Many can recall having seen photographs of hot air balloons floating across a landscape of mountains and desert. The location of this backdrop, that could be plucked from another planet, often puzzles viewers. Few guess that these sweeping scenes of caves and sand are found in Turkey, or Cappadocia to be precise. Cappadocia sits in the heart of inland Turkey and has a rich history that has been influenced by the many rulers of the region. Cappadocia once formed part of the Persian empire and following its collapse Alexander the Great tried to rule the region. Later on, the area was occupied by the Romans, and still boasts ruins from the era. Modern Cappadocia has been very much influenced by Ottoman and later Turkish culture.
When it comes to present day tourists, Cappadocia has so much to offer. First on the to do list is certainly a hot air balloon ride. A balloon trip is made all the more magical when it takes place at sunrise or sunset, with tourists able to view the impressive cave dwellings from a unique vantage point with magnificent lighting. After a balloon ride, visitors can explore the cave dwellings they have seen from above, up close and far more personal. Many hiking trails around Cappadocia offer the chance for tourists to see the caves for themselves.
Some of the most highly regarded trails are the Love Valley and Rose Valley. The Love Valley trail offers visitors a relatively flat walk that leads to the impressive Uchisar Castle. As for the Rose Valley trail, this is best done close to sunset. The minerals in the rock structures that line the trail become more and more vivid depending on the sun.
Cappadocia is certainly a must-see destination for any traveller to Turkey. Between hot air ballooning and hiking the many meandering, cave lined trails, Cappadocia will take your breath away.