Recently I checked off a destination that was one of the highest on my bucket list: Cappadocia in Turkey. I’ve been wanting to go since I saw an image of the cave houses when I was a little kid. So in October, I was there to promote the Instagram trip (Instagramrondreis in Dutch) for Corendon. With all the things to do, let’s have a look at my top picks on what to visit in Cappadocia.
Corendon is the first to offer this kind of trip. The idea of an Instagram journey stems from the fact that more and more people are inspired to visit certain destinations after they’ve seen viral images on Instagram. Lately, Cappadocia has been all over the place on Instagram, so it’s no secret that more and more people are visiting. Let’s have a look at my top picks of what to visit and do in Cappadocia:
Obviously!! This is what Cappadocia is famous for and the fact that Instagram is flooded with pictures from balloons above the cave houses nowadays certainly inspired lots of people to visit the region themselves.
A balloon ride is an absolute must when you’re in Cappadocia. I think it costs rougly 160 euros nowadays so compared to doing a much more expensive balloon ride in a much more boring environment like back home, it is super cheap! Okay you’re 20 people in one balloon basket so you won’t have much space to move around, but basically all you have to do is just stand there and watch. There are 100 balloons taking off just before sunrise and another 100 an hour later. You do the maths, that’s 4000 people doing a balloon ride every morning! For once, it’s the fact that there are a lot of people involved – so lots of balloons – that makes this activity so cool. Where else are you gonna experience being one of 100 hot air balloon in the sky in an area the size of a handkerchief?
Seriously, don’t doubt and just book this excursion!
I actually have no idea where all the tourists that do the balloon excursion come from, because the airport of Kayseri looked like a ghost town as we were the only plane there at the moment we landed. I figure most tourists come from Antalya by bus. Surprisingly, Cappadocia doesn’t feel overcrowded even though there are lots of tourists visiting nowadays.
Göreme open-air museum and Zelve open air museum
Göreme open-air museum is a must-visit when you’re in Cappadocia. It’s a great place to get up close with the cave houses where people used to live in up until the 1950s! And here in Göreme the caves have some amazing frescos inside. Zelve open-air museum is a great alternative that’s less crowded than Göreme. The hillside location is just stunning!
Love Valley and Pasabag Valley
Love Valley and Pasabag Valley are two similar locations. It’s full of natural structures of which the top part consists of basalt and the bottom part of softer rock that degraded faster. This means that the rock columns now all have the shape of… a dick. Locals and guides prefer the term ‘fairy chimney’ but we all know better! Once you’ve seen it you can’t unsee it!
Also called the Red Valley. Your place to be to catch an amazing sunset. There are a few open-air bars to catch a drink or you can just simply bring your own blanket, picknick and booze and find your own private spot. Here they also offer horseback rides if you’re into that. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the views.
Ortahisar or Uçhisar
Two similar amazing towns built around a rocky hill. They are stunning to watch from a distance and make some great photos during sunset. Ortahisar and Uçhisar house a lot of cave hotels too. When you’re there, I can only recommend you to book a cave hotel, where else are you going to have the chance to experience sleeping in a cave?!
My top pick: creepy hair guy in Avanos
Chez Galip is the owner of a pottery shop, of which you have so many in Cappadocia, but he has an interesting side hustle: He’s the owner of the hair museum in Avanos. It’s not your typical museum about the history of hair or something like that. Rather it’s a cave that contains thousands if not millions of hair locks from female visitors. Am I the only one that’s intrigued by this? If you visit Galip’s pottery shop and have a nice chat with him (he speaks French too!), he might let you in for free.
The Hair Museum is regarded as one of the weirdest museums in the world, and almost nobody knows about it! It’s a real hidden gem and visiting the place will be an experience you’ll never forget! Sadly, pictures are no longer allowed. You can still find a few old pics on Google but right now it is strictly forbidden. Nevertheless, it is worth to visit. You don’t need pictures cause I’m sure you’ll remember this place forever!
Worth to mention: Three Graces, Kaymakli underground city.
There are two other places that are worth to mention. Three Graces is only a quick stop along the road. No need to spend much time there, but you can make some great pictures of the three rock formations.
Kaymakli underground city is worth a visit as well. Here, hundreds or thousands of people used to live underground, especially during times when they had to hide from the enemy. If you’re entering with a guide, you will learn much more and the maze that is Kaymakli will suddenly make sense. It’s still amazing each time I think of it, that people used to live here! They even had an intricate ventilation system.
As I mentioned earlier, I was there with Corendon, who offer trips to Cappadocia departing from Belgium and the Netherlands. They have it all figured out for you and they’re making sure you get to see all the famous places! Check out all their guided tours to Cappadocia and the different formulas here.
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