Everything you need to do (and eat) in Cappadocia
Updated: Jun 21, 2021
Cappadocia is a place of DREAMS! 🤩
It truly ignites every single sense. The smell of fresh Turkish coffee and open grills, the sounds of the mosques and traditional Turkish music, the flavours bursting across your taste buds, beautiful colours everywhere, the feel of the fabrics and the glow of the lanterns - it’s just mind-blowing!
Where to stay
The first thing that can stop you in your tracks before even stepping foot out of your home country, is deciding where to stay. It’s overwhelming! There are over 400 cave hotels around Göreme - and honestly, they all look incredible. There’s accommodation to suit every price range, so you’re truly spoilt for choice. I got a recommendation from a girl I met in a travel group on Facebook, she told me to get in contact with Lisa at Adelya Cave Hotel, and it was the best thing I could have done. Travelling during the pandemic wasn’t without it’s challenges and second thoughts, so going back and forth with Lisa about hot air balloons, tour packages, tour safety, restrictions, solo travel safety, wifi strength (yes I was that person!) was exactly what I needed to put me at ease.
I booked my tour package directly through the hotel, including my transfers (I’ll post all the prices at the end) and when I pulled up outside my hotel, I was greeted by the friendliest Turkish man saying “Sherilyn!!” and literally welcoming me with open arms (and a face mask).
I stayed at the Adelya for a total of 9 days, it was the perfect place to base myself, a small hotel with only 9 rooms. The traditional Turkish breakfast every morning was to die for, and was cooked by Denis. We became like a little family during our stay, it was brilliant.
Where to eat
As I mentioned, my hotel had incredible breakfasts included in the price, so there was no reason for me to go elsewhere. However on two occasions I booked breakfasts at luxury hotels to get the sunrise views and and an even more lavish breakfast experience. The first was Museum Hotel; They have a heated infinity pool and panoramic views of the hot air balloons from a distance. Their breakfast and pool experience was unlike anything I’ve ever done in my life! Extremely luxury and lavish and incredible value for money. The breakfast was never-ending, the service was to an extremely high standard and the views were breathtaking.
I also booked a sunrise breakfast on the Mithra Cave Hotel private terrace which also has beautiful views, but much closer to the balloons, and it’s in the heart of Göreme so you can see all of the caves and the city across the landscape. Unfortunately, the day that I’d booked this for, the hot air balloons had cancelled, so I wasn’t able to get those incredible sunrise balloon views I was hoping for. However the manager, Emre, was kind enough to offer the private terrace for breakfast for half price as there were no balloons. Yes, of course seeing the hot air balloons from there would have been amazing, but WOW did we have an incredible breakfast. They have a freshly made bed on the rooftop for you get relax in, stunning Turkish rugs to sit on and a huge platter of never ending breakfast. They even give you a fake breakfast to pose with before they serve the real one! Me and my sister indulged in the food and indulged in the views and practically had to roll off the roof after eating so much.
To be honest, I ate anywhere and everywhere for lunch, and it was all so good! One of my favourite places was a couple doors down from my hotel called Cappadocia Pide. You have to try their steak flatbread, it was delicious and the outside tables were almost always full.
Okay, get ready to take notes. First of all, I have to admit, I didn’t have one bad meal in Cappadocia (even the lunches on the tours were outrageous!) But I have some absolute favourites that I highly recommend you check out on your visit. On my first night I stumbled across a “hot wine” stand and fire pit outside a restaurant, and that was enough to entice me into Silk Road Restaurant. It quickly became my “local” and I spent evenings indulging in grilled meats and piles of bread before drinking Turkish tea and coffee with the staff.
My other favourite was recommended to me by my hotel staff as it’s where they ate. Cozy Cafe is an absolute hidden gem. It’s run by a lovely Turkish couple who are getting married at the end of the month (they were counting down when I was there). I don’t even have the vocabulary to describe how brilliant the food was. It was authentic Turkish food with influences from other regions as well as Cappadocia. My favourites were the cherry and pistachio chicken, and the stuffed aubergine. It’s a small restaurant with only around six tables, and the service is amazing.
One thing that is a must eat in Cappadocia (apart from EVERYTHING) is Testi Kebab (or Pottery Kebab to the Brits). It’s local to the region of Cappadocia, and it’s a mixture of meat and veg that’s baked in a clay pot, then served at the table by cracking the pot open and pouring the juiciest meat you could ask for onto your plate. I think every restaurant in Cappadocia serves it, however Dibek slow cook the meat in the pot for hours, so you have to order ahead of time. I can absolutely say that the meat was extremely tender and the flavour was just out of this world, so it’s worth making a reservation and ordering ahead of time.
What to do
There’s honestly so much!! But I’ll try and keep it short and sweet.
Hot Air Balloon Ride: Of course, this goes without saying, Cappadocia is one of the number one places in the world to get your hot air balloon on. It’s an incredible (and slightly terrifying) flying sensation and is an experience I’ll never forget. Totally worth the early morning.
Watch the Hot Air Balloons: Of course you get to see the views of the balloons from inside your hot air balloon, but I recommend you roll out of bed early one morning and make your way to Red Valley, a rooftop terrace or any other view point to see the balloons take off. It’s amazing to see to ground level.
Green Tour: This is a long day, roughly 8 hours for the full tour - but you get fed and watered so don’t panic. This is the what I call the “History Tour” You will learn so much about how Cappadocia came to be, go eight levels down and explore an underground city, see some incredible view points and beautiful Evil Eye trees, also you get to take gorgeous walk through Ihlara Valley.
Red Tour: This tour is around 6 hours long. I call it the “Instagram Tour” because there’s lots of different stops, and plenty of breathtaking photo opportunities. You get the see the Open Air Museum, Uchisar Castle, Monks Valley and plenty of Fairy Chimneys.
ATV sunset ride: This was a spontaneous activity for me actually. There was space on the ATV's after we’d finished the Red Tour, and our guide sorted it out for us. It was so exhilarating and fun quad biking through the valleys, and watching the sun start to go down over the unique landscape. I felt like I was in Mad Max.
Tuz Gölü (Salt Lake): This is a bit of a drive, but totally worth it! It takes about 2 hours to get there from Göreme. Tuz Gölü is the pink, salty remains of what was once a lake. We were the only international tourists there, it seemed to be a spot that mainly locals visited. We had many families stop and ask for photos with us. Also, the salt is great for your skin, and even better for those gorgeous landscape views. Stay for sunset, and take your camera!