Here's what it's like to stay in a cave hotel in Cappadocia, Turkiye 2
Yunak Evleri, one of the more popular cave hotels in Cappadocia. Karen Flores Layno, ABS-CBN News
Travel

Here's what it's like to stay in a cave hotel in Cappadocia, Turkiye

Like Cappadocia's famous hot air balloon flight, it's an experience you need to try at least once.
Karen Flores Layno, ABS-CBN News | Jun 10 2024

Most tourists go to Turkiye for a hot air balloon ride in the region of Cappadocia, a short flight from Istanbul to either Kayseri or Nevsehir (You can fly to Istanbul from Manila via Turkish Airlines, more on that here). Flying over rolling hills and captivating rock formations at sunrise is definitely a bucket list experience, but here's a way to make your trip even more magical -- stay in a cave hotel.

As a popular base for tours in Cappadocia, Nevsehir's Urgup town has cave hotels for different budgets. For our media tour organized by the Turkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency, we stayed in one of the more famous (and slightly pricier) properties in the area -- Yunak Evleri, a boutique hotel carved into a mountain cliff, with its cave houses dating back to the fifth century.

Otherworldly is the perfect word to describe this place. Depending on what you're into, Yunak Evleri can remind you of Star Wars, video games (it's giving pale Cosmo Canyon from Final Fantasy VII Rebirth), or even the planet Mars. It's not just a place to rest after a day of touring -- it's an attraction in itself. 

Cave dweller chic. Karen Flores Layno, ABS-CBN News
Cave dweller chic. Karen Flores Layno, ABS-CBN News
The hot air balloons take off from Goreme, a short drive from Yunak Evleri. Karen Flores Layno, ABS-CBN News
The hot air balloons take off from Goreme, a short drive from Yunak Evleri. Karen Flores Layno, ABS-CBN News

Yunak Evleri has a total of 39 rooms that blend seamlessly into the natural landscape, each furnished with old Turkish carpets, antique lamps and chests, brass wrought-iron beds, and handmade lace curtains. There is no air conditioning because it's no longer needed -- since you're staying in a cave, the rooms are naturally cool even during the summer. You can turn on the electric fan in case it gets stuffy, or open the windows for some fresh air. 

Here's our room at Yunak Evleri. Karen Flores Layno, ABS-CBN News
Here's our room at Yunak Evleri. Karen Flores Layno, ABS-CBN News

And while it offers modern comforts such as a television and bidet, staying in a cave hotel is still overall a rustic experience. Wi-Fi signal is understandably weak given the thick rock walls (just get an eSIM if you can't afford to go off the grid, or hang out at the courtyard), and the hotel's maze-like structure means you have to deal with what can seem like endless flights of stairs and carved stone steps to get from point A to B. I personally enjoyed this as someone who likes walking and running, but it's something to consider when traveling with children, the elderly, or people who simply don't want a free workout to go with their stay.

View from the top. Be prepared for a lot of walking here. Karen Flores Layno, ABS-CBN News
View from the top. Be prepared for a lot of walking here. Karen Flores Layno, ABS-CBN News

For breakfast, Yunak Evleri's Caverna restaurant serves a buffet spread of local eats, from different types of cheese (the goat cheese was exceptional), eggs, olives, and fruits, to honeycomb and freshly baked bread. The multi-level dining area is open all day, with its rooftop offering breathtaking views. If you're craving something else, you can check out the surrounding restaurants -- the hotel is located in the center of Urgup, so there are plenty of choices for dining and nightlife.

A healthy yet delicious Turkish breakfast. Karen Flores Layno, ABS-CBN News
A healthy yet delicious Turkish breakfast. Karen Flores Layno, ABS-CBN News

Like Cappadocia's famous hot air balloon flight, staying in a cave hotel is an experience you need to try at least once. Yunak Evleri is an enchanting home base to return to, a place where you can go on a real mountain hideaway. 

ANCX visited Turkiye as part of a media tour organized by Turkish Airlines and the Turkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency.