Riding the hot air balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey was a bucket list of mine for so many years. But no amount of photos or videos prepared me for the mesmerizing beauty that town is in real life. During my trip to Istanbul, I visited Cappadocia for 2 nights. And in those 48 hours, I squeezed in so many things. In this post, I'll be summarizing my experience and sharing some of my tips.
Where to Stay
Goreme is the town in Cappadocia where the beautiful valleys and rock formations are. The town of Goreme is filled with cave hotels and there are truly so many options for accommodations. I stayed at the Century Cave Hotel and had an okay experience. While the hotel staff was very friendly, it wasn't the cleanest or most comfortable hotel I've stayed at. Because most activities we did were at sunrise, we did spend most of the mornings catching up on sleep and I wished we booked a hotel with a more relaxing room.
What to Do
The famous attraction of Cappadocia is the hot air balloon ride which I highly highly recommend. I booked our ride through Discovery Balloons and had a pleasant experience. They pick you up from your hotel early in the morning and drop you back off after the ride is over. The average cost for the ride is between 180-250 euros which is quite expensive but I can guarantee you that it is worth it. One thing that surprised me is that the balloon baskets are very big and filled to the max. Our balloon ride had 20 people in it and each compartment fit 4 people. So it's not very easy to take photos as you're really close to people. If you have the option, I'd recommend asking to stand in the corner of the basket. The ride is very smooth and the balloons can go as high as 6,000 feet.
On the other day, we did a sunrise photoshoot with Merve who was such an angel to work with. I booked her about a month before our trip and she helped me plan a wonderful shoot at Red Rose Valley, Love Valley, and Horse farm. Like many other experiences in Cappadocia, the photographer and her assistance picked us up from our hotel and drove us to all of the locations. This was a great way for us to capture memories on our trip but we also got to see some hidden gems and learn from locals.
Since our time was short in Cappadocia, after our sunrise experiences we decided to book a guided tour through our hotel. Almost all hotels offer the same 2 tours called the Green or Red tour. We did the green tour which was 40 euros and lasted about 8 hours. This was great for us because we did not need to rent a car to see the top attractions in Goreme. On our tour we visited:
Derinkuyu Underground City
Star Wars Panorama
We also ate lunch at the Ilhara Valley cafe with our group which was included in the cost of the tour. Overall, it was a great way to explore and meet locals.
How to Get Around
Most hotels offer shuttle pickup for free or a very low cost to and from the airport. The Kayseri airport is about an hour away from the town of Goreme and if you are flying in late at night like we did, I recommend having this booked in advance.
If your hotel is near Goreme, then everything including shops and restaurants are walking distance. Because most of the experiences like the hot air balloon ride and guided tours pick you up from your hotel, I find it unnecessary to rent a car unless you choose to explore Goreme on your own.
If you have any other questions, feel free to drop me a message on instagram!