“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.”
Robert Louis Stevenson
Do you consider yourself to be ambitious and adventurous? Are you ready to leave everything behind and embark on a memorable and exciting trip that will leave a long-lasting impact on your life? Cappadocia, Turkey, is one of the most fascinating destinations you can consider traveling to during this complicated time.
Turkey is a unique country that welcomes tourists during the pandemic. Therefore, no matter if you come from the USA, Spain, Italy, or any other country, you’ll have an exclusive opportunity to enjoy an unforgettable vacation.
How can you experience the most impressive vacation ever? Start your tour with proper planning, searching for the most interesting and eye-catching places you would love to visit. According to reviews by passionate travelers, Cappadocia is one of their most favorite places ever. Located in the center of Turkey, this area will not attract tourists who prefer lazy vacations lying on the beach and swimming in the sea. Instead, Cappadocia is famous for its unique opportunities for those who value active recreation, discovering magnificent landscapes, and exploring exciting areas. By the way, talking about the views the area offers, they have become a real inspiration for John Lucas, motivating him to start shooting the fourth part of Star Wars – New Hope.
Additionally, we would be remiss not to mention that Cappadocia is considered to be a center of ancient Christianity. There are over a hundred ancient Orthodox monasteries cut in the cliffs.
We have chosen Cappadocia as a destination for our spring tour this year as we wanted to enjoy the fantastic landscapes from a birds-eye view, standing on the deck of a hot air balloon. Besides, we’ve heard a lot about opportunities to ride horses and quad bikes, visit ancient caves, cliff cities, and monasteries.
So, it didn’t take us long to book the tour, and… our journey began! We arrived at Kayseri airport in Istanbul by night and were taken to the Historical Goreme House hotel in the center of Goreme city by the hotel shuttle. As we arrived at the hotel, we exchanged our “ancient” monastic-looking room cut into a cliff for a modern apartment with a balcony and dove into the fantastic views of the city and the surrounding area. It is impossible not to mention the nice variety of Turkish restaurants located close to the hotel.
Once we finished exploring the surrounding area, we booked different tours for the upcoming three days of our vacation. We decided on a hot air balloon ride, a quad bike ride, and a horse ride.
Hot Air Balloon Ride
Although usually the season of hot air balloon rides starts in May, we managed to enjoy this experience in March this year. However, one needs to be flexible, as many rides are canceled because of unfavorable weather conditions. Well, we were fortunate to enjoy the ride the day of our booking.
The minibus arrived at around 6 a.m. and picked up a group of adventurers to be ready at the launch place at around 6:30 a.m. Everything happened before dawn so that we could enjoy not only the ride but the breathtaking views and beauties of nature, as well.
On the field, we noticed several teams getting ready for the ride. It was getting lighter, and the teams started warming up the balloons and preparing them for the ride. When the balloons got filled with hot air, they started getting off. The adventurers were divided into teams and invited to special balloon baskets. Every one of them had four compartments, accommodating four people each.
An important note here: the one who comes last takes the corner place.
So, at this point, the adventure began. The captain gave us instructions while the hot air balloon was getting off and moving towards the canyon. Impressive rock formations can be seen in the canyon, but later, the captain decided to drop altitude so that we could fly above these formations, almost touching them. The captain dropped the altitude once again, and we flew near them. What an impressive memory!
Afterward, we started gaining altitude, reaching somewhere around 700 meters. Believe it or not, but over 60 hot air balloons were flying close to us. As it was not very convenient to take pictures of each other on the hot air balloon, we photographed people around us. Undeniably, it was one of the best moments in my life when I could admire the beauty of the world around us. Several times we flew low – so as to have a look at the ancient monastery in the mountain – and high so that we could have a panoramic view of the Love Valley and the Pink Ridge.
The ride lasted around an hour. During landing, the teams compete in their ability to land accurately, right in the trunk of a pickup. And we did it! We won!
Once we stepped off, we received our Ride Certificates. As it was during quarantine, we weren’t offered champagne, but that was not a big deal. Instead, they offered us to buy the group photo we took before the flight. Well, its quality was not the best, but we bought it just to keep this time in memory.
Around 8:30 a.m., we were back at the hotel to have breakfast. It was served in the open air, on the balcony. We saw an unlimited number of hot air balloons high in the sky as we enjoyed our breakfast. I decided to ask the owner of the hotel whether they had other hot air balloon tours, specifically the ones that lasted longer than an hour. At that point, I learned that we had the best one and the balloons around us were not with tourists. Yes, those were the training hot air balloons where young pilots learned to fly.
Quad Bike and Horse Rides
The same day we rode quad bikes and horses. Unfortunately, we couldn’t rent quad bikes and enjoy the ride how we wanted. Each one of them was equipped with a GPS, and they were not allowed to be taken off the road.
The situation with the horse ride was completely the opposite. We could choose any route we wanted. It resembled an episode from a Western movie, as we passed interesting places and rode through cliffs.
Bus tours were also entertaining, especially the one we took to Derinkuyu. We went 26 meters under the ground from 60 possible to hear an impressive story about ancient Christians saving their lives from nomads.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have an opportunity to spend a day in Cappadocia, renting a car and driving around the city. However, it didn’t affect our impressions of the trip. In the evening, day 4, we were back in Istanbul. Here, sightseeing opportunities abound, as well.
- Exchange some sum of money to tip and cover small payments. You can use your card to pay literally everywhere, but it is always good to have some cash.
- Take warm clothes if you’re going on a hot air balloon ride.
- Rent a car for a day to enjoy Cappadocia.
- Have a PCR COVID-19 test before your flight to Turkey.
What Else to See in Turkey
Are you still convinced that traveling is impossible during the pandemic? Forget about this crazy misconception and head towards unforgettable emotions. Flying into Istanbul? Why not spend a few days here before you go on to Cappadocia or any other destination?
An unlimited number of fantastic parks, historical sites, and interesting museums will never leave you indifferent. Whether you choose Dolmabahçe or Topkapi palace to visit, Gülhane park to walk around, or the Galata Tower to enjoy the views, you will never regret it!
Enjoy the adventures!