Are you curious to visit another planet in the Universe and yet only spend a reasonable amount of money to get there? And still enjoy all the earthly comforts? Then, Cappadocia is the answer you are looking for. The landscape looks surreal and definitely gives you an otherworldly experience the minute you set foot here. Check out our blog as we provide valuable details and tips on planning a trip to Cappadocia in winter & things to do while you are there.
Instagram has definitely contributed to the surge in visitors to Cappadocia but its well worth the hype.
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Planning a trip to Cappadocia in winter & Things to do:
How did Cappadocia form:
The formation of present time Cappadocia is quite interesting. Some thirty million years ago, the eruption of now dormant volcanoes covered the entire region with ash and mud. This later solidified into soft rock called Tuff. Over all these years, erosion caused by the natural elements like wind, rivers and rain gave Cappadocia its unique and unusual formation.
Planning a trip to Cappadocia:
Cappadocia is well connected by Air. The main airports here are Nevsehir and Kayseri. There are flights from Istanbul airports and the journey hardly takes less than 90 mins. The tickets are quite reasonable as well, especially from Sabiha airport in Istanbul to Kayseri. Make sure to book an airport shuttle through your hotel in Cappadocia as failing to do so would leave you stranded in the airport. Also keep in mind that Kayseri airport is quite far from Göreme town.
Where to stay in Cappadocia
Plan to stay in Göreme as it is central to all other attractions mentioned in our article below. The town itself is beautiful and finding an accommodation that suit your budget is very easy.
Göreme and in general Cappadocia is full of cave hotels for all budgets. The experience of staying at one of these hotels is quite exquisite as these hotels would let you experience both traditional and modern aspects of staying. Most of the hotels provide beautiful vista point and terrace seating area from where you can see the plethora of hot air balloons flying high in the sky. This makes a memorable experience by itself. We stayed at Mithra Cave Hotel which features a nice roof terrace. From here, we could see the incredible view of the whole of Göreme. Since we traveled during off season, we paid around 45 euros per night for our stay. On our last day, we decided to change things a bit and stayed at Vineyard Cave Hotel. The room was extremely spacious, it gave a feeling of staying in a modern cave and it was very close to the town centre.
How many days in Cappadocia
Plan for at least 3 days of stay in order to cover everything at a reasonable pace. Trust us, you would want to see everything Cappadocia has to offer!
It’s all about Food
Local food is Cappadocia is absolutely delicious and you can find many vegetarian options. There are many restaurants all along the main road and the menu choices are a plenty. Some of the restaurants that stood out were Kale Terrasse and Sedef.
Cappadocia in Winter
OK, so let us set the expectations right. It snows in Cappadocia! So, if you are someone how doesn’t like snow, Cappadocia in winter is not for you. Also the chances of hot air balloon flying in winter is much lesser than what it is in summer. Again, if you are planning a trip to Cappadocia only for the hot air balloon ride, don’t go in winter! Having said that hot air balloons operate all 12 months and weather permitting. If you are lucky, you would get a chance to witness magic like never before. Imagine the valley filled with snow and while you are witnessing the sunrise and this beautiful valley at the same time from a hot air balloon, you are blessed by a lite snowfall!
We traveled to Cappadocia during the Christmas break for 2017. Even though we went totally prepared, the weather was amazing. Beautiful sunshine through the day and the temperature would reach up to 10 degrees. Even though we planned our trip in such a way that we spend maximum number of mornings in Cappadocia (for the hot air balloon ride), we weren’t lucky. Our hot air balloon ride got cancelled on all days due to wind. So, plan and decide based on what you want to do in Cappadocia! Check out our things to do section below.
Everything in Cappadocia is extremely well organised. There are a variety of tours you can choose from based on your interest. The entire area is divided between Red and Green tour and all major attractions are split between both these tours. In addition to this you can do day or sunset ATV, Horse riding and Jeep Safari tours. Get in touch with your hotel as they will be able to book them for you. The tours would cost you anywhere between 110 lira to 150 lira per person based what you choose.
You can book taxis as well, if you want a bit of privacy or explore at your own pace. However, they would be more expensive.
7 Amazing Things to do in Cappadocia:
1. Hot air Balloon rides:
This is a must do activity here and a life time experience. The balloon rides last 60 to 90 minutes and they soar high in the sky, revealing the exclusive landscape of Cappadocia. The panoramic view would make you go weak in the knees and would offer an incredible experience. Watching the hot air balloons filling up the morning sky is as magical as riding one.
