Cappadocia (a magical region within Turkey) is often promoted as a destination which can be ticked off within 3 days, but in that time you would be hard pushed to see, let alone enjoy what Cappadocia has to offer. We were lucky enough to stay in Göreme for 6 nights, and recommend giving yourself the maximum time you possibly can.
Tourists are often given a map dividing Cappadocia into two zones, which supposedly only take one day each. But there is absolutely no way you will see everything in that short space of time. Plus, take our advice, there is a lot more than what is shown on that map!
How to get to Cappadocia?
Buses to Cappadocia run from all main destinations and are very easy to book at the travel offices and bus stations. However, make sure you book at least a couple of days ahead during peak season as the seats do sell out! There are also two airports near Cappadocia (Kayseri and Nevsehir).
Where to stay in Cappadocia?
Make sure you book accommodation in or near Göreme. There are tonnes of places to choose from, but if a hostel with a great atmosphere and helpful staff is what you are after, then we recommend Nomad Cave Hotel.
Do I have to wear covered clothing in Cappadocia?
With the heat constantly being above 30 degrees during July, we were very pleased that covered clothing was not necessary in Cappadocia (we were sweating enough in our shorts and singlet’s!)
Restaurants and cafes in Cappadocia
Whether you are after a traditional meal in a Clay Pot or a cheap eat, Cappadocia has a lot to choose from. As a special treat on my birthday we ate at Topdeck Cave Restaurant and it did not disappoint!
Hiring mountain bikes in Cappadocia
There are many places to hire mountain bikes in Göreme (ours cost 5TL per hour). We recommend exploring Kilclar Valley, Kizilcukur Red Valley or Gulludere Rose Valley by bike. We attempted to explore Kilclar and Kizilcukur Red Valley, however we quickly realised our biking ability and confidence was not quite a match for the fairy chimneys and steep hills, but made the best of it.
By late afternoon we had discovered tunnels that were not on the map, started to gain some confidence and were just attempting to literally haul our bikes through another tunnel in Kizilcukur Red Valley, when a guide and his private tour came up behind us. I felt like a complete muppet to be found struggling in what must have looked an awkward manner! Therefore, I recommend locking your bike to a tree BEFORE this tunnel!
Tips for exploring the valleys in Cappadocia:
– You will get very thirsty from the heat so the tea gardens selling water/juice and snacks will certainly appeal. Therefore make sure you take cash and some loose change.
– When hiring bikes, make sure you get a bike lock as you will probably want to explore some areas by foot.
– In the Kilclar Valley, was south past the tea garden, climb up the cavern and when the path forks, take the first left towards the tunnel. This tunnel continues for a fair way and in some areas requires a torch!
Trek the valleys and fairy chimneys
If you are not a confident mountain biker or you have enough time to explore both on foot and bike, then we recommend grabbing a large water and your walking shoes and getting out there! Our day with the bikes turned into half walking half biking, and was a lot of fun but we only saw a tiny percent of Cappadocia in a day. Anywhere in the region including Kilclar, Kizilcukur Red or Gulludere Rose Valley are great to explore.
Trekking with Middle Earth Travel
We highly recommend going on a tour with Middle Earth Travel. We were lucky enough to meet Atil, a tour guide and Operations Manager of Middle Earth Travel on our first day in Cappadocia. We found him extremely knowledgeable and after he survived 101 questions from Moss, we realised just how much we were missing as we attempted to explore the valley’s of Cappadocia on our own.
So, a few days later, on what happened to be my birthday, we had the pleasure of being taken on a private tour with Middle Earth Travel. They have a huge range of tours available, and even though we would have loved to do them all, we ended up doing the On Top of Cappadocia tour. We had an amazing day and walked a total of 15km! Take a look at my blog about the adventure – Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel.
The Green Tour day trip
Another tour on offer to explore Cappadocia is called the Green Tour. For about 100TL per person, it takes tourists to the Underground City, Selime Cathedrale and a few other attractions. Unfortunately the day trip did not quite meet our expectations, as we felt rushed at each main attraction, and would have loved an extra 20 minutes to explore all the nooks and crannies!
Any comments or questions are welcome! Please also take a look at my blog Top 10 Things to see and do in Cappadocia.
Walking the Camino de Santiago Photos
These are my favourite Camino de Santiago Photos from my pilgrimage along the French Way in March. A truly beautiful way to spend a few weeks.
