Updated: Dec 8, 2020
Cappadocia kicked off an amazing trip to Turkey. It was different than the norm. Yep, the US State Department ranks the country as a level 3 which means to reconsider travel to the region. Yet, there are other countries which need this warning...including the US (chuckle). Turkey was relatively safe and people were friendlier there (to me) than back home. The kindness, the history, and the landscape makes Turkey a great place to visit and Cappadocia is one of those reasons why!
Things To Do
Cappadocia is more than just riding a hot air balloon over beautiful landscape and here is what you can do...
Book a private tour with Ertunga to take you to all the magnificent sites! Here is what I saw on my one day private tour:
1) Ozkonak Underground City: "The breathtaking, unique and incredible underground city hollowed out of tufa rock was built by the locals in order to defend themselves from the invasions of warriors. It dates back to 400 BC. Many traps were placed here against enemies" (TourMakerTurkey).
2) Göreme National Park (Fairy Chimneys): A UNESCO World Heritage site, it is "a volcanic landscape sculpted by erosion to form a succession of mountain ridges, valleys and pinnacles known as 'fairy chimneys' or hoodoos" (UNESCO).
3) Pottery Making at Kapadokya Seramik: This is amazing to see how pottery is made by hand and you may get a chance to try it out for yourself. You may also purchase the finest of pottery here.
4) Göreme Open Air Museum: "It contains the finest of the rock-cut churches, with beautiful frescoes (wall paintings) whose colors still retain all their original freshness. It also presents unique examples of rock hewn architecture and fresco technique. The Göreme Open Air Museum has been a member of UNESCO World Heritage List since 1984" (Göreme).
5) Carpet Making: I don't recall the name of the place in which I saw the carpet making process but this is something you must see. You learn how they obtain silk, the different carpet qualities, and how to put a carpet together. But be prepared as they will try to sell you a carpet!
6) Views: Everywhere you go, you will be in awe of the view!
7) Sunset: And you must see the sun setting over the national park after all you explore. But pack a sweater, the slight wind can make it cool or cold at times (particularly in March).
8) Hot Air Balloon Ride: If you stay more than one day, get up extra early to take a hot air balloon ride to see Cappadocia from up high! I didn't get to do this as I already had several other plans in place. So I went for just one day and my flight times didn't line up to indulge in this activity.
I know I saw a lot but what did I eat? I had traditional Turkish food for lunch which was included with the price of my tour. The Bizim Ev restaurant was very cute yet quaint and also had a "rooftop". I had traditional dishes such as pita bread with varying sauces, shish kebob, baklava and so much more.
For dinner, I had room service at my hotel as my foot was hurting so bad that evening (I recently discovered I had a stress fracture). I usually take pictures of my food but I guess I was too hungry this day to do so lol!
So you have never heard of this town until today? Sure. But there are plenty of options to rest your head at night. I decided to stay at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotels Avanos. The hotel was very nice and seemed to be pretty new. The walls were slightly thin but that didn't stop my rest. The staff was also very helpful and friendly.
How did I get there? My main trip was to Istanbul and I found out about this town during my planning process. I got into Istanbul Monday evening and woke up early Tuesday to fly to Nevsehir (a town in the area of Cappadocia) with Turkish Airlines. My tour guide picked me up from the airport and we started my tour from there.
Before my arrival, I arranged a shuttle from my hotel to the airport and flew Turkish Airlines back to Istanbul. It is a must you arrange airport transfers in advance as this is a really small town. With it being a small town, you don't have immediate access to things like taxis or Uber upon arrival. And since the airport is so small, do not be surprised if your flight is delayed.
My Cappadocia extension trip cost me a total of $470. This includes:
Flight: $63 round trip
Hotel: $17 as I used reward points
Airport Transfers: $118 round trip as transportation is limited there and the airport isn't close
Food: $22 which was my room service for dinner
Tour: $250 which includes all entrance fees to parks/sites, transportation to each location, lunch, detailed history, and privacy
You could save money by not booking a private tour but I just wanted to do my own thing. You could also find tours to take to and from Istanbul in a day (but be sure to compare costs).
I hope these details help you as you plan or decide on a trip to Turkey! If that doesn't help, take a look at my playlist of Cappadocia videos below!
Thank you for stopping by! Have a great day!
~ Kita the Explorer
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