Cappadocia, meaning “land of beautiful horses,” has surreal landscapes and beauty that is unimaginable. The location, known for its fairy chimneys and hot air balloons should be on everyone’s bucket list. Cappadocia can be reached with a 1.5-hour flight from Istanbul or a much longer drive for the more adventurous. On this trip, I am joined by one of my best friends, Urska – we had so much fun here together!
Here is my top 10 for Cappadocia!
1. Balloon Ride
If you do nothing else when visiting Turkey, take a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia. This is an experience of a lifetime and should not be missed. From the start, seeing 100 balloons glowing at dawn and launching into the sky is incredible. We floated high into the sky and reached an altitude of 2000 meters at sunrise (~6500 feet) and enjoyed spectacular views. From here we drifted into the valleys below feeling like you could reach out and touch the top of the unique fairy chimney structures and floating right above a ridge where hundreds of spectators and even a bride and groom were watching. This trip was stunning, spectacular, and in every sense of the word, absolutely beautiful! Finally, our amazing pilot landed us on the balloon trailer with absolute perfection. I recommend Butterfly Balloons. This adventure is a must!
2. Museum Hotel
The museum hotel is set high on a hill with great views of the valley below with all but two rooms in caves. This hotel lives up to its name with lots of historical antiquities in and out of the rooms. There are multiple terraces and an infinity pool to enjoy with peacocks, pigeons, and turtles in an ever so relaxing environment. Innovative hotel in restored ruins, caves & ancient houses offering high-end dining & a pool. My room had a small pool and fountain with gold fish swimming about and great views. Enjoy the grounds, the pool, relaxing, and breakfast here. Thank you to the staff for their kindness and generosity. You will feel very welcome here and you will not be disappointed.
3. Goreme Open Air Museum
The Goreme Open Air Museum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and should be near the top of your list for places to visit in Cappadocia. There are really cool structures carved right into the rocks including churches and a monastery with beautiful murals as old as 900 AD.
4. Pasabag (Monks Valley)
Passabag is one of the great places to visit and see the mushroom shaped fairy chimneys up close. Here you will also find structures carved right into the rocks. During the summer months, bring lots of water as it can be hot in the sun when you are not checking out the cave dwellings.
5. Wake Up at 4am and Watch the Balloons at Sunrise
I myself and not usually a morning person but I made an exception to watch the spectacle of 150 balloons being launched across Cappadocia. Who knew a sunrise could be so spectacular? Don’t let the word desert fool you, it is pretty cold early in the morning so bring a jacket but definitely worth the amazing views.
7. Derinkuyu Underground City
There are multiple levels of an underground city carved right into the rock. This is a great place to cool off as the temperature is very consistent and comfortable here and learn about history of the area and how people lived in this unique setting. With its ultimate thermal efficiency setting, this was an ingenious way to live at a time when air conditioners and heaters were not around.
8. Dine at Seki
A short walk from the museum hotel, I dined at Seki located in the heart of Uçhisar Village. This restaurant has great views of Pigeon Valley and Mount Erciyes in the distance. There are multiple terraces and great food to match. I have not had a bad meal in Turkey and this place is no exception. Great food with fresh ingredients, service, and atmosphere await anyone dining here.
9. Seyyah Han Restaurant & Cafe
During my tour of Cappadocia, I stopped at Seyyah Han Restaurant for lunch. The food is excellent and the service was just as good. Stop here for great hospitality and delicious food!
One of the activities I enjoyed in Turkey is shopping. Just down the road from the Museum Hotel is a panoramic view point of one of the many valleys in Cappadocia. Here you will find inexpensive and high-quality hand-crafted souvenirs and gifts for your friends back home.
Cappadocia was a dream come true and I enjoyed every moment of my time here.