Unusual Turkey.
Cappadocia and the best places in the region
Journeys | 12.08.2020
Despite the usual image of Turkey as a resort destination, there is much more interesting in the country: from local culture and cuisine to incredible nature. One of the most popular and unusual regions in Turkey is Cappadocia. Here we share these places and the route of the blogger Red Fedora Dairy from the MAPS.ME guide catalog.
Putting the latest events to the side, tourist interest in these places is only increasing, in 2019 the flow increased by more than 60%. Cappadocia is a mountain region with interesting landscape. Under the influence of the activity of Hasan and Erciyes volcanoes back in the Cenozoic period, as well as erosion, splits, gorges and famous stone pillars appeared, for which many travelers come here. In the 3rd century AD, Cappadocia was a place of hermitage for Christians, monks came here and settled in caves. At the end of the first millennium, dozens of persecuted Christians lived here, they settled in complicated landscape. Thus the underground cities, the temples carved in the rocks with unique frescoes appeared.
But not only history and beautiful nature, but also the balloon festival have made this place popular. Imagine mountain landscapes, and dozens of balls of different colors and shapes seeming to hang in the sky. Pictures from the festival gave Cappadocia popularity (thanks to social networks) and now many travelers come here just for this. Flights are organized here all year round, but a favourable season is from April to October, when the days are longer, the sunrises are more colorful (you can ride a balloon only in the early morning), and there is less precipitation. The cost of one flight starts from 150 euro, but it is quite possible to enjoy the views, sitting on the roof and sipping black tea from beautiful transparent glasses, eating baklava.
A traveler and content writer Baia of the Red Fedora Dairy blog has created a route through the most interesting places in Cappadocia. Baia shares some of coolest points of interest from her route. Find more must-see locations in our guide catalog.
Cappadocia is the second most visited area in Turkey after Istanbul and no wonder why. It's one of the most magical places I have been. Volcanic peaks backdropped with hot air balloon rides indeed is breathtaking scenery to watch! Even though riding the hot air balloon over those natural wonders is one of the main reasons people visit the area, there are plenty of things to do in Cappadocia.
Love Valley
The name appropriately fits the description of the phallic rock formations found in the valley. It's one of the most popular valleys of Cappadocia because of those formations. Located on the west side of Göreme, the valley, like any other we have been to, is easy to walk; you don't need any special hiking shoes, sneakers will do just fine. To start the hike, you'll need to walk towards Uçhisar from Göreme following Adnan Menderes Cd. (Caddesi means street in Turkish). Pass the Panorama Campground. On your right, you'll see a car road, that's the start of the hike. If you follow the path, you'll get to the panorama viewpoint. Instead, we went through a pedestrian trail to the valley.
White Valley
From Love Valley, you can continue your way towards Pigeon Valley through White Valley. It is a less-traveled area and as the name suggests, the rock formations are white. Some parts of the valley are hard to walk as you'll need to go over the rock formations, but it's perfectly doable. There's a stream that dries in summer and is a bit muddy during the other months. You'll need around 40 minutes to walk towards the end of the valley near Uçhisar town. You'll come up near Özler Center Artısanal. Once here, you'll see a breathtaking view of Uçhisar town.
Pigeon Valley
Pigeon Valley starts near the Uçhisar town with pigeon statues nestled on the wooden sticks. It's hard to miss. There are two trails in the Pigeon Valley - Pigeon House Valley that comes back to Göreme and Pigeon Valley which goes to the panorama viewpoint. The name of the valley comes from the hundreds of pigeon houses carved out on the cliffs and fairy chimneys. Pigeon House Valley is much more beautiful in terms of landscape than the other one. You walk through the beautiful gorge with not only pigeon houses, but dwellings as well. It makes you wonder how did people manage to carve out homes so high on the formations. The Pigeon Valley viewpoint offers a stunning view of the Uçhisar town and its castle. Moreover, there are photo spots to take beautiful pictures and pigeons to feed with grains sold at 1 Lira.
Red & Rose Valley
These two valleys intertwined with each other pride themselves with gorgeous, red and rose color gorge and rock-carved churches and houses. To start the hike, you'll need to follow Bilal Eroglu Cd and make a turn near the Kadost Atv Safari. Follow the road, and you'll see the sign of Red Rose Valley. It's the most well-marked trail we have hiked. Expect to spend a few hours here walking through a beautiful gorge and visiting churches along the way. You'll end up near the village of Çavuşin.
Göreme Town
Göreme is a relatively small town characterized by rock formations of fairy chimneys. As I already mentioned, the city is an ideal choice to be close to the valleys. Sightseeing here is limited to Göreme Open Air Museum and the Göreme Panorama viewpoint. There are plenty of dining venues to try local cuisine and shops to buy souvenirs. Other than that, there's nothing else to see.
Çavuşin village
Çavuşin village, like any other village in the area, has rock-cut and stone houses, along with the Great Basilica of St. John the Baptist and Çavuşin Church. The elegantly carved facades are evidence of how extraordinary the village used to be. From here, you can continue to Monks Valley. Unfortunately, we didn't manage to hike the valley on our trip. Alternatively, you can stand at the road and wait for the minibus to go either to Göreme or Avanos.
Avanos Town
One of the things to do in Cappadocia is to visit the small town of Avanos. It is known for the pottery works you see in souvenir shops all around Cappadocia. The city itself is limited in sightseeing, so the reason to visit it is to either buy ceramic items or take part in pottery workshops. The ceramic trade here is centuries old and uses the same technique, kick wheel, since the foundation of the field. On the warm sunny day, you can enjoy a boat ride on the river. How to get there: Daily mini buses are running from those villages to Avanos. As we were staying in Göreme, we stood at the main road and waited for the bus to come by. The price of the ticket from Göreme to Avanos costs 4 Lira.
Uçhisar Town
Dominated by a 60-meter high castle-mountain, Uçhisar is another tourist attraction of the area. With a sizable cylindrical tower, the castle has various underground rooms and passages, most of which are blocked to pass by. The citadel accommodated around a thousand people, but it's not inhabited today. The town offers a landscape of fairy chimneys, cave hotels, and residential houses.
Derinkuyu Underground City
Derinkuyu is around 60 meters deep and could accommodate approximately 20,000 people together with food stores and livestock, making it the largest of its kind in Turkey. Here, you can explore oil and wine presses, storage rooms, chapels, cellars, stables, etc. There's a 55-meter long ventilation shaft used as a well to provide water to the villagers above it and inside.
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