HOW TO GO TO CAPPADOCIA
Choose between Kayseri and Nevsehir Airports. Three options for airlines:
Ask your hotel to book a shuttle to pick you up from the airport.
Unless it’s the holidays, it usually is possible to just show up at the terminal. But if you need reservations, you could ask the help of your hostel, or book the bus tickets when you arrive in Turkey. Travel by bus in Turkey is convenient and comfortable, and reasonably-priced (our Fethiye to Goreme was TL75 – booked from Istanbul; air-conditioned; 12-hour travel time). Here are some of the best bus companies in Turkey:
Kamil Koc (unfortunately only in Turkish – might still be useful if you have the patience to use google translate)
Pamukkale Bus (also just in Turkish)
This requires a stop/change in Ankara. If interested, check this site.
WEATHER IN CAPPADOCIA and BEST TIME TO GO
Spring – April to June (mid teens to lower twenties – Celsius)
Summer – mid-June to mid-September (mid twenties to lower thirties – Celsius)
Autumn – September to November (higher twenties to mid teens – Celsius)
Winter – December to March (low teens to single digits)
Actually, there is no bad time to go to Cappadocia, but perhaps the best is during Spring or Autumn. Summer is peak season – crowded, more expensive, and hot. Winter could be nice too, with snow-capped fairy chimneys, opportunities for skiing, and less crowded sites.
WHERE TO STAY
I highly recommend staying in the town of Göreme. Its location is very central – could walk to the Goreme Open Air Museum, hike to Uchisar Castle (if up for it) or a short ride away to most of the valleys, with many restaurants and travel agencies (if interested), money exchange, ATM, bike or ATV rental, souvenir shops etc etc. Just be wise in choosing a hotel – some would require walking through steep pathways.
Other towns which you could consider:
Ürgüp – Cappadocia’s main town, with good restaurants and a bit more upscale hotels
Nevşehir – near the airport and with a major bus terminal – good to consider if you have a very early flight, but could not beat Göreme nor Ürgüp
Mustafapaşa – I wanted to visit this but did not have time. They say it’s less crowded here and has a more authentic Turkish village feel to it.
Uçhisar – not very far from Göreme and home to the Uchisar Castle, the highest point in the Cappadocian region with a panoramic view from the top – probably the next best thing to a hot air balloon ride
WHAT TO DO IN CAPPADOCIA
Please check my earlier post on fairy chimneys, hot air balloons, Cappadocian valleys, and underground caves.
WHICH HOTEL IN GöREME
As you probably know by now, Göreme and the surrounding valleys were shaped by volcanic activities thousands of years ago, giving rise to soft rocks which the early settlers carved to make churches, monasteries, and houses. Most of the people in Göreme and surrounding towns grew up in these cave houses, and guess what? Travelers are also given this unique chance to stay in a cave hotel, for real! And an even better news is that these cave hotels range from cheap/affordable to upscale hotels that could fit most, if not all, budgets!
A complaint I read a few times while searching for a cave hotel was that there was a certain smell to some cave hotels – I don’t know if they have hypersensitive sense of smell or it has something to do with cave walls or they were just unlucky – because our hotel had nothing of the sort. If you decide against staying in a cave hotel, you could always go for the more modern ones or those with stone walls trying to mimic the cave feel.
Anyway, I highly recommend Vineyard Cave Hotel. Here’s why:
(1) Location – the hotel is just a few minutes from the Göreme bus stop/terminal, which is also right in the central area where restaurants, agencies, ATMs etc are. Plus, where other hotels require a steep climb, Vineyard Cave hotel doesn’t.
(2) Hotel structure – I have to say, I fell in love the first time I laid eyes on the hotel. It may be the combination of having never seen a cave hotel before, but the place is really charming. To be fair, though, I think most hotels in Göreme have this charming character that will just fill you heart with excitement and joy. Seriously. 🙂
(3) The View – See below. ‘Nuff said.
(4) Breakfast – Vineyard Cave Hotel has everything that is beautiful and sumptuous about Turkish breakfast (which I’ve gushed about time and again)! Aside from the food below, they also provide eggs cooked the way you want, and tea / coffee / juice.
(5) The Rooms – Vineyard Cave Hotel has both the real cave rooms and stone rooms – we tried both out of necessity (not one room was available for 3 consecutive nights) and curiosity. My friend liked the “stone-walled” room better – air-conditioned, medium-sized bathroom, with a refrigerator and television.
But I liked the cave room better – no need for air-conditioning because the walls just naturally makes the room cold, super spacious room and super spacious bathroom. It also has a television. Just one issue though is how the bathroom is structured – where the floor is flat throughout – meaning water from the shower is not directed to the drainage, so water just kind of spreads throughout the bath and toilet area. Other than that, though, no complaints.
(6) Tours and Transportation bookings – no need to pre-book any tour, if at all you would opt for one (I suggest not, though – most of it you could do on your own, or better done through a cab so you could choose where to go and what to do for much the same price if there are at least two of you traveling) – Osman could do the booking even on the same day, and could arrange your transportation to/from the airport at least a day in advance.
(7) Finally, OSMAN, the hotel owner (actually, son of the hotel owner). I would be remiss in my duty as both a blogger and traveler if I did not mention the hospitality, generosity, sincerity, and service of Osman and his team. Impeccable. Osman, if you ever get to read this – THANK YOU SO MUCH.