8 Most Incredible Experiences in Cappadocia, Ranked

No travel has been influential on me to reset everything I have on my mind about projects and chores waiting for me at work & home like Cappadocia. Its such an otherworldly place; there are no buildings, no sign of urbanization, no distractions; just you and the weird nature.

I’ve been to Cappadocia twice, once when I was a kid for a school trip and another time for a business meeting. But when I stumbled upon on internet all the things that I’ve missed in my first two visits, a new phrase surfaced my in my brain: I must go again. And that’s what I did.

Before arriving I did an extensive research. My checklist filters activities like “Is it a tourist trap or not?”, “Will I be sad if I miss that spot?”; and I arrived to a final list. As I checked everything on my list, I am sharing with you – so you’ll have these incredible experiences as well.

no8. Visit Narlikuyu Crater Lake. You can’t see the lake until you drive to the top. But when you do, you are wow-ed!

no7. Take a walk in Ihlara Valley. Don’t forget to bring comfortable shoes, since you have to climb nearly 400 steps! There are hidden churches in the valley, since Christians practiced their religion under pressure. Frescos in the churches were exceptionally beautiful.

no6. Shop for ethnic carpets. There are different carpet ateliers in Cappadocia, most of them work with local producers. My favorite was Bazaar 54; I fell in love with (unfortunately) the most expensive carpet they have. There is also Galeria Ikman which is an Instagram popular spot; and you have to pay 50 TL to get a shot!

no5. Take a break at Ziggy Cafe. You’ll enjoy the terrace big time.

no.4 Photograph fairy chimneys. Must see ones are “3 Beauties”, “Guvercinlik Valley”, “Dervent”, “Pasabag” and “Goreme Open Air Museum”.

no3. Watch Goreme from a Cave House. Arrive at sunset to watch the beauty of old town. We were there in midday, the view was nice but I assume it must be spectacular at sunset. Argos, Museum Hotel, Sultan Cave Suits are within favorites.

no2. Wine & Cheese at Sacred House. Its a concept boutique hotel, and concept is quite unique. Owner of the hotel said it took him 13 years to finish it, since everything was built from scratch; decorations are antique and collected from all over the world.

I felt like I was invited one of Dan Brown’s book setting. Words and photography can’t explain how shocked I was. Let me say, I heard a Chinese couple scream when they check in to their room!

no1. Watch hot air balloons at sunrise. Aaaah, I can’t get over it! I talked about this experience in my previous post, link here.

Bonus: Ride horses while hot air balloons are taking off. Now, that was epic! I was watching hot air balloons as they started to take off, and suddenly I saw people with cowboy hats riding horses between balloons. I tried to capture the moment in below photo; my heart skipped a beat! I guess you should find a tour doing this activity, just ask to your hotel for arrangement.

The Guide You Need Before Planning A Trip to Cappadocia

“My friends told me in a city in Turkey, people are riding camels!” said my Portuguese friend. I am very used to getting odd questions about Turkey like “Do you wear Hijab?”, “Is it always sunny?”, “Can you hold hands in public?” etc. And honestly, these questions frustrate me. Unfortunately, Turkey’s diverse culture is not very well reflected in global media, but that’s the subject of another post. Lets come back to camels!

I was between amused and upset trying to answer my Portuguese friend, but it turns out she was right! People actually ride camels in Turkey, and its in the fairyland of Cappadocia. Of course, its for touristic purposes, but you’ll definitely see camels.

What else to expect and how to plan a visit? I tried to answer frequently asked questions below.

How to arrive to Cappadocia? First alternative is by plane. You can either arrive to Nevsehir or Kayseri airports, then transfer to Cappadocia by airport shuttle or cab. Another alternative is to drive to Cappadocia by car, which I highly recommend; since you can stop by Ihlara Valley and Salt Lake on the way. From Istanbul, it takes around 8 hours by car.

Best time to go: Spring & Autumn. Due to its altitude summers are hot and dry; winters are snowy and cold. Nevertheless, I think snow must be adding more magic to the charm.

How many days to spend? Ideally 3 days, not to rush & to feel serenity of the atmosphere.

Where to stay? Definitely, in a cave hotel! I had a chance to stay in Argos once; no wander why they call that place the most romantic hotel in Europe. Besides Argos, you can find other cave hotels like Sultan Cave Suits or Museum Hotel. There are also more affordable ones like Cappa Villa.

How to get around? Cappadocia is located on a 25.000 km2 land, so its huge. Rent a car or a shuttle with a transfer. I recommend to look for global firms like Avis or Sixt.

How safe is the hot air ballooning? I got on a hot air balloon once, and honestly I can’t say its 100% safe. You’re standing in a wooden basket; there are 2 forces that can move it – the wind and the fire in the balloon. The “balloon riders” are very experienced but the balloon itself is not very technological. Its your choice to take the risk or not. But I must say, its a once in a life time experience! You really feel like you’re flying.

How much is hot air ballooning? $130.

How to arrange hot air ballooning? Reserve your hot air ballooning experience with big firms like DMC, Kapadokya Balloons or Butterfly Balloons.

Don’t leave it to the last day, because balloons don’t get approval to fly everyday. When its windy the tour gets cancelled. Check out this link to see if there is a green flag or a red flag to take off.

Best place to watch balloons: Now this is an otherworldly experience! At 6 a.m. we were at Goreme National Park to watch balloons take off and float in the air. They were so close, I thought I can touch them with my hands!

Goreme National Park is totally free! If you want to shoot balloons from a cave hotel in Goreme, beware that most of them don’t accept guests from outside. Even they do, they ask for fee! Just saying…

If you have other questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

Ozge