Updated: Aug 12, 2019
You don't have to hop into space to watch a kind of different world. Cappadocia isn't like anywhere else in the world. Unique rock formations make you fell landed someplace out there in space.
Make sure you choose the correct time when visiting Cappadocia to avoid the crowds. Spring and autumn are the best times to visit, the temperatures are commonly moderate and there are fewer crowds. From July to September, the weather can be very hot and the tours can become expensive. To reach Cappadocia from Istanbul, you can take a direct flight or a bus. Take a flight is an easy option you have as it only took 1.5 hours of flight. Flights from Istanbul to Cappadocia departs from two airports in Istanbul: New Istanbul Airport and Sabiha Gocken Airport, depending on the airlines you book. Pegasus Airlines serves the flight from Sabiha Gocken Airport, while Turkish Airlines serves from New Istanbul Airport. The destination port you should take is Kayseri Airport since it is the closest airport to Cappadocia. If taking the bus to Cappadocia, the Metro Bus is the only bus operator's available. It took 12 hours to ride from Istanbul to Cappadocia. However, I do not recommend you take the bus option since there is only a slight price difference between both. If you are taking a flight to Kayseri airport, I advise you to book an airport transfer from your hotel, since the length of the Kayseri to Cappadocia is one-hour driving. Avoid using a taxi from the airport as it cost you up to 250 TL, as the last time I book an airport transfer it only cost me 45TL per person. The pick up will be waiting for you holding the name of yours at the airport. If you are taking a bus, no need to book any kind of transfer since it will drop you directly to the center of Goreme (Cappadocia) city.
Things in Cappadocia will get better once you know you can stay in a rock cave! I highly recommend you to book early bird for a cave hotel to avoid fully-booked in peak seasons, such as Ottoman Cave Suites or Sultan Cave Suites. Is it too pricey? I know, since those hotel has superior facilities and views. But do not bother, there is plenty of affordable hotel around Cappadocia has the same view. You can check the Cappadocia Cave Rooms hotel. Located in the heart of Goreme, it has a beautiful view from its top but still safe for your pocket.
What to do in Cappadocia? The first thinking that might cross on your mind might be taking the hot air balloon. Don't be that rush, trust me there are whole things to do in Cappadocia. While hot air balloon only serves in the sunset or sunrise, you can search for the hot air balloon operator in the city center for a tour in the next day.
Not all operators are equal, be cautious when choosing the operator. The prices vary from $140 to $250 (including hotel pick-up and breakfast), depends on the flight duration and the basket size. Smaller basket size means more expensive. Always ask for the weather, to avoid the cancellation due to the poor weather. For sure you will get a hundred percent refunds, but it will ruin your planning for the rest of the day.
Once you have done booking the Hot Air Balloon trip, you could stroll around the Goreme city center. You could take lunch in some fancy restaurant or just window-shopping in the gift shop spread around the street. I recall you again as I stated in my previous write, do not purchase the gifts other than to Grand Bazaar Istanbul unless it excites you most. The prize differences are huge compares to items sold in Grand Bazaar.
One thing interesting to me in the city center; you search for a local shop selling rugs and carpets near the city mosque which allows you to take a photo with a pile of rugs as the background. They will charge you for 50 TL for infinite shoots. Again, the call is yours. Another crazy things is I found the only one Chinese restaurant in the center of Goreme. Never cross in my mind that you travel 11.000 km away to a city surrounded by rock chimney and still seeing a Chinese restaurant.
Here are things to do in Cappadocia aside from Hot Air Balloon:
Goreme Open Air Museum
This UNESCO world heritage site is definitely on the top of the list of your visit to Cappadocia. A pilgrimage site from the 17 century, the Goreme Open Air Museum can be reached by 15 mins walking from the city center or 5 mins taxi ride cost 20 TL. However, I propose you take a walk since so many beautiful places spotted along the way to the museum, such as horse breeding, the evil eye tree, also the pottery factory. Make sure you bring your hat and sunblock especially in the summer time. The weather can be very hot and
humid along the way. The entrance ticket to the museum cost takes 45 TL. Though, visiting the Dark Churches inside the museum will cost you another extra. Taking photography inside the cave is mostly prohibited. Another tips for you while visiting Goreme Open Air Museum; starts in the early morning or late evening (one hour before the museum close) for less crowd in the museum.
ATV / Horse / Camel Ride in Cappadocia
This activities can be done in the same direction if you go to Goreme Open Air Museum. These activities are popular in Cappadocia, the tracks quite challenging but yet not frightening. The children under 12 ages are not allowed to ride on this tour. If you are looking for a camel ride, look for the next of museum parking area. You will find a group of camel owner shading under the tree.
Taking Green Tour / Red Tour
Some of the attraction sites around Cappadocia is too far to take on foot. That's why I recommend you to take a tour to save time. The tour itself divided into the green tour, blue tour, and red tour. The main differences between the three of them are the price and the attraction visited.
Red Tour covers the must-see main spots in Cappadocia; the Open Air Museum and some of the valleys. Visiting three regions of Cappadocia, Goreme Uçhisar and Avanos, you will cover up most of central Cappadocia.
Green Tour is the longer distance tour of Southern Cappadocia. Main green tour attractions: Goreme Panorama, Underground City, Guvercinlik Valley, Ortahisar Rum Village, Red Valley, Kaledibi Monastery, Onyx Workshop.
Blue Tour is the best choice and most expensive tours among two others. Main blue tour attractions: Soganlı Valley, Mustafapasa Old Greek Village, Underground City, Sahinefendi Ancient City, Keslik Monastery, Urgup Fairy Chimneys
For the closure, many people thought that it was a shame going to Cappadodia without sharing the view with the one we loved. I think doing a solo backpacker to Cappadocia can never be wrong. The people are great and friendly, drop a hi to the local and become a friend for the day. Some of them even invite me for a dinner to his home. I wish all of this will boost you to hit the land of fairy chimney as a solo or not.