Cappadocia is a place where one should not miss in Turkey. This place is undoubtedly beautiful with magnificent canyons, cave hotels, panoramic drinking spots. It is also famous for hot air balloon rides. Indeed, what you see on social media about Cappadocia is what you get there, not any false representation. So, keep reading to find out more tips and recommendation below :)
You may travel to Cappadocia by bus or plane.
Flight: There are 2 airports, Nevsehir (NAV) and Kayseri (ASR). Both airports are not too far away from the main town Goreme. If you plan to pick up a rented car from airport, I personally think Nevsehir has more car rental companies available. It takes approximately 40mins drive to Goreme and about an hour plus from Kayseri airport.
Bus: If you are running on budget trip, taking bus is the best option. There are many bus companies servicing Goreme route, you may check out companies like Metro, Kamil Kok etc.
Rent a car: Having a car saved us lots of time as some tourist spots are not easily reachable by using public transports. However, do take note that you will need an international driving license to be able to drive in Turkey. The internatiional driving license can be easily applied at JPJ offices. Cars in Turkey are left-hand drive, but I am sure you will get used to the traffic and road systems in no time. Also bear in mind that the cars are equipped with GPS trackers, so do not try doing silly things when you are on the move.
WHERE TO STAY
There are several towns in Cappadocia where you can choose to stay. The most popular and central is Goreme. You may also opt for some beautiful cave hotels nearby in Uchisar and Urgup town. If you are a dedicated Instagrammer, you have probably done your homework by saving all the beautiful Instagram spots in Cappadocia. However, many of those places are in the hotels and access is strictly for guests only. For us, we stayed in two different cave hotels in order to extract the most out of Cappadocia in terms of different angles. Therefore, you should spend 3 to 4 days ideally in Cappadocia.
SULTAN CAVE SUITES
This is the place! The Sultan Cave Suites gained popularity very quickly following a roof top "breakfast" with hot air balloon photoshoot by famous Instagrammer went viral. Thanks to the fame, you will probably need to book this hotel at least 4 months ahead. Of course, me being a non-risk taker booked this place 5 months in advance and guess what, some of the rooms were already booked out!
**Note: Keep in mind that access to Sultan Cave Suites’ rooftop is strictly for guests! The staff regularly check to ensure only guests are in the premise.
MILLSTONE CAVE SUITES
Millstone Cave Suites was the first choice when I started to plan the trip to Cappadocia. After two nights in Sultan Cave Suites, we checked into Millstone Cave Suites which is located in Uchisar town. The reason why i chose this hotel is simply because the architecture and interior are more modern and contemporary. To add, this location is on a higher ground overlooking Goreme, so you will be able to catch a panaromic sunrise view.
The restaurant is also a must as it offers gorgeous view of fairy chimneys in Goreme, like I mentioned earlier. Breakfast is not a buffet serving style but it serves decent typical Turkish breakfast spread, such as various types of breads and pastries, cooked eggs, cheeses and jams.
If you want a more quiet place and yet still offers amazing sunrise with hot air balloons view, i highly recommend Millstone Cave Suites.
WHAT TO SEE
HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE
I cant think of any excuse to not ride a hot air balloon here! Although the price for the hot air balloon ride is quite steep, but trust me this is the highlight of our entire Cappadocia trip. We got picked up at 5.00 am for the magical once in a lifetime experience. Words cant describe the excitement when the hot air balloon slowly drifting over the sculpted canyons of the Cappadocian landscape and watching the sunrise on the basket.
I recommend Butterfly Balloon as they have good review and some of the most experienced pilots with thousands of hours of flying time. This tour includes a transfer, breakfast buffet, 1-hour balloon ride, and a champagne celebration after your ride! Book for your first day in Cappadocia as flights are sometimes cancelled due to weather condition.
GOREME OPEN AIR MUSEUM
Kickstart your first day in Goreme by seeing the Goreme Open Air Museum. This museum is one of the popular things to do and this place surrounds an area of many of the best preserved frescoed churches. We highly recommend you taking an audio tour else you will be lost and have no idea what you are looking at.
RED VALLEY PANORAMIC VIEWPOINT
Red Valley is a popular hiking place in Cappadocia. If you plan to hike through the valley you probably need to wear proper hiking outfits and be there few hours before sunset. Head to the Red Valley View point after your hike so that you able to get a perfect spot with your loved ones overlooking the etheral landscape of Red Valley. As the sun sets, Red Valley basks in a warm glow and you'll get a spectacular sunset view. There were this cute little cafe at the viewpoint with round wooden tables and couches arranged properly for you to enjoy the perfect view while sipping in your favorite drinks. The cafe serves fresh juices, beer and wine and some snacks. Price is quite reasonable.
Uchisar Castle is a member of the UNESCO World Heritage list and it dates back to the Byzantine Era. It is the highest point in Cappadocia and you can get the best view overlooking Uchisar Village all over the region Uchisar Castle.
KAYMAKLI UNDERGROUND CITY
Kaymakli Underground city is slightly further from town. It is one of the famous underground cities in Cappadocia. The underground cities begun in the 7th or 8th centuries BCE. We did not hire a tour guide so what I read online about the history of the underground cities might not as complete hearing the explanation from the locals. Today the city descends 8 levels into the earth and has stables, a church and storage rooms connected by over a hundred tunnels. The underground cities were hiding places for those fleeing from religious persecution over the years.
LOVE VALLEY & PIGEON VALLEY
Pigeon Valley. We dropped by Pigeon Valley on the way back from Kaymakli Underground city and the valley is known for it’s thousands of tiny pigeon houses that have been carved into the rocks. The valley is 6km long connecting both Uchisar and Goreme town.
Love valley. I think is quite obvious why this place known as Love valley by photos.
WHAT TO EAT
DIBEK RESTAURANT (GOREME)
Pottery kebab is one of the popular dishes in Cappadocia. The waiter brings out a clay pot and cracks it with the hammer infront of you before your kebab is served. Other than food, the setting of the restaurant was lovely with cushion set up on the floor that makes you feel like home.
CAFE SAFAK (GOREME)
Home cooked food is what we all love the most! Cafe Safak is family owned restaurant and price is very affordable!
Müze Cd No:28 | Goreme, +90 384 2712597. Open: 7am - 11pm Price: starting from ₺9
This is one of the famous touristy coffee place as you can see the decor is very instagrammable. They have a cosy terrace with beautiful patio, this is a great place to chill and shisha.
Müze Cad.Terminal Yanı No: 12 | Goreme, +90 384 2712349. Open: 8am - 1am Price: starting from ₺9
PUMPKIN GOREME RESTAURANT & ART GALLERY
This is a 5 year-old family-owned restaurant in a cave-styled decor with carved-pumpkin lamps dotted throughout the interior.
Isali Mah. iceri Dere Sok. | Goreme, +90 542 808 50 50. Open: 7pm - 12am Price: starting from ₺9
KADINELI RESTAURANT (UCHISAR)
A simple and cozy restaurant located in Uchisar town.
Yukari Mah. Fatih Cad.. | Goreme, +90 384 219 20 10. Open: 8.30am - 9pm Price: starting from ₺9