During our recent trip to Turkey with Intrepid Travel we fell head over heels for Cappadocia. If you are heading out to Turkey this place (along with Istanbul) is one you do not want to miss! Located in the Anatolian region on Turkey, it is famous for its unique moon-like landscape, underground cities and spectacular hot air balloon rides.
Here are our top 10 things you simple can not miss during a visit to this magical spot known as Cappadocia.
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1. Hot Air Balloon Ride
This simply has to be at the top of our list. Hands down one of the most incredible things we have ever done is experiencing a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia. More balloons lift off from Cappadocia every year than in any other part of the world!
It is the best way to enjoy the sunrise and take in the awe-inspiring landscape. You will be picked up from your hotel bright and early to be taken to your launch location for an hour ride in the sky.
Price: 170 Euro (pricey, but soooo worth it!)
2. Go Shopping for Turkish Carpets
If you are looking to buy a Turkish carpet during your visit to Turkey, make sure you do it in Cappadocia. While we were strolling through the streets in Goreme we came across the most incredible carpet store we have ever seen. Sultan Carpet is a family run store, going back generations. They have hundreds & thousands of carpets to choose from and have the most loveliest owners ever!
This store is also great for a cool Instagram shot if you are looking for one! Just make sure you give the owner some lira for their time and allowing you to take some photos.
3. Goreme Open Air Museum
Just outside of Goreme village you will find the UNESCO site of Goreme Open Air Museum. This is the most famous tourist attraction in Cappadocia and for good reason. It is made up of collection of churches and monk-cells that hold incredible frescos… all cut out of rock!
Price: 45 Lira
4. Try Pottery Kebab
If there is one dish we recommend you try during your time in Cappadocia, it has to be Pottery Kebab. This local specialty takes five hours to cook and requires prior booking to order it (your guide will organise this for you if you are heading to Cappadocia with Intrepid Travel).
This is one of the most traditional meals, available in almost every restaurant in town. What makes it so unique is the clay pot the stew-like dish is served in. The ceramic pot is filled with meat and/or vegetables and lots of spices. It is then sealed and baked to allow the flavours to combine. Once served they will crack open the pot and it is ready to eat.
5. Explore the Underground City
Beneath Cappadocia are underground cities, a whole 36 of them! They are believed to have housed up to 10,000 people, first used to escape the harsh winters and wild animals and later used to hide the first Christians who escaped prosecution by the Roman soldiers.
Warning to anyone who is claustrophobic, the Underground City consists of eight floors allowing you to go very deep into the Earth. It is incredible to think that they were able to build something so elabarote, with winery rooms, ventilation shafts, bedrooms and churches, all by using hand tools with no electricity!
Price: 25 Lira
6. Stay in a Cappadocia Cave Hotel
Want to live like a local when visiting Cappadocia? Then you need to stay in a cave hotel! For thousands of years the people here have been living inside caves, and cave hotels give you the opportunity to experience this lifestyle in luxury. There are many boutique hotels scattered all across Cappadocia, many with fast speed internet and modern bathrooms (so not exactly the living conditions faced by the locals back in the day).
During our Turkey tour with Intrepid Travel they organised our group an amazing two night’s stay at a cave hotel – but there are so many to choose from.
7. Traditional Turkish Dance Night
Ones of our favourite nights while in Cappadocia was the night we went to a traditional Turkish dance show. Located inside a large cave, we spent the night eating & drinking while watching locals perform traditional dances from all across Turkey.
The night ended with us all having a few too many drinks (which are unlimited by the way) and all dancing with the locals late into the night!
Price: 30 Euro
8. Hike Rose Valley
For those who love hiking and up for exploring this unique land by foot we highly recommend choosing one of Cappadocia’s endless trails.
We recommend the Rose Valley hike which we spent the morning doing with our Intrepid Travel Group. It is an amazing way to see some sights that have no other tourists around, such as hidden cave churches and amazing view spots.
9. Souvenir Shopping Galore
If you are wanting to pick up some souvenirs Cappadocia is a great place for it. There are streets lined with stores selling all sorts of Turkish souvenirs. We ended up picking up some apple tea (it is delicious, we highly recommend trying some while you’re here) and also a colourful backpack.
10. Wake up early for Sunrise
Okay … even if you are not a morning person you MUST wake up for sunrise at least once during your visit to Cappadocia. Go find a high point somewhere near town, set up a breakfast picnic and take in the views as you watch 100’s of hot air balloons float around you.
Besides riding in the hot air balloon itself, this was the most incredible thing we witnessed during our entire visit to Turkey and something we want to take our future children to experience in the future.
Thanks to Intrepid Travel for inviting Flying The Nest to experience their Real Turkey Tour, as always all opinions are our own.