Ürgüp has historically been the tourist center in Cappadocia, but a few decades ago budget travelers discovered the farming town of Avcılar, set in a steep moonscape valley only a mile (1.5 km) from Göreme Open-Air Museum. They started to fill the beds in its simple, cheap family pensions.
Avcılar has been renamed Göreme, more comfortable pensions, hotels and inns have been set in restored Cappadocian houses, good restaurants opened, and now the town is the bustling center of the tourist trade.
With “fairy chimney” pinnacles of volcanic rock rising right in the town center, and cave houses in the valley walls, Göreme is a worthy rival to nearby Ürgüp.
Sensitive local people and foreign residents work hard to preserve the town’s beauty. The Göreme Charity Restoration Fundtakes donations and organizes volunteers to restore and beautify the town. (If you see one of their donation boxes at a historic site, consider making a donation. It’s a worthy cause.)
Here’s how to get to Cappadocia from other parts of Turkey.
Distances & Travel Times
Avanos: 10 km (6 miles) N, 15 minutes
Kayseri: 90 km (56 miles) E, 1.5 hours
Mustafapaşa (Sinasos): 8 km (5 miles) S, 15 minutes
Nevşehir: 10 km (6 miles) E, 15 minutes
Uçhisar: 5 km (3 miles) SW, 10 minutes
Ürgüp: 8 km (5 miles) SE, 18 minutes
—by Tom Brosnahan