Photo Guide to Cappadocia.
Cappadocia is one of the most unique places on earth, so obviously you're going to want to capture it the best way possible. And we'd be lying if we said we didn't want an epic Instagram photo from there, right? So here's our little guide to all the best photo spots in Cappadocia.
Like all other photo opportunities, the best way to get good photos is to avoid the crowds and get good light; therefore, we suggest waking up early (like before sunrise early) to beat the crowds or stopping by some of these places after the tour buses stop, like around 6 or 7 pm. Luckily, compared to other cities, Cappadocia isn't quite so overrun with tourists, but I doubt it will be that way for long.
Wake up early and watch the hot air balloons: Cappadocia first made it on our radar when we saw the incredible photos of dozens of hot air balloons flying through the sky. So obviously, watching the hot air balloons take flight was definitely high on our list of things to do during out stay. The flights go up for sunrise every morning, so be prepared to wake up early (like 5 am early) if you want to enjoy this magical experience. Stay at Azure Cave Suites, so you can quickly and easily move from your room to the most incredible and up close and personal view of the all of the hot air balloons floating overhead. Once all the hot air balloons have landed, make your way over to Cavusin Castle, which is just down the road from Azure Cave Suites.
Göreme Carpet Shops: Göreme is full of the most adorable shops! There are stores with everything from traditional Turkish slippers to towels and jewelry, but the one thing you definitely don't want to miss is the rugs! They are all so beautiful and unique and priced way better than you could ever get a beautiful, high-quality rug for in the states. All of the owners are so kind and excited to help you find the perfect rug that matches your style and your home. Some shops even offer shipping, so you don't have to worry when you want five different carpets and you know there's no way they're all going to fit in your suitcase, haha.
Go on a Hot Air Balloon Ride: We went with Hot Air Balloon Cappadocia, and it was incredible! They send you a pick up time the night before, pick you up directly from your hotel right before sunrise (so be ready to wake up early), and drive you over to have a quick breakfast before you head over to your hot air balloon. We watched them fill the balloon up with air and hopped in before we literally floated above the clouds. This was our first time riding in a hot air balloon, and it was truly one of the most unique feelings! We've never really experienced anything like it. It wasn't scary at all (except for maybe if you think about what would happen if you just fell out of the sky, haha. But don't worry, that won't happen). It kind of felt like how I imagine it feels to be a bird--just floating and observing and peacefully gliding from above.
If you're planning a trip to Cappadocia soon, be sure to book your hot air balloon experience with Hot Air Balloon Cappadocia! This is an absolute must if you're in Cappadocia. A big part of the magic of this city is going on the hot air balloon experience, and it was definitely our favorite activity why we were there! We felt like we completely weightless, like we were just walking on air and got to see the most incredible birds-eye view of Cappadocia's one-of-a-kind landscape.
Sometimes the hot air balloons don't fly due to weather conditions, so if you can, give yourself an extra day or two in the city, so you can be flexible if your flight gets pushed back to the next day.
Pasabag: A lot of people will suggest going to the Goreme Open Air Museum, and while it is a beautiful way to experience Cappadocia's caves, it not only costs money, but it also feels more touristy. Unlike Goreme Open Air Musesum, Pasabag is completely free and a makes for a great place to run around and explore. There also aren't quite as many tourists there, so it definitely makes for a better photo op. I mean, you probably should still visit the Goreme Open Air Museum, but we loved how spread out Pasabag was, and we felt like we were able to wander and explore and get all the pictures we wanted without having to wait for endless tour groups to pass by.
Stay at Sakli Konak: Sakli Konak is a family-run cave hotel that offers some of the best food in Cappadocia. We stayed there and absolutely loved it. The family makes you feel right at home and the owner, Riza, is incredibly helpful. He helped us explore all of our options for the best ways to get around and see everything we wanted to see and made sure we got the best price on our excursions. The room even has a Turkish bath, so you can feel like you're getting the full Turkish experience.
Run Around Uchisar Castle: We loved staying at Sakli Konak, because it was so close to Uchisar Castle. We woke up early in the morning and spent a couple hours just roaming around and running in and out of the different caves. One of the most unique things about Cappadocia is the landscape, and Uchisar Castle is just one of the incredible rock formations that makes Cappadocia so special.
Explore the Valleys: We especially loved Rose Valley and Deverent Valley. Rose Valley gets its name from the pink hue of the rocks. It also offers a hiking trails, so it feels a little bit like you're walking on Mars. Stay for sunset and watch the rocks fade into different shades of red and pink and orange.
Deverent Valley is full of fairy chimneys and rocks that look like animals, so it's kind of like cloud gazing, but instead you get to play find the rock that looks like a camel or seal, which is both hilarious and entertaining.
Stay in a Cave Hotel: One of the unique parts of Cappadocia is that you can literally sleep in a cave. We stayed at Hezen Cave Hotel, and absolutely loved it. It's such a unique location and has an incredible view of Ortahisar Castle.
Cappadocia is such an beautiful destination. It's perfect for a romantic getaway or anyone who loves exploring the outdoors. We found $20 (!!!) round trip flights from Istanbul, so it is definitely worth the visit if you're already over in that part of the world. The people were so kind and accommodating and everyone made us feel so incredibly welcome. We loved how quiet and peaceful it was. If you love natural beauty and stunning landscapes, Cappadocia is the perfect place to visit.