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Fairy Trails of Cappadocia 17

Fairy Trails of Cappadocia

Overview

For millions of years, the volcanoes Hasan Dagi and Erciyes Dagi erupted over the Central Anatolian Plateau to form the unique landscapes, rock formations and fairy chimneys characterising Cappadocia. Since early Christian times, civilisations carved houses and churches within these rocky pillars and built underground cities, leaving a rich natural and historical legacy.

The walking trails will bring you to green valleys surrounded by lunar landscapes through ancient cities and fortresses. Take an early morning hot air balloon ride in Göreme and enjoy the sunrise over the fairy-tale landscapes from above. In the evenings after the walks, it is worth trying the house wines of Cappadocia while staying at our hand-picked family-run hotels.

  • Explore the earth pillars, fairy chimneys and vineyards of the Pasabag Valley and Goreme
  • Visit Ortahisar (middle fortress) with its castle-like rock formations, stone houses, narrow streets and ancient churches
  • Walk among the fairy chimneys and rocks of Uchisar and Uchisar Castle
  • Discover the volcanoes Mt. Hasan and Mt. Erciyes
  • Visit old cave villages with their rock-carved dwellings and stone houses

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Göreme

Arrive at Kayseri or Nevsehir Airport and transfer to your hotel in Göreme (transfer by shuttle, included, about 2 hours / 1 hour respectively). Next five nights in Göreme.

  • Walking for the day: none / walk around Göreme
  • Accommodation: small family-run hotel in Göreme (Ufuk Pansiyon or similar)

Day 2: Göreme and Zemi Valley | 13 km

After breakfast, you walk through the streets of Göreme. Most of the houses are centuries old and have been converted to modern hotels and restaurants. First, you walk a few kilometres with a view to the Uchisar Castle on a dirt road; then you go down to the Zemi valley, this path takes you back to Göreme via Görkündere.

  • Walking for the day: 13 km, 4-5 hours, ↑270 m ↓270 m
  • Accommodation: a small family-run hotel in Göreme (Ufuk Pansiyon or similar)

Day 3: Göreme Open Air Museum and Rose Valley | 14 km

There is an opportunity for a balloon flight in the morning, an unforgettable experience to watch the landscape from above (optional, payable on-site). You will walk from your hotel to the Göreme Open Air Museum (Unesco World Cultural Heritage), the frescoes of the churches in the museum are unique. Then you will walk through the Meskendir Valley via the Red Canyon to Üzümlü Church. At Ibrahim’s restaurant next to Üzümlü Church, you can have a delicious lunch and drink freshly squeezed orange or pomegranate juice. After the lunch break, you will hike to the Haçlı church, and from there, the path goes via Rose Valley back to Göreme.

  • Walking for the day: 14 km, 5 hours, ↑510 m ↓510 m
  • Accommodation: a small family-run hotel in Göreme (Ufuk Pansiyon or similar)

Day 4: From White Valley to the Uçhisar Castle | 13 km

Today’s route leads you through the White Valley (a.k.a. Love Valley) and its fairy chimneys.  After you exit White Valley, you will hike up to Uchisar Castle. The climb to the castle is worthwhile because the panoramic view from above is unique. Afterwards, you will walk through Uchisar down to the Pigeon Valley and through Pigeon Valley back to Göreme.

  • Walking for the day: 13 km, 4-5 hours, ↑220 m ↓220 m
  • Accommodation: a small family-run hotel in Göreme (Ufuk Pansiyon or similar)

Day 5: Boztepe, Çavuşin, Paşabağ | 13 km

Today you will hike via the higher path parallel to the Boztepe hill, offering spectacular views of the Rose Valley to Çavuşin Castle, where you can visit the John the Baptist Church. From there, the path continues to Paşabağ. Here are the most remarkable fairy chimneys in Cappadocia. If you wish, you can extend your stage by walking further from Paşabağ and visiting the old cave settlement of Zelve, inhabited until 1953.

  • Walking for the day: 13 km, 4 hours, ↑480 m ↓480 m
  • Accommodation: a small family-run hotel in Göreme (Ufuk Pansiyon or similar)

Day 6: Ortahisar to Mustafapaşa (Sinasos) | 13 km

Your hike begins near the small Tuff Castle of Ortahisar and takes you along the paths and field roads through the Gomeda Valley, known for its multi-storey “pigeon houses”, to your hotel in Mustafapaşa (Sinasos). Next two nights in the boutique cave hotel in Sinassos.

