Our trip to Turkey: Istanbul and Cappadocia, took place at the beginning of May 2018. I fly to Turkey several times a year and so, I have been to Istanbul around 20 times. However, I never had time to visit this city, admire its monuments and delve into history. My husband has been to Turkey several times as well, but never to Istanbul. In this case, this was an ideal opportunity to discover this place together.
When I was planning our short trip to Istanbul, I knew straight away that this was a perfect moment to combine this trip with a visit to Cappadocia. There are no direct connections from Poland to Cappadocia. To get there – you must change your flight to Istanbul, so it’s worth visiting both places.
Cappadocia is a dream that was born in my heart a year earlier. I read about the wonderful experience of a balloon flight over Goreme. In the meantime, I watched a few photos and videos about Cappadocia. Since then I could not stop thinking about it. I have “infected” my husband with this idea and from that moment it became our common plan.
Istanbul and Cappadocia
The organization of the whole trip did not take me much time, but hotels and trips in Cappadocia with a balloon flight – I had already booked in February (3 months earlier).
Below I am sharing my idea for the sightseeing: “Istanbul and Cappadocia – tailor-made travel plan”. Our stay in Istanbul (day 2 and 3) and the first two days in Cappadocia (day 5 and 6) were planned well in advance and after reading several tourist guides. In Istanbul, there are so many great attractions that it is difficult to decide where to give up and what to visit in the first place. When planning specific points of the trip, it was worth checking what days and at which times the attractions are open, because we can come across a closed door on the spot. We also knew before that the Blue Mosque will be closed during our visit, so we did not book too much time on our agenda for it.
The following plan is written in the form of a diary. I wonder if this form of writing suits you. Write in the comments and share your thoughts.
Day 1. Arriving in Istanbul
We are arriving in Istanbul in the afternoon, after arriving from the airport to the hotel (metro + tram, a total of about 45 minutes) is already dark. Because our hotel is in the centre of the Old Town, in the evening we are going for a walk to the Golden Horn bay. We are admiring the panorama of the city and Galata towering over it. At the Galata bridge, we are taking pictures of departing ferries and pigeons that are flying low over the heads of passers-by. For dinner, we are going to a restaurant on the Galata bridge, because they serve fresh fish and seafood there.
Day 2. Istanbul
In the morning, we are setting off to the Hagia Sofia museum. It is still early, 8.30 in the morning, the museum will open at 9.00, but in front of the entrance, the queue is already set. About 30 people are ahead of us. The Hagia Sofia Basilica, or the “Church of the Wisdom of God”, is considered to be the greatest architectural and construction object of the first millennium of our era. That would explain the long queues at the entrance. Visiting the museum takes us about 1 hour, but we remember to necessarily enter the upper balconies of the museum, from where there is a beautiful view of the whole church.
The next point of our visit is the Basilica Cistern, meaning a huge underground water tank, which, although it is not on the map of the main tourist attractions of Istanbul, is worth visiting. There is no other such place in the world, the more it is worth spending 30-40 minutes there. There is no queue in front of the entrance, in the middle, we are amazed by the specific atmosphere of this place, its size and its architecture.
After leaving the basilica, we are going towards the Blue Mosque. Unfortunately, already before coming to Turkey, we knew that during our trip the mosque will be closed to visitors due to renovation, but we could enter the inner courtyard. Even though the mosque was closed to visitors – there were many tourists in the inner courtyard, and some people prayed under shaded pillars
In the afternoon we are getting on the tram and go to the Kabatas end station. From there, about 5 minutes walk and we could see the amazing gate of the Dolmabahce Palace. Despite the heavy rain – there is a long queue waiting for the tickets in front of the entrance. We are staying in the queue for over 30 minutes. Since it is already after 3:00 PM, we can only buy a ticket for one attraction: a palace or a harem. We are choosing a visit to the palace.
