If after reading the travel diary in Göreme and our pictures of the 100 hot-air balloons in the sky, you also feel like doing the same thing, know that it is quite possible to do part of what we did in 3 days (from Friday to Sunday).
From Paris. yes yes!
Here is the detailed program, as well as the budget, to help you get organized.
Round trip plane : Paris => Kayseri, 1 777 TL/person or 264€/person, only one hand luggage allowed (which is more than enough for a 3-day weekend)
Exchange rate in October 2018: 1€ = 6.58 Turkish Lira
Day 1 : Arrival in Kayseri
Takeoff at Paris Orly at 11:20 am
Change of flight from Istanbul to Kayseri at 6:45 pm (attention! there is a 1h delay between Turkey and France, don’t miss your plane)
Arrival in Kayseri at 8:10 pm
Option 1: shuttle to the hotel, arrival at 9:10 pm
Option 2: car rental from Kayseri airport)
Going to bed very early
Cost: Round trip plane 1777TL/person or 264€/person
Dinner : 35TL/person or 5€/person
Option 1 : Shuttle : 40 to 50TL/person or 7,4€/person
Option 2 : Automatic car rental at Kayseri airport with Avis (270TL/24h => you have to rent for 48h or 540TL or 80€)
Hotel: between 30€ and 90€ a double room (it depends on the comfort you want)
TOTAL DAY 1 : from 295€/person
Day 2: Hot air balloon flight and visit of Göreme
A shuttle comes to pick us up at 5am (or earlier if it’s summer)
Hot air balloon flight from 6:30 am to 7:30 am
Breakfast at the hotel at 8:30 am
Option 1: Departure for a tour organized at 9:30 am until 6 pm: between 25€ and 35€/person
Option 2: visit the surroundings by car: count in addition 100TL of gasoline + 110TL/person for the entrances (more info below)
At sunset: walk to the sunset view (the highest point in Göreme) for an unforgettable sunset
Hot air balloon flight: 165€/person
Option 1: Organized tour: between 25€ and 35€/person
Option 2 : Visit Göreme by Car
Lunch and Dinner : from 35TL/meal/person or 5€/person
Hotel: between 20€ and 100€ a double room (it depends on the comfort you want)
TOTAL DAY 2 : from 225€/person
Day 3: Hot air balloon show and return to Paris
Wake up at 6am (or earlier if it’s summer)
Option 1: Admire the hot air balloons from the hotel terrace, the sunset view in Göreme
Option 1 bis : Admire the hot air balloons from the hotel terrace, the sunset view in Göreme for 15 minutes then go to Love Valley (by cab)
Option 2: Admire the hot air balloons from the hotel terrace, the sunset view in Göreme for 15 minutes and then drive to Love Valley.
Breakfast at the hotel at 8am
Option 1 : Departure for Kayseri airport at 8:25 am by shuttle bus
Option 2: Drive to the airport in Kayseri and return the car there
Take-off for Istanbul at 10:25 am
Change plane for Paris, takeoff at 1:35 pm
Arrival in Paris at 3:15 pm
Option 1 bis : Taxi Love valley round trip (with waiting) : within 50TL (7,4€)
Option 1 : Shuttle for the airport : between 40 and 50TL/person or 7,4€/person
Lunch at the airport: from 50TL/person or 7,4€/person
TOTAL DAY 3 : from 23€/person
Total cost: from 543€/person, all included
You can rent a car without any worries:
- from the airport of Kayseri, with the company Avis for example. This is the option we recommend because you will have more freedom upon arrival in Kayseri. The airport Kayseri => Göreme is 1 hour by car, with very little traffic and a road in excellent condition. The rental costs about 270TL/day, unlimited mileage at Avis
- from Göreme itself: many companies will rent you a car for 24h, 48h or more. The rental costs about 160TL/day but the cars aren’t very well maintained. We rented at Novela Rent a Car, limited mileage (250km/day)
We recommend that you :
- rent an automatic car (there are a lot of hills around, don’t bother with a manual car)
- to make a good inventory of fixtures and take all the photos of the damages before the renting
- never leave your passport as a deposit. there is a traffic of European passports/identity cards. Leave a bank imprint, a 500TL deposit maybe, but never your identity documents
- note the number of the renter and if possible, have a Turkish SIM card to call the renter in case of breakdown or other
- ask the renter how many kilometers are included in the rental.
The state of the road
The road is in excellent condition, turkish people may forget to put the turn signal from time to time but frankly the driving is easy and not very risky (unlike many other countries, or even Istanbul).
You will have no trouble parking in Göreme or in the surrounding area. Close to the tourist sites there is a parking lot for tourist coaches, and a parking lot for private individuals. Most of the time it is free. But it is possible that you have to pay for 3TL (in this case someone will approach you to sell you a ticket).
You can park without worry in front of your hotel, they usually have a dedicated parking lot for guests, or a parking space available on the street.
Advice on the choice of hot-air balloons
I invite you to read the Practical Tips section of my article on hot air balloons here
What to visit in and around Göreme in one day?
Option 1: On an organized tour
I advise you the RED TOUR which lists all the must-see of Göreme (there are other tours such as GREEN TOUR, BLUE TOUR whose routes are available on my personalized google maps). All the agencies of the city will propose you this tour.
You can email your hotel to book a tour for you, or contact the following agency: Turkish Heritage Travel (35€/person, visit between 9h30 and 16h)
Be careful, we did not travel with this agency, but they have good reviews on the Internet: http://www.goreme.com/red-tour.php Send them an email: [email protected] This agency is also recommended by our balloon company Butterfly Balloons, and our hotel. We don’t get any commission, it’s just to help you.
Note: don’t go through viator, getyourguide etc. they resell the leads to the companies and take a lot of commissions.
Here is the program of the RED TOUR :
- Göreme Panorama
- Göreme Open Air Museum
- Lunch at Avanos
- Stop shopping – pottery demo
- Pasabag (Monk’s Valley) => my favorite place in Göreme
- Devrent Valley (Imagination valley)
Option 2: Independently with a car
Of course, with a car, you can visit many more things. All the sites below have a parking lot nearby, you will have no trouble finding a place.
- 6:30 am approximately: Love Valley to see the hot air balloons
- Return to the hotel for breakfast
- Göreme Open Air Museum from the opening (8:30 am): entrance 45TL + 15TL audio guide + 15TL to visit the Dark Church (the 15TL are really worth it). We visit the chapels created in the 11th century, it’s very nice
- Pigeon Valley: access the view point from the terrace of Bindallı Restorant
- Uchisar Castle: entrance 8TL: go up to the top to have the view of the whole region
- Kapadokya Panoroma Seyir Tepesi: very nice view point on the valley
- Lunch & Siesta
- Twin fairy Chimneys: two impressive and very large fairy chimneys
- Devrent Valley (Imagination valley) : fairy chimneys of various shapes
- Zelve Open Air Museum: entrance 30TL: troglodyte city, still occupied until 1952
- Pasabag (Monk’s Valley) => my favorite place in Göreme: huge fairy chimneys, Saint Simeon would have spent his time in one of them, perched 10m from the ground
- Sunset at Sunset View Point: Very nice, a site that looks like meringues
I put here (Google Maps URL) all the points of interest in the area, as well as several half-day or full-day itineraries.
The recommended itinerary is the one entitled “One day visit from Paris” . To make the best use of this map, I invite you to consult the end of my other article
For more information about Cappadocia, do not hesitate to consult our dedicated guide.