Cappadocia - an insta-famous region of Turkey with fairytale scenery

This summer we travelled to Turkey, and among other picturesque places there we visited an incredible region of central Turkey - Cappadocia.  

Many of you have probably seen those pictures on instagram with hundreds of hot air balloons flying in the skies colored in all sorts of dreamy sunrise tones above authentic rock formations. So did I.

When I once saw such a photo of one of my friends from Cappadocia, I said to myself - I would really love to go there one day! But I couldn't imagine that the universe will hear me so fast. As you know, 2020 was a tricky and unpredictable year, resulting in a numerous flights cancellations and changes of plans. And sometimes, as in our case - it was for the better. When in summer we stayed for some time in Ukraine visiting my family, we discovered that our return flight to Paris got cancelled, so we decided to rebook one to... Turkey, and make a small detour ;)


When you see this kind of photos it's very hard to believe that such a place actually exists on earth. I was always convinced that hot air balloons were either photoshopped into such photos, or that there might be a balloon festival going on during a particular time of the year, similar to the Carnaval in Rio, thus to witness such a special happening you need to plan and book your trip months or years ahead. Well, the good news is there is no particular festival, air balloons are simply an every day routine of Cappadocia, so you are very luckily to see them anytime you are visiting this region if weather conditions permit! The bed news for us was however that it wasn't the case in 2020, but I will get to that later.


So here I am adding several photos I've made to better illustrate you what I meant by all those captivating images with landscapes and caves that made me dream of Cappadocia in the first place. 


So where are all the ballons? As we arrived to our first stop in Cappadocia - the city of Göreme, in the middle of the night, we decided to have rest for several hours in a hotel and to wake up around 5 am to go see the main attraction - air balloons rising in the skies on the sunrise. I was so tired after the road, that I could easily sabotage our plan just to stay in and sleep late.

Luckily we did went out, and witnessed an amazing sunrise above the "fairy chimney" rocks valley ... but only with a couple of balloons. We thought that might be because in summer 2020 there were almost no tourists, for the most part there were only travellers from the other regions of Turkey, so we guessed that maybe noone was booking pricey air balloon rides. Later on someone explained to us that this was a COVID preventing measure - the local authorities prohibited ballon rides because inside the balloon itself people would share a limited space. Strangely enough noone prohibited rides in poorly ventilated buses, but balloon rides in an open air setting fell under the restriction.

Well, sunrise was gorgeous enough without them anyway.


Another highlight of our stay in Göreme was a carpet shop turned into a decorated photo studio. I guess nowadays there are less people willing to bring a carpet from Turkey, than people hunting for a cool image to post on their social media accounts. Enterprising owners of Galerie Ikman understood this tendency very well and started to charge a not-so-moderate fee in relation to Turkish realities from those willing to pose for photos surrounded by all the carpets which they couldn't sell in years. It was quite an experience! And I absolutely loved how the photos turned out from this location. 

Here is their address in case you are around  - Galerie Ikman hakkı paşa meydanı. roma kalesi yanı Kasabası /merkez Nevşehir TR, 50180, Turquie. And their instagram @galerieikman. 

Attention! Their instagram is hurting the eyes sometimes! ;) They also offer photography services on a spot, but we of course refused to let someone else do our favourite part :)

In the second blogpost about our adventures in Cappadocia I will tell you about our horse ride experience, and our stay in Uçhisar.