Capadoccia lies in central Turkey, and is one of the most popular places to visit in the country! Boasting almost lunar landscapes unlike anywhere else in the world, it's easy to lose yourself in the beauty and history of this area 💜
Capadoccia is famous for the views of hot air balloons drifting over the rock formations at sunrise, but explore a bit further and you'll see that this is only the beginning of what the area has to offer!!
Here is a hiker's paradise, with so many walking trails and roads leading to different valleys and nearby towns, past caves and hollowed out rock formations, old churches, and viewpoints! The almost-desert landscape can sometimes make you feel like you're hiking through Arizona, but walking in the valleys will quickly get you out of the hot afternoon sun!
The formations were created from volcanic eruptions, and, as the stone is so soft, they were then hollowed out to make homes, churches and communal cooking areas inside!
Some of the churches are decorated with basic patterns made with a red ochre paint. This can be seen inside the open air museum, as well as on rocks you pass on the trails around Goreme.
Other churches, within the Open Air Museum, are covered in beautifully painted biblical scenes! While I originally didn't intend to go to (pay for) the open air museum, seeing photos of the well preserved churches inside the complex changed my mind. To see the rock formations themselves, just have a walk around any of the valleys or walking trails from Goreme; the views are stunning and you will see the high rocks with windows and doorways in every direction!
If you are interested in the churches, however, the 30 lira entry fee is well worth it, especially for the Elmali and Tokali churches, with beautiful biblical images covering every inch of the inside; a rare sight in Turkey! Many don't allow photography inside, but here is an example of a church with slightly less paintings:
You can also do sunset tours through the valleys on horses or quad bikes/ATVs, but in my opinion the best views were found by hiking and getting lost in the hills and valleys 💜
One of my highlights was walking from Goreme to Uçhisar in the afternoon to see the Uçhisar castle and the town at sunset! The walk is beautiful and has many great view points, whether you follow the trails or road. Uçhisar castle is one of the highest points in the area, so the view from here is stunning in every direction, and the whole area turns golden at sunset 🌞
Even after seeing so many photos of Capadoccia, arriving here left me with my mouth hanging wide open! It's stunning and the landscape is just unique, even in the evenings, when many caves in town are lit up from the inside and it's just out of this world!
From hiking to seeing old churches and underground cities, to watching all the balloons sail past, you could easily spend a week here! To watch the hot air balloons, it's best to get up before sunrise and find a great spot on your hostels rooftop or a nearby viewpoint! I stayed at the Terra Vista hostel and can definitely recommend it; 5€ per night got me a comfortable and clean shared room with breakfast included, and a great roof terrace to watch the balloons (in my pyjamas 😝)! For budget transport, I recommend hitchhiking or taking local buses; there is definitely no need for a tour here when everything is so accessible, and walking will get you up close to the best views!
Have you seen the wonderful moon landscapes of Capadoccia? Or will you come and visit soon? Let me know below!
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