‘So this is where all of the iconic photos of Cappadocia are taken!’ I thought as I was in the middle of the Red Tour around Cappadocia.
Day Trips around Cappadocia are very popular as unless you have hired a car or hired a private driver there’s no other way to see the area. There is a public bus but if you want to see a lot in a short time and you want to visit the iconic places in Cappadocia, a day trip leaving the town of Goreme is the answer! There are 2 popular Day Tours- a Green Tour and a Red Tour.
I first visited Cappadocia in 2015 and on that trip I did the Green Tour which took me out into the Countryside to do a Hike, visit a Monastery and see an Underground City. It was great but I didn’t get to see the iconic Valley’s that I had seen so many photos of online.
So on my return trip and with more and more photos of Cappadocia online I decided to do the Red Tour which took me to those iconic places and I booked this tour right here through Get Your Guide using the tour operator Tourmania:
This post contains affiliate links, if you would like to go on the Red Tour I would appreciate you using the links contained in this post as I paid for the trip myself and get a small commission at no extra cost for you if you use it.
To SEE the Red Tour, have a look at my YouTube video here:
Places the Red Tour Around Cappadocia Visits:
I got picked up just before 10:00am and it wasn’t long before our first stop at Uchisar Rock Castle. The top of the Castle is the highest point in the area but we didn’t have time to climb up there, not that I was too bothered. Instead our guide Tugba who was a complete gem and such a good guide to have, explained to us what the Caves that surround the Castle had been used for.
People used to live in them but now they don’t. Some of them are unused but some of them are still used for storage as the weather here is extreme, it ranges from -20°c in the Winter with highs of 40° in the Summer, however the Caves keep the same temperature of about 15°c all year round and are therefore really handy to store the food produced in the local area which is a lot of food considering that aside from tourism, agriculture is the biggest industry in the region of Cappadocia.
It was pretty busy at the Castle as it seemed to be a popular start to everyone’s day. After Tugba told us about the Castle and Caves we were given 15 minutes to walk around and take photos before getting back into the mini bus and taking the short drive to the Open Air Museum just up the road from Goreme.
I visited the Open Air Museum on my first visit to Cappadocia, I wasn’t on a tour and I think I got the audio guide, but I remember not really understanding the museums original use. A positive to the Red Tour is that you visit the museum and have a pretty in-depth guided tour.
A lot of people think the museum used to be a Village, but the people of the area lived in the Village that is Goreme and other surrounding Villages. The museum is full of centuries old rock-cut Churches and Monasteries instead.
It’s possible to go into the Churches and most of them are filled with the most incredible paintings as they have been very well-preserved. Photos are not allowed to be taken inside the Churches these days which is nice seen as the museum does get very busy with lots of photos being taken so walking inside without the hold up of people taking photos, as well as making the paintings special to see with your own eyes is quite refreshing.
We spent about 1 hour 15 minutes at the museum and after the guided tour we were able to explore on our own and take photos. The museum is 30TL to enter but the ticket price is included in the tour package.
Our next stop was Love Valley which was about 10 minutes away, on the way Tugba gave us some information on the area including telling us that the word Cappadocia is a Persian Word and means the land of beautiful horses. I didn’t know that but I really liked finding that out.
Love Valley is very much a photo opportunity stop, and a bit of a cheesy one at that, however this is where some of those iconic photos are taken as it’s decked out with swings, benches, and even an old car with the beautiful backdrop of Love Valley.
Lunch time was approaching and luckily our next stop was lunch at Han Restaurant. Again the drive was pretty quick, the Red Tour is centred around Goreme and therefore the longest bus journey was about 20 minutes and the shortest 5 minutes.
The restaurant for lunch appeared to be purpose built for buffets and tour groups but what it lacked in atmosphere it made up for in the food options and quality. There was an array of Salads, Hot Main Options and plenty of Middle Eastern Desserts meaning we could try lots of local food. There were plenty of Vegetarian & Vegan options which I was pleased about and the only thing we had to pay for were drinks if we had one.
Next to the restaurant are a few Pottery Houses as Pottery is a big and very important industry to the local area, and our next stop was to one of them.
Most tours like this and especially in places like Turkey have a ‘sales’ section, usually they can be pretty boring and a bit awkward if no-one is interested or wants to buy anything but to my delight this was not like this. We started off being shown a demonstration on how a Pot is made, the guy made it look incredibly easy but I knew it was a skill and we were told he had been making Pottery for 19 years! Next up a member of the group is given a chance to have a go, this was a bit awkward as no-one wanted to but luckily a brave member put her hand up to have a go and proved how difficult it was. As with most of these demonstrations it made me realise and appreciate just how much effort goes into products that are locally made and made by hand.
