I never thought I would say this, but Turkey has replaced Iceland’s number one spot on my list of favorite countries. The people, the food, the scenery, the cute community dogs and cats — everything was incredible! Below is my itinerary, photos and FAQ/additional tips:
Day 1: Istanbul
Seven Hills restaurant for breakfast (view of Hagia Sophia)
Kubbe rooftop (You might wanna being a change of clothes because I definitely got shit on. We joked the rest of the week and called that dress the “bird shit dress”)
Balat neighborhood (colorful houses on Kiremit Caddesi)
Day 3 - Alacati
Flight to Alacati
Spent the afternoon wandering through the picturesque streets
Stayed at Mai S’ema Boutique Hotel (highly recommend!!)
Day 4 - Cappadocia
Flight to Cappadocia
Silk Road Cafe for lunch (order the sac tava!!)
Dinner at Sultan Cave Suites
Stay 3 nights at Sultan Cave Suites
Day 5 - Cappadocia
Sultan Cave Suites rooftop at sunrise for views and photos
Breakfast at Sultan Cave Suites
Day 6 - Göreme
Sunset point at sunrise for balloon views
Shopping & lunch in Göreme
Day 7 - Cappadocia/Istanbul
Hot air balloon ride at sunrise
Flight to Istanbul for next day travel to US.
More Cafe in Balat - BEST MANTI
Some of these photos were taken with a Canon M50 (24mm/2.8f) and some were taken with an iPhone! My gf Sandy Goliszewska took photos for me and I took photos for her We are not professionals by any means but have a decent eye for travel photos. Photos were edited in Lightroom! I will be posting many more Turkey photos on my personal page and Instagram - if you’d like my handle then just message me or comment.
Get up EARLY if you want photos with no people. We were up at 5:30 every single morning to get ready and get out the door by 7am. This way, we get photos without disturbing others and without fighting crowds. Also, we were done with photos 2-3 hours later and had the rest of the entire day to explore, eat/drink, shop, meet locals etc.
Taxis were widely available throughout Turkey. We tried to use Uber mostly (when the app would work) as we found it to be reasonably priced, especially for longer distance rides. It also reduces the chances of getting scammed. Although we had read about the taxi scams in Turkey, we did not experience any. We rented a car for Cappadocia and are glad we did!
Turkey is SAFE. I never once got cat-called at or ever felt uncomfortable! The locals were SO NICE and welcoming. Honestly watching the news with the US relations and Turkey had us a little worried but everything was fine. It just goes to show that you can’t believe everything you see on TV.
Something else I would like to note about the locals in Turkey is that they take care of their stray animals like no where I have EVER seen. There are so many stray dogs and cats to love on and they are all so friendly and sweet. The locals would walk past and pet them and feed them. I even saw one shop owner cleaning a dogs eyes before giving her a little snack. Bless The locals never ever shooed them away, the animals are like their family. Those actions really showed me that they have wonderful character.
Hot Air Balloons in Cappadocia
The balloons fly everyday, year round if weather permits. We got incredibly lucky and the balloons flew all 3 mornings we were there. Sunset point is great for up close photos of the balloons, and Sultan Cave Suites is great for rooftop photos. You do have to be a guest at the hotel to take photos there.
Usually I use my Chase Sapphire Reserve when I travel, but I had problems using it in some places and in other places it worked fine. It would be safe to have cash on you at all times in case the card machines do not accept your card.
This blog was written by Featured Wrighter, Ashely Jones, (@jonesinforajourney)