Enchanting spots: Cappadocia

Cappadocia is arguably one of the most fascinating regions in Turkey. Located near the city of Kayseri in the centre of Turkey, Cappadocia has a multitude of historical and cultural monuments, but is most famous for its unique geological features.

The region was formed by a combination of deposits from rivers and volcanic eruptions. The soft rocks gradually eroded to give the region its unique, surreal landscape with countless pillars, chimney-like structures (called ‘fairy chimneys’) and strange rock formations.

The soft rock also enabled inhabitants in this region to carve out homes, churches and monasteries from the hillsides throughout the centuries. Early-Christians even built elaborate underground cities to escape persecution. Among the underground cities, Kaymakli and Derinkuyu are the most visited. These cities are truly fascinating, consisting of hundreds of rooms, tunnels and shafts, but I do not recommend a visit for those who are prone to claustrophobic attacks – some of the tunnels are narrow and dimly-lit.

The Göreme Open Air Museum in the Göreme Valley should certainly not be missed. This UNESCO World Heritage site provides visitors with a unique insight into the history of the region and its monastic inhabitants, and houses around ten churches, chapels and convents carved out of the mountainside, some of which have magnificent frescoes that date back to the 9th century.

Touring Cappadocia

There are many possibilities to experience the surreal landscape of Cappadocia such as jeep or bus tours, on horseback or in a hot-air balloon.

The hot-air balloon is my personal favourite – it’s a very touristy thing to do but absolutely worth the hefty price tag. The hot-air balloons depart just before sunrise – when weather conditions are excellent, there are sometimes tens of balloons up in the air simultaneously, making it a spectacular sight both from the ground and in the air . The views of the verdant valleys, the fairy chimneys and the deep canyons in the morning light are truly breathtaking. I’ll never forget the sight of the wave-like hills below, coloured with warm hues of pink, peach and cream in the morning glow – absolutely enchanting.

Search for hotels in Goreme.

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20 Responses to “Enchanting spots: Cappadocia”

  1. Cardinal Guzman 25/07/2012 11:57 am

    Cappadocia is mind blowing!

  2. Natalie - Turkish Travel Blog 20/11/2010 7:29 am

    I have just returned from a wonderful trip to Cappadocia. I have to say that it has overtaken Istanbul as my favourite place to visit. I bottled out of the hot air balloon trip though!

  3. Christine 19/11/2010 8:51 pm

    A hot-air balloon ride in Cappadocia is one of the top travel experiences I’m dying to have, thanks for sharing!

  4. velvet 02/11/2010 4:07 pm

    Hi Carolien,
    Bedankt voor jouw commentaar. Cappadocia is echt geweldig. Jij heb vast van de ballonvaart genoten!


  5. Carolien Geurtsen 02/11/2010 11:53 am

    Just back from 10 days Uchisar, Capadocia, I am most pleased again to see your article.
    We had a great time! I had the chance to give a retreat there for a group from Holland and it was marvelous!

    Ofcourse i could not resist a balloonflight while being there


    there you can also find other pics – now wait until April and go again

    Carolien Geurtsen

  6. velvet 28/10/2010 1:09 pm

    You’ll love Cappadocia! ENJOY! 🙂


  7. Cam 28/10/2010 1:58 am

    Timely read for me as I will be there in less than 2 weeks! Can’t wait… looks incredible!

  8. Carolien Geurtsen 10/07/2010 3:18 pm

    Thanks Velvet, great post.

    I am in favour of all publicity about this marvelous part of Turkey. Both nature and culture wise I think it is of great splendour!
    I visit Cappa at least twice a year and in 010 it will even be 3 times, as I am having the opportunity to organise a retrait week there in October, lucky me.
    Kind regards, Carolien Geurtsen

    Twitter @Caro_Geurtsen

  9. JR Riel 01/07/2010 1:29 am

    Ahh, the Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia have always been up there in ‘out of this world’ places! It seems like it would be a surreal experience. Are there a lot of tourists? It seems like its kind of an out the way place. I remember reading somewhere that you can stay in a hotel carved out of the mountainside, that would be unforgettable. Great info, thanks for sharing!

  10. velvet 08/06/2010 4:33 pm

    Hi Lisa,
    You will LOVE Turkey! Let me know when you go – I’ve got loads of tips for you! 🙂


  11. Lisa @ The World is Calling 08/06/2010 4:28 pm

    Mmm…really, REALLY want to go to Turkey someday.

  12. Nihal 02/06/2010 3:37 pm

    Hi Keith,
    You’ve got a lot of great info about the natural and historic terrain. Really cool post, but I’d like to find some details about Cappadocia’s cave churches:)

    Greetings from Istanbul~

  13. The Travel Tart 14/05/2010 2:22 pm

    Hi Keith, I agree with you about Turkey – it’s an awesome place, I love the people there. And because the place has been invaded so many times by different civilisations, each on has left a bit of influence behind, which has made Turkey one of the most diverse countries I’ve visited, both in terms of sights and food!

    But I had a slightly different interpretation of the bizarre landforms of Cappadocia!

  14. Hakan Guzelgoz 13/05/2010 9:02 pm

    Hi Simon,

    Great post. I’ve posted about the top 10 things to do in Cappadocia and would appreciate your comments:


  15. velvet 13/05/2010 1:01 pm

    Hi Simon,
    It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Turkey – I actually made this trip about 6-8 years ago I think. I love Turkey, from Istanbul to Ephesus to Bodum & Marmaris to Cappadocia, and from the Black Sea to Kars, Mt. Ararat & Lake Van to Diyarbakir & Mt. Nemrud…. gosh, come to think of it, I’ve seen quite a bit of the country. Hahaha! It’s a stunning country and the people are so incredibly friendly and hospitable. Maybe it’s time for another visit! Will have to start looking for a sponsor! 😉


  16. simon 13/05/2010 12:52 pm

    Your lovely posts brings me back to past memories. I visited Turkey and Cappadocia ehm… more than 20 years ago… At that time, it was not such a well-known destination. Not many tourists, only a few Italians and as far as I can remember most visitors were coming from Germany. Cappadocia was still a wild place: no hot-air balloons, no horse-back riding, only simple accommodations.

    I’ve visited many awesome places since then, but Cappadocia and overall Turkey still holds a great place in my heart. I was fascinated by what seemed to me a lunar landscape, so unique.



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