Cappadocia, perhaps the most photographed region of Turkey, is also inscribed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990’s. Some consider Cappadocia to be a desert due to it’s unique rock formations, making it semi-arid in nature. Once you arrive in this part of Turkey you’ll realize how different it is from other cities in the same country. It houses rock-formations of different shapes & sizes. Some of them are in the form of a hill, while some are as straight as a stick. What sets it apart is that there is hardly any cement or concrete used in construction of this entire region. One can only find homes & hotels carved on the rocks giving it a cave like formation. If you wish to experience living in a cave, Cappadocia is where you should be.
HOW TO REACH CAPPADOCIA:
Cappadocia can only be reached by bus or by flights. There are no trains which can take you to the city center.
By Bus: The best thing about Turkey is that smallest of smallest villages are connected by their highly efficient bus system. Bus is the most convenient way to reach Goreme. All you have to do is buy the bus tickets one or two days before your arrival (depending upon the season). You can book the bus tickets in advance on Kamil Koç (best bus out of all the others) or directly at the bus counter.
By flight: Cappadocia has 2 airports which is connected with all major airports in Turkey. From the airport you can either take a taxi or go in one of their Dolmuşes (mini-buses). Sometimes you may find flights even cheaper than the buses. So make sure to research a little.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Due to reduction in influx of tourists & travelers, there are cheap deals up for grabs in Cappadocia. You’ll mostly be living in cave hotels, isn’t it amazing? Budget hotel rooms for two, during summers, can be as less as 20$ – 25$ incl breakfast & taxes. Also make sure to live in the city center in Cappadocia, which is also known by the name Goreme. How many days are enough? 2 nights – 3 days!
Where to stay?
Living in Cappadocia is an one of a kind experience as one gets to live inside a cave. This city is great for solo travelers, couples, friends and families alike. Have you ever slept in a before? If no, then make sure you do not leave this opportunity when in you visit this city. Here are some options to consider :
Luxury: Sultan Cave Suites
Mid-budget: Katpatuka Cave Hotel and Nostalji Cave Hotel
Economical: Walnut House Hotel and Elysee Cave House
Solo travelers: Hostel Terra Vista
Assuming that breakfast is already included with the accommodation cost, now you just have to splurge on lunch & dinner. There are several restaurants in & around various spots, which serve all kinds of cuisines. But the normal working hours of a restaurant began after 11 am. The average price per person in any good restaurant will be approx $5 – $10. Another thing which I absolutely was expecting was to try the street food. Sadly, there aren’t any street food stalls in Cappadocia.
Read : things to eat in Turkey
Public transport option is quite limited. There are no railways or trams which would take you around the city. You can rely only on private taxis, bicycles or mini-buses (Dolmuş in Turkish language). If living in Goreme, then the open air museum is just 20-min walk and hence can be covered on foot. The rest of the places requires transport. Buses leave often from the bus station and is also the most cheapest way to go around. If you wish to go by a private taxi, then they can be booked in the hotel itself at a pre-determined rate. So basically, mini-buses would cost around $1 – $2 (per person), whereas a taxi can cost you around $40 – $50 (per person) for one full day.
You’re in cappadocia and you obviously would wish to experience the most famous hot air balloon ride! Well, yes you should, who wouldn’t want to do that? However, also remember that, if you’re on a tight budget, this ride might exceed your total budget allocation as being famous comes with a price tag! So are the most of the activities in Cappadocia. But listen, what I have been told is, Cappadocia is in reality is way more expensive then this, but because there are hardly any foreigners, they have slashed the prices! So basically activities can hit you for around $150 – $200 which includes entry prices & hot air balloon.
HOW TO ALLOCATE YOUR BUDGET?
Cappadocia is one of the most expensive regions in Turkey, mainly due to the activities there. Hence, allocating your budget in the right way is important because it will help you save great deal of money. So how do you do it? Don’t worry, I have done it for you already!
The most important expenditure that you will incur is on the hot air balloon ride, which will be 100 Euros. This balloon ride will take up the major chunk of your budget. Hence, the best way to compensate the cost is by spending less on the hotel and travelling around by the mini-buses. Also, Cappadocia has a city pass which give you an entry to all the major museums and tourist attractions. Paying separately at major attractions will only increase your cost, as compared to buying a city pass. For example: Paying separately at each attraction might cost you TLR 50 while the same with a city pass will cost you TLR 35. This city passes can be obtained at any major attraction!
Another way in which you can save some more money is by not opting to eat near to any attraction. Generally people eat in & around major attractions, which are more expensive than the ones which are away from the public eyes!
THINGS TO DO IN CAPPADOCIA:
1) HOT AIR BALLOON:
The hot balloon ride is a grand affair in this city, although it’s a little expensive. There are several companies in Cappadocia which does the hot air balloon rides. The buses arrives at 4 in the morning at the hotel, where they pick up people who have enrolled in the balloon ride, after which they take you for early morning breakfast (cost is included). From there, you’ll be transferred to your respective balloons, where you can actually see it inflate. Once, that is done people can start getting in & the ride starts.
Suddenly in no-time you’re in the air with so many other balloons, witnessing that mesmerizing sunrise across the entire valley spread out right in front of you. That moment is truly magical & has the tendency to make you speechless. Later on the balloon goes around several spots depending upon the wind, giving the bird’s eye view of major spots. After being up for 1 hour, the descend begins. The successful flight is then celebrated with a glass of champagne & some cupcakes, followed by giving out of certificates of participation. And just like all good things come to an end, so does this ride. *sobbing silently*
2) RED TOURS & THE GREEN TOURS:
Cappadocia is divided into two distinctive tours: The red tour & the green tour. If you’ve done these two tours, you’ve seen almost all of Cappadocia. Red tour takes you across various valleys and museums, whereas green tour as the name suggests takes you to the mountains, and more into the forests which involves hiking, trekking etc. One tour requires one full day & hence it is necessary to make plans accordingly. If you do both the tours make sure you give yourself enough time to relax as it can get hectic as well as tiring at the same time.
3) DERINKUYU UNDERGROUND CITY:
An underground city was discovered some years ago by the construction workers, while they were working in Cappadocia. This underground city enlightens us about the culture and the way of life of the people living some centuries ago inside the caves. As soon as you enter the caves, the temperature falls drastically and inside it’s almost impossible to be without a jacket or a pull over. The temperature inside this city remains constant i.e 15-20 degrees irrespective of the weather outside. It’s a must visit place, if you’re in Cappadocia.
4) EXPLORE THE TURKISH CULTURAL DANCE:
The Turkish cultural dance has several performances for few hours, while they serve you dinner. So you can enjoy your food & the dance show. This show brings together traditional dance performances from different regions of Turkey.
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2 thoughts on “Doing Cappadocia the Right way!”
Great info! This has always been a region of Turkey that I would love to check out. I was in the southern region in Ephesus this past fall and was mesmerized by the culture. It’s such an interesting mixture of East and West. I’d love to go back.
I hope you get a chance to go back to Turkey & explore cappadocia.. You’ll be amazed!!