If you haven’t visited Cappadocia and neither is it on your list of travel destinations, then you must add it. It’s a small town in Turkey, with so much history and amazing activities and sightings. Since I have done extensive research for the best places to go and visit prior to coming here, the luxury of planning your visit from my experience is all here on this page.
Take a Flight Here
Sadly, there are no direct flights to Cappadocia. So in order to get here, one must fly into Istanbul as a layover before flying into either 2 of the nearest airport, Kayseri or Neveshir. In Istanbul, you will be required to purchase a visa before you are allowed to pass through customs. Purchasing a visa is easy, either by the machine which is 15 Euros or at the office across customs which is 35 Euros. After passing through customs, you will have to exit the International Airport and walk over to the Domestic airport. I flew into Kayseri, got a rental car and took a 45 minute drive to our hotel in Goreme.
Goreme is the main town in Cappadocia, as there are Neveshir, Urgup, and Avanos nearby as well. All towns are easily accessible by car so it is highly recommend to rent a car at the airport (if you can drive manual). Otherwise there are other options such as ATV and bicycle rentals in town.
Book a Stay
Sultan Cave Suites
We booked this for our first night and due to unfortunate traveling issues, my boyfriend was the only one who stayed here overnight, while I arrived right before breakfast and missed the hot air balloon launch.
However, from my short stay there before checking out in a few hours, I could tell this place was magical. It gave me such a comfy vibe and I could totally imagine how mesmerizing it would have been to watch the hot air balloons rise over their roof terrace during sunrise!
This famous Instagrammable location is only for hotel guests so definitely reserve your room early, as Sultan Cave Suites is an affordable and popular selection that becomes quickly booked.
For the remainder of our 2 days to follow, we originally booked this place, but our specific room had electrical problems (just our luck, which isn’t surprising at this point anymore). We were accommodated at another hotel a minute away in walking distance which made up for the issue, and if you watched my instagram story, you’d know how impeccable my accommodation was! To top that, Museum Hotel was kind enough to let us visit their hotel on our last sunrise to watch the hot air balloons launch.
It normally doesn’t rain during the summer in Cappadocia, as that’s the hottest and driest season to visit and also considered as peak season. In our case, that morning, it did rained and all flights were canceled.
This place is also one of the most Instagrammable location and I can definitely see why! The hotel itself and its terrace is stunning and if you’re lucky, the white peacock would come out for a visit and photobomb your pictures. This place also get completely book quick as well, so definitely plan wisely!
Of course these aren’t the only 2 hotels you should stay at. Had my time been longer, I would have stayed at a few more hotels with 1-2 days give and take at each hotel. Stay posted for I’ll be doing another post soon on the top hotels to check in for Cappadocia for the best views and pictures!
Be Adventurous with “Once in a Lifetime” Experiences
Hot Ride Balloon during Sunrise
Imagine being in the air with 360 degree view of 100-150 hot air balloons around you, floating over the beautiful Cappadocia rock formations. We booked our flight online after carefully searching for reputable and safe companies and went with Voyager Balloons. We were picked up early morning (like 4AM early) for some breakfast and tea, and paid right before our flight. There are a lot of great companies but a separate post of our experiences with Voyager will soon to follow.
Horseback Riding in Rose Valley for Sunset
I’ve actually never gone horseback riding before, so this was one of my favorite experiences ever! I got in touch with Lucky Horse Ranch and had the most incredible time. Even though I had very minimal experiences, Muhammad was able to ramp me up as I was riding out to Rose Valley and even let me ride on his favorite horse, Melek! He tailors the tour base on your level of expertise so if you’ve been horseback riding multiple times before, you may even a better route than I did and gallop away! It was such an intimate experience as it was just Muhammad and us on the tour, while other tours that we passed along the way had at least 5-10 people. It’s all about quality for me and Muhammad delivered that and much more.
Make sure to stop by Galerie Ikman in the center of Goreme and get yourself a beautiful carpet and so much more! This shop is definitely a one stop shop for all souvenirs.
