A Guide to Avanos, Cappadocia Turkey: The Pottery Village

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

Nestled in the heart of Cappadocia, Avanos is a small town that’s big on charm—and pottery. I was there in April 2024 and loved the vibe, so I wanted to share it with you in this guide to Avanos.

Sitting pretty on the banks of the longest river in Turkey, the Kızılırmak, or as you might better know it, the Red River.  The river’s not just named for its snazzy color — the iron oxide in the soil around here gives the water a reddish hue that’s pretty cool to see in person.

Now, Avanos isn’t your run-of-the-mill tourist spot; it’s a place where the age-old art of pottery and ceramics keeps the town’s ancient traditions alive.

After dropping our bags at our accommodation, we set off on foot to wander the town. Within 5 minutes, we found workshops where we could watch a master potter spin a clump of river mud into a work of art right before our eyes.

If you’re looking for an authentic experience, add Avonos to your Turkish bucketlist. My guide told me that pottery magic has been happening for over 4,000 years in this area, so you’re literally touching a piece of history with every piece you see as you explore the town.

SJ IN sunglasses sitting on a circular bench in a plaza with a sign that reads "avans" featuring a red heart replacing the letter 'a', showcasing things to do in Avanos, Cappadocia

But hey, it’s not all about the past here. Avanos has a modern vibe, too, with cozy cafes and eateries where you can chill after a day of exploring.

When you’re ready to tuck in for the night, you’ll find lodgings with that homey Cappadocian charm like xxx where I stayed.

History And Culture

As you meander through the streets of Avanos, you’ll feel the pulse of history in its architecture and the warmth of culture in its crafts. 

The Hittite Legacy

A ceramic pitcher with a unique loop handle and a speckled blue base stands on a wooden table, bathed in sunlight.

The Hittites once called this region home, way back in the Bronze Age. They were among the first to settle here, so when you’re walking around, imagine them shaping the very beginning of Avanos’ story.

Ancient artifacts found here are like snippets from a long-lost diary, telling us how sophisticated and innovative the Hittites really were.

Red River’s Influence On Pottery

An outdoor fountain sculpture shaped like a large terracotta jug, expelling water, with a Turkish flag in the background and a plaque on a stone base, highlighting things to do in Avanos C

The life-giving Red River, or Kızılırmak, flows gracefully through Avanos, supplying the town with its signature red clay. This isn’t just any mud – it’s the secret ingredient that turned Avanos into a pottery hub.

The clay here spins a narrative of its own, forming the backbone of the ceramic trade in the district. Every pot, every plate has a bit of the river’s soul in it.

Exploring Avanos

Avanos beckons with its charming intertwined street, deep-rooted pottery traditions, and unique attractions that are sure to pique your curiosity.

Put on your comfortable walking shoes, and let’s explore the charming allure of this historic town.

Strolling The Cobbled Streets

A life-sized model of a donkey wearing a traditional blanket and harness, displayed on a street with pottery in the background, is one of the intriguing things to do in Avanos Cappadoc

The best thing to do in Avanos is to walk its cobbled streets. As you explore, you’ll discover the town’s rich pottery history and vibrant atmosphere. Each step takes you deeper into its past and unique culture.

Start your walk in the town center, where you’ll find numerous pottery shops showcasing a variety of handcrafted items. Be sure to visit Chez Galip, a renowned pottery workshop where you can see artisans at work and even try your hand at making your own piece. Another great stop is Sultan Ceramics, known for its intricate designs and high-quality ceramics.

A person standing under a canopy of colorful hanging umbrellas in a narrow cobblestone street in Avanos, Cappadocia, Turkiye, with sunlight casting shadows on the walls.

As you stroll, you’ll notice Avanos’s distinctive architecture, with its stone houses and narrow alleys. Take your time to appreciate the details, such as the traditional carved wooden doors and windows.

There are streets to take photos with bright umbrellas and cool old dudes playing the board game ‘Okey’ and drinking tea.

Four elderly men playing the board game Okey at an outdoor table near an old building wall in Avanos, Cappadocia, Türkiye, with one smiling broadly. Two are wearing caps.

Don’t miss the Güray Museum, which houses an impressive collection of ceramics from different periods. It’s a great place to learn about the history of pottery in the region and see some truly unique pieces.

For a taste of local life, head to the Avanos Market, where you can find fresh produce, local delicacies, and handmade crafts. It’s the perfect place to pick up a souvenir or two, whether it’s a piece of pottery, a handmade rug, or some local spices.

A terracotta jug, a typical craft from Avanos, Cappadocia, is placed beside a turquoise door with a geometric pattern.

