by Last updated Mar 14, 2023 | Asia, Travel Tips, Turkey
You’ve most likely seen the popular Instagram photo of hot air balloons floating over a historic city in Turkey.
This famous tourist destination is Cappadocia, a rugged plateau with distinctive rock formations and a fascinating historical heritage.
If you’ve added this picturesque hot air balloon ride to your bucket list, you may wonder, is Cappadocia safe?
This is a natural concern considering it is in central Turkey, far from the coastal tourist towns.
So in this article, we’re discussing how safe Cappadocia is and what things you should be cautious of when visiting.
Cappadocia is one of Turkey’s top attractions, providing one of the highest sources of tourism revenue. Therefore, the government has invested in this region to ensure it is safe and enjoyable for those to visit.
Because of this, Cappadocia is one of the safest parts of Turkey, even if it does seem in the middle of nowhere.
Violent crime is scarce here, and the crimes that occur are not targeted at tourists.
Pickpocketing is likely the only petty crime you may be a victim of, but even that is not as high in Cappadocia as in other popular tourist destinations.
While certain parts of Turkey have had terrorist attacks in the past and still have threats of terrorism, Cappadocia is not one of these areas.
Most terrorist attacks in the past occurred in southeastern regions such as Ankara and Istanbul, the latter of which is 750 km from Cappadocia.
Therefore, this part of Turkey is generally safe from terrorism threats.
If you are particularly worried, avoid visiting the most popular areas and avoid large crowds, which is relatively easy as Cappadocia is a vast region.
As we’ve already established, Cappadocia as a place is safe. If you have heard something different, these people may be referring to the hot air ballooning that most tourists do here.
Concerns around this activity heightened in October 2022 after an accident in the region, resulting in two tourists losing their lives.
However, it’s essential to realize this was a very rare event.
Only eight hot air balloon accidents happened in Turkey from 1996 to 2022, which compared to the number of rides that happen every day, is a VERY low percentage.
In fact, the chance of something bad happening on your balloon experience in Cappadocia is about 0.01%.
The only real safety concern in Cappadocia is the extreme weather conditions. As it has a desert climate, the summer can be extremely dry and hot, increasing the chances of dehydration.
In contrast, the winters can be freezing, especially at night, which can be dangerous to tourists who come unprepared.
Therefore, research beforehand and plan your trip during the spring or autumn when the weather is most pleasant.
The safest (and most popular) towns for tourists to stay in Cappadocia are:
Çavuşin, Ortahisar, and Avanos are other safe towns in the Cappadocia region, suitable for tourists.
There are not many safety concerns in Cappadocia, but you should avoid a few things.
One thing you should avoid any time of year but especially in the summer and winter is going hiking without a guide. If you get lost, the extreme weather will quickly become an issue.
In the summer, you may run out of water and suffer dehydration and heatstroke. In the winter, you could get frostbite or hypothermia.
I also recommend avoiding the ATV and Jeep tours you see advertised there. While they can be fun, they are awful for the environment, creating a lot of noise and dust pollution and contributing to the erosion of the rock formations.
Lastly, to ensure you stay safe on your Cappadocia trip, avoid accepting invitations from people.
So politely decline if a local invites you to their house for dinner or a stranger offers to buy you a drink.
Make sure to book a stay in one of the best hotels in Cappadocia.
Best budget hotel: Narcissos Cave Hotel
Best mid-range hotel: Avlu Cave House
Best luxury hotel: Yunak Evleri
If you’re a confident and experienced driver, there is no reason not to rent a car and drive around Cappadocia.
For the most part, it is a safe, easy, and enjoyable place to drive as the roads are wide, traffic is minimal, and parking is readily available.
Moreover, the roads are well maintained, and all the top attractions are well signposted, making it easy and fun to explore at your peril.
However, if staying in or visiting Uchisar and Urgup, note that some narrow and steep streets may be a little challenging.
Most car rental companies will accept a driving license from your home country, so you don’t need an international driving permit.
I recommend renting a car with a GPS device to help you get around and take photos of your rental car before you drive it away to avoid problems upon return.
Visiting Cappadocia alone is fine, and there are several hostels here where you will meet other solo travelers.
Most of these are located in Goreme, which is by far the best town to stay in if you want to meet people. Moreover, you’ll meet people quickly if you join tours and day trips.
Of course, like everywhere else, always stay aware of your surroundings, don’t leave your bag unattended, and don’t walk around late at night alone.
Generally, Cappadocia is safe for female travelers, including those traveling solo, as the region has a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.
Still, if you have worries, you may prefer joining a tour rather than traveling around the area alone.
That being said, research and choose a reputable tour company with many positive reviews.
This is because there have been a few reports of solo female travelers getting into uncomfortable situations on tours they have booked.
Moreover, as Turkey is a very conservative, male-dominated country where the women cover their skin with clothing, you may want to dress more modestly than you would elsewhere.
You will see plenty of tourist women in skimpy clothes here, but this can attract unwanted attention, something you want to avoid, especially if traveling alone.
Cappadocia is not a popular digital nomad hotspot, but it is one of the most dreamy places you can work remotely from.
Because of its “Insta Worthy” landscapes, it’s popular among content creators who stay and work here for a few weeks while they curate epic content.
Most hotels and restaurants have free wi-fi, although it is not always high-speed. Moreover, some hotels don’t have good wi-fi connection in the rooms, only in the common areas.
If you plan to work during your trip, take some time to research and find a hotel with good wi-fi.
There is also a small expat community here, but the vibe is definitely more touristic. In addition, as the weather is very extreme, it may not be the best place to stay long-term.
Instead, have a look at the best places to live in Turkey.
Although Cappadocia is a safe place, travel insurance is a must. Not all companies cover activities like hot air balloon tours, so ensure your provider does before taking out a policy.
For example, SafetyWing is one provider that covers this activity, along with hiking, horse-riding, and other things you may do there.
SafetyWing is also particularly useful for frequent travelers and digital nomads because you can take out a policy wherever you are in the world and tailor it to your needs.
So is Cappadocia safe? Absolutely! In fact, it is probably one of the safest areas in Turkey, and there are no significant dangers to visiting.
In addition, there is no reason not to enjoy the most popular activity there, hot air ballooning.
So, yes, there is a slight danger risk, but it is actually safer than most other forms of air travel!
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by Last updated Mar 14, 2023 | Asia, Travel Tips, Turkey