The Complete Guide to a Cappadocia Honeymoon
In Cappadocia, an arid region in central Turkey, couples will find dramatic expanses of chimney-and-cone-shaped rock formations and splendid morning sunrises revealing the unique terrain of Anatolia. Surrounded by this otherworldly scenery, newlyweds in search of a truly-unique getaway can choose from a variety of off-the-beaten-path activities. Take a hot air balloon ride at sunrise, explore underground cities, cruise along the coast, and stay in cave hotels during a Cappadocia honeymoon.
Is Cappadocia Good for a Honeymoon?
With its fascinating landscape and cave hotels, couples will feel like true adventurers. Surrounded by majestic natural beauty, they can visit archeological ruins and soak up Turkish culture. For the ultimate honeymoon across Turkey, Isabelle Finly, Director at Admiral Travel International, recommends spending a few nights in Istanbul and staying for up to three nights in Cappadocia. From there, couples should consider a five- to seven-day cruise on a gullet (a wooden sailboat).
The Pros of a Cappadocia Honeymoon
Along with its breathtaking and unique topography, the region offers romantic adventures, like sunrise hot air balloon excursions, plus horseback riding. After days of exploring ancient historical sites and the souks (markets), couples can relax and luxuriate at cave hotels. It's a distinguished honeymoon option for couples who want something atypical and history-driven.
The Cons of a Cappadocia Honeymoon
The area isn't known for fine dining, says Zachary M. Davidson, CEO and founder of Z to A Travel (an affiliate of EMBARK Beyond). Also with poor internet access limited shopping options, this honeymoon destination is for a very specific type of couple. As with global travel, remember to respect local culture and rules, including donning appropriate clothing when visiting mosques.
The Best Times of Year to Go on a Cappadocia Honeymoon for Good Weather
"Cappadocia has a steppe climate with hot, dry summers and cold winters," explains says Cristina Paraschiv of Azzurytt Turism Grup S.R.L. That's why she recommends visiting from March to May and September to November, while the weather is moderate, plus it won't be peak tourist season. From June to August, temperatures rise to 90°F and the area becomes crowded with tourists.
Things to Do During a Cappadocia Honeymoon
To soak up many sites quickly, try a full-day tour, suggests Paraschiv. In this one, couples will visit a wine factory, check out castles, head to Goreme National Park, and more.
Book a Hot Air Balloon Ride
"Floating above the valley in a hot air balloon before dawn, you feel as if you are at the beginning of time," says Stephanie Fisher, Stephanie Fisher Travel at The Ocean Reef Club (an affiliate of Huffman Travel LTD). Try this tour, which includes a light breakfast and a flight certificate, suggests Paraschiv.
Horseback Ride With Your Partner
Ride along gorgeous landscapes, including orchards and rock formations, far away from the crowds, suggests Paraschiv.
Visit Underground Cities
Featuring underground labyrinths, the ancient ruins of Kaymakli and Derinkuyu reveal evidence of what were once kitchens and horse stables. According to Paraschiv, Derinkuyu is Cappadocia's deepest and largest underground city, with no fewer than eight levels.
Attend a Dervish Ceremony
For a taste of local culture, witness an ancient religious ritual in a thirteenth-century building. Watch whirling dervishes dance, then sip a sweet sherbet drink.
Sightsee in Goreme
Head to Goreme Village, one of the few still-inhabited Cappadocian settlements and the main tourist center of the region, says Paraschiv. While there, explore the Goreme Open Air Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the Middle Ages, locals cut churches into the volcanic rock and decorated them with frescoes, she explains.
Where to Stay for a Cappadocia Honeymoon
The Museum Hotel, Nevsehir
Set in a cave and built on ruins, this Relais & Chateaux property offers panoramic views, a pool, top-notch cuisine, an impressive collection of arts and antiques, plus 34 rooms and suites. Davidson calls it "head and shoulders above the rest of the places to stay in the region."
The Argos Hotel, Nevsehir
Featuring seven mansions spread over a hillside and jaw-dropping views, this property was recently renovated. Along with caves, terraces, and pools, it offers a restaurant, wine cellar, and concert hall.
Hezen Cave Hotel, Urgup
Paraschiv recommends this spot for its contemporary design and traditional architecture.
Taskonaklar Hotel, Nevsehir
Once an entire village, this property has been converted into a boutique hotel. Paraschiv recommends booking a suite to take in the panoramic views of chimney-like rock formations.
Exedra Hotel Cappadocia, Ortahisar/Urgup/Nevsehir
Occupying grotto-like caves, this hotel features Romanesque arches, fireplaces, bathrooms with Turkish marble and rain showers, and a full-service spa.
What to Pack for a Cappadocia Honeymoon
Especially with limited shopping options in Cappadocia, you'll want to be prepared for the climate conditions across Turkey. Bring warmer clothing for cool evenings at high altitudes, counsels Paraschiv, who also suggests that women pack headscarves if they plan to visit mosques. Comfortable shoes are also a must for visiting archaeological and historical sites, she adds. Pack a sun hat and sunglasses in the summer and a raincoat in the spring, says Finly.