What to visit in Göreme?
Updated: Jun 3, 2022
You’ve seen the famous hot air balloon photos on Instagram, and you’ve been dreaming about them ever since? The Göreme Valley is one of the most famous wonders in Cappadocia. Turkey is a perfect destination for diverse landscapes and activities under the sun. Best of all, life is cheap. Scroll down to read our guide to discover the treasures of Göreme!
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What not to miss?
The hot air balloon ride
Obviously, you can’t miss this famous attraction. It’s a magical experience that you will remember for the rest of your life. You fly over the fantastic landscapes of the fairy chimneys with the gentle rhythm of the wind. Count around 100€ for a ride per person.
If you don’t have the budget, there is also the possibility to enjoy the free show by waking up before sunrise and going on the terrasse of a hotel or to a viewpoint easily found on Google Maps.
At the highest point in Cappadocia, there is the Uchisar Castle. It was always the main point of defense for the Cappadocia region. Although there is now nothing inside but hollow rooms, the real prize is at the top. You will be rewarded with the most magnificent, panoramic view of the surrounding towns and endless magical fairy chimneys.
The underground city of Derinkuyu
This incredible archeological discovery is called Derinkuyu. It’s an ancient underground city that was discovered in 1963 by an inhabitant who was renovating his home. It aimed to protect its inhabitants from wars and religious persecutions, able to protect 20,000 people. They made large stone doors to prevent invaders, an ingenious ventilation system, as well as a well to ensure drinking water for all citizens. A real historical mystery!
10 minutes away by car, mother nature left some interesting shapes in Love Valley.
This site is free and worth a peek! Bring comfortable shoes and be prepared for a 3 hours hike. With its magnificent views, the valley is one of the popular spots where you can watch the sunset in Cappadocia. It is also very ideal for photography enthusiasts.
Twin Fairy Chimneys
These chimneys were created by the erosion of the volcanic tuff created by ash from volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. Old fairy chimneys have millions of stories throughout their silent lives. And there are many available roadsides and hilltops in Cappadocia.
What else to visit?
On the UNESCO World Heritage sites list since 1985, the Göreme National Park site offers so many beautiful landscapes in White Valley, Valley of the Pigeons, The Zemi Valley, The Red Valley and the Pink Valley, Sword Valley, and Devrent valley. You will experience the fairy chimneys, rock-cut houses, caves, and hidden churches in the many valleys.
Curious about the beginnings of Christianity? The open-air museum of Göreme has a massive collection of historical monasteries and cave churches displaying fine specimens of ancient Byzantine frescoes. According to best estimates, all the churches were built in the 11th century. Count around 30€ for two adults.
How to get there?
The easiest way to get to Göreme is by plane. You should fly first to Istanbul and take another plane to Cappadocia with Turkish Airlines or Pegasus airlines. The trip lasts 80 minutes.
For the most courageous ones, there is also the bus from the bus stations Istanbul's main Esenler Otogar to Nevşehir Otoga. The journey takes approximately 12 hours. No need to panic! The buses are comfortable with charging points for your phone, good seats, and snacks.
By car, you have the freedom to explore some of the major historic highlights of the region along the way. During the ride, you will pass by Safranbolu and Boğazkale. They both have accommodation for overnight stops along the way.
When to get there?
The best time to go to Göreme is during Spring and Autumn since the weather is moderate and the crowd is not as heavy. Summer is very hot (32 degrees on average) and winter is very cold (up to minus 6 degrees).
A night in a comfortable hotel will cost 40€ but you can find cheaper (around 15-20€ per night) if you go on a budget.
As for food, the prices are quite low: around 15€ for a couple going to the restaurant. If you go to fancier restaurants, it will never be above 30€.
With an average budget that includes airfare, mid-range accommodation, hot air balloon rides, and food, the total cost will be around 800 euros. If you want to reduce the budget a lot you can skip the balloon ride, and stay in a very economical room.
Where to eat?
If you travel to Göreme, you must try these restaurants. It’s the best way to immerse yourself fully in Turkish culture.
Go to Dibek and order the tadım (tasting) menu plus a testı kebapı (meat and vegetable stew slow-cooked in a sealed terracotta pot; the best in town). After you finish eating, enjoy a glass of wine on the terrasse overlooking the city.
Looking for a family home atmosphere? The owner of Topdeck cave restaurant transformed a cave room into an intimate restaurant where dinners are made with heart. Choose a mixed meze plate and Topdeck's signature chicken and herb sigara böreği (deep-fried cigar-shaped pastries). We recommend you make a reservation to be sure you have a table.
Festivals (May, June, August, and September)
Göreme has a great variety of festivals: balloon festival, bicycle festival, music festival, observation festival, sports festival, and handicraft festival. It guarantees that the time spent here is enjoyable and appeals to everyone who wants to have quality time.
Although it is possible to coincide with Cappadocia events in different seasons of the year, it is known that national and international organizations are concentrated in May, June, July, August, and September.
Cappadocia Cherry Feast (June)
You can taste the delicious cherries that grow in the town at a festival organized exclusively for a day in Aksalur town of Ürgüp. This festival, which aims to meet with the public and develop the production of magnificent cherries, which we cannot define without taste, is on 20 June.
International Avanos Tourism and Craft Festival (August and September)
It is a festival in which hand-made artifacts such as pottery making and carpets are exhibited. It is organized each year in late August, or early September.
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