Cappadocia, ‘the land of the beautiful horses’ in Persian, has been captivating travellers for centuries. Its other-worldly landscape is the result of volcanic eruptions from millions of years ago and numerous civilisations have left their mark on the region. Now it’s home to valleys of extraordinary rock formations, rose-coloured ravines, stone-hewn churches, labyrinthine underground cities, ancient cave dwellings and castles perched on top of rocky outcrops.
A sunrise hot-air balloon ride is the most spectacular way to see the landscape, as you drift over conical rock formations known as fairy chimneys and dip in and out of gorges. Goreme Open Air Museum is also a must-see, a Unesco site with Byzantine chapels and monasteries carved into the rock face and covered in exquisite frescoes.
There are plenty of adventure sports on offer: try a game of cross-country golf, quad bike along the valleys, mountain bike along the trails or go horse riding through canyons. The unique terrain is also ideal for hiking at all levels. Try the Ihlara Valley and its hidden churches, or an easy hike through Pigeon Valley - named after the thousands of dove cotes carved into its rock face - to Goreme, where you can shop for jewellery, carpets, kilims and pottery.
At night, sample the region’s delicious food and local wine, watch as dervishes whirl at an atmospheric caravanserai, or just look up - Cappadocia’s clear skies are perfect for stargazing and it’s one of the best places in the world to see meteor showers.