Ahh, Cappadocia, a place which name is almost synonymous to hot air balloon rides over phallic rocks. Certainly, there must be some other things to do there, right? Right. Without further ado, here’re my suggestions for things to do in Cappadocia.
Aside from the cave houses, Cappadocia is actually a place of rich histories. Here, let me try to impress you from what I read from Wikipedia. Cappadocia was first under Persian rule 2,400 years ago before being taken over by the romans in 63BC. However, what was really interesting was that Cappadocia had an early history of Christianity; they were the true religion hipsters, embracing it before it was “cool”, or for that matter, legal. This gave rise to the underground cities as well as the cave churches of Goreme. Fast forward 1000 years, the Ottomans took over and some of the Cappadocian population was converted to Islam and taught the Turkish language.
#10: Avanos pottery village
I must admit that when our tour guide first suggested that we visit, I was a little ehhh. I mean its pottery, how interesting can it be?!?!
I was quite wrong. Avanos, a town famous for its earthenware pottery—which mind you, is also one of the driving economic forces of the town is, obviously, really, really good at making pottery. Look at the giant vase!
These plates are also glow in the dark, whaaaa?
The designs are so intricate but it doesn’t come cheap.
I would have never guessed that plates could be used for decoration. Note to self.
At the start, there is even a pottery demonstration where you can see the masters make exert their craft. Ahem. That’s where I accidentally took this shot.
Ok giggles aside, it was quite interesting to see how quickly they master-potterer could erect, I mean, craft a vase in such a short amount of time.
#9: Love & Imagination Valley
Love Valley and Imagination valley are two of the more “famous”—if you must, valleys in Cappadocia.
Both are stunning geographical formations and love valley makes me question if God is actually just a giggling 5-year-old. Because:
Giant dicks galore. It makes for pretty views and an interesting hike.
Imagination valley has tons of strange rock formations thus the name. The rock above does look like a camel. And I guess too many tourists thought it might be a good idea to ride a camel and thus the fencing.
More little weiners
The camel again.
To explore these valleys, you can either take a hike or be lazy like me and just get someone to drive you around in the car. Hiking did seem like a very good idea, and especially since its free, if you do give it a try, tell me how it goes!
Uchisar castle is the tallest point in the whole of Cappadocia. And for that reason, it was used as a lookout and the main point of defence. Today, it stands watching over the valley, a lot less formidable and a little bit broken but still nevertheless, impressive.
Apart from the stunning exterior, Uchisar also offers 360 panoramic views of Cappadocia. Perfect for #pensive shots or just admiring the view.
Uchisar was also great for photographic opportunities and just downright exploration. Rocks and ruins galore make for a great opportunity to play pretend.
The creative possibilities are endless!
We didn’t encounter large hordes of tourists when we visited but if you’re one of those people, maybe make a trip down just before closing time at 7pm to catch the sunset and beat the crowds.
#7: Wine tasting
Yes, you read that correctly, wine tasting. There is wine in Cappadocia, not bad for a desert like environment huh.
Wine making in Cappadocia actually goes back to more than 7,000 years ago for religious purposes. In fact, most of the cave houses are equipped with primitive wine-making systems and residents used to make their own wines.
For those of you who don’t already know, I’m hopelessly addicted to wine. The romanticism, the pompousness… There’s just something about swirling a good glass of Shiraz, taking a whiff, pretending you can smell the notes of ripe berries and melon before devouring its entirety. The wines in Cappadocian were decent and interesting to say the least. I have never encountered their indigenous grape varieties of Bogazkere, Öküzgözü and Kalecik Karası until then. Unfortunately, my drunk ass cannot remember how it was like nor did I take tasting notes but I do remember that it was pretty darn good.
#6: ATV/horse riding
Cappadocia, or as our hosts told us, is loosely translated to mean the land of beautiful horses. And as they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. So why not take a nice horseback ride to the sunset, or maybe a gas-guzzling ATV instead.
An ATV is sure to get your adrenaline pumping and bring you to the most beautiful places.
#5: Underground city
While not very pretty to look at (which is also the reason I have 0 photos of this experience), it was an interesting historical experience.
We went to Derinkuyu underground city which was large enough to house 20,000 people with their livestock and food stores. The guide also told us about how the inhabitants had very intelligent air supplies systems which misled enemies from the outside. The underground cities also had elaborate traps to butcher enemies if they invaded. What the city lacks in beauty, it makes up for in history.
#4: Stay in a cave hotel
Our host made this interesting observation: “In the past, only the poor lived in caves but now the rich want to buy them”. Many of the cave hotels now were actual homes were people lived in. We stayed in Chelebi Cave House which I do recommend. Veli and Ismail, our hosts were warm and friendly and even invited us to dinner!
Albeit a little dusty, staying in a cave hotel was an amazing experience. As cliché as it sounds, you do feel like you’ve been transported back in time.
#3: Selime Katedrali
Selime Katedrali, or Selima, is another one of those photographic gems. Tourists do descend now and again but they usually come and go through tour buses. Chances are, you will be on one of the tour buses too.
Say hello to Shermaine!
The crumbles in the ceilings also make for good pseudo artistic shots.
#2: Ihlara Valley
Ihlara Valley was one of the most stunning and jaw-dropping places I’ve ever been to. I’m surprised that so few people know about it. When the bus first pulled over I was a little confused and shocked: “Where is the valley???” Unbeknownst to me at the time, Ihlara is hidden below the hills, a valley in the proper sense of the term. Because of its unique rock-cut properties, it served as a good hiding place for the early Christians when they were fleeing from Roman prosecution.
Lovebirds hidden away *wink*
Getting my yoga on
There are actually a few routes to take for a leisurely stroll along the river. I highly, highly recommend visiting Ihlara valley, you won’t regret it. If time permits, maybe bring some lunch to picnic there!
#1: And you guessed it, a hot air balloon ride
Hot air balloon in Cappadocia has been featured incessantly in bucketlists everywhere all over the world. Well, it’s there for a reason. I thoroughly enjoyed my hot air balloon experience and it was worth every exorbitant cent. There’s just something about the landscape that makes it seem so ethereal and strange, like you’re magically transported somewhere else.
So, there you have it, my ultimate list of attractions and things to do in Cappadocia. Please let me know if you vehemently feel that I have left something out! Leave a comment below and tell me which would be your favourite experience?