After spending 10 weeks in Turkey over the months of December, January, and February, it became very clear to me that off-season travel is by far the most enjoyable. Sure, it’s not the warmest time of year, and yeah, some areas are a bit dead and you may be sharing drinks with retirees, but the lack of tourists, while detrimental to a social life, is much more of a blessing than a curse. This particularly applies if you decide to visit Cappadocia, one of the country’s most famous and highly visited regions.
Known for sprawling landscapes filled with fairy chimneys, an abundance of cave hotels, underground cities and sunrise hot air balloon rides, Cappadocia is a fascinating draw for travelers from all over the world. Located in the Central Anatolia Region, it’s a short 1 hour 20 minute flight from Istanbul to Kayseri airport, or night buses (Metro Turizm is great!) are available and can get you there in 10-12 hours for cheap cheap!
If you want to be where the cave hotels are, and where the balloons launch, you’ll want to stay in the town of Göreme. There are loads of places to choose from, and you can ball out for a luxury cave hotel for less than a budget hotel in the US. On the budget end of the spectrum, you can get a private room at Yasin’s Place for $13-15 USD/night. Alternatively, if you want to imitate the best Instagram photos out there and stay at Sultan Cave Suites with cute puppies and an outdoor breakfast watching balloons casually float by, you can grab a room for as low as $65-$70 USD/night.
Prefer to stay for free and get an amazing cultural experience? Read my previous post on Couchsurfing and see how ridiculously easy and wonderful it is to do in Turkey! There are tons of opportunities in the area, and you may be surprised when hosts start reaching out to YOU offering up a place to stay.
Want even more great news about visiting during the off-season? Balloon rides that typically cost around $200 USD in the high season (if not more, sometimes they sell out and jack up the prices for the next available day) can be haggled down to around $70 USD in the low season.
What’s the catch? It’s cold- unreasonably cold. I’m glad my fingers are still attached and able to report that in the month of February it was -17 degrees Celsius (about 1 degree Fahrenheit) in the mornings. So, if you’re heading out to watch the balloons or take a ride in one at dawn, I'd strongly suggest putting on as many layers as you can while still being able to walk. The cold is temporary, but the memories and photos of incredible snowy landscapes all to yourself will last forever.
In an effort to really drive home my point, here are 10 of my favorite photos to prove winter truly is the best time to visit Cappadocia.
How'd I do!? Was I convincing? Let me know in the comments below!
*Special thank you to The Lonely Traveller for taking the photos I'm in!