However, the rides depend on the weather and if its too windy, it can get canceled. Unfortunately we couldn’t do it due to bad weather through out our stay. Probably that’s a good enough reason to make a trip again to Cappadocia!
The balloon rides cost anywhere between 100 to 200 euros per person but worth every single penny. Hotels in Cappadocia and Istanbul have tie-ups with balloon companies and they provide cheaper rates as compared to directly booking from the balloon company. So our advice would be to go with the offer provided by your hotel.
Quick tip: Dedicate at least 3 or 4 mornings in Cappadocia as there is no guarantee on the rides. April, May, July and August are the best months for balloon rides.
2. Derinkuyu underground city:
The fascinating underground city at Derinkuyu once housed thousands of people during the times of invasion. The ingenious engineering involved in building these caves would even challenge the modern architects. The city is 200m deep and is also of multi-level, sheltering people, livestock and food. Derinkuyu underground city is 18 floors under the ground however only 8 floors are open for tourists. It’s interesting to see their kitchen area, live stock area, church, ventilation facilities and how they lived to survive under the ground. This is definitely not for the faint hearted as some of the tunnels leading to lower levels could feel claustrophobic.
Quick tip: This is almost 40kms from Göreme and is included in the Green tour. Inquire with your hotel about booking this tour. The Green tour also covers your entry fee which is otherwise 20 liras per person.
3. Selime Monastery
The so called Star War landscape can be seen from Selime Monastery. Well, the movie wasn’t shot here but the scene in the movie was inspired by the view. The monastery is carved into rocks and houses a church, a kitchen, cave rooms and a stable for mules. It is fascinating to see the architectural genius of the people who build this monastery back in the eight century!
Quick tip: This is located in the Ihlara Valley, outside Cappadocia. It’s included in the Green tour and definitely a must visit for some super amazing views.
4. Göreme Open Air Museum:
The Göreme Open Air Museum is situated some 1.5 kms from Göreme town center, which is a walk able distance. The entry fee is 30 liras per person and it takes around 2 hours to explore this place. It’s basically a collection of cave churches and can get quite crowded.
Quick tip: To avoid crowd from tour buses, go here a bit later in the day and if possible a hour before closing time. This is part of the Red tour however, it can be easily done on your own.
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5. Uçhisar Castle:
Uçhisar castle provides fantastic panoramic views of the entire valley and is just 5 kms from Göreme. You will need to climb up (not strenuous) to take in the beauty of the majestic valley but its well worth it. This is part of the Red tour but we heard that they won’t let you go up. The entry fee is very cheap and would be covered as a part of the tour. If you are not planning to do the Red tour or not planning to visit Uçhisar, you can skip this castle unless you are interested in 360 degree panoramas.
Quick Tip: If you are looking at buying souvenirs, buy from Uçhisar town as they are much cheaper than Göreme.
6. ATV tours:
A must do activity at Cappadocia! ATV tours are the best way to get up close and personal with the uncommon landscape like the Love Valley and Rose Valley. Opt for a sunset tour as this would give you an incredible experience of watching the sun go down behind the hills of Cappadocia. There are several ATV tour providers so inquire with your hotel to arrange one.
Quick tip: No prior experience is necessary. Usually the tour operator would take you on a 1.5 km practice track before you go off-riding.
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7. Göreme town:
Stroll around in this nice little town and browse the numerous souvenir and carpet shops. The best thing is none of the shop owners will force you to buy anything unlike other countries. They welcome you with a smiling face, offer you a cup of Turkish Tea and chat with you about the items.
Quick tip: Just off the town and towards the Göreme Open Air Museum, you can get up close with the unreal landscape at your own pace. No tour buses and no crowd! If you have time and are like us, pack a picnic and enjoy some time admiring nature’s beauty as chances are you would probably never see something like this again!
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One of the mornings in Cappadocia, we ventured out on our own.. A short walk towards the Goreme Museum will lead you to this stunning place.. No tour buses and no crowds! Just two of us exploring on our own. We packed a small picnic for ourselves and enjoyed the view of Gerome on one side and the valley on the other.. . I am definitely going back to Cappadocia sometime in future! . . . #lilienthalberlin #everytimehasitsplace