Göreme is one of the preferred towns in Cappadocia where travelers like to base themselves because of its excellent proximity to the Göreme Open-Air Museum (map) as well as its lodging options. Göreme is a worthy rival to the neighboring town of Ürgüp.
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 1.5 km, (1 mile) from the Göreme Open-Air Museum. Eventually, Avcılar had been renamed Göreme, offering lots of comfortable pensions, hotels, and inns that have been set in restored Cappadocian houses featuring great restaurants. Göreme has now become the bustling center of the tourist trade where most travelers flock to see some of Cappadocia’s greatest attractions.
No trip to Cappadocia is complete without taking a hot air balloon ride. Flights take off just outside the town of Göreme. Pinnacles of volcanic rock, called Fairy Chimneys, rise right in the town center. Besides the Fairy Chimneys, Göreme is also known for its Open-Air Museum, the Red Valley (Kızılçukur Vadisi), and the underground cities of Kaymaklı and Derinkuyu.
Sensitive local people and foreign residents work hard to preserve the town's beauty. The Göreme Charity Restoration Fund takes donations and organizes volunteers to restore and beautify the town. (If you see one of their donation boxes at a historic site, consider donating because of its worthy cause.)
Recommended hotels include Ottoman Cave Suites, Kelebek Boutique Hotel, Cappadocian Cave Suites, Kismet Cave House, and Aydinli Cave Hotel. As the names suggest, these properties offer guests an authentic “cave experience” that Cappadocia has become known for. Many of the stone hotels in Cappadocia feature terraces with views of hot air balloons rising over the fairy chimneys. If you happen to visit Göreme during the spring and fall cave house tours, you can get a peek into how modern troglodytes live, with all comforts and modern conveniences.
You can reach Göreme via Nevşehir (bus, plane) or Kayseri (bus, train, plane), the transport hubs for the region (map). It’s conveniently located for travelers arriving from Istanbul, Antalya, Ankara, and Izmir (Ephesus). Read more about how to get to Cappadocia from other parts of Turkey.
Distance to nearby cities:
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
-Photos by Sonia Anand