Last updated on October 7th, 2023
If you were about to ask me directly whether you need to rent a car in Cappadocia or not, I’d answer without hesitation that definitely yes. You see, we personally love renting a car everywhere we go because it allows us to have our desired level of comfort, mobility, and freedom. We also prefer a bit of an introvertive travel style, so hiring a car gives that needed seclusion.
But do you need to rent a car in Cappadocia? Should you have it to get around the region? Well, yes and no at the same time since it all depends on the purpose of your trip. I know, I am always saying that the decision depends on the goal of a trip but it really does, especially when you are traveling to Turkey, a country that can offer absolutely anything to any type of traveler.
And since (I assume) you are visiting Cappadocia for the first time, this post will help you make the right decision and see if car hire in Cappadocia is something you need to consider.
So… Should You Rent a Car in Cappadocia?
When someone asks me to recommend if there is a need to rent a car in Cappadocia, I always break this question into two sub-questions.
First one – do you need to hire a car in Cappadocia? No, you don’t, you can do well without it. Cappadocia receives many tourists all year round and is well prepared for them. There are tour packages, guides, and transfers all ready and available. So it is easy to plan a trip in that way when you can join mainly tours and use taxis to move around.
But I would like to focus here more on a road trip perspective and why it is a better option for a Cappadocia visit in my opinion.
This is why I look at the second question – should you rent a car in Cappadocia? And answer changes. Yes, you should think about renting a car in Cappadocia if you would like to see more in comfort and travel around the entire region which is rich in sites and attractions.
Cappadocia is a truly unique place, one of a kind really. It offers almost non-terrestrial landscapes, deep sunsets, and breath-taking sunrises, combined with delicious food and wine. There is so much to see and so much to do that a few days (that most people devote) is not enough. This is when the car will come in handy and help you squeeze in more in one trip.
Even though there are tons of things to do, Cappadocia by itself is pretty compact. If you want to cover the most important places, it comes to around or under 300 kilometers. For a car, that is half a tank of gas, if not less. So even if you are visiting for a few days, you will not spend much on gas. At the same time, a car greatly saves time getting from one attraction to another, particularly in the high tourist season which is late spring and early fall.
Taxi is the most common and convenient type of transportation in Cappadocia for those people who don’t plan to hire a car. But during busy months, finding a taxi may take a lot of time. It also means that you have either constantly look for cabs to flag them down, have hotels arrange a pick up for you, or have a local number and call a taxi on your own. Then of course wait on one.
Also remember that in this part of central Turkey it gets very, very hot in summer and cold enough in winter. Having a rental vehicle definitely helps to get some relief at any moment in terms of AC or heater.
So should you rent a car in Cappadocia? Yes, you should, to be able to save time, travel in comfort, and cover more places in one visit!
Where to Rent a Car in Cappadocia
I am not sure if you know that yet, but let me clarify just in case. Cappadocia is not a city or town. It is a region within the borders of Aksaray, Nevşehir, Kırşehir, Niğde, and Kayseri provinces, but the most famous touristy part is located in Nevşehir province with Nevşehir city being the capital.
Tourists who arrive in Cappadocia domestically from other Turkish cities come either to Nevşehir or Kayseri airports. Those who fly directly from outside the country usually come into Kayseri (80 km from Goreme). Nevşehir is about a 40 km drive.
Both of these cities have different options for car rentals, including the airport.
Best companies to rent a car from (that we use all over Turkey and I sing praise to in all my posts) are DiscoverCars and LocalRent. However, they work differently for different needs. Their deals are similar and both of them have great perks, low deposits, and excellent customer service. Yet they suit different needs and travel plans.
DiscoverCars is best for car hire car directly in Kayseri or Nevsehir airport. Because their prices are much lower with airport meet-and-greet service included. The amount of deposit is usually lower too. Also, what is quite important, they offer good insurance coverage for a reasonable price. Other companies charge much more for coverage.
LocalRent works best for travelers who need a more flexible delivery option to the hotel or any other preferred location. Their prices are a bit higher but with them, you pay for convenience since you can pick up a car literally anywhere around the region.
For example, let’s say you fly in, take a taxi, or private transfer to Cappadocia cave city to spend a day on your own but then want to rent a car on the following day. In this case, it is best to rent a car in Nevsehir through Localrent. They are very flexible about the pick up location and can also deliver the vehicle to Goreme, Uchisar, or Urgup if needed (request this in advance).
But overall, I’d still recommend you compare prices on both these websites and see which one has better options at the moment when you look for a car. Sometimes LocalRent has some fantastic deals and has cars for rent around the airport area.
Getting to Cappadocia From Other Cities by Automobile
Another excellent option how to see Cappadocia is by car on a road trip from another city. This is how we travel as well.
If you seek to travel around Turkey, it is easy enough to add Cappadocia to the itinerary when visiting Antalya, Alanya, Konya, Mersin, Adana, or Ankara. It is also very possible to travel from Istanbul to Cappadocia by car rental making lots of stops on the way.
