In all my years of traveling to Turkey, I have never been to Cappadocia, which has long been on my wish list. I finally fulfilled my wish, and Cappadocia did not disappoint.
Goreme and the rock sites of Cappadocia are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rock formations are unlike anything else I’ve seen.
Solo. This is an easy solo trip because you have to do mostly tours so you’re not doing anything alone. Turkish hospitality is in abundance in Cappadocia, and I met a lot of different people from all over the world.
Most hotels will arrange tours of the area. You can choose from the Red Tour or the Green Tour or the Blue Tour. Essentially, these tours are about the same with maybe one variation. You usually spend the day hiking rock formations, touring parts of underground cities, and walking in valleys. All tours end with a special “demonstration” to sell you something—either it’s an onyx factory, a rug store, or a pottery studio. Yes, they are trying to sell you something. Just go with it. It’s part of the package. You are under no pressure to buy anything. One plus about the tours, they are usually no more than 12 or 14 people so you are not lost in a big group.
Also, don’t miss the Open Air Museum in Goreme. It’s pretty cool and worth it.
Cappadocia is the area and there are several small towns to stay in, such as Cavusin or Uchisar. The main town—and best location—is Goreme. There are plenty of hotels to choose from and many “cave” hotels. I stayed at Kelebek Hotel, which was up a hill from the town of Goreme. One of the “farther” hotels, it was pretty much a 5 or 10-minute walk into the town. The staff was very helpful, and they arranged my tours. I trusted their knowledge and recommendations. They were upfront about whether something was good or not. Everything they recommended turned out to be great.
Dibek, Café Safak (breakfast and lunch only), Topdeck. Definitely try the gozleme, a puff pancake-like bread, and guvec, which means stew. This region is also known for wine, so be sure to try the homemade wine.
Fly into Nevsehir or Kayseri airport from Istanbul. Flights are usually pretty cheap. Most hotels will have a shuttle pick you up. I flew into Nevsehir on Turkish Airlines.
Do the hot air balloon ride. Yes, it’s the touristy thing to do and it’s pricey but I promise you, you won’t regret it. There are several balloon tour companies. My hotel booked my balloon ride through Butterfly Balloons. They were great!
Well, I did already know this . . .don’t waste your time going to the Whirling Dervish or belly dancing performances. Those are cheesy and they’re rip-offs. Also, a lot of hotels have a Turkish bath (hammam). Definitely try it, but don’t sign up for a massage. Their specialty is the Turkish bath—stick with that.