Today I want to tell y’all all about one of my FAVORITE areas in the world…. CAPPADOCIA! From the second I knew I was going back to Istanbul, I made some serious research about the beautiful region of Cappadocia and I instantly feel in love. This historical Turkish region is well known for its exceptional natural wonders, in particular the fairy chimneys and its unique historical and cultural heritage.
If you have been thinking about taking a trip to this beautiful part of the world, then today is your lucky day! Here are a few tips and tricks that can make your planning a bit easier: 😉
So, the town with all the action in Cappadocia is Göreme! It is located in the Nevşehir Province in Central Anatolia and has a population of around 2,000 people. This town is famous for their cave hotels that offer magnificent views of the village, valleys and mountains and sometimes the hot air balloons!
To get there, we flew Andalu Jet from Istanbul to Kayseri airport and then we took an hour shuttle drive to Göreme.
We used Turkish Heritage Travel to start our exploration! We opted for the green tour option that took us to the following places:
Derinkuyu Underground City: There are more than 200 underground cities in Cappadocia and the deepest one is Derinkuyu, which is approximately 200 ft deep. It is large enough to have sheltered as many as 20,000 people together with their livestock and food supplies.
Ihlara Valley: Is a canyon with a depth of approximately 300 ft that was formed by the Melendiz River thousands of years ago. It is believed that the valley once housed more than four thousand dwellings and about a hundred cave churches decorated with frescoes.
Selime Monastery: Is in a town that was established at the end of the Ihlara Valley. It is also the largest rock-cut monastery in Cappadocia with a large cave cathedral. Best part, it also has breathtaking views of the area!
Pigeon Valley: On the way back to Göreme from the tour, we went to spot right across from an onyx shop that has a spectacular vista point that overlooks the Pigeon Valley. Great photo spot with trees with tons of evil eyes! (My fave) 🧿
During our tour, we met some lovely humans that later became our good friends! The following day, we rented a car and we explored the following places on our own:
Uçhisar Castle: This tall volcanic-rock outcrop was used for centuries by villagers as a place of refuge when enemy armies overtook the surrounding plains.
Göreme Open Air Museum: Is one of Turkey’s UNESCO World Heritage sites. It was an important Byzantine monastic settlement, then a pilgrimage site from the 17th century. It has rock-cut churches, chapels and monasteries and it is only half a mile from the city center.
Sultan Carpets: It is not a “real” destination, but it is a beautiful rug shop that lets you borrow authentic Turkish folk attire so you can look glamorous while you shop and while you are at it, also capture the most amazing TURKISH IG pics! 😉
Hot Air Balloon Ride
The ULTIMATE activity to do in Cappadocia! However, there’re a few things you should know about these famous hot air balloon rides:
- The weather must be pretty much perfect with just the right amount of wind, if not… unfortunately you can’t fly. 😦 So pray to the Turkish spirits that the weather will be in your favor.
- If the weather is good, the hot air balloon companies will pick you up at 3am, YES 3am, then you will get a light breakfast and then you will start flying right at sunrise.
- Make sure you hire a trust worthy company so you can fly safe and relax. We used the Butterfly Balloons company for our experience and it was great!
- You ride with 20 people. There are 4 areas that fit 5 people, so hopefully you get a friendly bunch that can take some nice pics of you.
Fun Fact: Those infamous cool pictures with the flying balloons in the background are taken between 6am-7:30am, so if you want to snap a cool pic like that, you have to be an early riser 😉
Are you ready to plan your next vacation or what? I hope all this culture, heritage and coolness has inspired you to add this magical place to your bucket list of destinations to visit around the world!