Captivating Cappadocia – Turkey

Here’s a post on Cappadocia which I have had in draft for months and months. This morning I was looking through our photos from last year when we were travelling in Turkey and remembering how fantastic it is there so I thought now is the time to get that post finished! I highly recommend visiting Goreme.

After an early morning wake-up, a speedy taxi ride, a flight to Kayseri and a (cheap) hire car promptly named Happy, we were on our way to the magical region of Cappadocia. We arrived in Goreme to hail, yes it was Autumn but none of us expected hail, luckily we were prepared Kiwi and had our thermals and merino clothing packed and ready, but the weather only improved from then.

Hot Air Ballooning. A must do if you visit Cappadocia!

Goreme is a small tourist oriented town that acts as the hub for the region, we had booked our accommodation on AirBnB and were staying in a cave house under the property of one of the locals. After settling in we still had the majority of the day to explore and what better to explore on a miserable day than one of the underground cities in the area.

We decided the Derinkuyu Underground City as it is the largest in the area. Warning: if you don’t like small spaces or being in dimly lit underground, I wouldn’t recommend visiting here. But otherwise it was a very cool place, and hard to believe that 20,000 people could hide out in here if necessary. We were a bit cheeky and opted for the cheaper option of exploring by ourselves but the tour left at a similar time so we listened in a few times. The drive to and from Derinkuyu shows how uninhabited the Nevsihir region is, lots of housing but we saw barely any people.

The next morning we woke up at 5am so we could get picked up for our Hot Air Balloon ride!!! This was probably the biggest splurge we had in our 3 week holiday at $250 each but totally worth the early morning and freezing temperature. Soaring over the insane Cappadocian landscape and seeing the sun rise was an unforgettable experience. We got back in time for breakfast and to head out for the day.

We ended up going for a day walk in the Red and Rose Valleys, parking the car in the car-park at the top of the valley gives you a great view of Mount Erciyes which we hadn’t seen the previous day as it was overcast. Every corner we turned in the Valley was a new sight; from man-made caves in the volcanic tuff, painted churches and pretty coloured rock formations. Luckily we had snapped a photo of the map at the start of the walk as all the other information boards we saw had the map removed which was not very helpful. On the walk back towards the top car-park there is a church carved out of the hill which was absolutely breathtaking and a must see!

Our last full day in Goreme was jam-packed with activities and first stop was the Open Air Museum which we felt was a little touristy but worthwhile overall to see the old paintings. We do regret not paying the extra few Lira to go inside Dark Church, but at this point of our holiday we were still watching our expenditure.

Ortahisar Castle and Uchisar Castle are very cool each in their own way. The former is a rough fort carved out of a large rock formation with quite informal ticketing (about 2TL each). The ascent of which is a little dodgy feeling; staircases hanging off the side of the rock and parts held together in places by staples and chain, but enjoyable nonetheless. Uchisar Castle sits above Goreme township and is is a little more touristy, most likely due to accessibility. There is one internal room that you walk through after paying entry fee then the remainder is winding your way up the outside of the Castle. The views here are STUNNING, on a clear day like when we visited you could see all the way to Mount Erciyes as it is one of the highest point in the area. I imagine that it would be a great point to view sunsets from as well.

I highly recommend a visit to Cappadocia, if any of my future travels have places as relaxed and amazing I will be a very happy girl. Also if you are visiting there is a tasty restaurant called Dibek where I was taken for my birthday which we left very, very full and satisfied.

– Lauren

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