Unfortunately, inside the palace, it is not allowed to take pictures, and there is i.e. the largest crystal chandelier in the world! In Harem you can see, among other things, the Pink Hall and the apartment, belonging to the mother of the sultan. Atatürk also lived in this apartment and died here in 1938. Currently, Atatürk’s deathbed is covered by a Turkish flag, and the hands of the clock indicate the hour of his death.
After visiting the Palace, we are returning to the Kabatas station. There, we are getting into the underground railway – Funicular (F1). It is a modern subway train that has only one stop at Taksim station. The journey takes 2.5 minutes, but thanks to that we do not have to go uphill.
Beyoglu district and Galata Tower
We are going for a walk thru the İstiklal Caddesi, one of the most popular and crowded shopping streets in the city. We are following the wave of a dense crowd, and through the middle of the street, a historic train is painstakingly pushing through. On the way, we are buying a fresh bagel at a small stall. The walk-thru this street, without going to the shops and stopping for coffee/tea takes about 30 minutes.
At the end of the street, we can see the Galata Tower, dating back to 1348. It is late afternoon, at about 7.00 p.m. A long queue is standing in front of the entrance to the tower. We are heading up and see that the crowds are also on the upper outer terrace of the tower – we are giving up entry. I the past I visited Galata Tower, so I still can remember that visit. I am promising my husband that I will show him pictures of the Galata Tower views when we are back home.
The Golden Horn
We are walking back to Old Town and our hotel. We are crossing the Golden Horn on foot over the Atatürk bridge. From here, there is a beautiful view of the Fatih and Eminonu neighbourhoods, over which the Suleymaniye Mosque, the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia Museum dominate. On the shore, we can see the marina and passenger ships.
In the evening we are returning to the Galata bridge to taste the fresh fish once again.
End of Day 2
It was a long and exciting day. The step count shows that we have gone thru over 34,000, which gives an impressive result of 27.7 km. It’s hard to believe that we’ve made it because daily we do not overcome such distance on foot. In Istanbul, however, there are so many attractions along the way that you do not feel that you are walking around the city all day long.
- Hagia Sophia Museum. Entry ticket 60 TL* (about 11$). From November to mid-April, the museum is closed on Mondays.
- Blue Mosque. Free admission.
- Basilica Cistern can be visited daily. The admission ticket costs 20 TL* (about 3,5$).
- Dolmabahce Palace. The palace can be visited daily, except on Mondays and Thursdays – between 9.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. (the ticket office is open until 3.00 p.m.). Visiting the palace itself costs 60 TL* (about 11$). A ticket to the harem costs 40 TL* (about 7$). You can also buy a combined ticket for both attractions, at 90 TL* (about 16$). For the entrance after 3.00 p.m., you can buy a ticket to one of these places only.
* All prices are valid in Oct’18.
Day 3. Istanbul
Our hotel is located 10 minutes’ walk from the Topkapi Palace. We are starting right thereafter breakfast, to avoid standing in a long queue for tickets. We hope that at 9.00 in the morning, there will be no crowds yet. However, when we came we can see that there are already a dozen or so people waiting to open the cash registers. We are queuing for tickets for about 15 min. We are buying tickets to visit the palace and the harem. It was raining again that day, so walking around the park does not make us particularly happy.
Visiting the palace and harem takes us about 2 hours. If we would have nice weather that day – it would be worth staying there for a bit longer, because it is an extraordinary place. When leaving the palace, we can see that in front of the entrance the queue is a long serpentine through the park alleys. Tourists need to spend min. 1 hour in the pouring rain before they will reach the entrance. Therefore, we are happy that we have planned to start this day just from Topkapi Palace because we could lose a lot of time in the queue.
On our way back to the Old Town, we are going through Gülhane Park, which is the oldest park in the city. Because it is raining, we do not take pictures, but the park is empty, which allows us to enjoy its views.
