When I packed for my road trip in Turkey I was kind of sceptical against it. I had been to Turkey before and it didn’t seem like a nice place to go on a road trip. But no other country has ever surprised me that much as Turkey did. I knew Bodrum, Antalya and other typical holiday destinations by the coast, like most of the people do. But when going inland I discovered the diversity of the country. The place that surprised me the most is Cappadocia, where we stayed for 3 days. The entire city is a result of volcanic eruptions some million years ago and it’s incredibly beautiful. A real bucket list travel destination!
Where to stay in Cappadocia?
The famous cities in the region are Göreme, Urgup, Uchisar and Avanos. We stayed in Urgup but in fact Göreme has the best availability of hotels, restaurants and activities. All the places are worth a visit. If you are looking for pottery, Avanos is your place. There are public buses but we took a taxi to go from one place to another. It’s cheap, easy and fast.
What to do in Cappadocia?
1. Visit an underground city
Cappadocia has 36 underground cities. Derinkuyu is de deepest of them all (85m) and was only recently discovered in 1963. In the underground network of tunnels and rooms you find everything you would find in other cities: living spaces, churches, dining rooms, wine halls,… It is said that about 20,000 people may have lived there.
As you can see, there are lots of tunnels and rooms and the only way to find your way is by following the arrows. Red means you are going further into the city, blue means you are going out and back up to the surface. It’s incredible to know that one day thousands of people lived in there. I felt stifled after half an hour, can you imagine how people felt after spending months in there?
Tip: Do not visit Derinkuyu underground city if you suffer from claustrophobia, high blood pressure or panic attacks.
2. Fly with a hot air balloon
A ride in a hot air balloon above the volcanic landscape of Cappadocia is a very special experience, a must do when in Cappadocia. Okay, it’s not cheap, prices range from 110 – 180 euro for approximately 1 hour, but it definitely is money well spent! Sometimes hundreds of balloons increase at the same time, which provides a wonderful view.
A hot air balloon ride in cappadocia also means waking up early. Pick-up time is between 4 and 5 am. The most beautiful moment is when the sun rises. The rocks color red, pink, orange and yellow. A stunning view guaranteed!
3. Rent a quad
Rent a quad for 2 or 4 hours and drive around in the valleys around Goreme. We chose the 2-hour tour, which was not expensive at all, about 25 euro for one person (after a bit of negotiating). Our guide was only 17 years old and seemed to choose the bumpier and dustier trails, which was awesome! The photo opportunities were great. My highlight was seeing the sun disappear behind the hills. A view and a feeling I’ll never forget.
Tip: Rent an ATV in the late afternoon so you can see the sunset, it’s stunning.
Tip: take a scarf with you, there’s a lot of dust in the valley. A jacket is handy when is gets colder in the evening.
4. Sleep in a cave hotel
Most hotels offering cave rooms will have non-cave options as well, so make sure you make it clear when booking if you specifically want a cave room. Be aware, however, that some cave rooms can feel dank and dark. Price is a useful differentiator here, as ever with accommodation, you get what you pay for. I higly recommend Cappadocia Cave Suites in Goreme.