El Camino de Santiago kicked my ass. Well technically it kicked my feet. Turns out my minimal preparation for the Camino de Santiago was terrible. After a miserable effort of only 4 days, the doctor in Legrono told me that I wasn’t allowed to go on until me feet healed. I had walked just over 100 km’s and my feet were bloodied and blistered.
To be honest, I was relieved.
The thought of putting back on my shoes made my shudder. For the last 9 km’s I had stumbled along in jandals and socks. One of the travelling fashion sins I vowed I would never break.
So while I have unfinished business with the Way of St James (an upcoming post), I did want to share with you some of my favourite photos from the Camino de Santiago. Because I had yet to reach some of the more “unsavoury” parts of the Camino that Sherry Ott had discovered, every step of my pilgrimage had been beautiful.
There is no way you can get lost on the Camino de Santiago. Arrows, scallop shells and signs point you in the right direction at every bridge, road crossing and intersection.
Reaching the top of Alto Pedron gave views back the way I had come from Pamplona, as well as views to where I was going. The rocky path on the way down proved to be my ultimate downfall, as my too small shoes caused my toes to smash into the front.
There were so many beautiful old churches along the Camino de Santiago. But since I was walking in early March, it seemed that most were yet to open for the busier summer season.
And between every small village the well-maintained pathways of the French Way wound across the spectacular Spanish countryside.
Puenta La Reina has one of the most amazing bridges I have ever seen. It was also the 1st village I had the pleasure of sleeping in after busy Pamplona.
Most mornings I was up and walking before the sun began to sprinkle across the horizon.
Every village and town was built on a small hill. Sure it looks beautiful until you realise you have to go back up again to go through them all!
While there were only about 20 pilgrims walking each section every day, it wasn’t uncommon for you to encounter them all. The people I met along the Camino de Santiago were some of the most inspiring and remarkable people I have ever spoken to. They are the ones that make the pilrgimage so special.
Every village had at least one ancient church and it wasn’t uncommon to find them dotting the landscape in remote locations either.
I have travelled through Spain in the past, including cycling in Costa Brava and surfing in San Sebastian with both independent planning and a vacation planner. But having the opportunity to walk at my own pace through some of the most beautiful scenery in Spain on the Camino de Santiago has so far topped them all.
Hammock vs Tent Camping
Camping with a hammock is slowly but surely becoming more popular in recent years with new and improved hammock designs being preferred by some campers, compared to the traditional tent.
In this article we will discuss some of the key benefits and drawbacks of sleeping without a tent, and analyze key criteria so that you can choose your preferred shelter choice!
Most tents work well in the rain; however, you’ll need to bring a tarp if you’re using a hammock. Traditional hammocks are not waterproof, and are generally open at the top, allowing water to find itself inside if you don’t have an adequate tarp. Moreover, a decent under quilt is also a good idea so that you can stay warm and cozy during cold and stormy nights.
Packing up your hammock after a long night of rain isn’t too bad, whereas packing up a soaking wet tent is always annoying. You almost always get wet in the process.
For first time campers, pop-up tents are the simplest to setup. All you need to do is find flat ground, and bam, your setup is complete! The beauty of pop-up tents is that you don’t need to worry about figuring out where to insert the poles and erect the tent. Although, traditional tents are usually more robust, and have a longer life span.
Essentially, a tent is simple, but a hammock can become a little more complicated for first timers. You’ll need to find 2 trees facing a good direction and tie each end of the hammock to them. If your hammock setup is too tight, you will generally wake up with sore ancles, but if it’s too loose, you run the risk of the hammock touching the floor, and insects crawling in with you.
If your campground doesn’t have many trees, or if the trees are dead (they could break and injure you), hammock stands come to the rescue! Basically, hammock stands allow you to pitch a hammock if there are no trees nearby. They are portable, adjustable, and are easy to setup. The only drawback is that the ground should be relatively flat, whereas if you were to hang a hammock between 2 trees, there won’t be any stands touching the ground, so a rocky floor wouldn’t be a problem.
One of the main reasons for choosing a hammock is the comfort that it provides you! It has a basically has in-built seat which is arguably more comfortable than a standard blow up mattress. You need to pick your tree’s wisely though! You don’t want a pinecone falling on your face mid-sleep.
If you have constant back pain and find it hard to sleep inside tents, you should give hammocks a try as they cause you to sleep sideways, similar to a banana shape, which a lot people find much more comfortable.