As you continue your walk, make sure to visit the Kızılırmak River. The riverbanks are perfect for a relaxing stroll, and you can even take a boat ride to see the town from a different perspective. The suspension bridge over the river is a popular spot for photos and offers great views of Avanos.

If you get hungry, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants along the way. Bizim Ev is a cozy spot offering delicious local dishes, while Evranos Restaurant is known for its cave setting and traditional Turkish cuisine.

Four oval plates with various spreads, arranged on a wooden table, beside neatly placed utensils, showcasing things to do in Avanos Cappadocia, Turkiye.

Walking the cobbled streets of Avanos is a delightful way to immerse yourself in its rich culture and history. Whether you’re admiring the pottery, exploring the market, or simply enjoying the atmosphere, there’s always something to see and do.

The Pottery Scene

A potter's hands shaping wet clay on a spinning pottery wheel in Avanos, Cappadocia, with detailed focus on the muddy texture and hand movements.

Now, let’s talk pottery—it’s a big deal here. Avanos and pottery go way back…As I said, over 4,000 years back.

Start by visiting the local pottery shops. You’ll find a range of items, from simple souvenirs to intricate art pieces. Most shops are happy to let you watch the artisans at work, giving you a glimpse into the craftsmanship behind each piece.

If you’re up for some hands-on experience, sign up for a pottery class. These classes are available at various studios and are suitable for all skill levels.

A potter's hands shaping a clay pot on a spinning pottery wheel, with focus on the wet, muddy texture of the clay. This is one of the many artistic things to do in Avanos

Expect to get your hands dirty as you learn the basics of molding and shaping clay. Instructors will guide you through the process, and by the end, you’ll have your own handmade piece to take home.

Whether you’re buying or making pottery, Avanos offers a unique and engaging experience. The combination of shopping and hands-on learning makes it a memorable part of your visit.

POTTERY WORKSHOP
SJ with clay-covered hands smiles broadly inside a pottery workshop in Avanos, Cappadocia, Turkey, holding up her hands to display the clay.
I tried to make pottery (and failed)

Looking for something hands-on and memorable in Cappadocia? I highly recommend the 2-hour pottery workshop in Avanos. It was a blast!

The experience started with a convenient pick-up from my accommodation. After a short drive, I arrived at the pottery studio in Avanos, a town renowned for its rich pottery history. The welcoming artisans there were incredibly skilled and eager to share their craft.

First, they gave a quick demo, showing the basic techniques of shaping and molding clay. Then, it was my turn. Getting my hands dirty on the pottery wheel was so much fun! The instructors were patient and offered plenty of tips, making sure I didn’t mess up too badly.

By the end of the session, I had my very own handcrafted piece to take home. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great souvenir and a reminder of my time in Avanos. The drop-off back at my accommodation was just as smooth.

If you’re in Cappadocia, definitely give this pottery workshop a try. It’s a unique, creative experience that you won’t forget!

 

Unique Chez Galip Hair Museum Of Avanos

Exterior of Chez Galip Hair Museum in Avanos, Cappadocia, Turkey, featuring colorful ceramic displays and a hot air balloon decoration under a clear blue sky.

Alright, brace yourself for the quirky side of Avanos—a hair museum. Yep, you read that right.

Chez Galip Hair Museum isn’t your everyday museum; it’s niche and, honestly, a bit peculiar with a collection that’s as intriguing as it gets.

Beyond this, Avanos has plenty more up its sleeve—a tour around here is like a treasure hunt, with the promise of stumbling upon something unexpected around every corner.

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Natural Wonders

Lucky you! You’re about to explore some of Avanos’ most breathtaking natural scenes. From the life-giving Kızılırmak River to the otherworldly landscapes of Cappadocia, strap in for an up-close peek at these marvels.

Kızılırmak River Adventures

Strolling across the suspension bridge over the Kızılırmak River, with the idyllic backdrop of Avanos in Cappadocia. A stunning mosque with two minarets stands tall, framed by tree branches, in this picturesque pottery village.

The Kızılırmak River, or the “Red River”, isn’t just any river; it’s the longest river in Turkey.

Take a leisurely stroll across a suspension bridge, the gentle flow of water beneath you, and a view that just screams, “Make me your wallpaper!”

Not just a pretty face, the river is perfect for swinging into some adventures—think riverside picnics or even a lazy kayak trip if that floats your boat.

Cappadocia’s Landscape

SJ squatting at the base of towering, uniquely shaped rock formations in Pasabag Valley, Cappadocia, under a clear blue sky.

Your trip wouldn’t be complete without gawking at Cappadocia’s iconic landscape.

