Cappadocia, an incredible region in central Turkey. Cappadocia is one of those whimsical destinations that looks like it fell out of a fairy-tale. Unique rock formations, fairy chimneys, camel rides and hot air ballooning are some of the things that make Cappadocia magical. The quickest route is Istanbul to Nevşehir-Kapadokya Airport which is 40km away from Cappadocia. If visiting, here are the top things you must do:
There are a total of 36 underground cities in the Cappadocia region with Kaymakli being the largest. The underground cities date back to the Hittites and were first used to escape the harsh winter and wild animals, and later by Christians escaping persecution. The city is eight levels deep with four being open to the public. Please note: some of the underground tunnels are very narrow and you’ll need to bend down to get through.
Goreme Open Air Museum
This museum is an UNESCO World Heritage Site containing ancient cave churches that are beautifully painted with biblical frescoes dating back to 900-1200 AD. It was originally used as a Byzantine monastic settlement, and later as a pilgrimage site from the 17th century. The open air museum is a 15 minute uphill walk from Goreme Village centre.
Formerly known as Monk Valley and famous for its mushroom shaped fairy chimneys, these stunning natural structures are the result of erosion that took place millions of years ago. According to local folklore, the chimneys were originally used by fairies (hence the name). During the 5th century, Saint Simeon and his disciples lived in seclusion Pasabag. In one of the 3-headed fairy chimneys you will find a chapel dedicated to St Simeon.
Also referred to Imaginary Valley is located 5 kms from Pasabag. The valley is made up of the most unusual rock formations resembling a lunar landscape and rock shapes that look like animals. If you let your imagination run free, you will see all sorts of things!
Stay in a Cave Hotel
Sleep like a troglodyte did thousands of years ago - but in luxury! You will find a great assortment of boutique hotels that come with amenities such as Turkish baths, modern bathrooms and terraces with dreamy views of the valley.
Riding a camel through wild valleys and ancient settlements is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most. Please note that there are usually two separate charges: one to take a photo with a camel, and another to ride it. Be sure to clarify this before you get on the camel.
Hot air ballooning
Witnessing the Cappadocia landscape from up above during sunrise is an experience you will never forget. Floating over valleys, through fair chimneys and rock formations is a sight like no other. The average flights last 1 hour. Whatever you do, don’t forget your camera!
Got some magical Cappadocia experiences of your own? Feel free to share them with us.