Hammocks are usually lighter and don’t include a wealth of poles and gear that tents do. Depending on the type of hammock that you purchase, they are usually quite similar to tents. You can however, find very cheap tents <$60, but they most likely won’t last long.
A good tent or hammock can cost between $200-500 without accessories. If you need a hammock stand, that will add to your cost, just like a mattress and other tent necessities will to its cost.
Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel
Trekking through the valleys of Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys with Middle Earth Travel feels more like the set of a Star Wars movie than a historical region once carved out and lived in by humans. Churches, homes and pigeon houses are scattered throughout the valleys, all waiting to be explored. The best part is, Middle Earth Travel know all the hidden secrets.
Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel
On the 26th of July (which just so happens to be my birthday!) Middle Earth Travel took us on their private and guided Top of Cappadocia day trek. From Pasabag, along the top of Cappadocia and down through the Gulludere Rose Valley to Goreme, we trekked 15kms in one day! (We recommend getting your bearings with this map)
Upon arrival to the Middle Earth Offices, we were warmly greeted by our new friend Atil whom we had met a few days earlier while mountain biking through the Kizilcukur Red Valley. We were then introduced to our guide and given a briefing regarding the day. Normally, the Top of Cappadocia tour would start from Çavuşin, however, since we had already explored Çavuşin Castle, they adapted our tour to compensate ensuring we would explore new terrain!
With charged cameras, plenty of water and our running shoes on, we were driven to our starting point of Pasabag. We wandered through the fairy chimneys, coming across camels and markets – then the true hike began.
It was a slow and gentle incline. With no trees to provide shade, I quickly realised why our tour guide had chosen to wear fully covered clothing! As the sweat quickly set in (a waterfall in Moss’s case) we snapped away with our cameras and enjoyed the entertaining shapes of Imagine Valley and the amazing view. We also passed a lot of rock piles, which according to our guide mean ‘father’ and are built to help lead the way.
The higher we trekked, the more breath taking the views became! As we walked along the summit of Bozdag mountain (the Top of Cappadocia) we could see EVERTHING – Pasabag, Çavuşin Castle, Kizilcukur Red Valley, Gulludere Rose Valley and Goreme. We were on the Father of Valleys! After a quick nod of agreement to the guide, we pushed ourselves the extra distance and made our way to the flag, as this HAD to be the highest point and was definitely worth a photo and a selfie or two!
From the flag we looked down upon Aktepe Hill which is known as a popular destination for watching the sun set and could spot Kizilvadi Restaurant, our destination for lunch! Kizilvadi Restaurant is an attraction of its own. With its own historic winery and Grape church, plus some Middle Earth Travel treks even stay there for the night! After having a massive feed of soup, salad and pasta plus a surprise birthday cake, we made our way down into Gulludere Rose Valley.
The scenery is amazing, with strong colours visible in perfect layers on the chimneys, you would wonder what an artist was thinking, had it been a painting. Also, hidden to the side of the track we walked across a little bridge and not expecting anything to be there we were wowed by the massive church carved. It was absolutely huge and hard to believe that its most recent use has been as a pigeon house!
Middle Earth Travel Review
- The team at Middle Earth Travel were extremely knowledgeable and certainly know Cappadocia’s hidden secrets. They have friendships with local tea garden owners which is also of benefit as it gained us entry to locked churches and hidden rooms that we would not have otherwise seen.
- We covered a lot of ground, however we did not feel rushed. The whole day focused on showing us the region, therefore we had as much time as we needed to explore each church and to take ‘just one more photo’.
- It wasn’t all about trekking. With a whole day and 15kms to cover, there were a few silly poses (especially in Imagine Valley), and we learnt a lot about the myths, legends and way of life in Cappadocia.
- In conclusion I highly recommend Middle Earth Travel if you wish to go trekking or mountain biking in Cappadocia.
- Cost: Day treks with Middle Earth Travel range from 50-90 euro, depending on the number of people taking part. This includes lunch, guide, vehicle transfers and entrance fees to historical sites, but excludes alcoholic and soft drinks.
- Middle Earth Travel are outdoor enthusiasts and offer multi-day over night treks, mountain biking, abseiling, or custom made itineraries, in multiple regions throughout Turkey.
Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for the trek with Middle Earth Travel, however, as always our thoughts on our adventure travel blog our own.
Meet Cole and Adela
We have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...
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