We’re talking about endless valleys sculpted by none other than Mother Nature herself, topped with the whimsical fairy chimneys that Cappadocia is famous for.

And guess what? The best views over the region are easy to reach from quaint Avanos town.

Get ready to fill your camera roll with shots of panoramas that look like they’re straight out of a fantasy novel.

Making The Most Of Your Visit

A vibrant display of handcrafted red and blue pottery and plates decorates the exterior stone wall of a shop in Avanos, Cappadocia, Türkiye.

When you drop by Avanos, get ready to soak up some culture, snag some unique souvenirs, and plan out unforgettable day trips.

Here’s the scoop on how you can have the time of your life in this artisan town.

Souvenirs And Shopping

Close-up of a colorful, intricately designed ceramic plate from Avanos, Cappadocia, featuring vibrant floral and geometric patterns.
I purchased this place on my last trip.

As you stroll down the streets of Avanos, the pottery shops will undoubtedly catch your eye.

It would be a missed opportunity not to take home a piece of the town’s renowned ceramic art.

These pieces aren’t just souvenirs; they’re tangible memories crafted by local artisans, and they’re perfect for that special nook back home or as a thoughtful gift.

An elderly potter shapes clay on a pottery wheel in a rustic workshop surrounded by ceramic pots and tools, showcasing traditional things to do in Avanos Cappadocia, Turkiye.

Make sure you pop into a shop or two and watch potters shape the red clay, a tradition spanning over 4,000 years, right before your eyes.

Day Trips and Itineraries

Interior of a luxury transport van with plush seating and a table, a scenic view of Turkey visible through the window, parked next to another vehicle.

No visit to Avanos is complete without venturing out.

Kick off with a map of the area and mark out spots like the fairy chimneys and open-air museums you want to see – some are further away than you think.

If you’re all about maximizing your visit date, consider joining a guided tour, where the planning is done for you. I hired a driver, guide, and vehicle, and we set the itinerary together based on my time and interests.

When you take a tour or get your own guide to get to see and learn so much more as they have the inside scoop on all the must-see places and can take you on a journey through Cappadocia’s enchanting landscapes, with pit stops at scenic vantage points for those insta-worthy snaps.

Accommodations & Dining

Sign for "bizim ev restaurant & cafe" mounted on a stone wall in Avanos, surrounded by an array of traditional clay pots and decorative items.

Whether you’re booking a room with a view or looking for the tastiest kebab in town, Avanos has it all. Dive into the local culture by staying in a boutique hotel (see the one I loved below) and indulging in homegrown culinary delights.

Staying In Avanos

Avanos is home to a variety of accommodations ranging from luxurious hotels to charming guesthouses.

You’ve got options like:

  • DoubleTree by Hilton for a touch of international comfort with local flair
  • Then there’s the unique Sofa Hotel
  • Or, for an immersive experience, try the Yoruk Stone House, where you can get a slice of authentic Cappadocian architecture

I chose to stay at HacıAşık Konağı Butik Hotel. It was a really authentic experience, as no one spoke English, and we had to communicate via Google Translate! The Turkish breakfast spread was delish!!

A breakfast spread with toast, jam, butter, and olives served on a red and white checkered tablecloth in Avanos, Cappadoccia, Turkiye.

Local Culinary Delights

Avanos is a joy for any food enthusiast, especially if you’re keen on trying local dishes.

Manti

A plate of manti (Turkish dumplings) topped with garlic yogurt and spicy tomato sauce, garnished with dried mint, enjoyed in Avanos, Cappadocia, Türkiye.
Manti

Manti are small dumplings typically filled with a seasoned mixture of ground lamb or beef, onions, and spices. These bite-sized delights are often compared to Italian ravioli but have a unique Turkish twist.

The dumplings are usually served with a generous dollop of yogurt sauce and drizzled with melted butter infused with paprika or red pepper flakes.

Pottery kebab

A rustic oven setup featuring the Turkish Testi Kebab, or pottery kebab. There are multiple pots and containers with dough baking over an open flame, surrounded by colorful decorations and fresh produce in the background.

Pottery kebab (testi kebabı) is a must-try. It consists of meat and vegetables slow-cooked in a sealed clay pot, cracked open right at your table.

When visiting Avanos, trying the local cuisine is a must, and two dishes you shouldn’t miss are pide and lahmacun.

Pide

Plate of cheesy pide topped with vegetables and meat, served on a rustic wooden table in Avanos, Cappadocia, Turkey.