Day 7: Cemil via Golgoli to Sinasos | 12 km

After breakfast in the cave restaurant of your hotel, you will be transferred by car to the village of Cemil. The path crosses the ancient settlement Golgoli. In the early Christian era, the population of Sinasos (Mustafapaşa) used to celebrate the birth of Mother Mary and Easter in this ancient settlement. You can visit the abandoned cave dwellings there. The connecting tunnel to the Gomeda valley has partly collapsed and can not be passed, but there are still some tunnels and underground houses to be discovered. A timber road leads you down to the village of Sinasos and your hotel.

Day 8: Departure

Return home (airport transfer to Kayseri or Nevsehir Airport by shuttle included, about 2 hours / 1 hour respectively), or individual stay extension.

What to Expect

Accommodation

You will spend five nights in a small family hotel and two nights in Konak Bezirhane, a boutique hotel in the typical Cappadocian cave style. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Click to view default hotels

Ufuk Pansiyon, Konak Bezirhane Boutique Hotel

Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will give you exact accommodation details upon booking confirmation.

Meals

All meals are included: breakfasts in hotels, packed lunches, dinners at a restaurant 300 m from the hotel on Days 1-5, dinners at the hotel cave restaurant on Days 6 and 7.

Difficulty & terrain

This holiday is suitable for walkers of average fitness with limited hiking experience. The total walking distance is 68 km, with an average of 13 km per walking day, without any steep ascents or descents (read more about difficulty grades). The terrain is varying from forest roads to cobbled paths and mule trails. Routes are not signposted in most parts, but you will be provided with detailed route notes. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to go

We can organise this walking tour between March and May and September till October. July and August are too hot for making this trip. The flexibility of self guided walking holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your holiday on any date in the season. Winter temperatures are quite mild, with average highs around 15 °C (59 °F), while in summer the maximum temperatures are very high, ranging between 30 and 40 °C (86 and 95 °F). 

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

By plane

Our recommended airports for this tour are Kayseri or Nevsehir. Airport transfers from/to both airports are included. Please note that only one airport transfer per party is included, though we can arrange additional transfers. It is advisable therefore that all party members arrive on the same flight or at least at a similar time.

Inclusions

Included

  • Detailed pre-departure holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions and road notes; maps with daily routes and optional hikes marked
  • Accommodation for 7 nights in hand-picked family hotels as listed in the itinerary
  • 7 breakfasts
  • 7 dinners
  • 6 packed lunches
  • Luggage transport to next hotel and private transfers on all walking days
  • Transfers to/from Kayseri or Nevsehir airport
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Flights
  • Airport transfers from/to airports other than Kayseri or Nevsehir
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Uchisar castle entrance 2-3 Euro pp
  • Göreme open air museum entrance 8 Euro pp
  • Optional hot air balloon tour – 70-100 Euro pp (50 to 90 minutes flight time)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra night in Göreme
  • Extra night in Mustafapaşa (Sinasos)

Gallery

Reviews

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Rating

     

Average rating:  4 stars  from 1 reviews

Gavin R4 stars

The walks are probably best done in Spring or Autumn. We had temperatures in the mid twenties but it felt hotter because of the heat reflected from the rocks. I think it would be uncomfortable in mid-summer. [...] [The app] was essential and worked very well. There was one stretch (from the Open Air Museum) which would have been impossible without it (in fact one couple we met gave up on that stretch because they couldn't find the way.) A very good aid. We enjoyed the Ufuk Pension - basic but friendly and a nice atmosphere.  Good meals at the local restaurant.[...] Orhan was great - very helpful and always available with advice. The manager at Sinassos did a good job organising an airport taxi for us. [...] We enjoyed most of the trails. The second walk, through the Rose Valley and Red Valley was especially good.  The fifth walk from Ortahasir to Sinassos was least interesting, but overall we were delighted by the variety of walks and the spectacular scenery everwhere we went. We had a great time, and thought the holiday was good value and well-organised.