Start your day in Cappadocia by catching the sunrise from high in the skies, above the glorious rock formations and breathtaking valleys. Cappadocia hot air balloon rides take place daily, throughout the year. Prices start from 75EUR/ 80USD/ 300TRY. The standard hot air balloon rides take place at sunrise and takes about 3 hours in total with about 1 hour flight time. Most companies will include free hotel transfers, a light breakfast before the flight and a completion certificate. Breakfast usually consists of cucumber and tomato slices, cheese and meat slices, a boiled egg and an endless basket of freshly baked Turkish bread.
Taking a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia definitely ticks an item of the bucket list, however if you are a little scared of heights, you should still check out the sky full of balloons in the morning from one of the many look out points in Goreme.
Once your Cappadocia hot air balloon item is ticked off your list, it’s time to explore a bit of it on land, but first head to one of the many Turkish cafes and enjoy a Turkish Coffee or tea and reflect on the morning adventures.
Turkish coffee is a strong coffee, usually served black and with a lot of sugar. If you’re not a coffee drinker, then don’t worry! Turkey is also famed for their sweet apple tea, which is worth trying at least once. Black tea is also regularly served. Tea is served in small, vase-looking cups with a saucer and lots of sugar on the side.
So with a heavy dose Caffeine pumping through your bloodstream, head to the Open Air Museum to explore some of the rock paintings, cave buildings and sculptures.
If you’re feeling super hungry then take lunchtime as the opportunity to try Manti, also known as Turkish dumplings. Manti is a traditional dish of the region, made from pasta dumplings filled with spiced ground meat and usually served with garlic yoghurt.
For a lighter alternative, you can try Gozleme (Turkish pancakes with ground meat) or borek (various different stuffed pastries). My favourite borek is the stuffed spinach and feta cheese.
After Lunch take a walk through Rose Valley and admire the rock formations, beautiful colours and unusual landscape. You can easily spend several hours walking through the different valleys, and building up an appetite for dinner.
You cannot leave Cappadocia without trying testi kebabs – and no, it’s nothing like what it sounds. “Testi” actually means “pot” in Turkish. Testi kebabs are local to the Cappadoica region, and you’ll rarely find it on the menu elsewhere.
Testi kebabs are local stews made in pots, which are then set on fire to cook. The meal is served in the pot, and the pot is cracked open in front of you, before eating. There are lots of different types of testi kebabs to choose from. The most popular being lamb testi. Most restaurants will even offer a vegetarian testi, which I also highly recommend. I ate testi at Dibek restaurant in Goreme. The food was amazing, as was the atmosphere and customer service. Dibek serves local, traditional food in a restored stone house.
For desert grab a couple of cold EFES (local) beers and a few of pieces of Baklava. Baklava is a sweet, sticky pastry made from filo pastry and chopped nuts. The pistachio baklava is definitely a winner! Once equipped with your desert, head up to sunset point (15-25 minute walk from downtown Goreme) to enjoy a fantastic sunset over Goreme and the valleys. (Depending what time you usually have your dinner, you might want to catch the sunset before dinner).
Cappadocia is a truly magical place – whether spending a day or a week there, it is definitely a “not-to-miss” destination in Turkey.