The Spice Bazaar
Another planned attraction on this day is The Spice Bazaar, also called the Egyptian Market. Part of the market is roofed. Stands with colourful spices cause dizziness. We are strolling along long alleys filled with colours, aromas and a magical atmosphere. We are going outside and entering the winding streets, which are a continuation of the bazaar. Visiting the Market takes about 1 hour.
The next goal of our visit is the Suleymaniye Mosque. Because it was the time of prayer, we knew that we would not be able to go inside for another 40 minutes. Going up the hill on which the mosque stands, we are finding a nice cafe, where we stop for lunch and coffee. The road to the mosque leads through several gates and brick corridors. We are not sure if we are going in the right direction, but we are going all the way up the hill.
Finally, a beautiful mosque appears in front of us. It is huge and majestic. Before entering the mosque, we can see a beautiful view from this place of the city. We are standing there for a moment and taking pictures. In the meantime, we can see that the prayer is over, so we can go inside.
The mosque makes a big impression on us. There are silence, a reverie atmosphere and pleasant peace. We are sitting on the carpet and … resting. We are spending about 30 minutes there. On the way back, we remember to enter the nearby small cemetery, which is located at the back of the mosque. Tourists do not come here often, but in this cemetery, there is a mausoleum of Suleiman the Magnificent and Roksolana (Hürrem), his beloved wife. The whole cemetery is covered with iris flowers. It is a magical place, you must see it.
The last attraction of this day is visiting the Grand Bazaar. Yes, it is the truth – to be in Istanbul and not to visit this place would be a great loss. Grand Bazaar is so much connected with this city that it has been an integral part of it for several centuries. The bazaar makes an unusual impression, above all in terms of architecture. It is completely covered with the roof, and the whole bazaar takes about 4.5 ha. There are over 60 alleys and about 3,500 stands. It is an unbelievable place! It is difficult to find the way out, we do not know which way to turn and which gate to exit to the main road because there are more than 20 gates.
Strolling along the long and endless corridors, in the end, we are managing to leave the bazaar after about 1 hour. Our joy is endless when we see that the exit we found is right in front of the tram stop. Tram, which has a stop here, will take us back to our hotel.
In the evening, we are going to the harbour again. On the way, we find a nice restaurant where we stay for dinner. That day we made over 30,000 steps, which is over 24 km. We are extremely tired but full of impressions and emotions. This is our last day in Istanbul. In the morning we will start another journey and another great adventure named Cappadocia.
- Topkapi Palace, the museum is closed on Tuesdays. The ticket price for one person at the main entrance is 60 TL* (about 11$) except Harem Section. If you want to visit Harem you have to buy a separate ticket from the ticket booths or in front of the Harem entrance. The ticket price for one person for the Harem is 35 TL* (about 6$).
Prices are valid in Oct’18.
More information about my stay in Istanbul can be found on my blog:
- Istanbul – how to get to the main attractions, where you will find useful information about travelling by public transport and hints on how to get to the main attractions in the city.
- Istanbul – secrets of the city, where you will find some hints about: what to see in the city, where there are long queues and what is not written in the guidebooks but is worth seeing.
Day 4. Travel to Cappadocia
To the Ataturk airport, we are going by tram (30 minutes) and then by metro (10 minutes). However, the entire route takes us over 1h, because there is some failure and so, the metro delays by more than 20 minutes. At the airport, however, we are on time, there is no hurry. The flight to Kayseri takes about 1.5 hours.
Edit: hot to get to NEW IST airport? Please check my other post, where I wrote about public and private transport offered Istanbul New Airport.
If you have to travel from Sabiha Gokcen Airport (the second airport in Istanbul), here you can find 2 private transport proposals, both with a 5% discount.
- Private Transfer Sabiha Gokcen Airport [SAW] to Hotel or Airport. Prices start from 6,50€ (7,5$) per person. The price depends on how many people are in the car.
