Anna enjoys traveling with her husband and son. The family does international/local trips and carry with them loads of cherished memories.
We had only six days to explore Turkey and decided to set aside one day for Cappadocia. We did an extensive research, identified the must-visit destinations and cannot-miss experiences, and chalked out a one-day itinerary for Cappadocia.
Travel from Istanbul to Cappadocia
There are flights operated by Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines originating from Istanbul Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SAW) to Cappadocia. One may choose their destination airport as either Nevsehir Kapadokya airport (NAV) or Kayseri Erkilet airport (ASR). The flight time is approximately 1h15m.
Most hotels at Cappadocia offer pick-up/drop options from the airport at an additional cost. Our hotel charged us 10 euros per head for the shuttle service that our hotel arranged for us. The drive from ASR to Goreme town, main town of Cappadocia where most of the cave hotels are located, takes approximately an hour. By the time we reached our hotel, it was past midnight.
Stay at Cappadocia
Do not miss to spend the night in one of the cave hotels at Cappadocia, mainly for the unique experience. Most of these hotels have sprawling terraces which offer magnificent views of the hot-air balloons early morning.
We chose to stay at Antique Terrace Cave Suites and it was worth every penny. The cave rooms are spacious, airy, and houses a double bed and two single beds. We were allotted a room with a private balcony on the ground floor.
At sharp 6 in the morning, we proceeded towards the terrace to catch the hot-air balloons and the view was truly mesmerizing! The colorful array of balloons slowly rising in altitude and sailing gracefully across the valley is a sight to behold.
The breakfast, included in the booking, though limited, was decent and tasty. The highlight of the dining is the outdoor seating at the terrace, which offers exhaustive views of the rock-cut formations and fairy chimneys.
The trip around Cappadocia
The two most sought-after one-day tours for Cappadocia are the Green Tour and Red Tour. Most of the tour packages include hotel pick-up/drop and lunch. The tour starts at 9am and is scheduled for a minimum of eight hours.
As the name suggests, the Green Tour takes the traveler through the green stretches of the land and involves a four-kilometer hike through the Ihlara valley. The tour itinerary also includes:
- Ancient rock-cut churches
- Any one of the two underground cities that is Derinkuyu and Kaymakli
- Pigeon Valley.
The Red Tour includes:
- Goreme Open Air Museum
- Uchisar Castle
- Avanos Town, among others.
We opted for the Green Tour. The first stop after a one-hour ride from Goreme town was the ancient rock-cut churches. This was followed by a hike down Ihlara valley. The highlight of the trip was indeed the walking trail along the river that runs through this valley. The lunch served after the hike was sumptuous and filling, with the travelers getting to choose from vegetarian, chicken, beef, and fish.
Post-lunch, we did a tour of the Kayamakli underground city and Onyx Jewellery factory ending with a quick stop at the Pigeon Valley. A special appreciation goes to the tour guide, Ms. Arca. She is a native of the region, very knowledgeable about its history, and highly excels in customer relations.
Wrapping up the day
The Green Tour ended at approximately 6:30pm and we were dropped off to our hotel. Our airport pickup arrived soon thereafter, enabling us to catch the 10pm return flight to Istanbul.
Looking back, the one-day trip to Cappadocia turned out to be a very comfortable ride. A ride on the hot-air balloon would definitely have been an icing on the cake. However, this would have required us to be present at the balloon takeoff venue at 3am. Since the whole purpose of our trip was a relaxed vacation and due to the lack of time, we chose not to opt for the ride. But it is definitely on our bucket list. Therefore, we would always suggest doing proper homework before planning the trip. This will help you to chalk out an itinerary that suits your interests.
For those interested, the balloon rides may be booked online or through the hotel.