Cappadocia – Inside a Salvador Dali’s Painting

Ana Barreto

Ana Barreto

Hi! I'm Ana, also known as Travellight.
I'm Portuguese, live in Lisbon and I'm a travel addict!
I've been traveling since I was a teenager and I've been around the World a few times already.
This is my attempt to share with you my experiences and the knowledge I've collected after more than 20 years of non-stop traveling. Hope you like it!
You can read more about me here.
Ana Barreto

Have you ever seen a photo of Cappadocia?  Stupid question right?  Of course you did, everybody who loves travel and reads travel blogs, travel magazines, follows Instagram, etc. has seen a photo of this place.

It’s one of those common bucket list items for travel addicts and wannabe fashionistas looking for a scenic place to photograph.  Well I’m no different!

Ever since I can remember I’ve been dreaming of going to Cappadocia but for one reason or another I always postponed it, so when I finally booked that trip my expectations were extremely high, and thankfully I was not disappointed!

This strange-looking region in Central Anatolia, Turkey, has unique rock formations that make you feel like you’ve just landed in a different planet or maybe you’re inside a Salvador Dali’s painting?  It’s surreal!

Kayakapi Premium Caves Hotel

My love affair with Cappadocia started right upon my arrival to the Kayakapı Premium Caves hotel.

I arrived in the middle of the night after a three-hour delay of my flight from Istanbul, and this hotel was my first contact with the region.  And I was instantly blown away by it!  When you hear that the hotel is carved out in stone, and you’ll be sleeping in restored caves, you don’t expect the level of comfort and luxury you find here.  My room suite was huge, beautifully decorated, had a private indoor pool and a sauna!  It doesn’t get much better then this!

The Hot Air Balloon Flight

The place you are staying in is important but that was not the reason I was there.  What I was looking most forward to do was the Hot Air Balloon flight over the valleys.  After sleeping for only two hours because of my delayed flight I was picked up at 4 a.m by the tour company that organizes the ballon flights.

Turkey: A Brief Political Overview

I bet you are thinking, 4 a.m.???  Why so early?  Well, hot air ballons can only fly in specific atmosphere conditions and that usually happens at dawn or at dusk.  I prefer the morning because when you start early you have time to do a lot more things, plus you get to see the sunrise from a ballon!  Priceless!


Hor air balloons

The pilots are very knowledgeable and can take you very close to the ground and the landforms of the valleys, as well as can take you very high up.  Just before the end of the 1 hour flight we cruised through the Love Valley.  It was really cool.  When you see this place you understand why they call it “the love valley”, what do these rocks remind you of?  Be honest, you know what I’m talking about!

Then we landed and like with any hot air balloon flights – there was a table with glasses of champagne waiting for us, and in this case they also had chocolate covered strawberries to offer, delicious!

hot air balloon

Champagne and strowberries after the flight!

Don’t Fly If You Suffer From Vertigo

Hot air balloon flights are a wonderful experience but if you suffer from severe vertigo, please give it a miss! I remember the first time I flew in one.

I was so excited and happy to be in a balloon but I kept being distracted by a couple standing next to me because apparently the girl suffered from severe vertigo and was in absolute panic.

From what I understood her fiance thought it was romantic to take her for a balloon ride and she had no courage to tell him no, but as the balloon got higher so did her voice.  The poor girl started with a low “Oh my God, oh my God!”, then it progressed to ” I feel sick, I feel so sick”, to finally her grabbing her fiance by the collar and screaming out loud “You crazy fool, I’m going to die here!  Make them go down, make them go down!!!”

I find it hilarious now, but at that time I was really upset and worried about having someone so out of control on board, the pilot had to ask her to sit down in the basket so she couldn’t see how high we were and eventually she calmed down.

I paid a taxi driver to spend the day with me, touring the valleys and visiting the local attractions.

The taxi driver was recommended by the hotel and was super nice and friendly without being intrusive.  I found him to be super honest too, he even refused to accept a tip I wanted to give him at the end of the day!

What a difference from the taxi drivers in Istanbul, where I was ripped off shamelessly.  The people of Cappadocia are some of the nicest I’ve met in Turkey and I’ve always felt completely safe there.

Goreme Open Air Museum

Of the local attractions I visited, my favorite one was the Goreme Open Air museum.  In this museum you can feel history coming alive.  The place gives you an insight into the history of the region and helps you understand the way people lived and worshipped centuries ago.  The various churches carved out from stone with the Christian frescos are especially impressive.  Definitely worth a visit!

 Cappadocia Basics:

  • There are no direct flights to Cappadocia so most people get there via Istanbul.  Two airports serve Cappadocia: Kayseri Erkilet Airport (ASR) and Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport (NAV).  You can also get there by train and a bus but flights are more convenient and are not that expensive.
  • Once you exit the airport you can find taxis and dolmus’s (shared taxis or minibus) waiting outside to take you where you need to go, or you can ask your hotel to send someone to pick you up.
  • Spring (April to June) and Autumn (September to November) are the best times to visit Cappadocia.  The weather is moderate with temperatures around 20C.  I went in the month of May and the weather was really nice.  There were not that many tourists there, too.
  • Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: If you’re planning to travel in the Winter, between December and March, pack heavy winter clothes – jackets, sweaters, gloves, etc.  I was told that it gets seriously cold there.  April is very rainy and is still cold so bring pullovers and raincoat.  The Summer gets very hot in Cappadocia, so bring shorts, a hat, comfortable linen clothes and a sunscreen.  Also bring a good pair of trekking shoes if you are planning to walk large distances in the valleys.


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