- Sabiha Gokcen Airport Transfer SAW [Shared Shuttle]. The price per person is 21 Euro (25$), before the discount.
After landing at Kayseri airport, we are surprised by a complete emptiness around us – except for our plane, there is only a courier transport plane. When we went out, our driver was already waiting for us. We ordered a combined transport, which means that the driver is waiting for several people at the same time. In our case, he was waiting only for us, as all the other passengers were already sitting on the bus.
The trip to Goreme takes about 1 hour. Along the way all passengers are brought to their hotels, our hotel is at the end of the route. When we are getting off in front of our hotel, we already know that it is one of the nicest places in the town.
In front of our hotel, there is one of the owners waiting for us. He invites us for a cup of tea and formalities related to check-in. We can hear that this hotel is run by family members: two brothers (Irfan and Ibrahim), their mother and several cousins. He tells us how they can help us to make our stay more attractive and that reception is open 24/7. During this time, our luggage was carried by the hotel staff (3rd floor) to our room. We are positively surprised by the very nice family atmosphere. There are amazing views that extend from the windows and terrace of our room, and so we are delighted.
Goreme on foot
It’s late afternoon. We dream about a short walk around the area and a tasty lunch. The hotel owner recommends a nice place in the centre of the town. After a few minutes’ walk, we are getting to the restaurant that was recommended to us. The food is very tasty, the service very nice. Our stay in Cappadocia promises to be quite good.
On the way back to the hotel, we are taking a long walk around the town. We are fascinated by the views, unusual rock formations, flats and restaurants carved into rocks, nice people, colourful lanterns, and stalls with ceramics and carpets.
At sunset, we are going to the viewpoint. From our hotel, it can be reached in 15 minutes by walk (uphill). Panoramic views on Goreme are amazing.
We are eating dinner at a restaurant near our hotel. In front of the restaurant entrance, there is a bonfire. Inside the fire there few clay jugs. We are asking a man taking care of the fire what is this, and he tells us there is a kebab boiled inside each clay jug (Testi Kebab). We are entering the restaurant. The main room is carved into the rock. The service is very nice and professional. Soon, all tables are occupied by guests. Food is very tasty, and prices are affordable. Overall – our dinner is a very nice experience.
On our way back to our room, one of the hotel owners is waiting for us in the garden. He informs us that our balloon flight planned for tomorrow has just been cancelled due to the strong wind. We are disappointed. Anyway, we still have 4 more days to the end, so we have still 4 more chances for the balloon flight.
- Charming Cave Hotel – our hotel in Cappadocia
Day 5. Cappadocia – Red Tour
Today we have a planned full-day trip, called “Red Tour”. The price per person is 35 Euro* (valid on October 18) which is about 40 $. The minibus takes us from the hotel at 9.30 a.m. After bringing us to the head office of the tour operator, they are moving us to another (bigger) minibus and a local guide joins us.
Our full-day tour is very interesting, and our guide fantastically engages everyone in the conversation. There is a lot of fun and everyone feels it is going to be a nice day. On the way, we are visiting, among others Goreme Open Air Museum and Pasabag fairy Chimneys, also called “Monks Valley”. This is a unique place also for Cappadocia, famed for its three-headed fairy chimneys.
This region is also known as ‘Pasha’s Vineyard’, as its stunning earth pillars are located within a vineyard. A pleasant element of our trip is also a visit to the city of Avanos, which is famous for hand-made ceramics. We are visiting one of the local ceramic producers, where we are participating in a demonstration and can see how from the sticky clay a teapot is being created. This is what we like a lot.
Back to Goreme
We come back to the hotel in the afternoon, around 4:00 p.m. After a short rest, we are going for a walk around the town again. There are flowering gardens around us, as well as open doors to all guest houses and hotels, where everyone can enter the inner courtyard and take pictures. We are walking down, towards the city centre – the sunset begins. We are standing on the terrace for a while and taking pictures because the panorama of Goreme looks beautiful from this perspective.
