Cappadocia, Turkey is best known as the place in the world for hot air ballooning. People travel from everywhere in order to wake up bright and early, before the sun has time to yawn through anyones window, and climb into a basket attached to a massive balloon filled with hot air; rising high into the sky, or so low and close to the moon-like landscape that you feel as though you could reach out and touch the surface.
Maybe less well-known in Cappadocia, but equally as unique are the abundant amount of caves; more specifically, cave hotels. Cave hotels can be found all over the area due to the unique nature of the rock. The rock has been formed from hardened ash which originated when three volcanos in Turkey erupted at the same time millions of years ago. Because the main composition of the rock was soft ash, they can be carved and shaped easily, when compared to other rock formations. In antiquity, people tunneled out their homes, and even an entire city, from the rock. Knowing the history of the region allows you to appreciate the wonder of sleeping in a cave hotel.
A rather charming and iconic cave house I’d recommend would be Shoe String Cave House. This establishment caters to families, couples, or backpackers alike. When entering Shoe String you will find yourself in the middle of their ground level court. Looking to your right you will see a door that leads you to a triple cave that can house a total of sixteen people in dormitory style. The dorms make you feel like you really are in a cave, without the uncomfortable feeling I imagine you might have sleeping in an actual cave.
Adjacent to the dormitories are bathrooms. In the courtyard you can also find the reception area and will see other private room doors. Three more staircases from the courtyard lead you up the rock-face to other private rooms, a dining area, and finally a terrace complete with bar and swimming pool. The view from here over Cappadocia is just “WOW.” You really do feel like you are somewhere special, like in a Star Wars movie on the planet of Tatooine.
Shoe String Cave House also offers free pickup and drop off at the bus station, booking for any activity or tour, and a glamorous buffet-style breakfast. For fellow backpackers I cannot recommend this place enough; it is definitely the best-priced cave hotel you’ll find. Due to the quiet nature of the hotel, accommodating staff, and charming structure, Shoe String Cave House caters to everyone.
**Special thanks to Shoe String Cave House for kindly offering me a complimentary stay. As always, all opinions are my own.