This shop is one of the most Instagrammable locations in Cappadocia, so it will be a popular spot for photographers, bloggers, and couples doing their wedding/engagement shoots. The owners have a reservation list if anyone would like to book the spot for professional pictures. Otherwise, be sure to be respectful, kind and spread some love to the owners here by buying some souvenirs or even a carpet before taking pictures in their store!
Also, if you’re using Google Maps to get here, type in “Ottoman Hand Carpet” for the correct location. This place is located across the street from Dibek Restaurant.
Watch The Sun Set
This viewpoint is popular amongst the tourist and locals to watch the sun set over Goreme. There are camels up here for pictures along with a few concessions for food and drinks. It’s definitely a struggle if you have to walk up to the view point so definitely recommend driving up. There are a limited amount of parking so get there a bit early and find a cozy spot to sit or hang out and wait for that sun to set!
Visit Historic Locations
This is one of the smaller locations with the fairy chimneys, but definitely a great place to wonder around and even climb into one of them. We came here right before lunch, which surprisingly was not crowded at all. The locals here do suggest coming early if you want a picture with no crowds as there are many tours that stops here. There are also camels that sits in the shade, but charges you 20 TL (~$5 USD) for a picture next to it, or 150 TL (~$32 USD) for a picture next to it up by the fairy chimneys (the popular prop for this Instagram location).
Goreme Open Air Museum
This is the most famous and also a UNESCO World Heritage location with a lot of fairy chimneys. These fairy chimneys used to be monasteries and old churches. This place also requires an entrance fee. Due to the amount of time we had, we could not spend some time here or taken any pictures of it, but the locals have mentioned that the average time spent here is about 2 hours, as it’s a very large place and lots of trails to walk through!
Eat Delicious Turkish Food
I’m going to have to say you MUST eat at the following places below.
Zeytin Cafe ve Ev Yemekleri
We came here for lunch when we visited Urgup and got two different beef dish with rice. The owner complimented us with some Turkish salad with vinegrette and apple tea. Being our first authentic Turkish food in Cappadocia, we were so impressed with the flavors and how soft the meat was.
After a long day and also quite sore from horseback riding, this place completely hits the spot. We ordered a beef dish with rice again as we loved the way it tasted at our previous lunch spot. This place served the best onion balls ever! These onion balls are perfect sizing with fillings of rice and yummy yogurt dipping sauce.
Topdeck Cave Restaurant
This was hands-down, my favorite restaurant in Cappadocia and all of Turkey. Everything was scrumptious, and all the meals are made to order. They serve you a small appetizer of the soup of the day, and if you like it, you can order the actual size (which is what I ended up doing – this tomato/onion soup was so savory). The owner gave us complimentary salad in a special vinegrette, along with bread. We ordered some chicken rolls, another beef dish with rice, and for dessert, baklava with ice cream. The dessert was so satisfying! Turkish coffee is definitely something to try once, and if you don’t like it, it’s definitely not for you, as the texture is thick. For me however, I’ve been ordering one of these almost everywhere. This place gets super busy quick so definitely make a reservation. They don’t have a website so I contacted them via Facebook and the owner/chef reserved a table for me.
Viewpoint Cafe Restaurant
We actually stumbled here by chance during lunch time when we were really hungry and just wanted to sit and rest. However, after ordering a Turkish meatballs dish and a chicken tortellini, I was truly impress! My pasta was delicious! We also ordered kizarmis dondurma, which is fried ice cream and it was perfect for the weather. There are many great restaurants in Cappadocia, but if you’re already in Goreme and need to quickly stop somewhere to eat, consider this option. They also have hookah, karaoke, and a great view of Goreme (if you come during sunset/dinner).
Don’t make the same mistake I made of speeding through this fascinating town by only staying for a 2 days. Give yourself 4 or more days. That way in case of bad weather, you’d still have several opportunities to see the hot air balloon launch.
Of my 2 days here, I’ve only highlighted the must-do’s, so depending on your schedule, you can do so much more if time permits. It also depends what type of traveler you are; so travel at your own pace, make your own itinerary, and use this as a basis! 😊
For more information and even more reasons to visit Cappadocia, check out All About Rosalilla‘s blog post!
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