Turkey is home some of the most popular cruise destinations in the world such as Istanbul, Kusadasi and Izmir ports. Naturally this means that many cruises will begin, or end, in one of these fascinating ports and it’s lucky this is the case because they all offer the opportunity to visit some of the country’s most unique attractions and a most incredible pre/post-cruise trip in Turkey.
Undoubtedly, a shore excursion to Cappadocia is the main attraction for a cruise in any of these ports and it is not difficult to see exactly why. A bronze age castle inside a cave, enchanting landscapes, ancient history and a stony path through the valley of Love: Cappadocia is one of the most popular places to visit near Istanbul port along with Kusadasi and Izmir, and here are five of the reasons what make it such an alluring destination before, or after, your cruise:
1. You get to explore Uchisar Castle
Castles of any variety are always interesting, but Uchisar Castle in Cappadocia is truly a unique and inspiringly different castle than any other in the world.
Although it appears as thought the cave dwelling was created during pre-historic times, Uchisar Castle was actually first built during the Bronze age and a trip to visit this fascinating site is often one of the first attractions that draw visitors to the area. Camels stroll about the grounds outside for anyone who wishes to take a short trip by more traditional methods, and the Castle itself makes for some incredible photography.
Much of the interior is now in a slightly precarious state due to erosion over a very long period, but you can still explore some of the different dwellings on foot, while there is also the most spectacular view from the top of the Castle provided you take the moderate hike that winds its way to the top.
2. You get to travel to Derinkuyu, the underground city
Sounding, and appearing like a scene straight from an Indiana Jones movie, Derinkuyu is an underground city with several layers and was once the home to more than 25,000 people. Animals, food, water and every other basic necessity was held within the boundaries of the city which also included churches, schools and market stores.
Once more, Cappadocia offers up a spectacular insight into such an unusual habitat in which the locals lived many years ago. There are many theories for why these people decided to live underground with safety being the most common reason, ut it is also thought that Christians during the 7th Century were persecuted in this area, resulting in them hiding away to practice their faith in peace.
Derinkuyu includes old staircases, decaying walls and large boulders which were used to block off the tunnels to protect the city from being attacked. Although the city can be claustrophobic to tour, to miss out on Derinkuyu when you visit Cappadocia would be a real shame.
3. You can walk in Love Valley, Monk Valley & Rose Valley
Stoney paths and dirt tracks wind their way between huge phallic spires that rise out of the ground in Love Valley, their strange appearance is something which causes much amusement and debate, but nothing can take away from the dramatic scenes for which they are central to the surrounding beauty.
A tiny church can be found in the valley which is one of the most romantic and peaceful settings you are likely to find in Turkey, and while the area provides many options for long hikes, there are also much shorter trails which require a moderate amount of effort.
Both Monk Valley and Rose Valley have similarly inspiring landscapes with fairy chimneys and beautiful rock formations interrupting sporadic green areas on distant hillsides but while they all offer this opportunity to hike amongst inspiring landscapes, they also have a magical and mystical feel about them, which will leave you with an unforgettable memory of your trip to Turkey.
4. You can witness the majestic sunrise in Cappadocia
Many visitors to Turkey arrive with a photograph in their mind, and most of these visitors will have the same one a sunrise over Cappadocia. Cappadocia is world renowned for the glorious hot air balloon rides which take to the skies in the early hours and the cost of such a tour, is much lower than the equivalent ou will find elsewhere in the world.
Nothing is quite like feeling experienced while floating upward with the light of day beginning to creep over the horizon, but the great part about a trip to Cappadocia, is that even if you cannot afford the cost of the balloon ride itself, there are fantastic vantage points on the rock formations from which to take incredible photographs of these majestic balloons with a stunning backdrop.
5. You can be educated in Goreme & Zelve Open Air Museums
Goreme Museum is a popular attraction in Cappadocia which attracts thousands of visitors every year who wish to explore many famous sites which include ancient churches, intriguing rock art and an enthralling history.
Zelve Open Air Museum is also another site well worth visiting, and will possibly suit some visitors more given that the location is less visited, meaning less crowds and more silence.
Both museums are situated in isolated valley’s and both are wonderful educational experiences as well as being an alluring site. Crowds may descend upon Goreme and Zelve in the late morning and early afternoons, there is a reason for this they are quite simply two of the most fascinating places to visit before starting your cruise from Istanbul.
Cappadocia in the interior of Turkey is one of the best shore excursions from Istanbul, Kusadasi and Izmir and trips to this fascinating region and all of the above attractions can be booked on Shore Excursions & Tours