Just a short 90 minute flight from Istanbul and then you have arrived, landing at Kayseri airport just after sunrise. The landscape is sparse, very different to the bustling, metropolis that we had left behind. It is February and snow covers the mountains in the distance and a light covering of snow is starting to melt on the roadside, the landscape is slightly different everywhere you look.
Best known for the hot air balloon rides over the fairy chimneys that have been running for well over a decade and continually gaining in popularity. I found that there is just so much more to this unique region of Turkey. Do yourself a favour and spend a few days here and definitely do more than just fly in and out for the balloon ride. Although the balloon ride is an awesome ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience that you can’t miss while you are here!
Based in Göreme for three days, you can manage to fit in a lot. Caves, fairy chimney landscapes, pottery, jewelry, lovely food, hikes, an underground city and beautiful panoramas, and the balloon ride. There is just so much to see and do.
Straight off the plane into the shared transport patiently waiting to take you to Goreme and straight to the tour office to start the half-day tour. It is an early start, but definitely worth it to make the best use of your time. The tours were through guide Zeki, there is a north Cappadocia tour and a south Cappadocia tour and they alternate the days, both are really good, and it just depends on the day you arrive as to which tour is running. Being February, the tour group are small, no more than 10 people.
The guide will explain a brief history of Cappadocia, the many different groups of people who have ruled this region and also talked about the geology of the land and how the landscape had changed over time to be what it is now. You will then visit many areas and had time to walk around and take photos and explore the areas. The underground city is so interesting, almost impossible to imagine how it was ever constructed and inhabited. And the passages and doorways and very narrow and low - not made for tall people. The day ended with a view over Love Valley before being taken to our hotel. A cave hotel of course!
Day two is an early start for the balloon ride, simply a breathtaking experience. Then back for a quick breakfast before getting picked up for the next tour. Greeted by the friendly guide Zeki and driver. Walking through Devrent and Monks Valleys, wondering in amazement at the unique landscape and having fun climbing around. Then a visit to Avanos, including a tour and demonstration in a family-run pottery business – in a very large cave. Then the guide show you around the Göreme Open Air Museum, and once again your guide will explaine all the history and provide extensive and interesting information as we all walked around the large site.
The final day is free (no tours scheduled) and I suggest if you can fit in a free day it’s worth it. A 2-hour hike from Göreme to Cavusin through Rose Valley among beautiful scenery and the enjoy a nice lunch when we reac Cavusin. After returning to Göreme via local bus, the afternoon and sunset can be watched from the panorama while sipping tea. Perfect ends to an amazing three days in a magical place.
Best time to travel April, May or September, October. But the region has something to offer at all times of the year. In low season, balloons rides still run (dependent on weather conditions as always), good value tours with small numbers, quality hotels, nice restaurants are still operating. Crowds are a lot less than in shoulder and high season.
If you don’t have a lot of time, but if you want to live this experince, you can take morning flight to capadocia and comeback to İstanbul in the evening. You will have experince of hot air baloon by watching sunset. But you have more time, ofcourse it will be nicer to stay 2 or 3 nights in this beautiful city.