Red Tour Vs Green Tour Cappadocia: Which Is Better?

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Written By Sean Lau

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No Turkey itinerary is complete without visiting Cappadocia, a valley in Central Anatolia known for its surreal desert landscapes, rich history, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Goreme National Park, and of course, epic hot air balloon rides. 

If you’re short on time, you may be deciding between the Cappadocia Red Tour vs Green Tour. While there are many ways to explore the vast landscape of Cappadocia, the Green Tour and the Red Tour are two of the most popular ways for short-term visitors.

While the Green Tour and the Red Tour both feature some of the best attractions in Cappadocia, they each offer something completely different. Not a single attraction overlaps with what the other tour has to offer.

And for travelers that can only afford to pick one of the two tours, which one should they pick?

After exploring every attraction on both the green and red tour, we are here to tell you why one is better than the other…

Planning a trip to Cappadocia last-minute?


Make sure you book your tours, places to stay, and airport transfers ahead of time to ensure availability!

Here is our recommended airport transfer in Cappadocia:

  1. Airport Shuttle From Nevşehir Airport (NAV) or Kayseri Airport (ASR) (Super affordable!)

Here are our recommended tours in Cappadocia:

  1. Hot Air Balloon Ride In Cappadocia At Sunrise (A must-do In Cappadocia)
  2. ATV Tours At Sunset
  3. Green Tour In Cappadocia (Perfect for those not renting a car!)

Here are our recommended places to stay in Cappadocia:

  1. Koza Cave Hotel (Amazing views and great photo opportunities)
  2. Museum Hotel (Most luxurious hotel in Cappadocia)
  3. Kamelya Cave Hostel (Budget hostel with cave rooms!)

Quick Glance: Which Tour is Better? Red or Green?

Both tours are excellent, but if you have to pick just one tour out of the two, we recommend going for the green tour.

On the green tour, visitors can see some of the most well-known sights in Cappadocia, such as Derinkuyu Underground City, Ihlara Valley, and Selime Monastery.

These attractions are situated very far from Goreme, where most tourists stay in Cappadocia. This means that tourists usually either have to spend a lot of money or time to get to them.

Though the red tour has some iconic landmarks as well, such as the Göreme Open-Air Museum, it is an attraction that’s easily accessible by foot. Visitors can explore most of the sights on the red tour independently without much hassle.

But of course, there are circumstances where the green tour isn’t the best, so read on and find out if you should pick the red or green tour in Cappadocia!


Don’t Miss Out on the BEST Experience in Cappadocia!

Hot-Air-balloon-Reusuable

No trip to Cappadocia is complete without taking an epic hot air balloon flight at sunrise!

Make sure you reserve your tour well in advance to avoid missing out or paying any additional fees last minute!


What Are the Stops on The Red Tour in Cappadocia?

The red tour is sometimes known as the North Cappadocia tour, and the following are the stops:

  • Uchisar Castle
  • Goreme Open Air Museum
  • Cavusin
  • Avanos Town (Pottery Workshops)
  • Pasabag Valley (Monks Valley)
  • Devrent Imagination Valley
Goreme Open Air Museum Cappadocia
Goreme Open-Air Museum is the best stop on the red tour

This is the general itinerary for the red tour in Cappadocia. Depending on the tour company, the order of these stops might change. It is a protocol to stop overcrowding. Just imagine every tour bus going to the same spot at the same time. Not so pretty, eh?

For example, Uchisar Castle is sometimes visited at the end of the tour instead of at the beginning of the tour. 

The red tour starts at 9 AM and ends at about 5 PM.


What Are the Stops on The Green Tour in Cappadocia?

The green tour is sometimes known as the South Cappadocia tour, and these are the stops:

  • Esentepe Viewpoint (Pigeon Valley Viewpoint)
  • Derinkuyu Underground City
  • Ihlara Valley
  • Belisirma Village (next to Melendiz River)
  • Selime Monastery
  • Onyx Jewelry Factory (Mostly for souvenirs and shopping)
Derinkuyu Underground City Cappadocia
Derinkuyu Underground City is one of the best stops on the green tour

This is the general itinerary for the green tour. Similar to the red tour, the order of these stops might change. The Esentepe Viewpoint stop can either be at the beginning of the tour, or at the end of the tour.

It’s only a quick stop though, so if you want to see more of Pigeon Valley, consider the Cappadocia Blue Tour.

The green tour starts at about 9 AM, and ends around 6:30 PM. 


Red Tour VS Green Tour: Which Is Best Value-for-Money?

Value-for-money is determined by how much it would cost (in time and money) if we were to visit the same attractions on each tour independently. We use Goreme as our base here, simply because most people end up staying in Goreme when they visit Cappadocia.

