Those troglodytes sure knew what they were doing when they decided to lay down their hats and call Cappadocia home. Deep in the heart of the country, they settled within the lunar-like landscape and burrowed their houses and churches into stone cliffs and their cities underground. In so doing, they provided a still-cogent example of the simplicity and sense of living at one with nature rather than imposing upon it.
These days the cave dwellers are predominantly tourists staying in cave hotels who have been drawn to this part of Turkey by its surreal scenery, wealth of ancient churches and unparalleled opportunities for adventure activities. Where else can you float over the fairy chimneys in a hot-air balloon in the morning, admire Byzantine frescoes in the afternoon and sample fine food and wine at night? Let alone take a spectacular hike through a rose-tinted gorge, indulge in a frenzy of shopping at a covered bazaar dating from Ottoman times and see dervishes whirl in an atmospheric caravanserai. It’s this mix of attractions that makes Cappadocia such a compelling tourist destination – there truly is something here for everyone.
Let’s be clear, though. The true joy of Cappadocia doesn’t come courtesy of its wealth of boutique hotels, its spectacular sunsets, its world-class hiking or its warm and welcoming locals. Instead, it stems from the fact that life still follows a village rhythm here, far removed from the wannabe jet-set lifestyle of the Mediterranean tourist resorts or the marvellous mayhem of İstanbul. This is a place to enjoy at your own pace.
Best places to stay in Cappadocia
Turkey - Cappadocia (Chapter)
Cappadocia is a geological oddity of honeycombed hills and towering phallic boulders of otherworldly beauty. Fashioned through lashings of volcanic ash, moulded by millennia of rain and river flow, this fantastical topography is equally matched by the human history here.
Cappadocia from the ground and from the sky
From above, the curvaceous landscape of Cappadocia spools out to the horizon in rippling waves of rock tinged shades of blushing pink. Hot air ballooning may be big business in this geological wonderland, but don't make the mistake of thinking this is the only way to view it. Ballooning companies such as Butterfly Balloons (www.
Cappadocia destination guides
A perfect trip to Turkey
In this ancient country where Europe meets Asia, the sun shines down on a unique fusion of history and scenery, combining classical ruins, curious rock formations, golden beaches and tumbledown towns with memorable views.
This comprehensive tour of Turkey combines history and beaches, man-made wonders and natural phenomena, as well as a vibrant and welcoming culture. Begin your trip roaming the palaces and mosques of Istanbul before journeying into the bizarre as you explore otherworldly Cappadocia.
An inspiring adventure through the geographical heart of Turkey
Ask Lonely Planet: where can I find an unusual wine-tasting experience?
Lonely Planet’s experts have travel suggestions galore, so they couldn’t wait to advise Lonely Planet Magazine reader Emma Cohen on where to find an unusual wine-tasting experience. 1. Turkey, recommended by UK travel editor Tom Hall Consider exploring Turkey’s growing wine scene.