After dinner in the city centre, we are coming back to the hotel. Today, one of the hotel owners is waiting for us again and says that our balloon flight will not take place again tomorrow. Due to a strong wind, all flights are cancelled. Again, we are disappointed, but … – third time lucky. We still hope to have this adventure.
Day 6. Cappadocia – Green Tour
Today we are going to have another one-day trip. This time it is a “Green Tour. Price per person 35 Euro* (about 40$). *Prices valid in October’18.
Goreme panorama and Derinkuyu Underground City
This time the bus which arrives for us takes us immediately for a trip. We are starting with a fantastic viewpoint – the Goreme panorama. Then we are going to visit the underground city. I read about it a lot before going to Turkey and I wanted to see such a city. I felt that this will be a very interesting part of the program. In Derinkuyu Underground City, we are spending about 1 hour. After sightseeing, I do not feel any excitement anymore and I do not know why, but I feel that this place disappointed me a bit.
The next point of the program is Ihlara Valley. The guide leads us first to the forest, where on the river bank there is a very nicely located restaurant. There are floating platforms on the river, where you can have lunch while sitting on the carpet. Our table, however, is prepared on a two-level terrace. We are surprised by the large number of tourist groups that are eating there. We are waiting for a long time, although we have only two dishes to choose from. Unfortunately, our dinner is not especially tasty, so this is our first culinary disappointment from the beginning of our trip to Turkey.
Right after lunch, we are going to explore the beautiful green valley of Ihlara. It is the deepest gorge in the entire region of Anatolia. A three-kilometre long walk along the river Melendiz takes about 1 hour. It is an unforgettable experience. The valley is wonderful and delightful. Fortunately, on our route, there are no crowds of tourists that we saw in the restaurant in the woods. There is beautiful weather today. We are surrounded by lush greenery and high rocks, in the background we can hear the sound of a rushing river and sounds of nature.
On the way back to Goreme we are also visiting the Selime Monastery. It is the largest rock monastery in Cappadocia with a large cathedral and breathtaking views of the surrounding area.
The last natural attraction of the day is the Pigeon Valley, one of the longest valleys in the region. The Pigeon Valley is so called from the ancient pigeon houses carved into the cliff faces over centuries. When we are visiting this place, there are still many pigeons flying over the valley. We are taking a lot of pictures as the view is really pretty.
Just before returning to the hotel, our guide takes us to the local onyx factory. There are primarily long showcases with locally made jewellery. A huge selection, very affordable prices – it’s worth buying a small local souvenir here 😊.
We are coming back to the hotel at 6.30 p.m. We are tired, after a whole day’s trip. For a dinner, we are going to the restaurant, which is right next to our hotel, as we do not want to walk far away. Once again, we are eating tasty.
When we are going to sleep we are very excited. We are checking several times whether we have charged batteries for our cameras and whether the alarm clocks are set at 3.50 in the morning! At 4.00 a.m. we have a pick up at the hotel reception, so we can’t be late.
Day 7. Cappadocia – hot air balloons
In the land of the balloons
I wake up before the alarm clock has announced that it is time to get up. Outside of the window, it is still completely dark. I can see, however, that minibuses are already moving along the streets of the town, which means that companies organizing balloon flights have already begun picking up their clients from hotels. This coming day makes me feel very happy.
My husband gets up, we’re getting ready to leave when our phone rings in our room. My first thought is that they are already waiting for us at the bottom. But when I pick up the phone, what I hear is not what I expected. Our hotel reception rings and apologizes for the mistake. They claim that there are so many people willing for today’s balloon flights, that our reservation has been lost somewhere. They have checked with the company that organizes our balloon flight and there is no place for us in the gondola, so we will not fly with the balloon today.
