Talk about a place that’s out of this world and Cappadocia (Cappadokya) will be among the first places to come to mind. The easiest way to reach this region is by flying into Kayseri from Ataturk or Sabiha Gokhen airport in Istanbul and getting a pick-up to your hotel. A region about an hour from Kayseri airport, Cappadocia boasts rock formations known as fairy chimneys that are mind-blowing. Formed by volcanic acitvty but carved out by early Christians seeking refuge from the Roman Empire, Cappadocia perpetuates a sense of a mystical retreat for anyone visiting.
Where to Stay
The experience is solidified by taking your escape into one of the many cave hotels scattered across the chimneys. Many of the hotels are built inside these rock formations along the theme of living in an igloo or being underwater. You’ll a whole range of hotels but will be able to find great stays at very reasonable prices all located in the Gerome area. I myself stayed at the Aydinli hotel and could have not been happier. Sometimes to preserve an experience of staying in a special environment, the ammenities are compromised but that wasn’t the case here at all. The room was spacious with heated marbled bathroom floors a comfy bed and an extra couch and plenty of space to spread my luggage. And being located in the cluster of hotels, it was only a five minute walk to the center of town.
From all the pictures of colorful Turkish breakfasts I had raised my expectations to a very dangerous level. Fortunately for me, the Turkish breakfast spread of fresh fruits, breads, nuts, and eight different jams was not only pretty to look at but also delicious. And it doesn’t hurt that I had this view while enjoying my massive breakfast.
All the main hotels cluster around the center of the town which has quite a number of restaurant, café, and activity options. The town is built around tourism and you’ll definitely feel that, but don’t let that deter you from going. The stretch of stores can be walked in about 25 minutes and they have anything you might need. It’s a great place to hang out jumping from one café to another since a cappucino will only cost you $2US.
Cappadocia while a popular place for tourism even ten years back, has been placed on the map because of Instagram and the spectacular image of hovering hot air balloons over a sea of other-worldly terrain. And without a doubt the hot air balloons are the hottest attraction and with good reason. It’s stunning. You’ll need around $140 US, a bit of luck with the weather, and an early early start to the day but it will be well worth your time.
For the price you pay, the tour company will pick you up at your hotel around 5am and bring you to the launch site. There you’ll enjoy a breakfast spread before you take your 30min or 60min escape into the painted skyline. If you’re going in the winter, consider doubling up on socks since the flame will only keep your upper body warm. At the end of your flight, you’ll celebrate with a glass of champagne and beautiful pictures to keep for a lifetime.
But don’t take my word for it. Experience it for yourself and you’ll see it’s definitely not overhyped. If the winter is your only chance to go don’t fret because you’ll have a pleasant and more intimate stay with minimal crowds and a fireplace atmosphere. Just make sure to pack warm clothes. Go in the summer and it’ll feel more like an adventure in a mountainous desert fantasy.