Waking up to a sky filled with hot air balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey truly felt like living in a fantasy and we couldn’t recommend it enough! If you’re planning to visit this beautiful region in Central Turkey, here are our recommendations on things to add to your itinerary if postcard perfect surroundings are your kind of thing.
1. Watch the sunrise fleet of hot air balloons
Over half of the world’s balloon trips take place in Cappadocia, Turkey. It’s one of the most popular and spectacular places in the world to watch and ride the hot air balloons and something that everyone needs to add to their bucket list. We’ve received so many questions about the balloons so here are some FAQs:
- Do the hot air balloons fly every day? Yes, Cappadocia is one of the few places in the world that has the conditions to fly hot air balloons all year round. However, during Winter there is a chance that flights can be cancelled due to unpredictable weather. If you want to ensure you’ll catch the balloons, try to plan your trip during Summer or Spring (April to May, September to mid November).
- Where is the best place to watch the hot air balloons? The most unforgettable view of the balloons definitely took place at the balloon launch site. We recommend booking a Hot Air Balloon flight with Voyager Balloons where they’ll provide pick-up from your hotel, morning tea and a safe flight in the sky:
- Now, the hot air balloon launch site and the view of the balloons from the above is remarkable but unless you’re taking a private flight for two – you may be squeezed in a basket with a group of people making it hard to get a good picture with the balloons. If you’re after a photogenic spot to take pictures with the balloons, we recommend these Instafamous locations:Sultan Cave Suites
We stayed at Sultan Cave Suites to be close to the heart of Goreme (great markets and great food). The added bonus of staying here was having access to the photogenic rooftop with panoramic views of the balloons
If you’re lucky you’ll also get to spend some time with Sultan Cave Suites’ darling Izmir the dog. She has a love hate relationship with the balloons so you’ll often catch her barking as them as they soar across the sky haha
And of course, Museum Hotel is our other recommendation for a great spot to take pictures with the hot air balloons. Museum Hotel is situated in Uchisar so it’s a bit further away from the balloons but as a private boutique hotel, you won’t have any crowds to battle with in the morning. Sultan Cave Suites is breathtaking, but it draws up a crowd and you might find yourself lining up to get the perfect shot (which kind of takes away from its magic a bit don’t you think?
And you have the added benefit of the heated pool and breakfast platter:
Make sure you check out my full review of Museum Hotel >
2. Watch the sunset at the Panorama Lookout in Red Valley
Order yourself a Turkish Tea and sip it as the sun sets over the billowing mountains of Red Valley (side note: the cafe here accepts cash only). To our surprise, there weren’t many people around the area, we almost felt like we had the sun set all to ourselves – perhaps they were enjoying the sunset between the fairy chimneys and caves of the valley which are also spectacular, which brings me to my next recommendation:
3. Hike through Red Valley
The beautiful vibrant colour of the earth look different depending on the time of day you explore Red Valley. We recommend taking a stroll right before sun set so you can watch the beginning of the sunset from the valleys before walking over to the panoramic lookout spot. If you’re here on a weekday you’ll be relatively undisturbed, however, we’ve heard that this place can get busy if a tour bus happens to drop in during peak Summer/Spring season on weekends.
4. Visit the famous Galerie Ikman open carpet shop
Your jaw will drop as you step inside the never ending collection of carpets – accumulated through generations and generations of Ikmans, this carpet shop is a show-stopper and the store owner will gladly give you a tour around his store. In the centre of the store is the area pictured above where all the carpets are on display, at the front of the store are Turkish ceramics:
And there are endless stores selling lanterns and stained glass lights along this strip
5. Visit the Valley of the Monks (Pasabag)
When you drive your way around Cappadocia you’ll start noticing the fairy chimneys sprinkled around the area. The most striking fairy chimneys can be found in Pasabag which is also located right in the middle of a vineyard which makes it a very popular tourist stop (so we recommend saving the visit towards the end of the day after the buses of tourists have left the area). When you’re here you can also ride (or just say hi!) to one of the local camels, but don’t get too close because they can bite haha
6. Zelve Open Air Museum
The Zelve Open Air Museum is a cave town of some of the oldest churches and monasteries. This used to be a lively village but is now a ghost town (minus the tourist foot traffic). To be honest, we didn’t spend too much time inside the Zelve Open Air Museum itself, instead, we wandered around behind the valleys and found our favourite rock formations there
We spent the afternoon taking our time walking around the area, eating turkish delights and flying the drone.
7. Pigeon Valley and Uchisar Castle
Pigeon Valley is exactly what it sounds…. a valley of pigeons. It’s one of the longest valleys in the area with chimneys that used to be filled with pigeon poop – yup – this was a valued natural fertiliser used for the vineyards and crops around the area. Despite being attached by pigeons, it’s worth dropping by here if you’re making your way from Goreme to Uchisar (or vice versa) because it’s located conveniently between the two and offers a great view of Uchisar Castle (pictured above)
8. Love Valley
Notice something about the rock formations in Love Valley? Yup, this is a naturally formed field of rocks that look like penises. There’s no denying it, the rock formations are sky high and proud..and apparently beautiful in winter time? It gave us a good giggle and some not-to-be-shared photo opps.
9. Spend the night in a cave hotel
10. Goodness gracious don’t pass on the dessert!
Turkish food is an absolute delight and their desserts… my goodness. We absolutely loved the fresh produce and amazing palette the pocket-friendly local food had to offer.