This is a guest post by Paul Easton. Paul is the owner of puretourism.co.uk. They offer windsurfing and sailing holidays in Bodrum on the southwest coast of Turkey.
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This is part of our series on planning for a specific number of days in Cappadocia. To see all the possibilities check out the Series Introduction.
Cappadocia is one of my favorite destinations in Turkey even though the last time I visited was in 2000. After recently watching a program about Cappadocia on the BBC I was inspired to re-visit this beautiful destination in the snow!
All 3 photos courtesy of Paul Easton of Pure Tourism
The first time I visited Cappadocia I was broke, so my friends and I had to do it on a tight budget. We still had an amazing time, but this time around I wanted to fill our 3 days in Cappadocia with a bit more of the tours …
I booked my flights to Cappadocia Airport (Nevsehir) with Turkish airlines via Istanbul, and the rest was just a rough plan! What I wanted to do was;
1. Horseback riding in the snow
2. A balloon ride
3. Explore more of the area
4. Drink nice wine
5. Go skiing on the volcano in nearby Kayseri
My Turkish friend arranged Emily’s Cave House which was a lovely little B&B in Goreme, and the owners arranged a transfer for me from the airport which cost around 20TL. The transfer company met me at the airport, and I was whisked away and dropped directly at the pension.
I was welcomed by the lovely couple, Mehmet and Esin, who greeted me warmly and gave me a much needed coffee. The room was lovely, with great facilities, such as a wonderful power shower. The room in which we stayed had access to wireless internet which was a nice bonus and much used.
Esin and Mehmet told me about the various tours on offer and gave me recommendations for places to eat in town. I booked the tours through a local agent as they seemed to get the best rates. The balloon company that I used was Istanbul Balloon Company, which was the cheapest option I could find (90 Euros). I did consider the other operators, however they were 130 for what seemed like a less than impressive unique selling point. So we managed to save 80 euros between us.
1. Horseback riding
Esin and Mehmet advised us against doing this because the ground was really soft. I also asked what route the horses would go, and this seemed to be the same route as we were planning on walking, so decided against doing this.
2. The balloon ride
We got up really early for this, the Istanbul Balloon Company came and picked us up from our accommodation, and took us all to a restaurant for breakfast before going to the Balloon.
Our pilot on the Istanbul Balloon Company was excellent, he was very skillful and didn’t go unnecessarily high, so we really got to enjoy the landscape. We did go high, but it was only for 10 minutes or so, before descending to land. Upon landing we then enjoyed a nice bottle of fizzy apple juice (which they called Champagne) to celebrate the ride.
Overall I would say that this was one of the best things that I have ever done. I am normally really scared of heights, but felt safe and at ease. The only downside I would say is that the fuel put off a little odor, and the Champagne was not Champagne, but that might be why you pay an additional 40 euros per person with other operators?
3. Explore – Green Tour
The balloon company dropped us back at our pension, and we had our second breakfast of the day. We had arranged to be at the tour office at 9:30am to go on our second tour of the day. On this tour we got to take in the views of Göreme, and get some great pictures of the Fairy Chimneys. We went to an underground city in which the early Christians used to hide for up to two months at a time during times of raiding and persecution.
After the underground city we went for a hike through the Ihlara Valley, this is a beautiful valley and we ended up at a restaurant for lunch. In the valley there are many caves which have frescoes lining the walls.
At the end of the Green tour we went to an old monastery. Again this was a great experience, as we got to see how the Monks lived and worshiped.
Overall this day trip was well worth it, and the guide really added something to the whole experience. We decided against the red tour as we thought that we could do this on our own by foot.
The next day we decided to go for a walk through Pigeon Valley (Güvercin Vadısı) up to Uçhisar Castle. Although we didn’t go into the castle, the views from its base are still quite something. We then hitched a ride back to Göreme and chilled out in the Mydonose Cafe for the rest of the day.
In the Mydonose Cafe we enjoyed great local food, including one of the best tomato soups I have ever had, a local dish that wasn’t on the menu called Nohut (chick peas and meat served in a tomato sauce), and maybe because we looked so hungry the old lady treated us to some nice mini jacket potatoes, which were being baked on the wood stove. Overall, this cafe really made our trip memorable, the hospitality and tasty food was second to none.
4. Drink nice wine
Cappadoccia produces, in my opinion, some of the nicest wine in Turkey. I can’t remember what brand we had, but I tried everything from the cheapest wine to mid-range priced local wine. I enjoyed every drop. I now wish that I had brought some back with me!
5. Go skiing in Kayseri
Our final aim of the trip was to go skiing on Mount Erciyes in nearby Kayseri. In order to get to Mount Erciyes you need to get two busses which drop you in Kayseri, and then you need to change to a Dolmus which takes you up the mountain. It takes about 2 hours to reach Mount Erciyes from Cappadocia (by public transport) and is relatively easy.
Erciyes is a really impressive sight as you reach Kayseri. The ski centre is due to have massive investment in the next few years, and you can see this with the duel carriageway that they have built leading up to the ski centre.
Overall I enjoyed my half day skiing at Erciyes, the standard of ski hire that I used was great, however I have never been on such a slow lift in my life! This was due to the fact that the locals use the lift for sledging, and having been used to Val D’sere and Meribel, it felt like I was going back in time to the 1970’s. I am sure that this will change in the next five years, so I might give Erciyes another try then.
In conclusion, I will always remember my 3 days in Cappadocia as my friend and I had such a good time. I am sure that this won’t be the last time I visit this magical place! Cappadocia is a great starting point for anyone’s holiday, no matter what the time of year.
After our time at Kayseri we went further East to; Hasan Keyf, Mardin and Urfa before flying to Ankara and then Istanbul.
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