The dramatic landscape of Cappadocia is perfect for hiking and walking: warm sun, dry air, spectacular views, and trails of varying challenge.
Be prepared: sun hat and perhaps sunglasses against the glare of the light-colored rock, sunblock, footwearsuitable for the crumbly volcanic-ash terrain of Cappadocia, and—most important—water bottles to keep you hydrated in the dry climate and altitude.
On many trails you may find impromptu (and un-beautiful) shelters built to sell you drinks, snacks and souvenirs.
Here are the favorite trails:
Bağlıdere (or Bağıldere)
The “Vale of Vines,” sometimes called Love Valley (Aşk Vadisi) because of the shape of its many structures, is west of the Çavuşin—Göreme road. This is among the most striking and atmospheric valleys, good for short hikes, or perhaps a walk all the way to Uçhisar.
Ballıdere (Honey Valley)
“Honey Vale” is a trail around Göreme Town.
Güllüdere (Rose Valley)
Starting from the Panoramic Viewpoint, take the trail that departs to the right of the stone marker, then by the right fork, noted as “Güllüdere I, 3283 m, Çavuşin 5000 m.” By taking this trail you can visit the most interesting cave churches, and you will also have the best views over all the valleys.
The second trail, “Güllüdere II, 2296m, Çavuşin 4956 m” is also good, and will take you to the churches, but does not afford the same fine views because it is lower down in the valley.
If you follow the trail to the left of the marker, “Kızılçukur 1315 m, Çavuşin 4164 m,” you may miss many of the best churches, and will be low in the valley, missing the better views.
Güvercin Vadisi (Pigeon Valley)
“Pigeon Valley,” so named for its many traditional Cappadocian dovecotes, goes between Uçhisar and Göreme Town. From Göreme Town, follow signs up the main street up the valley to Göreme Kaya Hotel, from which the trail departs.
Kılıçlar Vadisi (Sword Valley)
The “Sword Valley” trailhead is just up the hill fromGöreme Open-Air Museum along the road to Ortahisar. From the few parking spots there you descend into the valley, and join the Rose Valley trails to end in Çavuşin.
Kızıl Vadisi (Red Valley)
Among the best walks, the “Red Valley” near the Panoramic Viewpoint has both dovecotes and fresco’d churches along its route.
Meskendir Vadisi (Meskendir Valley)
Start from Kaya Camping on the road between Ortahisar and Göreme Open-Air Museum. You can park across the road from Kaya Camping.
Follow the path along the back (valley) side of the camping area. Keeping the back stone wall of the camping area on your left, walk to the end of the wall, then bear right and follow the trail. (If you go straight at the end of the stone wall you will reach the same point, but the trail is not as interesting.)
These trails eventually join the Rose Valley trails to Çavuşin.
Zemi Vadisi (Zemi Valley)
This valley starts between the Göreme Open-Air Museumand the Tourist Hotel southeast of Göreme Town. Follow the signs south up the valley toward El Nazar Church. A fork in the road is signed for El Nazar Church (which you can visit) to the left, and Görkündere to the right, a valley with more fine geologic structures.
—by Tom Brosnahan
|Tours of Cappadocia|