In Cappadocia, consider joining a tour or hiring a private guide for at least one day. Guides know the terrain and can lead you to places you might not otherwise find (such as hidden rock churches), filling you in on fascinating details about the geology of the region and its early inhabitants. Most daily tours follow one of several broad itineraries, with slight variations: Göreme Open-Air Museum, Uçhisar castle, and nearby valleys; Ihlara Valley, Derinkuyu or Kaymaklı underground city, and scenic viewpoints; or the Soğanlı Valleys and nearby points of interest. A number of companies also lead half- or full-day hikes through scenic spots like Rose Valley. With the exception of very high-end agencies, expect to pay about 150–200 TL per person for a daylong group tour, depending on group size. Private tours typically cost at least twice as much, starting at around 400 TL per person for two people (there is usually a single supplement for one person). Hotels can make recommendations, or contact one of these companies directly.
Argeus. One of Cappadocia's best-regarded—and priciest—agencies, Argeus has 20 years of experience. It specializes in customized private tours but also organizes small-group day trips (maximum eight people), one- and multiday mountain biking trips, plus airport shuttles. There are no shopping stops on Argeus tours. Ürgüp, Nevsehir. 384/341–4688; www.argeus.com.tr.
HtR Travel. With more than 15 years of experience, HtR Travel runs daily sightseeing tours of Cappadocia (maximum 18 people) at reasonable rates. It also arranges private hiking and tailor-made sightseeing tours in the region, and the guides are excellent. Ürgüp, Nevsehir. 384/341–5548; www.htrturkeytours.com.
Kirkit Voyage. Horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, boating, camping, and other outdoor activities—both day trips or multiday excursions around the region—are the specialty of this agency, which also organizes sightseeing tours in Cappadocia, mainly on a private basis. Avanos, Nevsehir. 384/511–3259; www.kirkit.com.
Rock Valley Travel. In business for two decades, friendly, family-run Rock Valley Travel organizes private and small group day tours (maximum 12 people) as well as three-day trips to Mt. Nemrut and Urfa. The tours are good value and the guides are professional and personable. Ürgüp, Nevsehir. 384/341–5819; www.rockvalleytravel.com.
Turkish Heritage Travel. This well-regarded company organizes cooking classes, grape-harvesting excursions (in season), village visits, and other unique outings aimed at introducing guests to authentic Turkish culture. Its knowledgeable, personal guides also lead more traditional group (maximum 15 people) and private tours of Cappadocia, including to off-the-beaten path destinations—and there are no shopping stops. Göreme, Nevsehir. 384/271–2687; www.goreme.com.