Some destinations are overhyped and overpriced. Cappadocia is not that destination. The main attraction in this area is the hot air balloon ride and as gimmicky as it sounds, the ride was fabulous. The lowest price for a ride is 150 Euros, if you pay in cash. And one ride has 20 people. Cappadocia has the lowest prices for hot air balloon rides in the world and least number of cancellations due to weather conditions. Large areas of flat plains make it easier to land the balloon and the views of the fairy chimneys are very unique.
Due to volcanic eruptions, erosion and extreme weather conditions over centuries, Cappadocia has chimneys, valleys, rocks with honey comb formations and a topography which is unlike anywhere else.
We planned a 2 days stay at Cappadocia. The main town is Goreme but we stayed at Cavusin. It doesn’t matter where you stay because all tours pick up and drop off tourists at the hotel. But staying in Goreme would be most convenient because it has many good restaurants and places to hang out.
We booked our balloon ride for day 1 early morning and took a flight from Istanbul previous evening. We stayed at Jacob’s cave suites which is one of the many hotels with a cave-like room. Though it is 3 km from Goreme, the hotel would call a cab whenever we wanted to go to Goreme and there was a great restaurant at walking distance. Cauvsin is mostly deserted and many houses in the town are abandoned. It was eerie how silent the area is. It took a while to get used to.
We were picked up by Voyager Balloons staff at 5.30 am from the hotel. They took us to their office where we had breakfast and then onward to the site of take off. Watching balloons get filled with gas and take off is an amazing experience itself and watching the sunrise in the clouds is once-in-a-lifetime experience. After 60 mins in the clouds, we landed to champagne and a toast.
Everything else in Cappadocia is a filler after the balloon ride. You can go on one of the tours or hike by yourself in the valleys or just chill in the hotel. After the ride, we headed to Goreme and visited the Open Air Museum but it was a waste of time and money. The museum has 14 churches which were of no interest to me and entry cost a bomb. I will rant separately about the Chinese tourists whose only interest was clicking Instagram worthy pictures to show off.
On day 2, we woke up early to see the balloons crossing our hotel. It is better to stay in Cappadocia for 2 days because if your ride gets cancelled on the first day due to weather conditions, you can reschedule it for the 2nd day. Also, watching the balloons from below is an exciting activity too. There are 2 tours in Cappadocia- red tour and green tour. Each of them roughly costs 30 Euro which is quite steep but entry charges are a bomb and many places are at long distances. If we had tried visiting all these sites ourselves, it would have cost much more. So, either skip sightseeing or join a tour. We visited the underground city, pigeon valley, Ihlara valley and Nar lake.
2 days are more than sufficient in Cappadocia but it is a destination that should be visited in Turkey. You could add a 3rd day if you are interested in hikes through the valleys. There are options of renting a car or scooter, if you have an international driving license. Or renting a bicycle, mountain bikes or ATV bikes to explore the areas. But please avoid the peak periods when Chinese tourists throng this destination.
I am unable to post pics because wordpress is quite a bitch. Maybe I will repost with pics on Medium once am back. Until then, head to my Instagram for pics.