Jan 15, 2019 | By Sarah Housley
An ancient district in the heart of Turkey, and made up of beautiful mountains, volcanic landscape and a rich history, Cappadocia is a relatively hidden gem despite its World Heritage site status. Arguably Turkey’s most visually striking region, it’s a great place to visit if you’re really looking for somewhere off the beaten track this summer.
Getting there is relatively easy and there are three, main routes – either by domestic flights from within Turkey, coaches or trains from Turkey’s major cities, or car hire.
A real wealth of hotels are available, but we recommend the Cappadocia Cave Suites Hotel. Not only will they help you plan and prioritise all activities and tours throughout your stay, but you’ll also be sleeping in one of the (modernised and inhabitable) caves for which Cappadocia is famous for. This charming hotel boasts on beautiful local interiors and delicious local food.
What’s more, I explored Cappadocia solo. For more on solo traveling and why the tourism economy needs to change its attitude and offerings towards this behavior, subscribers can read our ‘Travelling Solo’ report here.
S0, need convincing before you book your flight? Here are WGSN’s recommendations for discovering this
You can either tour Cappadocia independently or, to make sure you don’t miss anything, we recommend a guided tour. Cappadocia may be Instagram-ready at every turn, but there’s added beauty when learning the history as you explore. There are 3 main tours; Red, Green and Blue. The Red and Green tour take a day each and, in the evening, you can attend Darwesh or Bellydancing shows. The Blue tour can be done via ATV bikes (adrenaline junkies, this one is for you) or horse riding.
As part of the Red tour, explore a traditional rug workshop and store, and seize the opportunity to purchase one (should you have a generous luggage allowance)! Learn all about how the silk for the rugs is sourced, the hand knotting and colour process, too. This factory has a circular business economy, hiring women from local families to learn skills, have proper employment and earn a living.
After more craft? Pottery is a practice steeped in tradition in Cappadocia, particularly as clay has always been easily sourced from the Red River. Whilst you’re in town, make sure to take part in a pottery workshop and learn the basic practice of making a simple pot – it’s hands on, and you’ll be able to take your masterpiece home.
As a Cappadocian highlight, a hot air balloon ride over this World Heritage site is a must. Be sure to let your hotel know in advance, as spaces need to be reserved early due to high demand. The hot air balloons go up at sunrise, at minimal wind speed – but the views over this geological wonder will make the 4am start worth it.
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