Pide is bread topped with various ingredients such as cheese, vegetables, and different meats like minced lamb or beef. The dough is soft on the inside and crispy on the edges, and it’s usually baked in a wood-fired oven. You’ll find pide in many local restaurants, each offering their own twist on this classic dish.

Lahmacun

Rectangular Turkish lahmacun surrounded by sides of pickled cabbage, lemon slices, and fresh greens on a table at Ushiscar Castle in Cappadocia.

Lahmacun is another popular Turkish dish, often compared to pizza, but quite different in its own right. It’s a thin, crispy flatbread topped with a mixture of minced meat (usually lamb or beef), vegetables, and herbs.

Unlike pide, lahmacun is rolled up and often served with fresh parsley, tomatoes, and a squeeze of lemon. It’s a light, flavorful option that’s perfect for a quick meal.

Both dishes are affordable and widely available in Avanos. Whether you’re grabbing a quick bite or sitting down for a leisurely meal, pide and lahmacun offer a delicious taste of Turkish cuisine. Don’t hesitate to ask the locals for their favorite spots to ensure you get the best experience.

A vendor in Avanos Cappadocia, Turkiye, preparing street food, slicing warm kokoreç from a rotating spit over coals, with a sign displaying "kokoreç bü

  • Restaurants. They range from small family-owned eateries serving home-cooked meals to more upscale dining experiences
  • Street Food. Look out for stands selling gözleme (thin dough crepes with various fillings) and other quick bites like chick peas and kokoreç
  • Local Wine. With the region’s volcanic soil, Cappadocian wines are unique. A visit to a local winery is both educational and enjoyable

Wine

Front entrance of Aryatus Wine House in Avanos, Cappadocia, Turkiye, with tables and chairs outside, wine glass and bottle signs above the door.

Speaking of wines, Avanos is also a fantastic place to explore the rich tradition of Cappadocian wine. The region’s unique volcanic soil and climate make it ideal for viticulture, producing wines that are both distinctive and delicious.

Wine tastings in Avanos

There are several wineries and wine cellars in and around Avanos where you can sample local wines. Many of these establishments offer guided tastings, allowing you to learn about the different grape varieties and winemaking processes.

We found a great way to spend an afternoon after all the walking and exploring. We came away with a deeper appreciation for the local wine culture.

Entrance of "salkım sarap evi" wine house in Avanos Cappadocia, Turkey, featuring a yellow umbrella, decorative signage, and rustic adornments under a clear

A few we liked were:

  1. Salkım Şarap Evi. Salkım Şarap Evi is a charming wine house in Avanos that offers a cozy setting to sample local wines. The staff here is friendly and well-versed in the region’s wine-making traditions, making it a great place to learn and enjoy
  2. Mahzen Şarap Evi. This wine house in Avanos is a great spot to sample local wines. They offer a range of tastings, often paired with delicious local snacks, making it a perfect place to relax and enjoy the flavors of the region
  3. Aryatus Wine House: Aryatus is another great spot in Avanos for wine tasting. Known for its welcoming ambiance and knowledgeable staff, Aryatus offers a variety of local wines that showcase the unique flavors of the region. It’s a fantastic place to unwind and learn about Cappadocian wines

Cappadocian wines

Close-up of a kocabağ wine bottle label, featuring the kapadokya logo, vintage year 2022, and background of other bottles in Avanos Cappadocia,
This was delish

The wines from this region are known for their unique flavors and high quality. Common grape varieties include Emir, Narince, and Kalecik Karası for whites and Öküzgözü and Boğazkere for reds.

Each variety offers a different taste profile, from light and crisp whites to full-bodied, robust reds. Be sure to try a few different kinds to find your favorite.


Getting To Avanos

View from the backseat of a car showing the dashboard and steering wheel, with a road leading towards the distant Ushiscar Castle in Cappadocia under a cloudy sky.

Let’s break down the ways you can reach this pottery paradise.

Air Travel To Nevşehir

Your adventure kicks off as soon as you touch down.

When planning your trip to Avanos, it’s helpful to know the nearest airports and their distances from the town of Avanos.

Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport (NAV)

Crowded Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport baggage claim area in Turkey with people waiting for luggage, surrounded by car rental and transport advertisements.

  • Distance to Avanos is approximately 34 kilometers (21 miles)
  • The travel Time is about 35-40 minutes by car

This is the closest airport to Avanos and offers domestic flights, primarily from major Turkish cities like Istanbul and Ankara. It’s a convenient option for reaching the heart of Cappadocia

Kayseri Erkilet Airport (ASR)

  • Distance to Avanos is approximately 80 kilometers (50 miles)
  • The travel time is about 1 hour and 15 minutes by car

This airport is larger and offers more frequent flights, including some international connections. It serves as a good alternative if flights to Nevşehir are not available.