I’m very disappointed, but I hear the assurance that the next day we have a 100% guarantee and valid reservation. And what now? We are already dressed up, and ready to go out, we have photo cameras in our hands. After a short talk, we are deciding not to lose this early morning and we want to see flying balloons from a nearby viewpoint. We are going uphill and after 15 minutes we are reaching Goreme’s viewpoint. It’s 4.30 in the morning, it is dark around and many other people are waiting for the sunrise.
At sunset point, people started to gather immediately after us. Some of them had travel chairs, and some of them had large tripods and telephoto lenses aimed at the rising sun. Just before 5:00 in the morning, the first balloons appeared on the horizon. They were still standing on the ground, but they began to be heated with hot air, so from our perspective, it looked as if tongues of fire were licking them.
The departure of the balloons begins at 5.00 in the morning when 150 balloons at once began to rise. Watching such a spectacle is accompanied by very strong emotions. After a few minutes from the start, balloons are beginning to float across the sky at different heights. A few of them are flying almost just above our heads. The sunrise begins and it’s beautiful!
We are spending over 1.5 hours at the viewpoint. We are almost waiting for the last balloon to land. With the rising sun, the colour of light changes, so we want to capture every possible moment in our pictures. It is a cold morning, but we feel cold only after returning to the hotel.
A whole day in Goreme
After breakfast, we are going for a walk around the town of Goreme. We are deliberately wandering through the narrow, winding streets and admiring the views. These are places where there are a lot of small hotels and travellers’ homes, everywhere we can see flowered balconies and terraces, and neat and clean courtyards. In the distance, we can see Pink Valley, which at that time of the day is getting pink.
In the evening we are going for dinner to a place reserved by the owners of our hotel. They recommended a special place for us, that is famous for the traditional method of preparing a kebab in a clay jug. They told us that our kebab will be baked in a campfire for 3 hours before dinner. When we made a reservation for a table in the morning, we had to tell what kind of meat we want to eat in the evening.
When we come to the restaurant, our table is waiting for us, we are sitting down in a room carved in the rock. Our kebab appears on the table after a dozen or so minutes. The waitress is bringing two clay jugs on a tray and is putting them on our table. She is taking a hammer and breaking the jugs in front of us. The interior of jugs is filled with aromatic thick meat and vegetable stew and it lands on our plates. The dinner is delicious.
When we are coming back, one of the owners is waiting for us at the hotel and reminds us that in the morning we will fly a hot air balloon. Weather conditions promise to be perfect for this occasion, so we start to feel excitement for the coming morning. Today we have passed over 18 thousand steps, so almost 15 km. We are tired, but the day was very pleasant and the walk around the city was very successful.
Day 8. Cappadocia hot air balloon
Flight and organisation
The company that is organizing our hot air balloon flight, picks us up from the hotel at 4.00 a.m. It is still dark outside and quite chilly (although it is the beginning of May). On the way to the gathering place, we are receiving instructions on how to behave in the balloon during take-off and landing. On our instructions, there is also written the name of our balloon’s pilot – Kemar.
Along the way, other tourists are picked up from hotels scattered around Goreme. After about 30 minutes, we are coming to the headquarters of the organizer of our flight, where a light breakfast (rolls, coffee, tea, juices) is prepared. About 100 people are sitting in a large waiting room. Just before 5.00 in the morning, the main organizer comes to us and informs us that balloon flights today are officially allowed, and it’s time to start our adventure! They are starting to pack us quickly into buses. Behind the windshield of each minibus, there are cards with pilots’ names, so we have to enter the bus where there is a plate with Kemar’s name. After about 10 minutes, we are getting off, just in front of our balloon.
In the air
Our balloon is already inflated with hot air. Our pilot Kemar – is already working in the gondola and is inviting us inside with a big smile on his face. They are packing us into the gondola and a minute later the balloon breaks away from the ground!
