How to Get to Cappadocia
To get to Cappadocia you can either go by land or by air.
We chose to go by air because to go by land takes approx. 8 hours. To go by plane from Istanbul is only a 1-hour flight, which is so short and more comfortable in comparison. It’s so short that it feels you’re preparing for landing before the seat belt sign has even been switched off.
There are two airports in Cappadocia that you should look to fly into. Kayseri and Nevşehir. Kayseri Airport is further out than Nevsehir Airport but not much further. We flew in to Kayseri Airport from Istanbul and took a prearranged airport shuttle. The shuttle buses can be arranged via your hotel or directly and the buses drop guests off at their different hotels.It’s a 1-hour journey from Kayseri Airport to Gerome.
We also took a shuttle bus from Gerome to Kayseri airport, which picked us up at 5am. Do give more than 24 hours’ notice when booking your journey to the airport and double check the day before that your seat is confirmed.
How to Get Around Cappadocia
To get around the town of Gerome, you don’t need any mode of transportation except your feet. You don’t need to be particularly fit, but you will probably be left panting if you’re staying at any of the hotels located on the hills overlooking the town. Here’s our list of the best places to stay at in Cappadocia.
Taxis are quite expensive, with short journeys costing almost double the price than of Istanbul for half the distance. The metre seemed to go a lot faster in Cappadocia than in Istanbul. It cost us 100 TL to get a taxi to take us from Gerome to Simon’s Church, wait half an hour, and then drive us back.
Renting Your Own Transportation
If you’re in Cappadocia for a length of time, we recommend that you rent your own transportation. There are bikes, scooters, AVs, and cars all available to rent in Gerome. A scooter for 24 hours can cost about 150 TL – 180 TL, for 48 hours 220 TL – 260 TL. You’ll need a valid driver’s license for scooters to be able to rent one.
We rented a car for 24 hours for €30 (180 TL), and we wished we had done it a day sooner and for a day longer because there is so much to see in Cappadocia. You can park anywhere in the towns of Cappadocia for free. To rent a car, you need your driver’s license, passport (which they will hold on to), and give your bank card details, so that they can charge for any tickets you might have incurred.
Hiring a Tour Guide
If you’ve got a short amount of time, or don’t fancy driving yourself, or are desperate to see hot air balloons, then consider hiring a tour guide. We went on a Balloons Chasing Tour with Nihat (@guidenihat), who was excellent. He picked us up at our hotel at 5am and took us to Love Valley to watch the balloons launch.
Nihat knew all of the best places and kept us up to date as we waited for the status to go from yellow to green. And he kept us warm with tea, which was much appreciated. He later to Red Valley to see them land, before dropping us back at our hotel at 11am. He does a range of tours. And he’s an excellent photographer also.
How Long Should I stay in Cappadocia
We recommend that you stay for at least five mornings in Cappadocia, because it is not guaranteed that you will see hot air balloons. The Hot Air Balloons can’t fly if the wind is over 10kmph so conditions have to be calm.
We stayed in Cappadocia during early May, and when we arrived, they hadn’t flown for six mornings in a row and only eleven times in total throughout April. We were in Cappadocia for 5 mornings, and we were lucky to have seen the balloons fly twice.
What to Wear in Cappadocia
Since you’re going to Cappadocia for the early morning hot air balloons, you’ll need Instagrammable clothes for your beautiful pictures and to stay warm. Wearing just flimsy dresses will leave your skin looking purple. Siobhan wore long sleeved dresses with colourful patterns that suited the typical set ups. We also recommend that you have scarfs, jackets and jumpers, which you can wear over a dress while you’re waiting for the hot air balloons and easily take off and put on in between pictures.
How Expensive is it to Stay in Cappadocia
In general, Cappadocia is surprisingly more expensive than Istanbul, however, it is a cheaper holiday than most other places in Europe. Meal prices vary and known chocolate brands (Kinder Bueno) in the local shop could cost as little as .50c (3.50 TL). We tried to stick to a budget and kept our time in Cappadocia for food and drinks to as little as €20 per person, per day (approx. 140 TL each).
Where to Eat in Cappadocia
We practically lived off of hummus and savoury crepes while in Cappadocia. Being up so early made us needing snacks throughout the day and in desperate need of coffee. There are a few cafes in Gerome, Cappadocia, though not many did artisan coffee.
If you’re looking for something cheap and cheerful to eat along with a good cup of coffee, go to Café Safak. Their coffee (Latte 10 TL) will awaken your senses, was consistently good and it is made with impressive coffee art. They also serve delicious crepes (Approx. 13 TL) and we particularly loved the Mushroom & Cheese Crepes. It became our morning ritual going to Café Safak and sitting outside on the side of the street with our coffee and crepes.
The best coffee in Gerome that we found wasn’t at a café or somewhere that you could just walk to. It’s a van located at Red Valley and is called The Coffee Car. There you can grab a coffee and sit down on a nearby bench and watch some of the hot air balloons land. A great place to finish your sunrise balloon excursion.
For a real fine dining experience then you should go to the Museum Hotel’s Lil’a. This was such a treat and a real gastronomical experience. Honestly, Lil’a gave us one of the best meals that we had on our entire European trip, never mind just in Cappadocia. It was a real pleasure to taste Turkish cuisine at its finest while being served with impeccable service. We were there at sunset and watched through the window as day switched to night and our meal became a candlelit dinner with fine Cappadocian wine. They do accept outside guests but they have a strict dress code and you must make a reservation to eat here as walk-ins are not permitted.
You cannot be in Turkey and not try the Turkish ice cream – it’s buying the ice cream that is the event. There are so many ice-cream stands around Gerome so we chose the vendor who had the most personality. He made jokes and teased and took Siobhan’s hat to wear. He also did hand-quicker-than-the-eye-can-see tricks that a magician would have been proud as he kept pulling the ice cream out of reach. Full of fun.