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  • Writer's pictureAround the World in Vegan Eats


There was one place that was absolutely top of my list when it came to visiting Türkiye: we 100% had to include Cappadocia in our itinerary! This incredible region of Türkiye includes the stunning town of Göreme, where rock formations lovingly known as fairy chimneys create an otherworldly landscape. Here you can stay in cave hotels, explore ancient churches carved out of rock, and witness the spectacle of hundreds of hot air balloons skimming the landscape at dawn every day. Honestly, this was one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited, full of sights that I will never forget. But one lesser known thing about Cappadocia is how spread out the sights are: some of the terrain is a little treacherous too, so it can be a little difficult to get around - especially if, like us, you only have a small amount of time to spend in the region. So that's where the tours come in!

What is the difference between the Cappadocia Green, Blue, and Red tours?

When it comes to getting a tour of Cappadocia, things can get a little bit confusing and overwhelming - especially if you only have the time and money to go on one of the tours. While we usually recommend booking and paying for tours from local vendors when you arrive in a place, rather than booking online in advance since it usually ends up way more expensive, we actually found the opposite was true in Göreme. Because almost everyone who visits the town is looking for a hot air balloon ride and/or a Göreme tour, the prices are pretty high here and we definitely found better deals online. It was even cheaper than the specially discounted deals our hotel offered!

But without the help of booking agents, we spent a very long time deliberating over which tour to choose. Why? Because all of the tours offer completely different routes around the region, and different sights to see. There were exciting things on each tour, but also things that we didn't want to miss out on!

Now, probably the most comprehensive tour, with some of the main highlights of the Cappadocia area, is the blue tour. Not only is this a full day tour including lunch, it also visits the Red and Rose Valley, the Fairy Chimneys, Pigeon Balley, Uchisar Castle, Cavusin Cave Village, and the Underground Cities. However, this is a very small group tour - usually with a maximum of four people and a tour guide - meaning it tends to be a lot more expensive. It usually costs around twice the price of the red or green tours: not only does this tour offer a more personal service, the distances between the locations are longer, and there are more entry fees included. So if cost isn't an issue, this may be the tour for you.

For us though, the cost of the Blue Tour was prohibitive: we needed to make the most of Cappadocia on the larger group Green or Red tours. And this is where we ran into a bit of a problem: there was no way we could see everything we wanted to! The Red Tour encompasses North Cappadocia, while the Green Tour explores the South...

The Red Tour is extremely popular, especially if your group includes children or if you struggle to walk long distances. This is because the stops are closer to Göreme, and there is less walking involved. It also includes lunch and all entry fees, including a visit to the famous Göreme Open Air Museum, which is a must visit for many travellers in Cappadocia. Other highlights include Uchisar Castle, Monks Valley, Devrent Imagination Valley, and a trip to the Pottery Workshops too.

The Green Tour, on the other hand, takes you a little further away from Göreme. After a quick stop at Pigeon Valley Viewpoint, where you can get some photos and incredible views over the valleys and Fairy Chimneys, you will head onto Ihlara Valley, Belisirma Village, Derinkuyu Underground City, and Selime Monastery. Encompassing some of Cappadocia's most unique sights, this tour takes more time, but like the other tours, also includes lunch and your entry fees.

Which tour did we choose, and why?

After a lot of deliberation, we opted for the Green Tour.

Although we were sad not to visit Red and Rose Valley and Göreme Open Air Museum on our tour, we decided that these areas were a lot easier for us to access on our own.

Without transport, there was no way that we were accessing South Cappadocia - and we really didn't want to miss the Underground City and those incredible views over Pigeon Valley! If money had been no object, though, we definitely would have picked the Blue Tour, since it would have offered almost everything that we wanted to see while we were staying in Göreme!

What were our lasting impressions of the Green Tour? Would recommend it?

Honestly, we loved the Green Tour! Without a doubt, a highlight was the views over Pigeon Valley in the fresh light of the early morning! From the moment we were picked up from our hotel by our lovely, bubbly tour guide, we had a day packed full of interesting and informative facts about the region, and plenty of time to explore on our own too. This is exactly what we like in a group tour! The group that we were with were really friendly, and the bus was modern and comfortable, and more than equipped for the sometimes challenging terrain. This was probably the most comfortable tour bus that we have travelled in - you forget how much of a difference a comfy ride makes to your overall tour experience!

