Where sizzling days are cooled off with seldom showers of rain and chilly breeze every evening, Capadoccia in Turkey is famous for quiet a lot of things, starting off with staying at a cave hotel, spectacular landscapes, hot air ballooning, sepia sunsets and what not. Being obsessed with tranquil spaces, Capadoccia’s quietness captured my heart right away.
Who would have thought in the early ages, a deserted region affected by a volcanic eruption would serve so well for tourists from all around the globe, neither the cave men would have had any clue about their smart architectural techniques being appreciated thousands of years later.
Visiting in late July this year, here’s the highlight of our short- yet fulfilling stay in Urgup (a small town near Goreme).
Things to do
- Goreme open air museum
Simply an awe-inspiring site. Seeing the widespread christian monastery built in the fairy chimney caves, their architectural planning and preserved wall paintings is just amazing. It is the topmost tourist attraction of Capadoccia, however if you are visiting with your little ones, chose a relatively cooler time to visit instead of the peak hot hours as the scorching heat drives you dehydrated and dizzy.
- Derinkuyu Underground city
Just like the museum, almost all the mentioned spots are nothing less interesting than the other. This city is planned just like the ants build tunnels and caves. My kids loved crawling in tunnels and listening to their voice echo, however after going down a couple of levels, I felt a little claustrophobic and decided to exit.
- Hot air balloon tour
This was surely one magical experience of a lifetime. The view of balloons being lit up before dawn, the flight and watching sunrise from behind the mountains, every part of the journey felt like a dream which you don’t wish to end. The pilot gave us a close look at the pigeon valley underneath, and the volcano which erupted billions of years ago which resulted in fairy chimney formations.
A little costly adventure, but the experience is worth it for sure!
- Turkish cultural night
Nightlife in Capadoccia is a little limited, however our hotel Dere Suites arranged our dinner at a restaurant named Evanos which had cultural shows and dances along with dinner. Beautiful performances included Raqs Dervesha and Belley dances, with traditional live music being played. Our kids had fun dancing on the drum beat with the beautiful girls too.
- Pottery museum
Turkish pottery and tile making is famous all over the world. The hand-crafted collection in
one of the pottery museums we visited was amazing. It was very difficult to choose what to buy and what not to buy. Prices were a bit high but one can’t resist to shop at least one souvenir for taking home.
Things to eat
The best Turkish food with lots of flavor (unlike the rest of grilled meat with minimum seasoning). It was a meat stew served with a big boat shaped flatbread, which reminded me of Pakistani food after two weeks of vacationing in foreign lands.
Stuffed grape leaves with meat and rice. After hearing so much about it, finally I had a chance to taste Halal Dolma in Capadoccia, which was a great choice for appetizer.
Meat and aubergine casserole, a.k.a Turkish moussaka
Baked casserole with layers of aubergine and meat topped with cheese was very scrumptious. It resembled lasagna but with a different flavor.
The most interesting dish that I’ve had in Turkey, tiny ravioli bites filled with mince and topped with Turkish yogurt sauce. Must try!
- Book tours (either group or pvt) to get to know the city and history better.
- Day time is really hot, take caps, water and other preventive measures especially when travelling with kids,
- Keep a margin for at least 2 nights for the hot air balloon tour, as it depends on weather conditions.
- If you wish to capture pictures of the balloons rising, book your hotel in Goreme town and ask your hotel to arrange a setup on the rooftop.