and Slovenia. And there’s a big difference between places like Istanbul, an immense metropolis, and the countryside around Cappadocia.

Although we did see an elderly couple literally sprinting across a busy road in Izmir. However, that was on a three-lane road without a crosswalk in sight. We did the same a minute later!

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

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Where to rent a car in Cappadocia

You can rent a car in Cappadocia in three main points: Nevsehir Airport, Kayseri Airport, and Goreme Town.

BEST CAR RENTAL DEALS: We recommend DiscoverCars and its comprehensive full insurance & free cancellation. However, if you don’t want to pay a large deposit or don’t have a credit card, check LocalRent.

Airports – Nevsehir Airport (NAV) and Kayseri Airport (ASR)

Nevsehir Airport and Kayseri Airport are key entry points for most Cappadocia travelers. Check flight deals to Cappadocia.

Kayseri Airport has more direct flight options and cheaper connecting flights from other places in Turkey, but Nevsehir is close to the main tourist area of Cappadocia – Goreme.

We recommend flying into Kayseri Airport, renting a car immediately, and then traveling to Goreme with your rental car. However, if your flight is too late in the day, you will need to rent a car in Goreme the next morning.

Goreme town

People often ask if you can rent a car in Goreme itself, and we can confirm that, yes, you can. It’s quite straightforward and often less formal than in other places in Turkey.

However, the downside of the lax rules is the higher price. For example, a car rental in Goreme will start at about 50 EUR per day, while renting a car in Kayseri will only cost about 35 EUR.

Cappadocia Itinerary by Car

Explore the highlights of Cappadocia at your own pace with our convenient full-day Cappadocia by car itinerary:

  1. Catch a sunrise at one of the Cappadocia sunrise spots
  2. Drive to Love Valley Panorama
  3. Visit Uchisar Castle
  4. Explore Zelve Open Air Museum and Pasabag Valley
  5. Do the long drive to visit Ihlara Valley and Selime Monastery
  6. Drive to Derinkuyu Underground City and explore its many levels
  7. Watch a sunset at Red Valley Viewpoint
  8. Return to Goreme for dinner

This full-day Cappadocia itinerary is only possible by renting a car. Otherwise, covering all these spots in one day is practically impossible.

Zelve Open Air Museum - renting a car in Cappadocia - should you rent a car in Cappadocia
Zelve Open Air Museum

Arijana Tkalčec on Kekova boat tour in Turkey

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Alternatives to car rental in Cappadocia

If you’re still unsure if renting a car in Cappadocia is for you, don’t worry. There are convenient options available to explore the region’s main attractions.

Taxis are a great choice for short distances, and affordable local buses can take you between Goreme, Uchisar, Nevsehir, Avanos, and Derinkuyu Underground City.

However, if you’d also like a guided experience, there are top-rated daily tours you can book. Two of the best tours are the Red Tour and the Green Tour. You can read all about these two tours in our dedicated article – Red vs Green Tour, where we compare the itineraries, costs, attractions, and more.

You can also do what many do in Cappadocia: walk and hike its many trails, which pass by cave houses, rock-cut churches, and other landmarks dotted throughout picturesque valleys like Love Valley, Red Valley, Rose Valley, and Pigeon Valley. Another option is also renting a Mountain Bike.

Renting a car in Cappadocia - is it worth renting a car in Cappadocia
Trails around the valleys of Cappadocia – Pictured: Sword Valley

Finally, the two best alternative ways to explore Cappadocia are an ATV Tour, a Cappadocia classic, and a Horseback Riding experience. Both take you through the stunning valleys around Goreme, making them great alternatives to seeing the landscapes of Cappadocia.

ATV tour in Cappadocia - renting a car in Cappadocia - is renting a car in Cappadocia worth it
Horseback riding in Cappadocia - renting a car in Cappadocia alternatives

TRAVEL TIP

Plan your Turkey travel with our informative Turkey Travel Guides. Find the best places to visit, read all you need to know to plan a road trip, and find practical tips on visiting Turkey’s best landmarks like Ephesus Ancient City and Pamukkale. And more!

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you need to rent a car in Cappadocia?

To rent a car in Cappadocia, you need the typical things, like a valid driver’s license, international driving permit, passport, and a credit card for the security deposit. However, if you don’t want to pay a large deposit or don’t have a credit card, check LocalRent.

Is the International Driving Permit required for foreigners driving in Cappadocia?

Yes, foreign drivers must have an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in Cappadocia and the rest of Turkey. While some rental companies might not ask for it, you are required to have it by law, and there are police checks around the region.

How much does a car rental cost in Cappadocia?

On average, expect to pay between 35 EUR and 60 EUR per day for a basic car in Cappadocia. Cars can easily be booked out during the season, so we recommend booking in advance to secure the best deals.

Is driving a car in Cappadocia safe?

Driving in Cappadocia is safe, with well-paved and maintained roads and minimal traffic.

Can you rent a car directly at the Cappadocia Airport?

Yes, you can rent a car directly at the Cappadocia Airport. Kayseri Airport and Nevşehir Airport have car rental companies on-site, so you can start your Cappadocia journey as soon as you land.

Do you need a car in Cappadocia in the summer?

The region can get crowded during peak tourist season, and having a car allows you to bypass the crowds and explore at your own pace. Having a car in summer in Cappadocia also provides you with the best amenity you could possibly get – air conditioning!

Final thoughts on Cappadocia car rental

We had a wonderful week in Cappadocia and having a car made our experience so much better. We got to see places before the tour groups and buses arrived, and got to reach some awesome sunrise and sunset spots last minute without too much hassle with planning our way there.

If your budget and time permits, absolutely rent a car in Cappadocia!

Uchisar castle during the night - renting a car in Cappadocia
We couldn’t snap this cool photo of Uchisar Castle right after sunset if we didn’t have a car!


Thank you for reading our guide to renting a car 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.

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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