This post is SO overdo but we figured with our recent Cappadocia giveaway going on that it was now or never with this blog post. So here we go! One of our most asked about places!…
Thinking of heading to that place where all the hot air balloons take off every morning? You’re in for a treat because there’s so much more there than just hot air balloons. Let’s start at the beginning…
How many nights to spend in Cappadocia?
We feel like 4 nights (5 days) is sufficient. In our opinion you could do a night or two more but we feel like 4 is enough. We’re sure some people may say less but here’s why we think it’s safer to have a day extra…
The balloons are probably the main reason you’re heading to Cappadocia, right? Wouldn’t it be a bummer if you only had 1-2 nights there and for some reason the balloons didn’t take off? It happens. Weather can be spotty. It’s also easier than you think to sleep through your alarm. Especially when the balloons (depending on what time of year you’re there) can start taking off as early as 4:45-5am-ish. So we suggest 4 nights this way if one morning the balloons don’t take off, you have a few more mornings to see them! Plus, there is plenty to do in Cappadocia. Trust us. You won’t be bored!
Booking your flight to Cappadocia?
Personally we flew into Istanbul, spent a few days there, then flew from Istanbul to Kayseri (it had more flight options). When we arrived in Kayseri we rented a car (which was super cheap) and drove the 1 hour to Cappadocia. We didn’t mind the extra time driving because the scenery was cool but you can also fly into Nevsehir which is a bit closer (20 mins away from Cappadocia). We can’t stress enough to rent a car. It’s the easiest way to get around and the roads are great to drive on. Plus if you’re traveling in the summertime it can get a bit hot. Too hot for a walk between the sites and into town.
Where to stay in Cappadocia?
We stayed in the most popular village in Cappadocia known as Goreme. And of course, we have to mention our absolute favorite hotel Koza Cave Hotel. We basically became family with the owner Sam. He’s an awesome guy that really looks to take care of each guest that stays at his place. He and his family run this small boutique cave hotel. The rooms are legitimately in caves! We were first drawn to Koza Cave Hotel because it offers the highest rooftop in Goreme. We wanted to have a bird’s eye view of the balloons! The breakfast was an added bonus to everything Koza offers. Sam knows just about everyone in Cappadocia so whatever you have in mind as far as activities, he has you covered. Plus, he just recently added a bar to a different part of his rooftop called Dusk by Koza. We can’t wait to check it out the next time we’re there visiting!
Hot Air Balloons. I mean it’s what you’re here for, right?…
We know a lot of people have a fear of heights but we can’t recommend going up in a hot air balloon enough. It’s a once in a lifetime experience! As someone who hates rollercoasters and drops of any kind, I can honestly say going up in a hot air balloon was such a peaceful experience. It’s an extremely smooth ride. You don’t even feel the take off and we had to keep checking to make sure we were actually off the ground! Then for the next hour and a half or so you gently and slowly soar around Cappadocia and the surrounding areas. It’s an amazing experience seeing the unique landscape from above!
There’s a ton of hot air balloon companies but we personally went with Voyager Balloons. They offer smaller groups that go up in the balloons, we didn’t want to be in one that was crowded with people like some of the other companies offer. We had about 10-12 other people on the balloon ride with us. Voyager Balloons made the process seamless, we felt really safe the entire time and we were able to celebrate with champagne at the end of our flight!
We didn’t get a chance to ride ATV quads or do a horseback riding experience. But those are both options! Here is the horse Ranch that Koza Cave refers: Dalton Brothers Ranch
Galerie Ikman: This is a world famous carpet store. Even if you aren’t looking to purchase a carpet or rug, take a peak inside. It’s right in the heart of Goreme and the owners are extremely kind. It’s filled with trinkets, jewelry, pottery and beautiful lights that are popular in Turkey.
Please be mindful of pictures while visiting the carpet store. There is a small fee. Thousands and thousands of people visit each year wanting to take a picture of the beautiful rugs they offer but most do not purchase anything. So it’s important for them to charge a fee for pictures because of the large crowds that come inside. Remember to be respectful and ask to snap a picture! First sit, have tea with the owner and learn a bit of history about their business! You won’t regret chatting with them! We did end up purchasing a rug from them and we can honestly say it’s our favorite purchase from our entire year of traveling. Everyone that walks into our apartment compliments our beautiful Turkish rug. My father actually owns a carpet company in NJ and even he is SO impressed with the quality of it! It’s like nothing you could purchase in the USA! We will definitely purchase another on our next trip there.
Sunset Viewpoint: This is a great area to watch the balloons take off at sunrise. One morning we watched from Koza Cave Hotel and then Sam suggested Sunset Viewpoint and it didn’t disappoint (Another reason having a car is great)! We got there early, while it was still dark and it was an amazing experience seeing the hot air balloons start their journey from the ground up, first hand.
Love Valley: We like to keep our social media outlets P-G for our younger followers so for the sake of them we will only refer to this area as LOVE VALLEY but you may hear another name from locals. It’s known for its….odd shaped natural landscape. It’s a free activity that you can drive to (again best if you rent a car).
Pasabag: This area has some of the of the coolest fairy chimneys (cool rock formations), plus camels that roam around the area. You can actually walk in and out of the chimneys where people used to live back in the day. If you get here early enough you may get lucky like us and see some balloons flying right above!
Open Air museum: This is an activity that does cost money. We didn’t have time to do it but we heard great things about it!
Last but not least, our favorite topic, FOOD.
The food in Turkey is UNREAL. So fresh and definitely something for everyone. Anywhere you go will be good honestly. Our favorite in Cappadocia was Organic Cave Kitchen! It had some of the best local food we had while in Turkey and the prices were almost impossible to compete with! It’s also one of the only organic restaurants we came across in the area and has so many different food options. It was so good we literally had it two nights in a row!
One of the other most popular ones we wish we made it to but unfortunately missed out on was Reserved Cappadocia. It’s a more upscale Antolian cuisine in the other very popular village of Cappadocia, Uchisar. It supposedly has an amazing ambience/atmosphere & some of the freshest food! But to be completely honest with you, if you can’t make it to either of these, you won’t go wrong exploring the other restaurants in town. All the restaurants we went to throughout Turkey had amazing food (Literally just order anything that’s cooked in a pot. It’s all incredible) and some of the best service! On top of that, we were able to score free baklava and apple tea (a Turkish favorite) at the end of every meal!
THE LAST THING WE WANT TO MENTION…
We mentioned that we became really close to Sam while we were there. He told us about the lack of communication between tourists to the locals. He explained that unfortunately tourists now come to Cappadocia for pictures, are very standoffish from the locals and don’t look to learn the local culture. This really hurt our hearts to hear. So we made it a point to ask questions to everyone we came in contact with and we can’t stress enough how important that is, wherever you’re traveling to. We saw the locals in Cappadocia light up when we just simply asked, “So how has business been?’ or “How long has your family lived here for?”. They want to share their culture and their traditions, but they need to be asked. So if someone offers you tea in Cappadocia, take it. Sit and drink tea with them, they aren’t looking for money they are looking for conversation. Ask before you take a picture of someone’s business and especially before you take a picture of someone. Be kind to locals. Ask questions. Invest in the country or place you’re traveling to.
Cappadocia was one of the kindest places we found throughout our travels. We hope you have the same experience and that you fall in love with it, the people, the landscape and the food as much as we did.