‘I went to Turkish hotspot all over Instagram but regret not staying longer’

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    You'll have seen Turkey's Cappadocia all over Instagram; it's famous for its breathtaking rocky landscape, especially when hundreds of hot air balloons take to the skies at sunrise.

    While I was ready for the beautiful scenery, Turkey proved to be much more than that. On a recent trip that included stops in both Istanbul and Cappadocia, I was struck by how fascinating and spectacular everything was.

    My only previous visit to Turkey was to Izmir many years ago, but it was that trip that left me extremely excited for this one. The opportunity to see more of where Europe meets Asia; Istanbul – followed by a trip to Cappadocia.

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    I landed at Istanbul Airport on a rainy and gloomy Monday evening, but my spirits remained high – not surprising as I was about to have dinner in just 45 minutes at one of the top restaurants in Istanbul; Sunset Bar and Grill. The upscale restaurant is located in the heights of Ulus Park, providing a stunning view of the city and the Bosphorus. French cuisine, Asian-inspired dishes and sushi – the food was mouth-watering and ambience played an undeniably significant role in shaping the experience.

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    Travelling for a large part of the day and a filling dinner meant it was bedtime at the glamorous Shangri-La Bosphorus Hotel. The room was pretty exquisite, not to mention the hotel also has some ridiculously lavish suites. As for the food, it was exactly what you'd expect from a luxury hotel – heaps of choice between some seriously tasty dishes.

    While there, I was eager to see more of Istanbul. Its Old City reflects cultural influences of the many empires that once ruled. The Hagia Sophia Mosque, Basilica Cistern, and Sultanahmet District are just a few of the top attractions, and we had a whistle-stop tour but I could easily have stayed there for a few more days.

    However, I was heading to Cappadocia the next morning, so an early night was on the cards. The good news is that it's just a short one-hour flight from Istanbul Airport to Kayseri airport, and then a 30 minute car ride to the Carus Cappadocia Hotel where I was staying.

    Located in Nevşehir, the hotel is in the city centre with several types of cave rooms and terrace suites, as well as the Haruna restaurant boasting spectacular views of the town.

    There was time for a quick trip to the authentic Venessa Seramik, where they create a beautiful and varied selection of handmade ceramics, as well as pottery classes. However what really left me in awe was the Love Valley just five minutes away – it's earned the nickname thanks to its phallic-shaped monuments, so unsurprisingly it's always a firm favourite with tourists!

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    While I had booked in for a hot air balloon ride with Uber, unfortunately during our stay the weather conditions weren't favourable so the hot air balloon ride was cancelled. Luckily, there is plenty more to do in Cappadocia , including renting ATV’s and quads to explore the region – the latter I certainly couldn’t resist having a go.

    My final night was wrapped up with a dinner to remember at the Lila Restaurant, bringing the best recipes of Turkish cuisine as well as stunning views yet again. I had enough time for a quick lunch at Senza the next day before my flight home. I had high hopes for my trip to Istanbul and Cappadocia, and they both delivered. My only regret is I didn’t stay longer!

    Book the holiday

    Rooms at the Shangri-La Bosphorus in Istanbul start from £236 a night – find out more at shangri-la.com.

    Rooms at the Carus Hotel in Cappadocia start from £112 a night – find out more at caruscappadocia.com.

    Turkish Airlines offers direct flights from the UK to Istanbul, as well as flights between Istanbul and Cappadocia. Find out more at turkishairlines.com.

    You can now book hot air balloon rides in Cappadocia using Uber Balloon. Find out more on uber.com.

    • Holidays
    • Turkey holidays

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