The Ruins of Ephesus, A Photo Diary: Selçuk, Turkey

Top Backpacking Destinations Ranking: 8.5/10

Cappadocia is a magical place with its main tourist town, Göreme, sitting right at the heart of it. It is a unique destination, and as you approach on the bus and creep over the hill leading into the town you see the beauty of the fairy chimneys and breathtaking landscape stretch out in front of you. I’ve never seen anything like it and felt the goosepimples when i was presented with the view.

Whilst it is fantastic viewed from the ground, Cappadocia is famed for its hot air balloon rides and the sterling views of the landscape they provide. Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia is a must, with many people suggesting that there is nowhere better in the world to do it.

Rain Rain, Go Away…

I was lucky enough to be able to take a trip during my time in Cappadocia and can certainly vouch that it is a fantastic experience. Unfortunately the weather on the day wasn’t ideal (we were woken in the night by thunderstorms!) and when we arrived the rain was falling. The trips set off early in the morning so you can enjoy sunrise over the lurching fairy chimneys and begin another day in this fairytale land. Due to the rain our take off was delayed, though we eventually got into the air around 7am and rose above Göreme, with the fire blazing above us and warming our slightly chilly limbs!

Stunning Vistas

The ride itself was fantastic; we were the first of many hot air balloons to take flight and as we flew over and away from Göreme we could see the rest of the balloons rising in our wake. The views were incredible, fairy chimneys and rock formations for miles into the distance and about 30 hot air balloons jockeying for position in amongst the stone hills. We flowed up and down in the balloon, coming within inches of trees and chimneys, before rising to about 800 metres as we headed towards Avanos.

Landing Positions!

Half an hour into the ride our pilot pullled a bottle of champagne out and we all enjoyed a refreshing 8am celebration! Then, with glasses just emptied, it was time for landing and we started out descent into one of the fields below. The pilot told us to take our ‘landing positions’ (a slight squat into the balloon basket), though we couldn’t have guessed how important it was. The wind had started to grow during the ride and we were approaching the ground at quite a pace. We hit the floor with a firm thud, at which point i was ready to jump out and head home. But then we were dragged for about 8 more bumps as the wind caught the balloon and dragged us along the floor! We were safely tucked away in the basket, but it certainly got the adrenaline pumping and woke us all up!

Celebration Drinks and Muddy Feet

As we emerged from the overturned basket I realised we were in the middle of a muddy field and i was foolishly in my flip flops (it was holiday after all, whatever the weather!). Before long the flip flops were clogged with mud and i was making my way across the field barefoot, where another glass of champagne was waiting to end a beautiful, exciting and memorable morning. Drinks finished, we jumped in the bus and headed back to Göreme for breakfast and feet washing!

I left Cappadocia with memories of an amazing hot air balloon ride, stunning landscapes and a magical destination. If you’re visiting Turkey then it’s a must, if you’re not then it’s time to start planning to!

5 Things Not to Miss in Cappadocia:

  • Hot Air Ballon Ride
  • ‘Love Valley’
  • A visit to an Underground City (we did the one in Kaymakli)
  • Walk in the Ilhara Valley
  • Go to Göreme Open Air Museum

For info on more great destinations in Europe check out the Europe page and the Top Backpacking Destinations Facebook page