28 Jun Southern Cappadocia
2. Explore the Valleys of Cappadocia
The landscape formed 60 million years ago by ashes from different mountains and erosion of soft layers of lava is one of Turkey’s most famous natural wonders. Volcanic eruptions followed by natural erosion have created an incredible landscape of valleys, craters and fairy chimneys (the tall pillars with little caps on).
Pigeon Valley is a vast 6km valley connecting, Uchisar and Goreme’s towns, popular for trekking or long walks. Starting at the Uchisar end is best if you want to trek the whole Valley, as it is mostly downhill, so not too strenuous, except when you’re coming back up.
Pigeon Valley comes from all the man-made pigeon houses carved into the soft stone over the years, found in all the valleys but predominately in this Valley. Pigeons were traditionally message carriers, and their droppings were used as fertilizer, the locals’ primary food source, back in the day!
This Valley is one of the many viewpoints for spectacular sunsets, the perfect way to end the day.
- Entrance cost: Free
- Time: 2-3 hours
Red & Rose Valley
Red & Rose Valley is located just outside the town of Goreme and is the number one location for sunset viewing and an essential hiking activity for the adventurous. It takes approximately 10 minutes by car from Goreme and 15 minutes from Uchisar.
This unique Valley got its name from the pinkish-coloured rocks that vary in tones throughout different times of the day.
There is an entrance fee of 6 Turkish Lira per person and toilets are on-site for 1 Turkish Lira. The Valley is open every day, all year round.
As I mentioned above, Red & Rose Valley is known as one of the best hikes in Cappadocia and as the most beautiful sunset point. Starting from the backside of Cavusin, you’ll end up at either the sunset point near Ortahisar or at Kaya Camping above Goreme Open Air Museum.
Lavanta Panorama Cafe Views - Orthisar
Enjoy magnificent panoramic views of Ortahisar castle and the village sprawling below while having tea at this unique cafe.
It is a perfect location for taking photos or enjoying the views on their decorated swings with flowers. There is also a souvenir shop where you can purchase a memoir of your time there.
3. Uchisar Castle
Uchisar Castle is at the highest point of Cappadocia, located just 5km away from the popular town of Goreme, previously used as a watchtower and defensive Castle for approximately 2000 years. Today, the citadel provides magnificent panoramic views of the surrounding areas.
Uchisar Castle is open daily 7:30 am – 8 pm with an entrance fee, and for an extra Turkish Lira, you can buy binoculars to take in the views!
Throughout the Castle, many rooms are used as pigeon houses connected to each other via stairs, tunnels and narrow passages. Some rooms are not possible to reach due to erosion over the years.
5. Özkonak Underground City
Historically, from 1800 BC, vast underground cities have protected Byzantine Cappadocians and sheltered them from those who sought their destruction.
The underground city extends down 11 floors, but now you can only visit four levels below. These would have housed both families and livestock. It is very narrow and dark, and you’re squatting to get through the tunnels, so it’s not good if you’re claustrophobic!!! The massive boulders at the entrances are awe-inspiring of how the city’s men could roll them in time before any attacks.
To date, there are 36 underground cities. Kaymakli and Derinkuyu are the most popular and extensive, leaving at least 34 hidden treasures, one of which is Ozkonak Underground City (the one we visited).
Ozkonak town is much smaller than those at Kaymakli and Derinkuyu, but it still provides visitors a similar experience in an underground city.