When up arrived in mystique Goreme you could easily be mistaken for thinking you had arrived in a fairly tale. The landscape is covered with honeycomb fairy chimneys and large boulders. In winter, it looks like a wonderland with the white dusted mountains.

This jewel of Turkey is renowned for its hot air balloons , they dot the horizon at sunrise and sunset on a good day. Although pricey its a bucket list experience.

The tall, cone shaped rock formations are found in clusters in Goreme and surrounding areas. The cave dwellers lived here centuries ago and later the homes that had been carved into the soft rocks where used by early Christians. There are numerous rock – face churches found in the canyon region. The entire city was a result of a volcanic eruptions millions of years ago.

The open air museum was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1985.

Stay at Henna Hotel
I highly recommend this 300 year old hotel, less than 500m walk from the taxi & bus station it is easily accessible and perfectly located in the town. The staff were friendly, spoken excellent english and catered for all my needs. My room was spacious, warm and cosy. I would definitely stay here again. I had breakfast at Sultan Cave suites, where the owner Mehmet decks the roof top with rugs and traditional Turkish breakfast. If you get there around 5h30am you can
watch the 80 – 120 balloons in the sky. Breakfast is delicious here. During Ottoman times,important people like army chiefs lived in the adjoining building of Henna. Still in impeccable condition with the art work , wooden window shutters, carving and seating area this second phase of the hotel is set to be breathtaking once fully restored.
Take a sunrise flight with Butterfly Balloons
For an unforgettable experience this spoil yourself activity should not be overlooked. With more than 25 companies offering flights in the region be sure to use a reputable one. I was fetched at 5am from my hotel by Butterfly balloons, we had a light breakfast, were given a safety run down then headed out in groups with our pilot.Seeing the balloons taking off in the valley is just as beautiful as being in them. The vantage of being up high in the sky gives you a birds eye view
of the region of fairy chimneys. If you have a Go – Pro be sure to take it. The hour flight is breathtaking, once we had descended we had a glass of champagne and received a certificate.
Eat diner at Top Deck restaurant
Set in an original cave house this family owned business is consistently well reviewed. One of the top rated restaurants in the area ( currently #3 on Tripadisor ) You get to sit on the floor with cushions . I was very proud to say I was South African here, the owners are a South African women Zaida from Cape Town and her Turkish husband, Mustafa who have lived there for around 20 years.
The South African hospitality shows, we met a couple from PE who where there on
honeymoon and three other women from SA and Namibia . The best part was one of these ladies became my travel companion for my onward journey to Russia. If you are looking for South African in Cappadocia be sure to go here, you will struggle to leave. Friendliness aside, the menu is easy going and not over priced.You will not have an experience like this anywhere else in the world and thats a guarantee.
Spoil yourself to a full scrub at the Hamam
Also known as a Turkish bath , this ancient tradition was adopted from the Romans and Byzantines and then perfected by the Seljuk and Ottoman Turks. You will enter this age old building and select your package. I recommend the 25 Euros one. It includes the facial mask 15 minutes in the sauna, bubble bath and massage and a swim in the pool. You will change and wrap yourself in a pestemal which is large stripped towel. When you reach the centre of the hamam known as the sicaklik ( or hot room ) sounds of splashing water, and women chatting will immediately relax you. The lathering of your body with large soap bubbles is a unique experience, when the nadir pours hot water on you and scrubs every inch of your body you will be surprised at the amount of dead and dirty skin that comes off you. You leaving with skin as soft as a babies and feel rejuvenated again.
Open air museum or Pasabag
The open air museum has an entrance fee of 10 TL It is a series of Catholic churches carved into the mountains of soft rocketing back to at 1000 years ago. The paintings in the churches were preserved by pigeon poop that accumulated on the walls. The walls have now been cleaned to expose the beautiful artwork. I advise you to pay extra to visit The Dark Church, you will see the best examples of Byzantine art here including scene from the New Testament. Close by Pasabag which is free to enter. On a previous trip of mine I enjoyed sitting in one of the old churches watching the sunset from this perfectly isolated vantage point overlooking fields with horses below.
Sunset point
It is located at the start of the Red and Rose Valley hike. This is the most popular spot to watch sunsets and sunrises. The walk up the steep winding road is worth it. With a little cafe at the top you can enjoy a cay. Newley weds often come here for their photos as it is not only popular for tourists but also the locals as it is consider a very romantic spot.
Buy souvenirs at the Turkish bazaar and stroll around the town
Give yourself at least half a day for this as your explore the various rug stores, clothing and the Sultan patch. if you are hungry stop and try a Pottery ( Testi ) kebab. They can take up to 5 hours to cook so its better to make a booking. It is a ceramic plot filled meat ,vegetables and spices. Personally I found it rather salty . The pot is sealed and baked to allow all the flavours to blend in with each other. The waiter will knock it open for you, the meat is served on rice ( pilau ). meat can be lamb, chicken or beef. You will find Yemeni shoes in the town, they have been made for over 600 years from the skins of 3 different animals, goats, sheep and cows. No chemicals are used and all the colours are natural. Originally made for protection against the heat of the Yemeni desert they are now made in Gazintep and Cappadochia.
Eat breakfast at Viewpoint cafe
With is beautiful views from the deck and a wide selection of the menu this became one of my favourite spots when I wanted to relax with some Cay and write. The calmness and tranquility coupled with the friendly staff made the experience complete
Cave man Adam takes you on a horse and carriage ride around town
Adem has worked with horses his entire life. His family job years ago was to take food to the market to sell from the family farm. He then started with the tourist side.He gives rides around the town for 50 Tl for 2 people and speaks perfect english. With his cowboy hat and friendly horse you can hear him coming with the jingling bells and trotting of horse hooves on the cobbled streets,he also has horse tours in the valley. You can find Adem and his horse drawn carriage near Fat Boys Restaurant. Clay tablets dating back to 1460 BC depict the area’s devotion to epert horse breeding. You can explore many valleys and areas that the tour buses cant go on horseback of a native Anatolian horse or Arab horse.
Short drive towards the town of Avanos to see Venessa Ceramic                  ( family run 5th generation )
Set on the shore of the Red River, the longest river in Turkey it has been the centre of of pottery and craft making since the Hittite period which is from around 2000 BC. There is an estimated 600 workshops in the town, but the majority are found in private homes. The skill has been passed on from generation to generation. At Venessa I met various artists, Ahmet Kahriman has been working there for 30 years, he paints when he feels inspired .Each piece is unique and hand made. There is a large selection to choose from when buying including glow in the dark pieces.Many sized Hitata wine decanters can be found ,the original one is now in Ankara from 2000BC.

How to get to Goreme, Cappadocia.

I bought a bus ticket from Istanbul to Nevishir on KamilKoc for 80 Turkish Lira. The bus travelled overnight and when i arrived in the morning the service bus dropped me off in Goreme. The bus was comfortable, with wifi and service of drinks and light snacks included. The 12 hour ride is perfect for those who like to sit back and relax.

The other option is to take a flight with Turkish airlines or Pegasus from Istanbul or any major city to Kayseri or Nevishir. The flights take approximately 1 hour so for those on a tight schedule or those who don’t enjoy bus rides this is the faster option. Airport shuttles can connect you to your hotel.

There is so much more to do like hiking in the valleys, view the castle which is the highest point in town, see the two trees covered in evil eyes and of course test as much food as possible.

The best time to go is from the end of April to June and then October to December if you are wanting to experience the cold and snow. 2 – 3 days is the perfect amount of time to explore this whimsical town and be whisked off into a land of magic and mystery.