Have you ever seen a photograph of a place that instantly captured your desire to travel and visit that location? That is how we came to visit Cappadocia, Turkey. You can probably imagine what the photo captured. The iconic landscape of the Cappadocia valleys, during the sunrise, with countless hot air balloons magically floating above.
While that view alone is a good enough reason to visit this ancient natural landscape, here are 10 reasons you absolutely must visit Cappadocia!
Before we get started, here are some basic facts about Turkey. First off, the capital is Ankara, which is a couple hours flight from Istanbul, and lies on the Asian part of Turkey. The language is Turkish, and they have their own currency known as the Turkish Lira. Currently 1 TRY is equivalent to 0.26 USD, though be sure to check the rates before your trip. It is a predominantly Muslim country, though has a great deal of Christian roots.
Now, unto why the region of Cappadocia is a must-have on your bucket list!
The Fairy Houses
The secret to the magic of this area is the unique and incredible rock formations to be seen. The well dubbed Fairy Houses are no exception! Not only is their natural shape fascinating, but the fact that humans actually lived inside some of them just makes them feel like homes straight out of a fairy tale! This romantic and beautiful location makes it a popular place for wedding photos.
This may be the deepest you ever climb down into the earth! If you take a tour to visit some of the ancient and incredible human settlements that used the natural landscape to their advantage, you will be blown away. The deepest one is known as Derinkuyu, which goes as deep at 8 stories! It even connects with another underground city via an underground tunnel!
3. Cave Boutique Hotels
Ever wanted to sleep in a cave filled with luxurious furniture? Here’s your chance! If you go to Cappadocia, please, please, please stay at Canyon Cave Hotel ! Most hotels here are small and personally run by the owner. The owner of our boutique hotel is a very sweet and charming man, Murat. He will make it his personal mission to ensure you enjoy yourself not just in his hotel but while in Cappadocia area. He arranged everything for us in terms of the tours and hot air balloon ride, which made our time in Cappadocia all the more relaxing! Also, sleeping in a cave just might change your life!
4. Open Air Museum
This is not a typical museum. It isn’t in a building, it doesn’t have walls or displays. Instead it’s an open area that is a UNESCO world heritage site. You can visit churches that have been carved into the rock, see ancient fresco paintings, and hike around.
5. Pigeon Valley
Talk about a view! Not sure if I need to say much more. The history of why it’s called Pigeon Valley is an interesting one, so be sure to ask your tour guide to tell you!
6. Cheap Food
Turkey isn’t a very pricey place to travel in, but the price of food is relatively low compared to most of their commodities. So that’s always a bonus! While I’m not absolutely crazy about Turkish food (I blame early pregnancy symptoms that wouldn’t let me enjoy food), we did enjoy some Turkish dishes at low costs, which always helps a traveller make their travel money go further! One dish I do recommend is roasted eggplant and fresh yogurt. This is an appetizer that is served hot or cold, I tried it cold and it is quite yummy!
7. Incredible Landscapes
There is more to the region than rocky canyons and caves. Be prepared to take numerous panoramas of landscapes that are so gorgeous and unique! There are hills and hidden valleys with streams. It’s a nature-lover’s dream! My favourite is probably of this mountain range we took a quick pit stop at during our tour. It looks like something out of a Tolkien novel!
8. Rich Ancient History
If you are even only a minor history buff, you will be very impressed with the interweaving layers of history that Cappadocia carries. I was particularly blown away by the early Christian history that took place in the very caves, hills and valleys we explored.
9. Small Town/Country Feel
This whole area is a cluster of small cities and towns scattered throughout the canyons. It is a nice break from metropolitan traffic of cars and people that you normally encounter on holidays. This is a very different and unique nature experience that will stand out in your memories for years to come!
10. Hot Air Balloon Ride
This is the iconic, bucket list-worthy item of Cappadocia. I hope you are not afraid of heights! This is truly a unique experience. Wake up long before the crack of dawn. Hop on a balloon. Rise up along with the sun. Soar above the breath-taking views. Please check the weather expectations during your stay. I recommend staying at least 3 days so as not to miss your chance to catch a low breeze!
Have you been convinced to buy a ticket to Cappadocia, yet? Have you been there before? Is it still on your bucket list? Let me know in the comments below! I hope your wanderlust is inspired!