Once I planned an itinerary for a family who wanted to visit Izmir, Ephesus, Pamukkale, Cappadocia, Marmaris, and Antalya. On their visit, they rented a car in Cappadocia with a drop-off in Antalya, spent a few days in Antalya city, hired another car there, and then dropped it off in Izmir.
They had almost two weeks in the country and were able to see a lot, covering magical drives between Antalya and Fethiye, going on a road trip from Fethiye to Pamukkale, visiting Kaklik cave, Sirince, and then dropping off the car in Izmir.
So, if you are planning a similar visit and want to incorporate a trip to Cappadocia into your Turkey itinerary for a week or 10 days, I strongly suggest renting a car at one of the international airports where you’re flying into. Whether that’s going to be Ankara, Konya, Antalya, or even Istanbul.
Prices for rent are pretty much the same in all these cities. Final amount depends on the distance between the pick-up and drop-off locations.
Those who’d love to combine a visit to Cappadocia with a trip to one of the cities and don’t have much time can fly to Ankara Esenboga Airport (ESB), rent a car at the airport there, and drive to Goreme. It is a 3-hour drive that provides an opportunity to contemplate some Turkish landscapes and get used to a car.
Chances are you might also find yourself in Antalya. That is a popular touristy destination, especially in the warm months of the year. From Antalya Airport (AYT) it is a 7-hour beautiful drive and is relatively easy doable in one day. We’ve done it twice and enjoyed it very much. There are a few routes that you can take:
This one is a straight drive through the mountain range towards Konya. The route has a few windy roads with beautiful views, picnic stops, and some nice restaurants along the way.
You can also stop in Konya which is known for being very conservative and having more mosques per square kilometer than any other place in Turkey. There is also a pretty little old town. It may be worth making a stop for lunch. Just don’t get caught up in 5 o’clock rush hour traffic.
After Konya, it’s a straight shot through desert-looking planes until Nevşehir.
This one is another route, although, it should not be done in one day as it takes overall around 12-13 hours without stops. Only consider this drive if you have spare time.
On this drive, there is a chance to drive on the coastal road until Anamur. There in the area visit Anemurium ancient city and then drive towards Ermenek where you can spend a night. The next morning drive through Mut, visit Alahan Monastery, then head for the Manazan caves through Nigde. After that, you can either take the main highway north from Nigde to Nevsehir or take the winding scenic mountain route to Guzelyurt at Ihlara valley.
When we travel abroad, especially with the car, we prefer to stay connected with reliable simcards. I recommend you do the same.
What to Do in Cappadocia with Rental Car
If you are renting a car in Cappadocia, it becomes so easy to move around the main towns – Uchisar, Goreme, and Urgup. A lot of the sights are hidden between them.
Among the top attractions that you shouldn’t miss when having a car are the Uchisar Fortress, Open Air Museum, Çavuşin village which is a gateway to a few famous Cappadocia valleys, is particular Pasaba Valley. Then don’t miss Zelve Valley and Open Air Museum, Zemi Valley by the main road D302, Kaymakli and Mazi underground cities, Açık Saray museum in the vicinity of Gulsehir.
While you’ll be driving between these places, you’ll see how many fantastic scenic views change each other very quickly.
Itinerary ideas for a day if you have a vehicle
Before I sit down and write my separate itinerary for Cappadocia for travelers who have a car, here are just a few quick ideas for how to spend a day when you have a rental vehicle:
1 – Enter Love Valley from the side of Çavuşin and take a little walk there. Then drive to Çavuşin to Pasaba Valley (this is a must-see, also called Fairy Chimneys), and from there transfer to the Zelve valley. You should have enough time to visit also Uchisar on the same day either in the morning or evening.
2 – Go on a trip to Açık Saray through Nevsehir, then again through Nevsehir to the underground city or maybe two. The most popular underground cities to visit next to the Goreme area are Derinkuyu and Kaymakli (this one is closer). Derinkuyu is more grandiose in its size but we personally like Kaymakli more because it has lots of narrow and low walkways and various small rooms.
On the way back, make a stop at the Pigeon Valley to walk and purchase cute souvenirs.
Spend the rest of the day in Goreme and in the evening drive up to the observation deck ‘Sunset point’ located next to the Arif Cave hotel. You can also leave a car in the central part of Goreme and walk to the deck since the road is passing by lovely Cappadocia cave hotels and suites.
3 – Zemi Valley and its small Museum. Combine it with a visit to the Red Valley and one of the hikes there (if traveling outside summer). Or go to Ortahisar fortress in Urgup and from there to Kayseri.
More Helpful Resources For Cappadocia & Turkey Travel
I am not sure if you’ve already seen these posts but they’ll surely help you plan your travel to other parts around Turkey:
- Renting a car & driving in Turkey – what to know
- Visiting Turkey in winter – what it’s like
- Visiting Cappadocia in winter – is it the right season for you?
- 5 Things to Know Before Planning a Honeymoon in Turkey
- 10 Mistakes Not to Make on Your Turkey Holidays