Here's one of the best day excursions in Cappadocia: the underground cities, (Kaymaklıor Derinkuyu), the former Ottoman-Greek town of Güzelyurt, the dramatic Ihlara Valley with its dozens of painted Byzantine churches from the 11th to 13th centuries, and the AğzıkarahanSeljuk Turkish caravanserai on the Silk Roadeast of Aksaray (map).
Starting from Ürgüp or Göreme, this excursion will take a full day, and requires your own vehicle, either a rented car or a car and driver, either of which can be arranged through Argeus Tourism & Travel. It would be very difficult to do this entire excursion in one day by public transport.
Bring bottled water and snacks, or even a picnic lunch.
Have an early breakfast and start your tour by 08:30 am if you can. Drive from your Cappadocian hotel to either Kaymakli or Derinkuyu, visit one of these underground cities, then head west over the mountains from Derinkuyu to Güzelyurt. Stop there for a walk around, a glass of tea and perhaps an early lunch, then continue southwest to the Ihlara Valley.
You can spend two to four or even five hours hiking in the valley. If you have a car and driver, the driver can drop you at Ihlara Village, the Ihlara Valley Touristic Installations (visitors center), or Belisırmavillage, you can hike, and the driver can pick you up at another of these points.
Finally, drive north to the Aksaray-Nevşehir highway, and you'll pass the AğzıkarahanSeljuk Turkish caravanserai before driving east toward Nevşehir and back to Cappadocia.
|Fresco in the Snake Church(Yılanlı Kilise) in Ihlara Valley.|
If you are driving from Ephesus and/or Pamukkale to Cappadocia via Konya, you can do this excursion along the way, though it makes for a long day.
Start from Konya after breakfast, driving east, see the caravanserai, then Ihlara, then Güzelyurt, then an underground city, and end the day at your Cappadocian hotel. You may want to limit your hiking in theIhlara Valley to two hours.
Starting from Cappadocia, driving west, visit an underground city, then to Güzelyurt for a look, a tea and a snack, then to Ihlara, the Ağzıkarahan, Aksaray, the Silk Road (stopping at the Sultan Han), and on to Konya and your hotel.
—by Tom Brosnahan