Cappadocia, also known as Kapadokya, is one of the most fantastical and inspiring places I’ve ever visited. The region dates back thousands of years, when early settlers carved dwellings into the rocks. Rock formations affectionately named “fairy chimneys” populate the region and make the area appear otherworldly.
How To Get Around
The best way by far to travel around the region is by car. We rented a car for the whole trip and it was invaluable! Be wary that not all roads are on sat nav, and even roads that are marked sometimes turn out to be dirt roads with no lighting. Driving after dark is quite a nerve wracking experience so try to get your exploring done in daylight!
SELIME & ILHARA
On day 1, we stopped off at Narlıgöl Crater, before heading to Ilhara Valley. The valley is 14km long and we didn’t have the energy to hike along the entirety, so we explored along both sides of the water for a few kilometres. Within the valley you can find ancient churches and houses carved into the rocks, dating back to Byzantine times. Afterwards, we visited Selime Cathedral, which is also cut into rock. We arrived just before closing time so we had the place mostly to ourselves. We dined in Belisirma at an outdoor restaurant on the water.
We spent most of Day 2 in Avanos – famous for its pottery. The biggest attraction is the Güray museum which provides insight into the history of pottery in the region, as well as modern pottery. The museum also offers a pottery experience where you can, free of charge, have a go on a pottery wheel, which was pretty hilarious.
HOT AIR BALLOON
Taking a balloon ride over Cappadocia is one of the highlights of our trip. Due to weather conditions we almost didn’t get to go but luckily the weather improved before we left.
On day 3 we took a hot air balloon ride with Kapadokya Balloons. It was an amazing experience and gave us some amazing views. We woke up at 4am in time for the car to pick us up and take us to the balloon centre. Wrap up warm if you plan to go, as it’s a lot colder up among the clouds! After the balloon expedition, we went to the Göreme Open Air Museum, which has some fascinating ancient churches which we weren’t allowed to photograph, and then hiked to the Red Valley and Rose Valley. We ended the day at the stunning village of Çavuşin.
Red Valley and Rose Valley. Sunglasses: Valentino
This was possibly my favourite place in Cappadocia! At the centre of the village is a huge and incredibly surreal rock formation with houses cut into the rock front. The houses were inhabited until an earthquake in the 60’s. We spent most of the day exploring before getting food at a restaurant overlooking the village.
A lot of travelling around Cappadocia involved seeing something interesting in the distance and trying to work out what it was and how to get there! Uçhisar castle was one of those places. On day 4 we finally found it! After climbing the castle, we walked around the surrounding area which is called Pigeon Valley
due to the number of pigeons living there. Next we drove to Ortahisar Castle and attempted to climb it, although weren’t quite brave enough to go all the way to the top. We ended the day and the trip by visiting Love Valley, another valley we had been looking for, and finally Imagination Valley.