How to best explore the magical land of Cappadocia, Turkey

Monday, September 03, 2018

If you feel like living in a real life fairytale for a few days and start believing that magic does exist, go visit the enchanted land of Cappadocia in Turkey.
We have seen so many incredible photos of this place and we could not wait to explore it all on our own. I can guarantee that this destination will not disappoint and will for sure bring out the romantic in you.
To best explore this region I would recommend at least 3 days, more precisely at least 3 mornings because as you will get to read below, all the magic happens at sunrise. Here are our top things to do while in Cappadocia:

1. Stay in a cave hotel

Cappadocia is well known for its stunning cave hotels that mix up the old way of living with the new and luxurious lifestyle.
As Cappadocia is a region formed of many small towns, I would recommend staying in Goreme as this is the centre of its all.
Many of the hotels have lovely decorated rooftop terraces from where you can revel in the beauty of the colourful hot air balloons floating in the sky early in the morning. Our top picks are:

Koza Cave Hotel - this is a family owned lovely cave hotel with a beautifully decorated rooftop terrace. What I loved about it is that having only 10 rooms the terrace doesn't get crowded as in other places, also people not staying in the hotel are not allowed up the terrace keeping the privacy to the maximum.

Mithra Cave Hotel - you will find this one right next to Koza Cave Hotel. It also has a lovely terrace (although I found the one at Koza to be a bit more authentic), however this hotel is pretty big therefore the chances of you enjoying a quiet sunrise are a bit slim. The buffet breakfast here is however de-li-cious.

Sultan Cave Hotel - apparently all the best terrace hotels are in the same spot as this is the one next to Mithra Cave Hotel. We did not stay here as it was fully booked when we visited Cappadocia. This hotel is the most famous one but mostly because some big travel bloggers started this trend. You will find everything this hotel has to offer at the other two above.

Local Cave House Hotel - this is one of the most famous pool hotels in Cappadocia. The hotel itself is indeed beautiful, the hosts are super nice and the pool is a great place to cool off from the scorching summer heat.

To get a 15$ discount on your next trip feel free to use our Booking code:

2. Witness the most magical sunrise ever

Imagine hot air balloons floating in the sky while the sun rises and starts warming your skin...breathtaking!
Without a doubt the sunrises in Cappadocia were one of the most beautiful we have ever seen! I don't think I was ever this excited about waking up at 04:30 in the morning.
If you stay in a terrace cave hotel, you can enjoy the sunrise in the most lovely decorated decor and see the balloons floating above the city of Goreme. Or you can head up to the balloons launching site and enjoy it from a more natural and dramatic scenery.

3. Experience a hot air balloon ride

I love hights! Contrary to popular beliefs, it's not because of the thrill, it's about the calm!
Because of this I've always wanted to go on a balloon ride, so what better place to do it than here?
The ride was so smooth and it felt like floating on thin air.
There are several balloon companies to choose from, most of them having baskets to fit 16 people on a flight. I do not recommend the ones that carry more as you will most likely feel too crowded.
We went with Butterfly Balloons as we read many good reviews and because it was also recommended by our hotel. They were pretty great throughout the entire flight, our pilot was extremely nice and funny, and at landing we celebrated with champagne and we received flight badges and certificates.
The one thing I did not like about the flight is that we left pretty late in comparison to the other balloons, therefore somewhere around the middle of the 1 hour flight we were amongst the few balloons left in the air as the majority of them had already landed.

4. Pasabag and Goreme Open Air Museum

There are so many impressive and unique structures in Cappadocia and I was left in surprise to find out that most of them were churches.
Goreme Open Air Museum is a complex of churches that best puts into perspective the simple life that used to be lived there. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the entrance fee is of 25 TL.
Pasabag is an alternative to this, however there are not that many churches, but you will find here the famous fairy chimneys.

Goreme Open Air Museum
Fairy Chimneys

5. Uchisar Castle

This is definitely not your usual type of castle, but that does not mean it's not impressive. The whole area around it is pretty beautiful and worth a visit.

6. Explore the lovely valleys of Cappadocia

The Rose Valley, Red Valley, Pigeon Valley or the Love Valley are all beautiful in their own way. They are characterised  by somewhat different structures, I will let you figure out by yourselves why the Love Valley is called as such.

Rose Valley
Love Valley

7. Indulge your senses with the colourful Turkish rugs

There are numerous carpet shops in Cappadocia and although we don't have a single carpet at home, here we were tempted to buy a few. Unfortunately the prices made us change our minds pretty quick.
By far the most famous carpet shop is the Ikman Galerie and it's pretty simple to understand why from the minute you step foot inside. I have a feeling that there are towns that don't have this many rugs as you will find here.

8. Try the famous pottery kebab

Cappadocia is famous for its pottery, ergo their traditional dish is called Testi kebab (testi meaning jug in Turkish). Basically this dish consists of meat (usually beef or chicken) with a few vegetables cooked for several hours in a clay pot. The pot is completely sealed and by the time it is ready they smash it open with a small hammer and serve it on your place. The taste is definitely authentic and unique.
The best place to have testi kebab is at Dibek Restaurant. Besides the great food, the atmosphere is also very authentic there.
Another good place to eat in Goreme is at Kebapzade Restaurant. The food here is pretty cheap and tasty. I recommend here the hummus and the mushrooms with cheese hot appetizer.

How to get to Cappadocia

As mentioned above, Cappadocia is a region formed of several small towns. There are two main airports in this area, one in Kayseri and the other in Nevsehir, this being the one closest to Goreme, only 30 minutes away. There are several direct flights every day from Istanbul, with Turkish Airlines, to both airports. From the airport you can easily arrange transport with your hotel.

Needless to say this place impressed a lot, far beyond what we expected, and we recommend it to you all as a short but lovely getaway.

Sending magical hugs,

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