Our flight takes about 45 minutes. Emotions that we feel are indescribable. The sunrise begins, in front of us, there is a beautiful panorama of Goreme and all the other balloons. What is strange is that we do not feel that we are flying. The balloon is flowing slightly in the sky, we are rising all the time. We are flying into the clouds and stop seeing the earth underneath. The balloon is gently rotating around its axis all the time. Everything is great.
Flying and landing
Before landing, Kemar informs us that it is time to make a safe landing position. In this position, our eyes are below the upper edge of the gondola, so we do not see how far it is to the ground. After a moment, two employees of our organizer jump onto the basket and grab its outer edge. I got scared because one of them is landing at the height of my eyesight, but after a while, we both are laughing together. A minute later our gondola is landing directly on the car trailer. Landing is extremely smooth and without any surprises.
After landing, the organizer’s team bustles while rolling the giant balloon and packing it away. Kemar is opening two bottles of champagne and all his passengers are making a toast. He is telling us a story that champagne is the most important detail of completing a balloon flight for each pilot. So, they are serving the best champagne after each flight with a selection of cakes. Champagne is a ballooning tradition; since the Montgolfier brothers made the first flight in 1873 and celebrated a successful landing with champagne. After a glass of champagne and cookies, we all are making a souvenir picture. Each participant receives a personal diploma, proving that we flew a balloon. A nice souvenir.
We are coming back to the hotel at around 6.30 in the morning. Our breakfast starts right away so we are going straight to the hotel restaurant.
- Kapadokya Balloons (our organizer): a basket for 20 people, prices from 150 Euro*
- Assiana Balloons: a basket for 12-20 people, prices from 200 Euro*
- Türkiye Balloons: a basket for 16-20 people, prices from 160 Euro*
- Royal Balloon: basket up to 16 people, no prices on the website
- Butterfly Balloons: max. 16 people, prices from 175 Euro *
* Prices valid in May’2018
Goreme and Open Air Museum
The rest of the day was not planned before. We want to spend this day walking around the town and the surrounding area. Because after visiting the Open Air Museum, which took place two days earlier – we feel unsatisfied, today we decide to go back there.
In the morning we are going to the Museum. From our hotel, it is a distance of about 30-40 minutes on foot, but it takes us more time due to the beautiful nature on our way. We do several stops and a lot of photos. We pass horse stables, scooter rentals, and …. two camels sitting by the road with their guardian and waiting for tourists
In the Open Air Museum, we are spending about 1,5 hours. Entrance ticket price 30 TL* (5,5$).
*Prices valid in May’2018.
In the afternoon, we are sitting on the terrace in our hotel and enjoying Goreme’s views.
In the evening we are going to Avanos for dinner and the show “Turkish Night“.
One of the hotel owners takes us to the town of Avanos. We consider it a very nice gesture and proof of great hospitality. A day before, we booked a table for the dinner and Turkish Night show, via our hotel reception. The owners want to make sure that we will get there on time and will return safely to the hotel.
Dinner takes place in a big restaurant, with a max capacity of 400 people. The restaurant is partially sculpted in rock and is prepared in an elegant style. Tables are set in rock-cut recesses. The centre part is prepared for the show, in the corner, there are an orchestra preparing instruments. The show is starting 15 minutes later. Dancers are running on the stage. In total there are seven different shows and national dances, including belly dance. In the program, it is written, that we will see a dervish’s dance show, but in the end, this show is not taking place. Full dinner with the Turkish Night show takes 2,5 hours.
The dinner is prepared at the convention, where at the climax, everyone is dancing together on stage. Many people were attending the dinner and dancing on stage together with the artists. There was a nice and relaxed atmosphere, lots of laughter and clapping because the shows were strongly spontaneous and good fun. “Turkish Night” is an evening aimed at familiarizing local culture and Turkish customs. It is worth watching it and being ready to have fun and a relaxed atmosphere.
For me, the evening is too much focused on Turkish tourists. Apart from Turkish citizens, other guests seem to not know the steps, so they do not want to dance. I am thinking, that if I could decide once again whether to take part in this dinner or not – I would not decide for it. But this is my personal opinion. Everyone has to decide by himself what form of entertainment suits him.