We were taken into their store which held an impressive about of clay goods and had I had a home to deck out I might have purchased something, but I don’t so I didn’t.
The next stop was my favourite Devrent Valley or Imagination Valley because we actually got to have a walk around and in that time we only saw our group and no other tour groups, hooray!
The Valley has been nicknamed Imagination Valley thanks to some people using their imagination as to what the rocks look like, we saw the Virgin Mary, Kissing Donkeys, a Thumbs Up, a Ghost and a Baby Frog. These kind of things are a bit silly and cheesy but they lighten the mood and I enjoyed walking around the rocks.
The rocks are pretty hard to walk on and the tracks are hard to follow, as I had found out the day before when I decided to do a little walk myself around Sword Valley and got a bit stuck so it was nice having Tugba to follow and I was definitely glad I had good walking sandals on. More on what to wear and pack on this trip below!
Our final stop of the day was Pasabag Valley or Mushroom Valley as it’s also known, because the rocks kind-of look like Mushrooms. This was my least favourite stop actually because it was super busy and although the Castle we visited first had camels near the car park with the ‘opportunity’ for people to sit on them too, here they were walking them up and down which I really don’t like!
Also, as soon as I walked in a man caught my attention and took a photo of me with no warning and later tried to sell me a dish or something with my photo on, which firstly is very intrusive, and secondly, stupid because I had the photo taken completely unaware and because of this looked awful and then the photo of me on a dish looked bad obviously I’m not going to buy it!
Anyway, we were told a bit about the Valley and it was interesting to hear what Tugba had to say about the formations and how they change over time and how the lids which make the ‘mushrooms’ will eventually fall. Afterwards we had 30 minutes to walk around and take photos which was plenty of time.
Goreme is just a 5-10 minute drive away from here and that was the end of the tour. I was picked up last and dropped off first from my hotel Cappadocia View Hotel and I got back at about 4:30pm. Because the tour does stay close to Goreme the finish time of the Red Tour is a lot earlier than the Green Tour as that goes further away.
Unfortunately all Hot Air Balloon Rides for that morning, including mine had been cancelled which meant I didn’t have to get up that early but had I got up at 4:30ish to do a Hot Air Balloon I would have been very happy with the early finish so doing a Hot Air Balloon Ride and a Red Tour in one day is a good way to spend a day in Cappadocia.
For more ways on how to spend your time in Cappadocia and some important information to note, which refers to cancelled Hot Air Balloon Tours, have a look at this post of mine!
How to Book the Red Tour Around Cappadocia Online:
The link below will take you to the exact tour that I booked and paid for myself:
I had a good time, it was well organised with a comfy minibus, good driver and a brilliant tour guide and therefore I really recommend it to you.
My hotel in Goreme was offering this tour for €33.00 but the tour was €29.00 through Get Your Guide so I saved money by booking it online. Plus Tourmania is a local company with local guides and drivers.
The only thing to note is that as you will see from the description of my trip compared to the itinerary online is that we did switch some of the locations about, we visited some extra places and didn’t visit some of the featured places but I can imagine this happens on all tours as they depend on the weather and the busy-ness of the area.
What To Wear and Pack for a Red Tour Around Cappadocia:
As you can tell there is not much walking involved in the Red Tour and most people were wearing fashionable clothes including dresses which is fine but the MUST DO is to wear appropriate footwear with a grip. The sand on the rocks can make them really slippy and even walking on just a small incline or decline of rock can cause people to slip and hurt themselves, I slipped over and I saw someone hurt themselves quite badly.
Do not wear fashion sandals or anything with no grip on this tour.
The weather in Cappadocia is very changeable, some days it’s very hot, other day’s is chilly and clouded over and some day’s it pours down with rain out of nowhere to be sure to take layers and prepare for rain, just in case. I found it was safe to leave things on the bus so it’s better to take too much than not enough.
There are market stalls at most of the stops if you want to buy snacks or drinks or souvenirs so take extra money for that if you think you might want to.
I hope this has helped you make a decision as to whether to do the Red Tour around Cappadocia. Let me know in the comments below or by tweeting me @wandering_quinn!
For more of my Turkey Posts including more of my posts on Cappadocia see:
This post contains affiliate links at no extra cost to you, if you would like to go on the Red Tour I would appreciate you using the links contained in this post as I paid for the trip myself and get a small commission at no extra cost for you if you use it.