I talked all about our time in Istanbul in our last post and now I am so excited to share our experience in Cappadocia! We’ve wanted to catch the world famous Hot Air Balloons for sometime now and I still can’t believe we made it happen!
HOW TO GET THERE
First things first let’s talk about logistics. Its not too difficult to get to Cappadocia from Istanbul. The quickest and most convenient way to get to Cappadocia is to fly. Airports options are either Kayseri and Nevsehir. There are busses out of Istanbul but you can expect a 10-12 hour drive. We found the flight to be quick and easy! You will also need an airport transfer to your hotel. Your hotel accommodation will help you arrange transfer and they will provide you with a quote.
There are PLENTY of amazing cave hotel accommodations in the area! We based our booking off of the roof top options to see the balloons, but we ended up loving our hike to see them even more! So…. up to you! Search for your Cave Hotel here.
HOW TO SEE THE BALLOONS
You have a few options to catch the world famous balloons. Option number one would be from your hotel! Our hotel (Ottoman Cave Suites) had a great roof top set up complete with a fake breakfast we had a little laugh over. The balloons take off about 6 am daily and you’ll want to get up and get settled for your photos.
Option number two is to take a ride in one of the hot air balloons. We didn’t do this since the cost is kind of outrageous. Prices are anywhere between $200-$500! If you’re dying to take a ride make sure you book in advance! The balloons sell out especially during peak travel season!
Option number three would be to catch the balloons from the take off spot. Our personal favorite! Get up about 5 and start your little hike to find a good spot on the ridge. I’ll share the location on google maps here (map below) Watching the balloons take off while the sunrise was honestly magical. If you are going, DO NOT MISS this opportunity. The hike isn’t hard at all. You’ll hike up to the Sunset View Point and then we walked along the ridge further till we found the perfect spot. We’d suggest hiking up the afternoon before just to make sure you know where you are going and have the time to scope out a spot.
RUG SHOPPING IN CAPPADOCIA
Cappadocia reminded us of a cute mountain town. Almost a resort feel but not one too fancy for backpackers! Lots of local shops, places to eat, and the beautiful outdoors! Thanks to Instagram, Cappadocia has become super popular with tourists and with that comes lots of shops full of souvenirs. We had an enlightening conversation with the loveliest shop owner of Yastik’s Hand Made Cushions. He shared with us how his home has changed over the last 5 years due to social media. On the one hand it has brought more opportunity for many but on the other it has completely changed his home town. Shops full of cheap souvenirs imported from Asia have taken place of other local shops and many tour buses line the streets. Our advice is to shop thoughtfully and support local if possible. We bought some beautiful cushions and a vintage rug at Yastik’s that came with a letter of authenticity. There is another famous rug shop that you can’t miss on the main drag but I was really turned off from it once I saw the set up. You can pay to go inside and take photos in a small area with pillows and rugs for the perfect “instagram” shot. These type of “setups” leave me feeling torn because I love a good photo opp but it just felt selfish to me in that moment. It’s possible to also shop if you prefer but we felt pressured to buy and the quality didn’t feel authentic. We LOVED our experience at Yastik’s and highly recommend shopping there.
So what do you do after you’ve seen the Balloons? Get outside! The Red and Rose Valley are full of trails and the landscape feels like another planet. The color of the rocks change daily (hence the names) as the sun moves along the rocks spreading red and rose hues along the ridges.
The hiking isn’t super tough but we would suggest packing lots of water and snacks. There isn’t much shading along the trails so keep that in mind and wear sunscreen. We hiked mid day and it was quite bright out so I would suggest an early morning hike or even a late afternoon. We hiked for a few hours but you could easily spend more time exploring.
Many tours companies also offer 4 wheeling, horseback riding, and guided hiking tours. You can book those through your hotel as well and the range in price depending on activity.
WHERE TO EAT
There are plenty of great places to eat and here are a few of our favorites and some we were recommended:
Namaste Indian- We ate here at least three times! Yes it’s not exactly local food but it was just sooooo good!
Inci Cave – This was recommended to us and we didn’t get a chance eat here but they have good reviews as well as offer a wide range of international food options.
Dibek- Traditional Turkish food. This place is always booked so make a reservation if you plan to eat here.
Turkish Ravioli Restaurant- We loved this place! Great location and the Turkish Ravioli was delicious!
Buyuk Adana Kebap Goreme- Classic Kebab shop!
We absolutely loved our time in Turkey and we made some unforgettable memories. As always, we urge you to be respectful travelers are remember that you are visiting someones home. Speak to locals, shop responsibly, and be aware of other while snapping those famous photos. We had this beautiful experience watching the balloons at sunrise and juts to our left was a group of girls changing outfits and shouting poses while others are trying to enjoy. Like I said earlier we love a good photo opp just be respectful of others in capturing your memories.
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