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.
There are many ways to explore the vast landscape of Cappadocia, but the two most popular ways are through the Green Tour and the Red Tour.
While the Green Tour and the Red Tour both feature some of the best attractions in Cappadocia, they both 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.
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 Goreme 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!
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
- Avanos Town (Pottery Workshops)
- Pasabag Monks Valley
- Devrent Imagination Valley
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)
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 Blue Tour.
The green tour starts at about 9 AM, and ends around 6:30 PM.
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.
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 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
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.
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’ll 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
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 that look like animals and other shapes. The most iconic one is the camel-looking rock formation.
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 places to visit in Cappadocia.
Winner: Green Tour
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 cave churches, dwellings and frescoes. And finally, at Pasabag Valley and Devrent Valley, you can get photos of some of the most unique fairy chimneys in the region.
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.
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
Red Tour Vs Green 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 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!
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