“The town of the Fairy Chimneys”.
Where is Goreme?
The town of Goreme is located among the “fairy chimney” rock formations, in the Cappadocia region of central Turkey.
The journey from Kas to Goreme was on the bus, with overnight stops in Antalya and Konya.
Our time in Goreme we chose to stay at the Charming Cave Hotel, which we booked directly. A family run hotel, in an outstanding position within the town. A very friendly and helpful family. Collecting us and dropping us off at the bus station. Along with recommendations and onward travel advice.
The breakfast was exceptional, with mum preparing and cooking the food herself. She does a mean set of local sweet patisseries which you must try if you stay there.
Places of interest
Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia
Set in the most wonderous landscape, lies the Göreme valley and surrounding area entirely sculpted by erosion. Dwellings, Troglodyte villages and underground towns are also evident here.
On arrival in Goreme, we quickly went exploring around the tall, cone-shaped rock formations within the town. Volcanic landscape forming a succession of mountain ridges, valleys and pinnacles known as “fairy chimneys”.
Around every corner there were different formations. Some of which are just the strangest of shape. It is astounding how nature produces such bizarre creations. Some are still lived in, giving you the opportunity to stay in one of the many cave hotels whilst here.
After an afternoon of wandering around the town. Our necks craned upwards and mouths open in awe throughout. We ended up on the panorama Sunrise Point viewing platform for the sunset. Charged at 3 Turkish Lira each. Give yourself plenty of time to climb up the steep road to get there. Quite a large crowd gathers on the viewpoint, all jostling for the same magnificent view of the sun setting over the formidable landscape.
Having done the sunset, yes, you’ve guessed. We planned to watch the sunrise, along with the incredible breathtaking hot air balloon fest the following day. In excess of 100 hot air balloons taking off at sunrise and passing over the town. Made getting up early all worthwhile.
After a well earned breakfast. We walked into town to get the local bus to the next town of Uchisar. Catching the bus from Goreme bus station at a cost of 3.5 Turkish Lira each. The buses leave every 30 mins pay the conductor on the bus and let him know you want Uchisar Castle. He will tell you when to get off. The bus stops on the corner of Göreme-Uçhisar Yolu and Hacı Alibey Cd.
From here it is about a 10 min walk to the castle. The walk to the castle took us past traditionally carved rock houses. Locals had fires burning in the streets on which they were making grape molasses.
Entry into the castle was 9 Turkish Lira each. Being used for defense and protection purposes, the castle is the highest point of the region and has spectacular panoramic views of magnificent Cappadocia. This means climbing hundreds of steps but worth the effort.
One of the best ways to really appreciate the delights of this beautiful area, is to get amongst it. There are many hiking trails that can be taken. Allowing you to get up close and personal with the landscape.
We decided to walk back to Goreme from Uchisar, about a 3km walk.
Leaving Uchisar, we made our way down into the pigeon valley. Supposedly named after the hundreds of pigeons that live in the cliffs along the path. A distinct lack of pigeons when we passed through. Which may have been a good thing. As where there are pigeons, there is usually pigeon poo!
This trail through the valley allowed us to walk amongst and see numerous unusual rock formations. The signposted route has a section that is very steep, narrow and requires some climbing.
A dynamic risk assessment made us turn back and take the alternative route. Don’t go down to the bottom of the valley. Stay on the left hand side and pass pigeon valley cafe. The trail meanders down into the valley unexpectedly, taking you past 2 cafes for on route refreshments, before finally reaching Goreme.
Hot Air Ballooning
Experiencing a hot air balloon ride is wonderful. Cappadocia is know as one of the best places in the world to take a ride. The spectacular landscapes combined with perfect flying conditions allow the hundreds of balloons to drift over the fairy chimneys.
If you decide to keep your feet firmly on the ground and just watch the amazing balloon display hover over the town below. This can be witnessed from Sunrise Point. A truly amazing sight.