Goreme’s Dark Church and Open Air Museum

iylanaDestinations, Turkey0 Comments

Göreme’s Open Air Museum should be your first stop in Cappadocia (after a sunrise hot air balloon ride, of course). This monastic community complex is the best preserved example of the many Byzantine rock-cut churches that cover the region, and is a Unesco World Heritage site. The site encompasses 11 chapels and refectories all from the 10th–12th centuries. Expect to spend … Read More

A Self-Guided Hike to the Hidden Byzantine Churches of Cappadocia

iylanaDestinations, Turkey0 Comments

I got a taste of the hidden churches of the Cappadocia region on our first visit to Turkey in 2013 when we visited the Göreme Open Air Museum and the Selime Monastery. We returned the next year on a self-guided mission of Byzantine discovery, hiking the valleys for two days, admiring the surreal landscape and wandering into dozens of seventeen-hundred-year-old churches. Kapadokya … Read More

Soaring Over Cappadocia in an Epic Balloon Ride

iylanaDestinations, Turkey0 Comments

A hot air balloon ride was on my 30×30 list, and Goreme was the perfect place to check it off. Hundreds of balloons take off nearly every day here, taking tourists on an unforgettable sunrise trip over the surreal fairy chimney landscape. Our host at Nostalji Cave Suites arranged our ride with Voyager Balloons. And when we returned to Goreme with my … Read More

Hotel Review: Nostalji Cave Suites, Goreme

iylanaDestinations, Reviews, Turkey0 Comments

I’ll never forget seeing photos as a kid of these crazy cave houses in Turkey. I thought there could not be a more distant, exotic place, and I never imagined I could one day visit them, much less stay the night in one! The landscape of Goreme is made of a very soft rock which has been artfully formed by centuries of … Read More

Visiting Kusadasi, A Holiday Gem on the Aegean Coast

shaneDestinations, Turkey0 Comments

When planning our 2013 trip to Turkey we knew that Ephesus was a must-visit destination. The question was, where we were going to access Ephesus from. You have a few options: day trip from Izmir, stay in nearby Selçuk, or base out of Aegean resort town Kuşadası, which to us seemed the best choice, as we were able to work … Read More

Hotel Review: Hotel Carina, Kusadasi

shaneDestinations, Reviews, Turkey0 Comments

If you’re looking to travel to Ephesus, your best bet is to either day trip from Izmir, or spend some time at seaside resort town Kuşadası. If you opt for the latter, the Hotel Carina is a nice, affordable option to inject some resort-like amenities into your Turkey adventure. Hotel Carina | From $60 Location: Most of the action in Kuşadası revolves … Read More

Stepping Back in Time to Ephesus

iylanaDestinations, Turkey0 Comments

For me, the name of Ephesus conjures visions of New Testament apostles writing their letters. When we visited in 2013, I was indeed overcome with awe to be walking the same streets they walked. Ephesus holds great importance in the history of Christianity as both the apostles Paul and John, and Mary mother of Jesus, spent time living and working … Read More

Hotel Review: Ares Hotel, Istanbul

shaneDestinations, Reviews, Turkey0 Comments

Coming back from Egypt we spent a couple of nights in Istanbul to do some shopping before flying home. I wanted to take advantage of this quick return to get some time-lapse video of the Hagia Sophia, and the terrace of Ares Hotel has a wonderful view of the ancient cathedral. After researching extensively, I found Ares to have the best … Read More

Hotel Review: Divalis Hotel, Istanbul

shaneDestinations, Reviews, Turkey0 Comments

Divalis Hotel is a small boutique property in the heart of the Sultanahmet district. Its combination of excellent location, great value, and friendly service led us to stay here not only on our first visit to Istanbul but our second one as well. Divalis Hotel | From $90/night. Location: Divalis is located adjacent to the Old City Wall which runs next … Read More