My guest post today features the town of Goreme in the heart of Cappadocia’s ‘Fairy Chimney’ country. Liz from Travelogged tells us more about the area and why you should use Goreme as your base when you visit.
Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia
If you’re planning a trip to Turkey, chances are people will encourage you to visit Cappadocia to see the unique landscape of “fairy chimneys”, colorful rock formations and caves. But as you begin your research, you’ll quickly learn that Cappadocia is a region so you’ll have to choose a specific town to stay in. Popular choices are Goreme, Uchisar and Urgup. This past June, I decided to stay in Goreme, and I would highly recommend it for these reasons.
1. You don’t need a car
The best reason to stay in Goreme is that you don’t need a car if you stay there. This is particularly important if you are arriving by plane, as the main airport is in Kayseri, which is over an hour away. Our flight from Istanbul arrived at night and the last thing we would have wanted to do would be to get lost trying to find Goreme in the dark. We arranged a pickup from our hotel at 10 euros per person, and the whole transfer went quite smoothly.
When we got to Goreme that night, we were able to walk from our hotel into the town and had our choice of restaurants. The whole place is compact, so as long as your hotel is truly located in Goreme, you will be able to walk to town and therefore go to the restaurants, bars and shops without any problems. You can also walk to the Open Air Museum and go for a hike in Love Valley – more on those later.
2. The town is a real place
As we were walking around deciding where to eat, we saw males aged 8 to 88 sitting outside and playing backgammon. It’s not a big town, but there must have been well over 100 people there. Goreme is a touristy place, as is that whole area of Cappadocia, but plenty of people live their lives there and aren’t simply dropping in to look at the rock formations (like we were).
3. You can stay in a cave hotel
There are a variety of accommodations in Goreme, ranging from backpacker to luxury. If possible, choose one of the cave hotels. That’s right, you can stay in a hotel where the rooms are carved out of a rock, just like the traditional homes of the area. We enjoyed Sultan Cave Suites , which has the same owners as the better known Kelebek Hotel. Staying in a cave might not be for the claustrophobic, as the room goes deep into the rock and there aren’t many windows. (Although we did have a small skylight, which was pretty cool.) As a desert area, Cappadocia is subject to extreme temperatures but the rock does an excellent job as insulation. Our room didn’t have air conditioning (and this American traveler loves her air conditioning) and despite the hot weather it remained comfortable. I wouldn’t want to take up cave living permanently, but spending a few nights in the cave is a cool experience.
3. The Open Air Museum is in Goreme
If you stay in Goreme, you can walk the approximately 2km to the Open Air Museum. (No matter where you stay in Cappadocia, you don’t want to miss this UNESCO attraction.) The Open Air Museum is actually a former Christian religious complex with nunneries, churches, houses, dining rooms, kitchens and more that was built — or, in this case, carved — between the 10th and 13th centuries and has long since been abandoned. The highlight is the Painted Churches, which refer to the well-preserved medieval frescoes adorning the interiors of some of the churches.
5. Visit Love Valley from Goreme
When you’re surrounded by so much natural beauty, you just want to get there and walk around it. Most hikes require some form of transportation, but you can do a short hike in Love Valley, which is on the way to the Open Air Museum. (Take the path off the main road by the Cappadocia Tourist Hotel.) It’s a great area to see the “Fairy Chimneys,” which are rock formations that look like well, fair chimneys, or elongated mushrooms or something else entirely if you have a dirty mind. As you rise slightly in elevation, you get good sweeping views of the whole area. Chances are good that, like us, you’ll have this whole area to yourselves.
Thanks for this guest post to Liz Borod Wright at Travelogged, the travel blog that will all take you over the world, from the beaches to the slopes, from ancient ruins to modern architecture.