Last October my bestie from high school and I went in search of an adventure. We ideally wanted an Eat, Pray, Love experience but time was a factor. Instead Istanbul, Turkey was calling and we couldn’t resist visiting this unique country divided in two different continents. After a few days in Istanbul we headed to Magical Cappadocia which was undeniably food for the Soul.
Cappadocia is a semi-arid region in central Turkey. Known for its distinctive fairy chimneys, tall cone-shaped rock formations clustered in Monks Valley. Göreme marvels with a backdrop of hot air balloons.
Stay in a Cave Hotel
Cappadocia is a truly unique place known for its elaborate network of caves. It’s incredible to think that people lived in this hidden city. Homes, churches, workshops and even wineries are all tucked away out of sight inside caves and fairy chimneys. Making sure that magical Cappadocia truly deserves its title of one the most instagramable places in the world to visit. The only thing more Instagrammable would be staying in a historic cave hotel.
Sultan Cave Suite Hotel
There’s a variety of cave hotels to choose from but we opted for the Instagram famous Sultan Cave Suite Hotel. Ancient ruins combined with modern day luxury will transport you into a world like no other. Terraced above the village of Goreme, we were treated to the most incredible sunrises and sunset.
We woke up early as we relaxed & enjoyed breathtaking views while sipping on Turkish tea. We patiently waited for the hot air balloons to litter the sky one by one.
Once all the hot air balloons had taken to the sky and we had taken a gazillion Insta-worthy photos we made our way to enjoy an organic breakfast. A delicious full buffet with more than 50 homemade local dishes and items was a fabulous way to ease into our mornings.
After breakfast we returned to our cave suite room. We opted to stay in the double classic room which had all the amenities a traveller would need. Probably the only thing it lacked was a proper wardrobe.
As we stepped out of our room we had our own terrace which overlooks the ancient cave dwellings, these were used for centuries by locals. Every inch of the Sultan Cave Suite Hotel made for the most incredible photos. Needless to say I went overboard.
Things to do in Cappadocia
The once unknown little town of Cappadocia has evolved into a tourist hub with approximately 3.7 million tourists having visited in 2019. As a result the town has an abundance of activities you can partake in. Here is our top 10 things to do in Cappadocia.
- Underground Cities
- Goreme Open Air Museum
- Pasabag (Monks Valley)
- Devrent Valley
- Pottery And Ceramics Shop
- Horse riding
- Quad biking
- Go hiking
- Love Valley
- Hot air balloon
As you can see Cappadocia is more than just a magical romantic insta-worthy vacation. It is also the destination for the adventure and thrill seeker.
Hot air ballooning at sunrise
With approximately 120 hot air balloon flights lighting up the Turkish skies, Cappadocia is ranked as the number one hot air balloon destination in the world.
We had such a blast on our 1-hour balloon ride and it truly was a bucket-list travel experience and one of the most awesome things to do in Cappadocia. I think half of the spectacle is seeing all the other balloons in the air at the same time, not just the epic landscape you are flying over. Words will never be able to truly explain this experience and it was wonderful to share this experience with my friend. As the sun painted the sky it was extremely peaceful and magical, giving us time to stand in silence, reflect on our lives and say a prayer of gratitude.
Experience the Food
Unless you have experienced the local cuisine, you haven’t experienced the place you are visiting. The saying, “eat where the locals eat” is a rule I live by. Colleen and I are adventure seekers and foodies at heart so we made a point to try a variety of Turkish food from this region.
A lovely peaceful dinner at a restaurant we came across while walking back from the viewing point yielded deep conversations while sipping on wine.
Moments like these are the ones that cement a friendship and gear it for the long haul. I love that we can have loads of crazy fun, laugh for hours on end, yet still keep it real with each other. It’s the foundation that true friendships are built on.
Traditional Turkish food
The following evening saw us dine at Dibek Restaurant which came highly recommend by everyone we asked for recommendations. Local traditional food, feeling and living the tradition in a warm and charming old house atmosphere. Dibek Restaurant’s building is 475 years old.
It was an extremely chilly evening and we had decided to walk from our hotel to Dibek Restaurant. We did get a tad lost but managed to find the restaurant just in time to defrost. Welcomed by the warm setting we were ushered to our table, but asked to remove our shoes before taking our seats.
Meals are served on round tables on the floor so we enjoyed the ambience while sitting on cushions around the table. We called ahead to order the famous testi kebab (clay pot kebab) so our food didn’t take too long. While we waited for our food, we sipped on Dibek’s homemade wine which is a must try. The food was incredibly delicious and the entire experience outstanding. With our bellies full we took a slow stroll back to our hotel.
On our last night in Cappadocia we dined at The Seten Anatolian Cuisine Restaurant which is located at the Sultan Cave Suites Hotel. This restaurant offers traditional, local dishes in a picturesque setting. It was too cold to sit outside so we sat inside but at the windows so we could enjoy the lights of Gerome.
We finally tried the Turkish ravioli which was absolutely delicious. We also indulged in a prawn starter that reminded me of home. You can also read a more in depth article about the mouthwatering Turkish food we feasted on. We enjoyed a lovely evening recapping the events of our vacation. Then decided our girls trip needed to become an annual commitment to each other and our friendship. While our next adventure is planned, only the Covid 19 crisis will truly determine when we take to the skies.
The Most Romantic Place on Earth
Personally I believe that magical Cappadocia is the most romantic place on earth. Set against a backdrop of culture and history steeped in tradition, Cappadocia possesses a magical undertone like no other. The peaceful nature of the area encourages moments of love and reflection. Cappadocia is more than just romance. It’s beauty, love, intrigue and mystery. I guess Colleen and I did actually did get our Eat, Love, Pray vacation.