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Cappadocia is without a doubt Turkey's most instagrammable destination!
Hundreds of balloons take to the skies shortly before sunrise to float above the fairy chimneys below - who wouldn't want to escape here!
WHERE TO STAY IN CAPPADOCIA?
The town of Göreme is the perfect base for your adventures and is where most travellers choose to stay. There are endless boutique hotels built right into the rocks which will also offer the perfect spot to get those sunrise balloon photos!
We enjoyed a perfect few days at Travellers Cave Hotel right in the heart of the fairy chimney land!
WHEN IS BEST TO VISIT CAPPADOCIA?
Cappadocia could be a good destination all year round, depending on what you are looking for.
From December through March there is significant likelihood of snowfall, so if you're after a magical winter break then I imagine snow-covered fairy chimneys are a pretty good choice!
July and August see the hottest temperatures of 30+ celcius, which is perhaps not ideal for wandering almost desert-like ancient settlements (we visited late August and it did get a little exhausting at times!).
Between April and June, and again from September to late November the weather should be ideal for exploring Cappadocia, however this is also when a lot of other tourists decide to visit so things can be a little busier!
HOW MANY DAYS DO YOU NEED IN CAPPADOCIA?
You need to spend at least 3 full days in Cappadocia to be able to fully explore the surrounding area and fit in a sunrise balloon ride.
You are not guaranteed to fly on your booked balloon morning due to weather conditions, so you should allow a few days after your scheduled flight incase your initial one is cancelled.
GETTING TO CAPPADOCIA AND TRAVEL ONCE THERE
There are 2 airports located in Cappadocia - Nevsehir and Keyseri. Nevsehir is closer to the town of Göreme and is therefore where we flew into.
To get around once you're there, we highly recommend renting a car from the airport to make the most of your time here as public transport is limited and attractions are fairly spread out.
Your alternative option is hiring a private driver, however this will be much pricier than renting a car!
Cappadocia is truly one of those magical destinations that should be on everyone's bucket list - the fairy chimneys, the sunrise sky littered with hot air balloons, the huge underground cities - there's something for everyone here.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN CAPPADOCIA
Explore the underground cities of
Derinkuyu & Kaymakli
It's said that there are over 200 underground cities in the Cappadocia region, but there are 2 that stand out from the crowd; having become extremely popular sites to visit for anyone who is in Turkey in recent times.
The history and origins of the cities are currently unconfirmed, but it's widely assumed they were used as safe-places or shelters for locals hiding from invaders as early as the 7th and 8th centuries BC!
The underground city of Derinkuyu was only discovered in 1963 and is an easy 30 minute drive from Göreme. The site will take you at-least 1 hour to explore the many tunnels and passages.
Derinkuyu is the widest and deepest of the underground cities but is actually the lesser visited of the two as the tour groups tend to visit Kaymakli.
If you're claustrophobic but still keen to explore the underworld then we would suggest Derinkuyu out of the two as it offers a little more space than the winding tunnels of Kaymakli!
Remember to bring a jumper as the site is fully underground and is therefore much colder than the surface - which in the heat of the day is a welcome break!
Derinkuyu was 50TL per person plus 5TL for parking (August 2020).
Kaymakli is the busier of the two underground cities and very slightly closer to Göreme than Derinkuyu. You will need to budget atleast another hour here to fully explore.
If you have your own car we suggest heading to Derinkuyu first, and then hitting Kaymakli on your way back to Göreme.
Although this is typically the busier site this was also the more interesting of the two, with lots of winding tunnels and rooms it felt like you were truly in an underground city!
Kaymakli was also 50TL per person and 5TL for parking (August 2020).
GÖREME OPEN AIR MUSEUM
Although it can get pretty busy, the Göreme open air museum is a must-see spot in if you want to see how the people of Cappadocia lived many years ago - sometimes things are busy for a reason!
These perfectly carved houses are a fascinating couple of hours of exploring.
The museum was 75TL per person and an additional 25TL per person for entrance to the dark church which we highly recommend you add on.
SUNRISE BALLOON WATCHING
On any given day up to 135 hot air balloons take to the skies of Cappadocia, creating the most stunning views from the ground between the fairy chimneys! It's an early start to make sure you get a good viewing spot and you should be prepared to wait a while before you finally see a balloon come floating over the city as their take off can be delayed for many reasons - but we promise it's worth the wait!
As we were in Cappadocia during the middle of covid there were much fewer balloons in the air than normal, but it was still an incredible sight!
SUNRISE BALLOON FLIGHT
You didn't come to Cappadocia to just watch the balloons, you came to be in one!
You'll need to be up quite a while before sunset and picked up by your balloon operator to be taken for a pre-ride briefing before they drive you out to the launching area just outside of town.
The balloon pilot has no control over where the balloon will float as it's dependent on the winds, but you're guaranteed incredible views regardless of where you end up!
The balloon flights cost over $100 per person and are worth every penny!
Balloons can be private or shared with others - we were lucky enough to be the only people who had chosen the longer balloon ride on our particular morning and so we had a balloon to ourselves!
We flew with Royal Balloons Cappadocia which we can highly recommend!
Uçhisar Castle is the highest point in Cappadocia and offers the most incredible views over the region!
Don't expect too much from castle itself (especially if you've already explored the underground cities) - it's the endless views from the top that you've come here to see!
The castle is around 10TL to enter, although is apparently flexible as we were out of lira that day and so they accepted €5 instead!
VISIT THE VALLEYS
Pigeon Valley, Love Valley, the twin chimneys - take your pick! Everyone needs to spend a little time wandering between the 'forests' of the huge rock chimneys around Göreme!
If you happen to have a drone with you - these are the places to fly it!
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