Cappadocia – Top Things to Try at this Popular Destination
Cappadocia, a region of volcanic rock landscapes, uniquely shaped in an almost ethereal way, a product craved by the forces of nature. It is a place at the top of many a tourist’s lists with villages carved out of hillsides, Byzantine-era rock-cut churches and labyrinthine underground cities.
There’s so much to see in this land moulded by the people of the past and nature’s hands, especially for those with a flair for history. If you find yourself taking a trip to Turkey, make sure to visit Cappadocia and partake in these sought after activities.
Ride Across the Skies in a Hot Air Balloon
We have covered this particular activity in finer detail previously because it stands as, arguably, the number one activity to try when visiting Cappadocia. An early morning flight over the unique rock valley is a grand sight that has captivated the heart of many.
Over 100 hot air balloons set off into the skies just past the crack of dawn and give those riding upon them the chance to have a bird’s eye view of the grand valley area below. These daily flights will typically take you through the Red, Rose and Meskendir valleys though, at times, due to strong winds, you could find yourself having a surprise detour to the surrounding areas.
Each ride takes about one hour with more expensive options going for an extra 30 mins or so. These tours also include pick up, drop off and a breakfast buffet so you don’t have to worry bout those details when booking them.
Hiking and Horse Riding at Red and Rose Valleys
Between the villages of Göreme and Çavusin, Cappadocia’s most beautiful intertwining valleys can be found. The rolling and rippling rock faces, formed by volcanic explosion and millennia of wind and water erosion, arc out across the countryside in a palette of yellow, pink, and orange cliffs. Between these cliffs are leafy orchards and vegetable plots which are still tended to by local farmers, while hidden churches and hermit-hideouts dating back to the Byzantine era are carved into the rock.
The most famous activity in Cappadocia is definitely hot-air ballooning but there are many other activities that will give you some fantastic views of the valley. With dozens of trails close by, hiking proves to be one of these great options, so if you feel the call of adventure, you know what to do. These hikes usually range from just a few hours to full-day excursions.
While hiking, be sure to be on the lookout for some ancient architecture with the Kolonlu Church, the Haçl Church and the Üç Haçl Church. These cave churches are all quite fascinating creations that you need to witness at least once.
Horseback riding is also very popular in this valley. Because of the rocky terrain, most rides are best suited for intermediate riders rather than beginners.
Shopping in Avanos
Avanos is an active provincial town on the banks of the Kizilirmak River.
The older part of town is a maze of cobblestone streets lined with timeworn Ottoman mansions that are sure to provide you with intriguing scenery when out for a stroll. However, the main attraction in Avanos is its pottery.
The pottery industry of the town dates all the way back to the Hittite period, and local artisans still use the Kizilirmak River’s distinctive red clay today, just as they did then. Many of the owners of the pottery workshops and shops along the main road in the town centre, beside the river, are happy to let you watch them work or even try your hand at making a simple pot.
The Guray Ceramic Museum in the town honours this pottery heritage with an incredible collection of ceramics from all over Turkey. It’s quite a distinctly structured place, being a series of caves under the Guray Pottery Workshop.
Exploring the Village of Göreme
Göreme is often named as one of the most beautiful villages in the world by a number of travel magazines and you’ll know why when you see it.
The village is partially buried into the hill, the facades of its stone houses concealing a labyrinth of cave rooms beneath. Many of these traditional houses have been converted into boutique cave hotels in Göreme, which is at the centre of Cappadocia’s tourism industry.
El Nazar Church and Sakl Church are both accessible from Müze Caddesi, a short walk from the centre on the way to Göreme Open-Air Museum.
All of the main valleys branching out from the village offer a plethora of trails that lead past eccentric rock formations, known locally as fairy chimneys, and hidden cave churches all the way up to panoramic viewpoints, making the village a great base if you’re itching to go on a hike.