Oh, how to describe this place in a way that hasn’t been done a million times before?
I can’t so I won’t even try. Will only confirm that it’s true – traveling to this magical, mysterious region in central Turkey is essentially like traveling to a distant planet. Another dimension, even. It possesses otherworldly landscapes you truly have to see to believe and while there are plenty of ways to do it terribly wrong (which I will address separately), just showing up with your eyes open is the bare minimum required for having your world rocked – literally and figuratively – so do not for a second question making the trip should you have the opportunity.
In fact, if you’re headed to Turkey, make it a priority.
Luckily such opportunities are not that hard to come by once you land in the only country that has the pleasure of straddling both Europe and Asia. As I said before, Cappadocia is no joke-ia, a real spectacle, and plenty are aware (nearly one million tourists a year, to be approximate) so it’s very accessible from Turkey’s most popular points of entry in comparison to some other interesting-yet-more-remote sights in the country. From Istanbul you can fly, bus, or drive yourself like it ain’t no thing on a variety of budgets so JUST DO IT.
And since I don’t really have anything else to say that hasn’t been written before about this Never Neverland, the least I can do is show it to you in a way you haven’t seen before.
Uçhisar is quiet, it’s classy, and it has some of the best views of this geological wonderland as it sits on the highest point of the region. In parentheses, that also means one of the most convenient places to base yourself for those 5am wake-up calls that are mandatory for seeing Cappadocia in all its glory. I also found it much less touristy (apart from the main viewpoint there that overlooks Pigeon Valley) and a real pleasure to stroll around its alleyways.
The biggest attraction in Uçhisar is Uçhisar Castle (thing on the right, below), that you can climb in and up for a few Lira which I actually didn’t do, just stopped to take a picture of it, because I am stupid. Heard the views from the top are phenomenal though and it’s probably one of the most unusual castles one can ever say they’ve been in, so don’t miss it.
There was also this really cool camel (or at least I made him look cool – you wouldn’t believe how dull he was before).
Ok, so Göreme is where most is going on in terms of attractions and where you will get those quintessential Cappadocia shots. It’s where most hot air balloon trips commence and where you will find hostels, budget accommodation, and an abundance of cave hotels, oh my… But with that comes a majority of the tourists so no surprise why I didn’t choose to spend much time here. I don’t have many photos of the town itself because I was so unimpressed, but I would still recommend you go chill out on one of its hills even if you don’t end up staying there – especially during morning or evening magic hour.
Saving the best for last is good, ol’ Love Valley. Why do they call it Love Valley, you ask?
Ladies, ladies, ladies…and some gents, control yourselves. While all photos in this section might be edited and filtered to the max, the shapes and sizes are 100% the real thing. For anyone who doesn’t believe God has a sense of humor, you are wrong. And this is one of those places that’ll absolutely prove it.
Or maybe this is all Mother Nature’s fault. We’ve never heard of a Father Nature after all, so maybe this was just her way of releasing the frustrations that come along with a life of celibacy through volcanic, artistic expression. Who knew erosion could be so erotic? I love geology.
Whichever one of them is responsible, I do owe them a high-five because it was the most entertaining couple of hours I’ve ever spent surrounded by rocks in my entire life. Who knew rocks could be so risqué? I love rocks.
And I absolutely loved Cappadocia. I still can’t believe I made this travel dream come true as it was always one of those places that seemed so far away and visiting would require much planning. Well, it definitely requires a bit more planning if you want to maximize your experience (so many places to see, so many things to do, so many rocks to use as inappropriate photos props, etc), but in general, just having a chance to check it out in real life and spend a few days surrounded by some of the craziest landscapes imaginable was enough for me and…I will be back.
“Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.” – Peter Pan