After 5 days in Istanbul, we took a direct flight to Cappadocia. We landed at the tiny Nevesheir airport, about 35 minutes drive from the main town. There were shuttle buses to town available for 15 lira ($6 USD) right outside the airport.
It is also possible to take an overnight bus from Istanbul to Cappadocia but we were lucky to get a flight for quite cheap. The bus ride will take around 10 hours vs a 1-hour flight. I know what we prefer…
We stayed here for 2 nights/1 days, but would we recommend having 2 full days.
The alien-like ‘cave town’ of Göreme is an amazingly unique place to visit. Over the years, volcanoes have left crazy rock formations, which were then converted into caves by humans to live in. Now the majority have been commercialized and turned into hotels or resorts, including some with underground pools and spas.
We stayed at the budget-friendly Melek Cave Hotel in Göreme. It was an OK stay but we would probably not but recommended it unless you’re looking for a room that sleeps three people, which is the reason we chose it, so our costs could be divided. You’re hardly ever in the room, so it was really just a place to store your bags. If you really want to experience these unique cave hotels in luxury, we would suggest staying at the Sultan Cave Suites or Phocas Cave Suites.
Why go to Cappadocia?
There are a number of reasons but what tops the list, is checking out the unusual alien landscape dotted with fairy chimneys (phallic looking rocks), to stay in a cave hotel, to go on a jaw-dropping hot air balloon ride and to explore one of the ancient underground cities. There are 36 underground cities in Cappadocia, the widest one is Kaymakli underground city, while the deepest is the Derinkuyu Underground City. We visited Derinkuyu.
You can read here for a more detailed description of other things to do in Cappadocia.
Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride
What an experience! This had been on our list of things to do for a while now so it was very special. We can see why it is rated as of the best places in the world to do hot air ballooning.
Choosing a company was tough though because there are over 50 companies that do the same trip yet the price, breakfast, location etc differ slightly.
Safety is the highest concern for us so based on reviews we chose Royal Balloon, who were more expensive but when you’re flying in the air, you want the best. The queen package included pick up from your hotel, buffet breakfast (at 4 am!), balloon ride, champagne and strawberries (at 6:30 am!) and transport back to the hotel. The company was awesome and we highly recommend them to anyone who wants to experience ballooning over Cappadocia. This particular company also offered a discount if with paying using American Express.
Cappadocia Day Tour
Although we woke up 3:45 am for the hot air balloons and arrived back to the room at 7:30 am, we were trying to make the most of our day in Cappadocia before we flew out the next day so we took a day tour through Nese Tours. We took their Green Tour, which is one of their three options.
This company was also highly rated on Trip Advisor and offered a discount to pay with cash. Unfortunately, we were given a guide who would have preferred to be anywhere else. After we complained to the manager we were told that he was a freelance guide hired for the day because they were unusually busy. It’s always a gamble with tour guides and you just have to cross your fingers that you luck out. The tour itself was interesting in parts and boring in others. We did spend a lot of time on the bus as opposed to off and it also rained for the second half of the day. I think if we had had an engaging tour guide, this could have made it all much more enjoyable.
With this said, exploring the underground city of Derinkuyu was a unique experience, however, we would not suggest entering if you have any form of claustrophobia! You spend 45 minutes underground walking through very narrow corridors, steep steps and small areas! While some seven stories underground we were led through the tunnels and shown particular rooms including the old kitchens, church, wineries, boobie traps and more. Quite fascinating to experience and to know that people actually lived under here for extended periods of time. It could hold up to 20,000 people together with their livestock and food stores.
Only 10% of the tunnels are open to the public, as the rest are deemed unsafe due to potential collapse and getting lost – some have died under here, including many in the boobie traps used to ward off enemies in days past.
A very fascinating and historical city to visit. Cappadocia is a must-visit destination for any trip to Turkey.
Marriage days survived: 105