They say time is flying when you are having a great time. 4 weeks spend in Turkey went by in a heart beat and while I’ve been taking a bit off-time here on the blog – I’ve been present in life like I haven’t been in years. This trip was so special and magical to me, I simply wanted to take it all in and be fully present in the now… coming from L.A, jumping right into an amazing new adventure was exactly what I needed. The culture, the people, the food, the landscape, the climate, the mentality… Everything just seemed like a fresh breath of air to me.
The moment I got to Turkey, it felt like coming home. The Turkish culture is one of a kind. It is very close to my father’s origin, Serbia. The people are very warm-hearted, super friendly, open, always ready to help, and most of all, – very genuine. No matter if it was Istanbul, Alanya, Antalya, Side or the villages of Cappadocia – if it was sea side or the cities of Anatolia… it is applicable for every city I visited and everyone I met throughout my entire journey.
Waking up in Cappadocia
Even tho I’ve come across so many wonderful places in Turkey, Cappadocia has been on my travel bucket list since I’ve first seen pictures of it. My greatest experiences & memories from this trip were made here.
Landscapes that you will have never witnessed in your life before and sunrises that seem to be drawn by Bob Ross. Cappadocia is almost like visiting another planet. Simply UNREAL and full of magic, that words alone are not enough to describe the beauty of it.
You may not ever get a chance to visit another planet, but a visit to Cappadocia will make you forget you’re on Earth. Cappadocia is an area in central Anatolia in Turkey best known for its unique moon-like landscape, underground cities, cave churches and houses carved in the rocks.
Cappadocia was sculpted out of the tuff of the volcanic Erciyes and Hasan mountains, through millions of years by sand and water erosion, and become the base for several civilizations.
Stunningly beautiful not just above the surface, but also beneath the ground. There are underground cities that were created many centuries ago and some of them are more than ten levels deep. These were not just used as temporary places of shelter but people lived here permanently… Can you believe that?!… It was truly fascinating walking through such place of unbelievable history.
I would suggest taking a tour with a guide for this. (They usually stand outside the cave or you book one of those touristic tour trips) While I usually don’t like the typical touristic tour guide thingy… Going through these underground cities without a guide would have made the experience much less impactful. The city really doesn’t look like much without knowing what everything is. Erhan, our guide, had so much knowledge, and he really was able to paint a vivid picture of what it was like to live in these underground cities.
Things to know: Göreme national park and Cappadocia were also placed on the World Heritage list in 1985.
Cappadocia is massive and even if you spend a week here, you will barely just touch the surface. There is a love valley (Zemi valley), red valley, rose valley, Ihlara valley, pigeon valley, and many other valleys… So, as you can imagine the range of activities in Cappadocia are endless. You can go camel riding (which is THE best thing EVER, – soooo much fun), hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, you can hop on a hot air balloon ride, do historical tours, culture tours & many, many more…
Seeing the unique scenery of Cappadocia from the vantage point of a hot air balloon is also an unforgettable experience. If you do one thing while in Cappadocia, a hot air balloon ride gets my vote. It may be painful paying the fee, it does get a bit pricey (approx. 170$) but the view and memories you will have make it worthwhile.
Experiencing the hot air balloons from the ground, I’d suggest waking up super early (around 5.30 – 6 ish). Just in time to catch the sunrise, while watching the hot air balloons floating up into the air.
To say that this experience is amazing would be an understatement, it is pure MAGIC.
If you’re a sucker for viewpoints like me, then Cappadocia will not disappoint you. It’s landscape is hilly, which makes it easy to find elevated areas where you can sit for hours and enjoy a breathtaking view. I never had to research or hunt for a viewpoint while I was there… I found a few wonderful panoramic views over the rock valleys, while exploring on my own.
I think exploring Cappadocia on your own, by renting a car, is the most fun. You will get to see something special at every turn and apart from all the touristic must-see places, you have the freedom to discover something new and let this spectacular place have an unbelievable effect on you.
The rock castle at Uchisar is the highest point in Cappadocia, is one of the most magical view over the entire area. Some more favorite viewpoints are Goreme’s sunset point, Uchisar castle, Three Sister Rock panorama point and Red Valley sunset point.
While I’ve been constantly feeling like I was in a Hollywood movie, I sometimes had to pinch myself if what my eyes were seeing was real… That’s how much I was taken by all of it.
How to get to Cappadocia
The quickest and most convenient way to get to Cappadocia is to fly. Airports are in Kayseri and Nevsehir. Airport shuttles can connect you from the airport to your hotel. Buses are also an option, but expect a 12-hour journey from Istanbul and around 5h from Antalya.
Getting around Cappadocia
The best way to get around Cappadocia is either by renting a car, group exhibitions, or by hiring a private driver. Public transport is not a viable option in Cappadocia.
Where to stay
If you are longing to enjoy the full experience, book a night or 2 at Sultan Cave Suites . It’s very charming hotel is located in the old part of Göreme. It’s super famous terrace (many of these unbelievably gorgeous shots on Instagram where taken here) is perfect for enjoying a wonderful sunrise, – while watching hot air balloons going up to the horizon.
If you want to lose touch with reality in a fairy tale destination, then Cappadocia is definitely for you. MEMORIES that will last a lifetime.
Which point about Cappadocia is your favorite? I would love to know…