To continue from where we left off. Now we are on DAY 3; in our Hotel Lobby looking for a TAXI.
From what we’ve noticed, unlike most countries, in Turkey, UBER is used as a platform for Taxi drivers to find clients and vice versa as the Taxi network is quite developed. All Taxis are metered with the price varying depending on the region. In Ankara, the fair starts at 7.5 TL.
Knowing that, we decided to grab a Taxi pre-Uber era style. Our Taxi driver could have easily passed for my grandpa, he had such a warm smile, radiating kindness.
Upon arriving to Anıtkabir, we were greeted with what seemed like tens of tourists buses. Indifferent, we proceeded running our way to The Mausoleum.
Once on site, we were shocked to be the only tourists around. I guess that we crashed not one but several graduation photo shoots and elementary school field trips.
We couldn’t tell what was more beautiful, The Mausoleum itself or the love the Turkish people have for their founder and their country.
With our hearts full, we rush out of Anıtkabir and luckily manage to find a taxi fast.
We arrive at the bus station (Otogar) 10 minutes before the departure time only to be overwhelmed by the number of bus platforms present; there were more than 60 platforms and several local bus companies.
And to make things worse, having reserved the bus tickets in advance on FlixBus we didn’t know the name of the local bus company. FlixBus in Turkey, is more of a reservation platform rather than a transportation provider.
After 5 minutes of information hunting, we found the name of the bus company and the platform number. At two minutes before the departure time, we were the last two passengers unaccounted for. Up until today, I don’t know how we made it.
And just in case you are wondering, the local bus company is Kamilkoc.
After a 3-hour journey, we arrive at the Gorëme Bus Station. In awe by our surroundings, it felt like we traveled back in time to the pre-Jesus Christ era, 3000 years ago. Before I deep dive into the details of DAY 3, here is a brief breakdown of this region:
The capital of Cappadocia is Nevsehir; not touristic at all. The most interesting parts of this region are highlighted in the map below: in green, red, and blue (that also correspond to 3 different guide tours). Gorëme is the most interesting city, aside from its touristic attractions and magnificent valleys; at its city center, there are plenty of restaurants and travel agencies (useful for organizing activities).
Urgup, less touristic than Gorëme but equally beautiful. Our hotel was located there. Another interesting area is Derinkuyu it contains the underground city Kaymakli. Last but not least, Ihlara Valley, known for hiking activities & amazing views.
Now that you are up to speed, let me move forward with DAY 3. Given that we only had two nights in this beautiful region. We decided to spend all of DAY 3 planning DAY 4.
The first stop we made upon arriving to Gorëme was to Nissa Car rental, to pick up our car; it cost us 30 EUR for 2 days. Once in the car, we drove to our hotel, Helios Cave Hotel to checkin, drop our backpacks, and plan our next move.
A couple of hours pass by and it’s now around 6:30pm. In panic mode, we hunt for a travel agency, we contact a couple to get a feel of the prices and end up choosing Hot Air Balloon, located in Gorëme city center. We booked with them two activities:
- Air Balloon flight for 2, it cost us 150 EUR per person. Pickup time from the hotel was 3:30am for a sunrise flight time around 5:30am.
- ATV tour (1 quad for 2), it cost us 350 TL. Pickup was from the travel agency but Hotel pickup was also possible.
Now that the main activities for DAY 4 were programmed, we went to eat. After roaming the streets for a restaurant, we ended up eating a local dish at Kapadokya Kebapzade. And it was mouthwatering.
To wrap up DAY 3, here are some useful tips:
- Accommodation: Helios Cave Hotel (excellent cave-room, good rooftop restaurant, traditional breakfast)
- Transportation in Ankara: Taxi
- Transportation in Göreme: Rented car
- Tip 1: Stay 3 to 4 nights if possible, there is so much to see and do.
- Tip 2: Air Balloon flights are only possible around sunrise for optimal flight conditions.
- Tip 3: Most 2-hour buggy tours (ATV tours) are available before sunset around 5-5:30pm. Other time slots are available but difficult to find.
- Tip 4: Horseback riding tours are available any time of the day.
This is part 1 of a 2-part post series on Cappadocia.
NOTE TO SELF: Blog post has been written on the road. Started on 30/05 (Day 6) and finished on 31/05 (Day 7)