Both airports offer car rental services, shuttle buses, and taxi options to Avanos. It’s recommended that you arrange transportation in advance to ensure a smooth journey.

Road Trip To Cappadocia

Fancy steering the wheel yourself? Road-tripping to Cappadocia is a blast!

From Ankara, it’s roughly a 4-hour drive southeast, and from Istanbul, expect about a 7 to 8-hour drive. Don’t forget to make a playlist!

Once you hit the region, keep an eye out for signs to Avanos, which is just north of Göreme. The scenery is stunning, with fairy chimneys and picturesque valleys lining your path.

Local Transport Options

Screenshot of a ride-sharing app interface showing a map and destination labeled "meet at hacı aşık konağı" near Göreme and Uchisar Castle in Turkey.

Okay, you’ve arrived in the region, and now you just need to zoom into Avanos itself.

Local buses run regularly from neighboring towns like Göreme and Uçhisar. They’re wallet-friendly and give you a real slice of local life.

Or, if you prefer a bit more comfort and flexibility, like me, there are taxis available. We caught several and had zero issues finding one. They used the meter and dropped us off after we showed them on the map where we wanted to go. 

I tried to use Uber to go from my accommodation in Avanos to Uchisar Castle, but there was never a taxi available. The app works, but it seemed that no drivers were accepting my booking. So, instead, I used a regular yellow taxi.

2-Day Itinerary For Avanos Town, Cappadocia

Day 1: Exploring Avanos And Pottery Demonstration

Morning: Arrival & Pottery Workshop

9:00 AM – Enjoy your breakfast

10:00 AM – Pottery Workshop. Head to a renowned pottery workshop. Watch a demonstration by master potters and participate in a hands-on pottery class. Create your own pottery piece to take home as a souvenir.

Late Morning: Wandering the Town and Shopping for Pottery

11:30 AM – Stroll Through the Town Center: Wander the cobbled streets of Avanos, exploring its charming shops and local architecture. Visit various pottery shops like Sultan Ceramics and Chez Galip to see a range of handcrafted items.

Lunch: Local Delights

1:00 PM – Lunch at Bizim Ev: Enjoy a leisurely lunch at Bizim Ev, a cozy spot known for its delicious local dishes. Try traditional dishes like manti and gözleme.

Afternoon: Cultural Exploration

2:30 PM – Güray Museum: Visit the Güray Museum, which houses an impressive collection of ceramics from different periods. Learn about the history of pottery in the region and see some truly unique pieces.

Late Afternoon: River Walk and Bridge Crossing

4:00 PM – Walk Along the Kızılırmak River: Take a relaxing stroll along the banks of the Kızılırmak River. Cross the suspension bridge, a popular spot for photos, and enjoy the scenic views of Avanos.

Evening: Dinner and Leisure

6:00 PM – Dinner at Evranos Restaurant: Dine at Evranos Restaurant, known for its cave setting and traditional Turkish cuisine. Enjoy local specialties like pottery kebab.

Day 2: Wine Tasting & More Exploration

Morning: More Exploration and Souvenir Shopping

9:00 AM – Start your day with a traditional Turkish breakfast at your hotel.

10:00 AM – Continue Pottery Shopping: Visit additional pottery shops to find unique souvenirs and gifts. Watch local artisans at work and learn more about the pottery-making process.

Lunch: Taste of Avanos

1:00 PM – Lunch at Sofa Hotel Restaurant: Enjoy a meal at the restaurant of Sofa Hotel, known for its blend of traditional and modern Turkish cuisine. Try dishes like pide and lahmacun.

Afternoon: Wine Tasting Experience

2:30 PM – Wine Tasting at Salkım Şarap Evi: Head to Salkım Şarap Evi for a guided wine tasting session. Sample local wines made from grapes grown in Cappadocia’s unique volcanic soil.

4:00 PM – Continue Wine Tasting at Mahzen Şarap Evi: Visit another wine house, Mahzen Şarap Evi, to taste more varieties and learn about the winemaking process. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and knowledgeable staff.

Late Afternoon: Leisure Time and Last-Minute Shopping

5:30 PM – Relax by the River or Visit More Shops: Spend some time relaxing by the Kızılırmak River or visit any remaining pottery shops you missed on the first day. Take a final stroll through the town to soak up the atmosphere.

Evening: Farewell Dinner

7:00 PM – Dinner at a Local Restaurant: Choose a cozy local restaurant for your final meal in Avanos. Reflect on your experiences and enjoy one last taste of Cappadocian cuisine.

 

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