The destinations are selected through a process involving Lonely Planet’s authors, editors and online community then judged by a panel of in-house experts who give each destination in the shortlist a score in line with criteria such as topicality, excitement and “x-factor”.
The award was presented to Dr Aysegul Gurgezoglu, director of the London-based Turkish Culture and Tourism Office UK, at World Travel Market (WTM) this week, who said: “I'm thrilled that Cappadocia's unique qualities have been recognised by Lonely Planet, as it’s a destination that we have been promoting very actively here in the UK. It's a region that shows yet another facet of fascinating Turkey, a country that has so much worth discovering; so perfect for couples embarking on a new life together.”
Lonely Planet writes: “The fairy chimneys of Cappadocia are spectacularly peculiar, a sight that needs to be shared. The region offers plenty of opportunities... but the best way is to wake up before dawn for a balloon ride over the jagged landscape and fantastic dwellings. Post-afternoon-nap, climb the stairs up to Uchisar Castle to watch the sunset from the top of the area’s tallest fairy chimney, where Cappadocia mingles with the clouds and everything from Mount Erciyes to the Pigeon Valley is in view.”
Cappadocia is home to one of the most mysterious and extraordinary landscapes in the world, today preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Formed at the centre of a once volcanic region, over time wind and weather have sculpted sensual curves, forming the peaks now known as 'fairy chimneys'. Neolithic man was the first to carve the soft tufa into inhabitable caves with early Christians following by enlarging natural caves to create underground cities, monasteries and churches. A number of cave hotels in the area provide couples with the unique and historical experience of staying in such an intimate and characterful space.