It is worth noting that both tours cover the entrance fees and tour guide fees, so we are not going to take that into account when considering which tour is worth more money.

Red-Tour-Vs-Green-Tour-Cappadocia
The attractions on the green tour are much harder to get to compared to the ones on the red tour (Click for more info!)

For the red tour, all of the attractions are situated at most a 15-minute drive from Goreme. Many of these attractions, such as Avanos, Uchisar Castle, and Cavusin, are accessible via a beautiful hike through Cappadocia or public transportation.

For the green tour, the attractions are situated much farther away. Ihlara Valley is a 75-minute drive away and Derinkuyu Underground City is about 40 minutes away from Goreme. 

While Derinkuyu is accessible by public transportation, it takes more than half a day to get there with the transfers. Ihlara Valley is inaccessible via public transportation, meaning you must take a pricey taxi or rent a car to get there. 

When it comes to value-for-money, the green tour in Cappadocia is the clear winner.

Winner: Green Tour


Red Tour VS Green Tour: Level of Physical Activity

For physical activity, we’ll determine which tour requires more physical effort. While some people like physical effort, the majority don’t, especially not on vacation. So for this category, the lower the level of physical activity, the better.

The red tour is pretty laid back with a minimal amount of walking. You’re driven to every stop of the tour, the only walking you’ll be doing is inside the attractions.

For example, at Goreme Open Air Museum, you’ll need to walk around (just a little bit) to check out all the rock-cut churches, cave dwellings, and pigeon homes. But the physical activity is generally very low, so even families visiting Turkey with kids or elders can experience it all.

On the contrary, the green tour is much more strenuous. At Derinkuyu Underground City, there are tunnels where visitors may find tight spaces, but it’s not as narrow as its neighbor city, Kaymakli Underground City.

Ihlara Valley Green Tour
Tourists have to hike a few kilometers in Ihlara Valley on the green tour

At Ihlara Valley, visitors have to descend about 400 steps to get into the valley, and then hike another 3 to 4 kilometers. The hike ends at Belisirma Village, where tourists will have lunch on the Melendiz River. This hike takes about 1 to 1.5 hours to complete.

It is not the most challenging hike as the terrain is quite flat, but visitors should be mentally prepared before coming in. The steps down into the valley are the most challenging part of the hike.

When it comes to physical activity, the red tour is the clear winner.

Winner: Red Tour


Red Tour VS Green Tour: Which Is Better For Attractions?

Which tour has better attractions? Red or green? While this category certainly depends on the type of traveler and what they are looking for, we’ll determine the answer through a general consensus among all tourists.

On the red tour, visitors can have a guided tour of the Goreme Open-Air Museum, arguably the BEST attraction in Cappadocia. Here, you can see some of the features that made Cappadocia so famous, such as cave dwellings, rock-cut churches, and stunning frescoes.

Another notable attraction on the red tour is Uchisar Castle, the highest point in Cappadocia. Unfortunately, you cannot enter the castle while you are on the tour, but you can go back another day if you wanted to.

Lastly, you have the Devrent Valley, which is a valley with fairy chimneys and rock formations that look like animals and other shapes. The most iconic one is the camel-looking rock formation.

Uchisar-Castle-Red-Tour
Uchisar Castle on the red tour

On the green tour, visitors can explore the Derinkuyu Underground City, an 18-story underground city that is also the biggest underground city in Turkey. Though only eight stories are open to visitors. 

Tourists then head to the Ihlara Valley, a 15-kilometer long valley with lush greenery, cave churches, cave dwellings, and beautiful wildlife. Once upon a time, 80,000 people called this place home. The tour ends with a visit to Selime Monastery, a massive 13th-century monastery carved into a mountain.

Attractions-wise, both tours offer an amazing experience, but the green tour slightly edges out the red tour by offering a few more of the best attractions in Cappadocia.

Winner: Green Tour


Cappadocia Green Tour VS Red Tour: Which Has Better Photo Opportunities?

One of the biggest reasons to visit Cappadocia is to capture stunning photos. While both the red and green tours visit some of the most epic places in Cappadocia, which one is better for taking photos?

On the red tour, there are many places where you can take great photos. At Uchisar Castle, the highest point in Cappadocia, visitors have sweeping panoramic views of the Cappadocian Valley below. 

At Goreme Open-Air Museum and Cavusin, visitors can take photos of cool caves, churches, dwellings and frescoes. And finally, at Paşabağ Valley and Devrent Valley, you can get photos of some of the most unique fairy chimneys in the region.

📚Read More: Love Valley in Cappadocia: Phallic Fairy Chimneys

Cavusin-Cappadocia-Red-Tou
Cavusin on the red tour

There are plenty of photo opportunities on the red tour.

On the green tour, you have as many photo-taking opportunities as the red tour, but there is a lot more variety. You can get sweeping views of the desert landscape of Cappadocia at Esentepe Viewpoint. At Derinkuyu Underground City, you have the unique opportunity to capture the complex tunnel system that was built in the 8th century BCE.

At Ihlara Valley, the lush green landscape and the Belisirma Village next to the Melendiz River offer the perfect Instagram opportunity. Lastly, Selime Monastery is an epic rock-cut church with plenty of frescos.

Selime Monastery Green Tour Cappadocia
Selime Monastery on the green tour

Every stop on the green tour offers a very different scenery than the previous stop, which is not something the red tour can do. 

For that reason, the green tour offers better photo-taking opportunities than the red tour.

Winner: Green Tour


Green Tour Vs Red Tour Cappadocia: The Winner

For its excellent value-for-money, incredible attractions, and stunning photo-taking opportunities, the Cappadocia green tour is overall better than the red tour. 

However, there is one thing you might want to consider when booking your green tour, and that is how much walking and hiking you’ll need to do.

For visitors with mobility problems, this might be your dealbreaker. But worry not, the red tour still has plenty to offer and will wow you in every way.

If you have two full days in Cappadocia, then you have plenty of time to do both day tours and visit all the top destinations in the region.

If you are interested in the green tour or the red tour, make sure you check out our recommended tours down below. These tours are with GetYourGuide, a reputable international travel company that offers you FREE cancellation up to 24 hours before your tour!

I hope our red tour vs green tour Cappadocia guide has helped you decide which one is more suitable for you!

Any questions? Leave them in the comments!

27 thoughts on “Red Tour Vs Green Tour Cappadocia: Which Is Better?”

  1. Thank you for your comprehensive descriptions of each tour. Can you describe the time and type of walking of walking in the valley please. Is it very rough terrain. And how far is the walk, is it there and back to the vehicle, and at what point is lunch served?

    Reply
    • Hey Marianne, thanks for leaving a comment.

      If you are referring to the Ihlara Valley on the green tour, then the hike is about 3 to 4 km and takes about 1 to 1.5 hours to complete. The terrain is actually quite flat and the scenery is beautiful. However, to get down to Ihlara Valley from the village, you have to climb down about 400 steps. The hike stops at Belisirma Village, where you’ll have lunch on one of its iconic floating restaurants at around 1 PM. The transport picks you up here, so you don’t need to worry about hiking back to where you started.

      Hope that answers your questions!

      Reply
  2. This is incredibly useful! Is it possible to book any of these tours after landing in Cappadocia? I was thinking about booking a tour a day prior (traveling in December!).

    Reply
    • Hi Nandita, yes you can book a day before for most tours. Because you are traveling in December, you might find some tour companies have closed for the winter so make sure you arrive in Cappadocia with enough time to walk around the town and scout out options. There will be some tours still operating but not as many. Worst come to worst, you can book online the day before as well.

      Reply
  3. Super helpful! Thank you.
    What kind of public transportation is available in Cappadocia? I have come across only renting self drive cars or hiring a cab as options to go around in the city.

    Reply
    • There are public buses that go between the big cities/towns, and you can get off anywhere along the road. They are mostly reserved for locals because the bus drivers hardly speak any English. The schedule is also quite sporadic, so you might have a difficult time getting to somewhere you want on time. Tourists typically don’t take public transportation when they are in Cappadocia.

      Reply
      • I am planning to do the green tour on one of the days of my travel. But the other day I want to explore 1-2 places by myself. Maybe, the Love valley or the Uchisar castle. But I do not want to do the entire red tour and cramp both the days of my stay there. Do I have any other option to explore a place or two by myself? I have read we can rent a cab but I’m assuming it’s not worth the cost.

        Reply
        • Yes, you can easily explore Uchisar Castle or Love Valley by yourself without a tour. Love Valley is within walking distance of Goreme and there are public buses that go to Uchisar Castle every 30 minutes from Goreme bus station. You can get around on public transport easily without renting a cab, but buses tend to run on “Turkish Time” meaning they are not always on schedule. If you’re not staying in Goreme, you can get a bus to Goreme and then go from there. We actually hiked to Uchisar Castle through Love Valley and White Valley, and back through Pigeon Valley. It was a great full-day activity for us. It’s a long walk (about 5km each way) but it’s mostly flat, so wasn’t too streneous. I hope this helps!