Aside from the incredible viewpoint at the beginning of the tour, not long after we'd left Göreme, the most memorable parts of the tour were definitely our trip to Selime Monestary and Derinkuyu Underground City. The Monestary was extremely impressive, and really fun to explore. Though you can't really see any of the frescoes any more, it's still incredible to climb inside the ornate structure, carved out of rock all that time ago. Though many of the rooms are rougher, the church itself is so impressive and definitely has to be seen to be believed! But even more impressive, in my eyes, was the underground city. Learning about its history, squeezing myself through the tunnels, and witnessing how people lived underground, all those years ago? This was the kind of unique experience that we relished, and were so pleased that we had chosen the green tour, which enabled us to experience this!

Was the Green Tour suitable for vegetarians and vegans?

In short, yes - it was vegetarian and vegan friendly, but there were some elements that could really be improved here. When it comes to the lunch, you will be more than happy. Like most group tours, the Green Tour takes you to a buffet restaurants that caters mostly for tour groups. This one is pretty cool though because, after a short valley trek, you reach its tranquil riverside location. The food is much better than the food I have experienced on most tours. In your booking, you should have had the opportunity to specify your dietary requirements - in our experience, this will be reconfirmed on the bus, where your guide will ask if you want the chicken, fish, or vegetarian option. Note that if you are vegan, you will need to specify no dairy products, as the main course is topped with cheese as standard. This is all easy to navigate though, and the restaurant are very used to dealing with these requirements.

When you reach the restaurant you will be served your starter, which in our case was lentil soup. Everyone, regardless of their main course choice, was served the same soup. Lentil soup is actually very popular in Türkiye (keep an eye on our blogs from Antalya where we will be trying the most famous lentil soup in the country!) This soup was really delicious and filling, with plenty of bread to share on the table. This was followed by a really tasty main course, a ratatouille style dish of mixed vegetables in a rich tomato sauce, served with some of the most delicious and warming rice! Now, if you are vegan like me, make sure that you are served the dish without melted cheese on top. Mike, who is vegetarian, had the variant with cheese, but it seemed like it didn't add much - this dish was really flavoursome in itself anyway! Dessert and drinks are not included in the tours, so make sure that you bring plenty of water if you don't want to pay! We didn't add dessert on, since it was baklava and ice cream (and very expensive too!) so we had a nice stroll while other members of our group enjoyed dessert and coffee. After that tasty meal though, we really didn't feel like we were missing out!

The worst bit of the tour, for us, was the only part that I would say really isn't vegetarian and vegan friendly. If you are familiar with tours in countries across the world, you'll be aware of the habit of tour companies taking their groups to expensive tourist trap workshops and shopping visits along the way. From pottery and jewellery to paintings and clothing, we've seen it all! It's usually a slightly annoying but sometimes mildly interesting part of going on organised group tours.

But in this case, they took us to a leather and fur fashion house, which I found quite upsetting. We were able to make the choice to stay outside, and instead be entertained by the adorable cats outside (if you want to learn more about the cats you'll encounter all over Türkiye, never fear, we have a blog in the works on this too!) , But obviously it would be much better if cruelty free sites were chosen for these token visits. However, don't let this put you off booking one of these tours: if the tour companies see more and more people refusing to join their group on these visits, they may be more likely to make the change to different workshops and stores. And if nothing else, these cats are very cute, and you will have an excellent time on the rest of your Cappadocia tour!


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Where should I stay?

Out of all of the places I've been, Cappadocia definitely takes the crown for some of the coolest and most unique places to stay! Most people stay in the town of Göreme, and although the prices are slightly higher, I would really recommend this! Most of the accommodation boasts cave rooms, as well as more modern extensions, its definitely worth paying slightly more if you want the incredible experience of a cave room! For a luxurious experience, try Cappadocia Cave Lodge, which has incredible views from its roof terrace for you to enjoy your breakfast surrounded by balloons! Or for a more social time, Kamelya Cave Hostel has both mixed sex and female only dorms - and includes breakfast too!

Tours & Experiences

You can see and book the Green Tour that we went on by clicking here!

While you're in Cappadocia, many people also want to head out in a hot air balloon to see this incredible landscape from the sky. There's so many hot air balloons out there, and depending on the time of year you visit you might be able to get a good deal the day before by booking in Göreme. However, if you go in peak season, the prices will rise due to demand, and it might be better to book in advance online to make sure that your place is secured! Check the links on the left for some of the most popular tours and hot air balloons in Cappadocia right now!

Please note that the tours displayed on the left are automatically selected for their popularity by Viator, not chosen or recommended by us. Please check whether any food or drink based tours are suitable for your dietary requirements, and any animal-based experiences are ethical, before booking!

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