“My friends told me in a city in Turkey, people are riding camels!” said my Portuguese friend. I am very used to getting odd questions about Turkey like “Do you wear Hijab?”, “Is it always sunny?”, “Can you hold hands in public?” etc. And honestly, these questions frustrate me. Unfortunately, Turkey’s diverse culture is not very well reflected in global media, but that’s the subject of another post. Lets come back to camels!
I was between amused and upset trying to answer my Portuguese friend, but it turns out she was right! People actually ride camels in Turkey, and its in the fairyland of Cappadocia. Of course, its for touristic purposes, but you’ll definitely see camels.
What else to expect and how to plan a visit? I tried to answer frequently asked questions below.
How to arrive to Cappadocia? First alternative is by plane. You can either arrive to Nevsehir or Kayseri airports, then transfer to Cappadocia by airport shuttle or cab. Another alternative is to drive to Cappadocia by car, which I highly recommend; since you can stop by Ihlara Valley and Salt Lake on the way. From Istanbul, it takes around 8 hours by car.
Best time to go: Spring & Autumn. Due to its altitude summers are hot and dry; winters are snowy and cold. Nevertheless, I think snow must be adding more magic to the charm.
How many days to spend? Ideally 3 days, not to rush & to feel serenity of the atmosphere.
Where to stay? Definitely, in a cave hotel! I had a chance to stay in Argos once; no wander why they call that place the most romantic hotel in Europe. Besides Argos, you can find other cave hotels like Sultan Cave Suits or Museum Hotel. There are also more affordable ones like Cappa Villa.
How to get around? Cappadocia is located on a 25.000 km2 land, so its huge. Rent a car or a shuttle with a transfer. I recommend to look for global firms like Avis or Sixt.
How safe is the hot air ballooning? I got on a hot air balloon once, and honestly I can’t say its 100% safe. You’re standing in a wooden basket; there are 2 forces that can move it – the wind and the fire in the balloon. The “balloon riders” are very experienced but the balloon itself is not very technological. Its your choice to take the risk or not. But I must say, its a once in a life time experience! You really feel like you’re flying.
How much is hot air ballooning? $130.
How to arrange hot air ballooning? Reserve your hot air ballooning experience with big firms like DMC, Kapadokya Balloons or Butterfly Balloons.
Don’t leave it to the last day, because balloons don’t get approval to fly everyday. When its windy the tour gets cancelled. Check out this link to see if there is a green flag or a red flag to take off.
Best place to watch balloons: Now this is an otherworldly experience! At 6 a.m. we were at Goreme National Park to watch balloons take off and float in the air. They were so close, I thought I can touch them with my hands!
Goreme National Park is totally free! If you want to shoot balloons from a cave hotel in Goreme, beware that most of them don’t accept guests from outside. Even they do, they ask for fee! Just saying…
If you have other questions, don’t hesitate to ask!