Welcome to the Explore by Day Bucketlist. On the first Monday of every month, I will post about a dreamy place that may leave your travel senses tingling. Cappadocia is the first location to be added to the official bucketlist.
I love to travel and I especially love planning trips, even if I will never get to go on them. Why? “I am in love with places I have never been and people I have never met”.
I have been thinking about this bucketlist series for a while and every time I thought about it, I pictured thousands of magical hot air balloons rising in front of me over an arid landscape…
SO – welcome to the Explore by Day Bucketlist, where I will try to stoke your wanderlust and spark a flame in you to long for these magical places and wonderous experiences. I have not been to all the places I will suggest, but they are places I want to visit.
Welcome to the fantasy world – Let’s make your explorer heart’s dreams a reality.
The Cappadocia Balloons
When I say Cappadocia, your brain might immediately be labelling this place as a town in Italy or Greece. But actually, Cappadocia is a region in Turkey and a UNESCO world heritage site often known for its “fairy chimneys”. While the fairy chimneys are magical, Cappadocia has caught my eye for something seemingly much more magical.
Almost year round, you can see many hot air balloons rising above the arid Cappadocia region. This means both an incredible view and an opportunity for you to take a flight via a new mode of transportation!
In fact, depending on when you are there, you may see more than 150 hot air balloons flying in unison through the air at one time.
How to Get There
Cappadocia is located in the center of Turkey. It is in fact just a few hours south of Çorum, the province that Google Maps has deemed the geographic center of the earth! The closest airport to Cappadocia is called Nevsehir Kapadokya Airport (NAV). Likely you if you aren’t in the region, you will need to stop in Istanbul before flying to NAV
From there, you can decide to stay in several towns. The crowd favorite seems to be Göreme, but if you want a more luxurious experience then Uçhisar might be the place for you. To get to Göreme from the airport, it will take about 40 minutes via taxi or shuttle.
When to Visit cappadocia
The balloons fly year round but ultimately rely on calm wind. Therefore, the best months to see the hot air balloons are from April to November. Peak season is generally in July and August so you might see more crowds and have a costlier trip if you plan to travel during those months. If you’re interested in a backdrop of snow, you might consider traveling during the winter months.
Cappadocia Activity List
Cappadocia offers a lot of activities beyond these magical balloon views. In fact, what lies underground is just as captivating as what flies above. Let’s compare!
Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride
Obviously, if you can see a lot of hot air balloons from the ground then you can also take a ride! There are many companies operating hot air balloons in the Cappadocia region including, Cappadocia Balloon Bookings, Hot Air Balloon Cappadocia, and Voyager Ballons.
Costs range from $140 up to $2,400 per hour! The price mostly depends on how many people you are willing to share the balloon with. Most people will likely opt to share with 12 to 24 other people leading to a cost between $140-$300. If you want a completely private flight, you will need to “buyout” the entire balloon and therefore you will get prices in the thousands!
The town of Göreme is surrounded by valleys. There are hiking trails in and around these various valleys for you to enjoy and perhaps get some close up views of the Fairy Chimneys.
You can find several trails on AllTrails or you can opt to go with a tour that takes care of all the details for you.
This title may be misleading. Though we are talking “below ground” actually Cappadocia is full of a network of caves, churches, homes, and more dug into the soft rock. They were created by Christians who fled to Cappadocia to avoid persecution from the Romans. They dug this network into a soft rock called ‘tuff’ that formed through the hardening of volcanic ash over millions of year. These formations could also form naturally from wind or water.
So here are some stops that are above ground, but built into the Earth:
- Pasabag – aka valley of the monks
- Kaymakli Underground City
- Zelve Open-Air Museum
- Uchisar castle
As you can see, Cappadocia is a fantastical place that will make you feel as though you’ve arrived in another world.
So, now is the question… Does it make your bucket list?