Turkey’s most famous region Cappadocia lies in central Anatolia, halfway between Ankara and Adana. Known for its spectacular landscape, with thousands of fairy chimneys spread all over the valleys and mountains, cave churches and underground cities, this is a large area with only one relatively big city: Nevşehir. Due to its size it is very important to organize well your stay.
Cappadocia is easily accessible. Getting there from Ankara or Istanbul by plane is fast and cheap. Plane tickets can be so affordable that travelling by bus literally makes no sense. An hour from the main area, Kayseri Airport is the largest, while Nevşehir Airport with fewer flights is conveniently located near the main cities. Both airports offer minivan services to several important tourist locations.
Three towns, Ürgüp, Göreme and Uçhisar, offer daily excursions to many interesting locations. Ürgüp is the largest, serviced by many local and regional buses. Most of the massive tourism facilities are there. Göreme is centrally located, with good travel infrastructure. Most cave hotels and guesthouses are there. Uçhisar is the smallest, with relatively limited public transport. It is located on the cliff overlooking Göreme and the valley around it.
Why Göreme should be your base in Cappadocia:
- Both Ürgüp and Uçhisar have a relatively small number of interesting places within walking distance, while Göreme offers plenty.
- It has an excellent tourist infrastructure and amazing cave hotels.*
- All possible excursions reach Göreme.
- Two major highlights, Uçhisar Castle and Göreme Open Air Museum are nearby.
Most agencies and hotels offer three typical excursions: green, red and blue. The Green tour is the longest and most interesting one, including sites like the Pigeon Valley, Ihlara Valley, Derinkuyu Underground City and a cave church. The Red tour includes places reachable by bike from Göreme, so it’s better to do it on your own. The Blue tour is nice if you have more spare time.
Cappadocia is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Tourist numbers are rising sharply and it can be annoyingly crowded in peak season. But due to its size and large number of places of interest you can easily escape the crowds and explore the region on your own. By far the most interesting way is walking or biking, but hiring a hot air balloon is a fun way too (if you can afford it). The authorities haven’t bothered protecting the area, so there is a lot of construction activity going on. It is seriously threatening both nature and architectural heritage. So don’t wait until it’s too late, visit Cappadocia now.