          Reply
          • Hey thank you for this very useful post! We are going to Cappadocia next week and we are planning to do the Green Tour on one day. We’d like to explore the Red Tour spots on our own and this hike to Uchisar Castle you’ve mentioned sounds perfect. We want to see the castle and also Love Valley and Pigeon Valley? Is the path signposted clearly? Would you recommend using Google maps or is there another app?

          • Hi Roopa, thanks for reaching out! Love Valley and Pigeon Valley are not well signposted, but I recommend you download an app called MapsMe, which is an offline GPS app that has the trails marked very clearly. It’s free to download and use. I hope this helps!

  4. Hi,
    Is it possible to do Green and Red Tour in one day?
    If I want to include visiting Mount Erciyes (around 1-2 hours for experience), is it possible to include this within Green or Red Tour day? TQ

    Reply
    • Hi Shazia, unfortunately, you cannot do both tours in one day if you book using one of the travel agents. The tours are both full day tours.

      Your best option would be to hire a car or a taxi driver for a day and ask them to take you from A to B. This is the most feasible way to see as many attractions as possible in one day. I am not sure which area you plan to stay in, but maybe ask your hotel for a driver as they are likely to have someone they use often and know is reliable.

      You may need to pick and choose which attractions on the two tours you would like to see the most. Some of the valleys you could visit for 20 minutes or so, but you will need to allow at least an hour or two to see the Goreme Open Air Museum. We also spent about 1 hour at Uchisar Castle and the underground cities.

      Also bare in mind the Ihlara Valley is in the opposite direction to the mountain and is a 2.5-hour drive, so you might want to skip this.

      I hope this helps!

      Reply
  5. Hi
    I’ll be visiting Cappadocia and staying in Goreme on 20 until 22 Jan 2023. Is it possible to book a green tour and visit uchisar castle and the open air museum?

    Reply
    • Hi Jane, Yes it’s possible to do both in two days. You could do the Green Tour on one day and visit the Open Air Museum and Uchisar Castle on the other day. The Goreme Open Air Museum is within walking distance of the town of Goreme, and you could see it in the morning and take a bus to Uchisar Castle in the afternoon. You can walk to Uchisar Castle from Goreme through Love Valley and White Valley, but it might be a lot of walking if you do this! The bus leaves every 20 minutes from the town center.

      Reply
    • Yes, it’s possible, since the balloon flights are at sunrise and only take around an hour, you usually fly and are usually back at your hotel and have time for some breakfast before the tour starts. But do tell your tour company so they know. In fact, a lot of companies offer the hot air balloon as an add on.

      Reply
  6. Are either of these tours better (cost-wise and time-wise) than touring these places on your own by renting a car? We are traveling with a 7 yr old and I’m not sure how much she’ll enjoy the tour. Also, how long are you at the shopping spots and are they waste of time? Thank you very much for this post and this website. They’ve been super helpful.

    Reply
    • If you are traveling as a family of 3, renting a car is almost always more economical than taking a tour. And since you are traveling with a young kid, you might want to explore some of the attractions at your own pace instead of the pace set by the tour guide. The disadvantage of renting a car is that you’ll have to drive and do a bit of planning in advance. You are usually at the shopping spots for a max of 30 minutes or so. Some people really like the shopping spots, especially those on a short visit. But since we know quite a bit about Turkey and Cappadocia, those souvenir shops are not as nice (or cheap) as some of the ones we can go to on our own.

      Reply
  7. How difficult is the hike to Uchisar Castle from Goreme through Love Valley and White Valley? Are there clear signs that are easy to follow ? Do we need hiking boots and poles? We were hoping to pack light and wear our regular sneakers. Thank you.

    Reply
    • It’s not too challenging since it’s mostly flat, you just need to hike up the slope at the end to reach Uchisar, but the markers are not very obvious. They have painted stones on the ground, so you need to look out for them. You can download an app called MapsMe which is an offline GPS. It has the route well marked on there. It’s also free to use. We didn’t use poles and wore sneakers. The ground is a little slippery at times where the stone has worn away, but we were fine in trainers. I don’t believe poles are necessary for this hike.

      Reply
  8. I’ll be travelling with a 3 year old and a 1 year old. Is the green/red tour charged per person event for little kids? Also…how feasible is it to take a preplanned tour with kids this young? Or should we customize to our needs and rent a car ourselves??

    Reply
    • Hey Sana, as far as we know, most companies charge a reduced fee for infants and kids. We would NOT recommend you to go on a tour with two young kids (especially the green tour), since there is quite a bit of walking around and you’ll most likely have to carry them all the time in order to keep up with the tour guide. The underground cities are going to be a struggle because they have limited headspace. We recommend you rent a car and a private guide, or go on a private tour that comes with a guide and tour such as this one here.

      Reply

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