Things To Do in Cappadocia: Turkey

Before you leave for another adventure you probably ask yourself what the top things to do in Cappadocia are.

Cappadocia is located in eastern Anatolia in the center of Turkey. The easiest way to get there is by flying through either Nevsehir Kapadokya Airport (NEV) or Kayseri Erkilet Airport (ASR) and arranging for an airport pickup through your hotel. Expect to be cooped in the shuttle for a little over an hour.

I was there with my cousin, Nori, and would have to say that our short three-day trip was one of the most memorable that I have ever experienced. With the best small luxury hotels in the world boasting the finest architecture that Mother Earth and ancient civilization has to offer, Cappadocia is certainly well equipped to handle even the pickiest of well-heeled travelers. Here are three noteworthy things to do.

Stay At a Cave Hotel

Cave hotels are a big business in Cappadocia as not many places in the world offer travelers the opportunity to stay in a cave dwelling with all the expected mod-cons. From the myriad of cave hotels in the area, we opted to stay at Kelebek Cave Hotel in Göreme.

Things To Do in Cappadocia

With hand carved furniture, the use of locally produced textiles and bath products, fairy chimneys and flower gardens, nothing is lacking when it comes to this small luxury hotel. You can choose to stay at one of the many cave rooms, stone arched rooms or rooms within the two fairy chimneys that were created through the prehistoric forces of a volcanic eruption, strong winds and rain. These fairy chimneys once housed local hermits and years later, were converted into rooms where grapes were stored and at one point, pigeon rearing was done.

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Although there are plenty of cave hotels to choose from, I recommend staying at Kelebek Cave Hotel as it boasts excellent service, a Turkish bath, swimming pool, magnificent views and an incredible breakfast spread. It is also housed in the best location in town as it is within walking distance from the world famous Göreme Open Air Museum, shops, restaurants and other sights. The rooms are exactly as pictured on the website so you need not worry about unpleasant surprises upon arrival, a rare treat when it comes to hotels.

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Touring

When in Cappadocia, you must see the sights and the best way to do so is through a tour company. You can book a tour through your hotel or like me, take matters into your own hands and walk around Göreme for other options. As Göreme is Cappadocia’s tourism central, you will have your pick of the lot when it comes to tour packages. Although there are several tour options available, the most common are the Red and Green tours.

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Image Courtesy: flickr.com/AdamBaker

The Green route will take you to the ancient underground city of Derinkuyu, Ihlara Valley, Selime Monastery, Pigeon Valley and several other famous sites including an onyx workshop. The Red tour will bring you to Red Valley, Cavusin Old Village, Pasabag fairy chimneys and a couple of other incredible places. Although both tours are equally raved about, Nori and I opted for the Green tour as we were dying to see the underground city.

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Image Courtesy: flickr.com/MustafaTarikOlmez

 At the end of our long, tiring and dusty day, we got back to the hotel with no regrets, save for the fact that we didn’t have enough days in Cappadocia for the Red tour. We were however booked for a hot air ballon flight the next morning and promptly called it an early night after polishing off an entire bottle of local wine and indulging in Testi Kebab; meat and vegetables cooked in a clay pot that is broken open in front of you when served.

Hot Air Balloon Flight

We were picked up from our hotel at 4:20am and were driven to what can only be described as a barren and pitch black area where coffee and breakfast sweet cakes were served. There, we met the other passengers and our pilot, 18 people in all. Albeit a tad early to be using any form of brainpower, it was a great experience watching the team assemble our hot air balloon. The entire process took an hour and by the time everyone hopped into the basket and lifted off, we were wide awake, excited and raring to go.

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Surprisingly, my jittery nerves calmed the hell down the higher we soared. All around us, hot air balloons were taking off with eager passengers standing shoulder to shoulder in their oversized baskets. I counted over 50 balloons in the air but lost count as more lifted off. As the sun made its glorious appearance above the mountainous horizon and higher up into the sky to settle in for the day, I knew that I was experiencing one of the most magical moments of my life. Serenity and calm washed over the entire basket and for a brief moment, silence permeated our group as everyone silently soaked in the magic. Excited gibberish and selfies promptly ensured, breaking the rare moment of silence.

Things To Do in Cappadocia 11Image Courtesy: flickr.com/MoyanBrenn

Every cent spent on the flight was worth it. We were even greeted with sparkling wine, a group photo and a cheesy certificate upon landing. Like the day tours, you can sign up for a sunrise hot air balloon flight through your hotel or one of the many tour companies in town. Keep in mind that it will cost you on average of €120 per head so scouting for a company that offers discounted rates is a very good idea if you are traveling in a group. Try to book your flight and day tour through the same company to enjoy the best rates.

Overall, Cappadocia truly is a curious traveler’s dream come true. One blog post simply isn’t sufficient to convey to you just how wonderful an experience it was being there. It is just one of those rare places left on earth that touches you so deeply that it will surprise even the most jaded and cynical of people. If you ever find yourself in Turkey, make it a point to head to Cappadocia. Trust me when I say that it will be the trip of a lifetime

Lianne Choo

Born in Singapore and raised in Malaysia to multi-racial parents, Lianne is a bonafide travel and food junkie. Having traveled extensively to over 30 countries, Lianne has lived in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Honolulu and Paris and now calls Taichung, Taiwan home. She speaks fluent English, Malay and French and is currently improving her conversational Mandarin skills. She prefers a life of free spirited travel and freelancing than one spent cooped up in an office. When she's not off on an adventure, you can find her whiling her time away with books, good movies and even better food.

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