1. ROSA VALLEY ROAD AND THE SUNSET
The hiking trail in Cappadocia‘s Rose Valley winds its way through an incredibly unique area with sharp ridges painted pink, especially during sunset! Over thousands of years, ridges have formed to create a unique undulating landscape. Most of the time, one side of a ridge is in the sun and the other in the shade, further accentuating the sharpness and scale of these sandstone formations.
What makes Rose Valley one of the most unique places to visit in Cappadocia is that not only do you have these amazing rock formations, but in this region in particular, the minerals in the sandstone have a rosy hue. This pink becomes more and more evident throughout the day, reaching towards sunset when the sun shines directly into the Rose Valley, giving it that fine pink shade that many people come to see.
2. FLY IN A HOT AIR BALLOON AT SUNRISE
Cappadocia hot air balloons are quickly becoming one of the most common items on travel lists. It’s not hard to see why as you float above the historic cave dwellings of Goreme City with over 100 other balloons at sunrise, which can only be compared to a fairytale scene.
Each year, over half a million people enjoy hot air ballooning in Cappadocia, which is an incredible number and makes this region the number one hot air balloon destination in the world. Half the show is seeing all the other balloons in the air at the same time, not just the epic landscape you’re flying over.
3. TRAIL FROM VALLEY OF LOVE TO UCHISAR CASTLE
Love Valley is situated on the outskirts of Goreme and you can walk through Love Valley to Uchisar Castle, passing rock formations up close on a trail with probably no one else. It’s a relatively flat and peaceful hike to Uchisar, taking 1-2 hours. The rock formations are phallic shapes, which is why the valley full of penis-shaped rocks was named ‘Love Valley’. It is truly one of the most unique places to visit in Cappadocia.
At the end of the valley, you can continue walking to Uchisar Castle, which is one of the best viewpoints in Cappadocia.
4. VISIT THE PASABAG VALLEY – VALE DOS MONGES
Also known as Pasabag, it is famous for its mushroom chimneys perfectly carved from basalt, lava and ash.
In Pasabag you will find several passages for a walk between the rocks and up to the hills that surround the area, all while enjoying the magnificent scenery of the Valley of the Monks.
In case you want to relax, on the side of the road, there are shops selling works of art and textiles. You can also find a village where in winter seasoned mulled wine is served, the famous quentão, and in summer there is a variety of natural juices. Still, on the side of the road, there are several cafes where you can have a snack.
The Pasabag Valley is one of the most popular spots in Göreme, Cappadocia, with its epic fairy chimneys and cave dwellings.
In addition to the large crowds and tour buses, the Pasabag Valley is worth a visit. Fairy chimneys are really amazing. Often, a boulder sits atop the chimney, menacingly balancing its path through storms and high winds. Amidst the valley, you will find many cave dwellings, which are usually double and triple stories. You are able to venture inside to explore the different levels.
5. SUNRISE ON LOVER’S HILL
This panoramic sunset vantage point in the town of Goreme is the perfect spot to watch the sunrise, which is why it is quite crowded in the morning for sunrise. Despite the crowds, this is where I took all my best Cappadocia hot air balloon photos. You are often above the balloons and can shoot towards Castle Uchisar, Red Valley, or over the town of Goreme. There will be crowds, but also epic views across the region.
6. EXPLORE THE IHLARA VALLEY
The Ihlara Valley is an incredible gorge, with a stunning river flowing down the heart of the valley for 16 km inside the volcanic rock. It is close to Aksaray Province but is still considered part of the southern region of Cappadocia. It’s a great spot for a relatively easy hike amidst leafy, peaceful nature, as well as being a hub for cave churches, of which you’ll find many along the trail.
For a few hours, you can forget you are in the dry desert and experience the sounds of the forest as you walk under tree arches, climb boulders, and stroll through grassy openings. Wildflowers of every color paint the sides of the path and look away from the trail and towards the high cliffs on either side of the gorge.
7. GOREME OUTDOOR MUSEUM
The Goreme Open Air Museum is one of Cappadocia’s most popular attractions and historic sites, with an audio tour that guides you through ancient paintings, churches, and caves from centuries ago.
The Goreme Open Air Museum is very close to the center of Goreme, which is the most popular city in Cappadocia. It is possible to walk to the open-air museum of Goreme from the city center and it takes about 15 minutes and is a bit difficult.
With over 30 stops along the tour, the audio guide explains a lot of history and facts about the region and the people who lived in Cappadocia in the caves. This is one of the main reasons why it is one of the most popular things to do in Cappadocia.
8. WALK IN POMBO VALLEY
Pigeon Valley (also known as Guvercinlik Valley) is among Cappadocia‘s most popular hiking trails, especially as it stretches between Goreme and Uchisar. Along the way, you’ll find cave dwellings, ancient paintings, earth pillars, and, of course… pigeons.
The trail starts with a steep descent along a dusty white path. Within a few minutes, you are in the heart of the valley and barely notice the city above you. In fact, you only get small glimpses of the city or Uchisar Castle above the tree line at certain times.
The trail takes you through thick trees and several caves. If you keep your eyes open, you will see a number of ancient paintings on the walls of cave dwellings where people lived during the Byzantine period. The Pigeon Valley Trail is definitely one of the top things to do in Goreme, Cappadocia