We are returning to the hotel after 10.00 p.m. Before going to sleep we are packing our suitcases because early in the morning we will start our journey back home.
- Goreme Open Air Museum
- Turkish Night Dinner – Evranos restaurant. Turkish Night (dinner included) – 120 TL* per person (23$).
- You can find more information about my stay in Cappadocia on my blog: Cappadocia – a land of beautiful horses. I describe here various attractions and trips. You will also find much more photos and personal recommendations.
* Prices valid in May’18.
Day 9. Time to come back home
The trip to the airport in Kayseria takes us about 1 hour. At the airport we are early, and we have time for a cup of coffee. The airport is very small, there are not many places to do some last shopping. There is nothing else outside of the traffic kiosk. For departures (which are just behind the security gates), they let us in when they announce that it is time to check-in. Customs officers allow to pass the gate only those passengers who have current flight-ready, everyone else needs to stay in the main hall.
Our flight is punctual and calm, and so we are landing at Istanbul Atatürk airport according to the schedule. Since we are arriving on an internal flight and our next flight is international, we have to change the terminal. Unfortunately, we still have our luggage with us. In Kayseri, we were not able to send it directly to Warsaw. It takes us only 15 minutes to get through the terminal, but for the second time today, we have to go through security checks. We are also standing in the queue for boarding cards for the second time today because we still need to check in our suitcases. Edit: this all took place at the old IST airport).
The flight to Warsaw also takes place as it was planned.
Our trip: “Istanbul and Cappadocia” have over. The first thing after arriving home is to save a copy of all pictures onto the hard drive. In total, we have taken about 4,000 pictures. It will take me a long time before I can review them all, assort and choose for my blog. There are already new titles for my next post in my head ready. My heart tells me that … it’s time to plan another trip. 😊
Travel documents must be well checked before each trip. Worth knowing if you need to have a health declaration form, e-visa or any other travel document.
Local transport in Turkey
Are you wondering how to get from Istanbul to Cappadocia, Izmir, Ankara or Antalya? Are you interested in any other destination? Please check below 12Go, where you can book buses, transfers and domestic flights. All below are affiliate links, so if you click them and order anything, I will get a small commission without additional costs from your side.
- Popular Destinations in Turkey
- From Istanbul to Cappadocia
- From Istanbul to Izmir
- From Istanbul to Ankara
- From Istanbul to Antalya
In Turkey, bus travels are the easiest and cheapest way to get around the country. The Road network is highly developed. It’s recommended to book the tickets in advance, especially on the popular routes.
Benefits for you:
- All travel services on a single platform for comparison and interline ticketing.
- Instant ticket confirmation. Once the ticket is booked at 12Go, it gets instantly confirmed and sent to the customer.
- Seat selection. Customers can choose the preferred seats on the checkout page.
- Flexible cancellation policy. Bus tickets are refundable, terms apply.
Most of the buses have similar facilities and amenities. However, it is recommended to double-check the trip details when booking a specific bus.
To see the trip details, just press on the trip block.
- Most of the buses have Wi-Fi, and some of them have a TV.
- A standard baggage allowance is two pieces of luggage with a maximum total combined weight of 30 kg.
- Toilets are usually not available on board, so it’s better to use terminal facilities before boarding. Moreover, the bus will make stops every 2-2.5 hours, so travellers can chill, buy snacks and drinks, use a restroom, and light up.
For those who wish to save time, flights are a good option to travel around the country. Flights in Turkey are also budget-friendly, with prices starting from as low as $25.
Benefits for you:
- Instant ticket confirmation.
- Flights with low fares when booking in advance. In some cases, the price is the same as for the bus but saves you 5+ hours.
Turkey – my other posts
I also encourage you to read my other posts about Istanbul, Cappadocia and Turkey: