A centre-based walking trip that explores this unique region of central Turkey. Hike ancient pathways through spectacular landscapes, past the famous 'fairy chimneys' , orchards and vineyards. Along the way we visit the impressive underground Christian city of Kaymakli, enjoy a wine tasting and try our hand at cooking a local dish.
Explore Tour Leader
7 nights premium hotel
10 - 16
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Our trip starts today in Goreme, a remarkable honey-hued village in the beautiful Cappadocia region - our base for the week ahead as we explore the lunar landscape of Cappadocia. This area is famed for its unique geological formations and a history that stretches back to before the Hittites (2000 BC).
The Tour Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Goreme at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Kayseri Airport (ASR), which is around a one hour drive away. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
Our comfortable base for the week is the Sobek Stone House - a characterful, stone-built, hotel located on the outskirts of Goreme. The hotel is set in beautiful gardens and offers wonderful views of Cappadocia. Each of the 40 rooms are tastefully decorated in an individual fashion and offer private bathrooms and a/c. Facilities include an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, sauna, restaurant and a terrace bar. If you are up early you will be able to see hot air balloons filling the sky from the terrace.
Sobek Stone House (or similar)
For those interested in the optional sunrise balloon trip, we advise you book this for the first morning in Cappadocia in case of cancellation to maximise chances to rebook on subsequent days. Please see optional excursions for more details.
This morning we drive a short distance to Kizilcukur (Red) Valley and the start of our first hike. Sometimes known as the 'red hole', Kizilcukur is probably the hottest valley in the region. Hidden in its array of fairy chimneys is The Church with Grapes where there are frescoes depicting viticulture and fruit growing. The wine produced here now is very sweet and heavy. We reach the small village of Cavusin which lies on top of a collapsed section of an early Christian cave city. This was caused by a huge rockslide which, together with earthquakes and natural erosion, caused a split in the plateau. The atrium of the church at Cavusin has cascaded down, exposing some of the frescoes.
We then ascend Bozdag table mountain for views of the surrounding area from Cappadocia's highest point at 1300 metres above sea level. After the walk we drive to the local town of Avanos, famous for its pottery. Here we have a pottery demonstration and you can try your skills making your own pottery, followed by the opportunity to explore this riverside town.
Today's 12 kilometre walk is expected to take around five to six hours with a total ascent of 250 metres.
Today's walk is slightly further afield in the Ihlara Valley, located a 1.5-hour drive from Goreme. We plan to make a stop en route to visit Kaymakli Underground City either at the start or end of the day depending on timings. Built by Christians escaping Arab oppression and once home to 3,500 people, this troglodyte cave-city is one of the largest of 34 similar excavations in Cappadocia. Built under the Citadel of Kaymakli, it contains nearly 100 tunnels on eight subterranean floors. We will explore the four that are open to the public, containing stables, a church and storage places.
We start our walk in the Ihlara valley, along a trail that follows the river downstream passing the villages of Belisirma and Selime. The narrow, steep-sided Ihlara valley, dotted with rock cut churches, was once the favourite retreat of Byzantine monks. This valley was formed by primeval earthquakes and the once rushing river is now a quiet stream. As we walk along the winding valley, with cliffs reaching up to 170m in some places, we see small garden cultures that originally would have provided for the colonies making them self-sufficient. There are many rock-cut churches in this valley with well-preserved frescoes dating from the 9th century.
Today's 13 kilometre walk is expected to take around five hours with a total descent of around 100 metres.
As the mid-week point we have planned a shorter walk today. The bus transfers are included but you may prefer to take it easy and relax in Goreme instead. We start the day with a short drive to Cat town where we start our walk. The route follows a path with yet more great scenes for photography enthusiasts, passes by huge dovecotes that hosted thousands of pigeons, and continues on the valley floor. The route is filled with hawthorn, oleaster, and rosehip bushes and the walk ends at Aciksaray ruins - a 10-11th century Byzantine site of cave houses, churches and a monastery. After our walk we drive to Urgup, another of Cappadocia's towns, where we learn more about the local wine-making industry and get to try some wine. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure back in Goreme.
In the evening we have a Turkish cookery lesson in a local restaurant and dinner is included.
Today's optional 7 kilometre walk is expected to take around two to three hours with a total descent of around 350 metres.
This morning we walk in Akvadi (White) Valley where we can further appreciate the geology of the region. Three volcanoes erupted 10 million years ago, spreading ash all over the region. This hardened into a soft porous stone called tufa. Wind, water and sand have eroded portions of the tufa to form the almost alien landscape which we see today. The walk leads us to Uchisar, an area renowned for its number of 'fairy chimneys'. These remarkable structures are formed as a result of a hard boulder being caught in the tufa so that as the erosion process occurs, it leaves the boulder delicately perched on top of the slender pillar. We also visit Uchisar 'Castle' which, situated high on a rocky outcrop, gives commanding views of the entire region. The afternoon is spent walking along Pigeon Valley to Goreme, where we visit a traditional Turkish tea shop and learn how to make Turkish tea or coffee. Finally we visit Goreme Open Air Museum to explore this splendid cluster of monastic Byzantine artistry with rock-cut churches, chapels and monasteries - a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Today's 15 kilometre walk is expected to take around five hours with a total ascent and descent of around 350 metres.
We drive after breakfast to the Gomeda Valley where today's walk begins. As well as the landscape this region is also renowned for its wine as the fine volcanic soil is very fertile. Viticulture has been here since the Hittites, but it was the exiled Christians who really developed the vineyards and, for a while, wine was exported under the label of mineral water! Wine drinking is considered to be against the preaching of Islam, and much of the wine is now grown for export and for the non-Muslims in Turkey.
Our trail takes us through the fascinating old Greek village of Mustafapasa whose ruins we can explore. After lunch here we continue on our hike leading to Ortahisar village.
Today's 14 kilometre walk is expected to take around five to six hours with a total ascent and descent of around 400 metres.
Our final walk is from the hotel on a circular route that takes us through the Zemi Valley to Kiliclar (swords) Valley and finally the Meskindir Valley back to Goreme. The Zemi Valley is around 7km long and the path makes its way gradually downhill passing apple and grape orchards.
Today's 12 kilometre walk is expected to take around five hours with a total ascent and descent of around 250 metres.
The trip ends after breakfast this morning at our hotel in Goreme.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Goreme at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Kayseri Airport (ASR) which is around a one hour drive from the hotel.
Total distance : 43 miles
Summers are hot and dry with refreshing sea breezes and clear waters, great for boat trips. It is often cooler on higher ground and in the mountains and can be cold at night, even in the summer. During the shoulder seasons (loosely speaking, before mid-May and after early October), temperatures and rainfall can be erratic, with some temperatures dropping to 8-12 degrees, and other days being bright and sunny up to 25 degrees. Mountain locations will be cooler than on the coast, of course. In the winter, temperatures usually hover between 0 and 10 degrees, but are usually wet, particularly around the coast. The best time for walking in Turkey is mid-May, June and September, with pleasant temperatures and clear blue skies.
2 Pin Round
Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon - approx 220-230 € (April - June), 250-270 € (September - November) We advise you book this for the first morning in Cappadocia in case of cancellation to maximise chance to rebook on subsequent days. Trips normally return to hotel before 8am and in time for breakfast. This balloon excursion does not form part of your included Explore holiday package. We recommend you call the provider in advance to book your space Kaya Kapadokya Balloons -+90 384 341 46 48 or Istanbul Balloons - +90 384 271 30 62 - or alternatively ask your leader to request a representative of these companies come to the hotel so you can book and pay directly with them.
The long Turkish summer can be hot, although Cappadocia is situated at around 1000 metres above sea level which helps to avoid the hottest temperatures of summer. In the spring and autumn, a warmer sweater and jacket is recommended for the evenings, as is lightweight rainwear. In the winter, good quality rainwear is more suitable as there is a good chance of encountering rain or snow. Temperatures may drop below freezing at night so wrap warmly - layers are best. When visiting mosques, women should cover their head, shoulders and knees, so it's handy to pack a scarf. Men should also ensure their knees are covered.
We always recommend walking boots with ankle support and good grip for walking holidays. Comfortable trainersandals are recommended for the town/relaxing in the evenings.
Bring a water bottle, sunblock, sunhat, sunglasses and insect repellent. We also recommend bringing your swimwear for the hotel pool. Walking poles may be useful for some people.
Bus, On Foot, Taxi
Our base for the week is a traditional style stone-built hotel located on the outskirts of Goreme. Facilities include an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, sauna, terrace bar and fantastic mountain views. If you are up early you will be able to see hot air balloons filling the sky.
Can you drink the water?
It is generally possible to drink the local tap water, therefore to reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles we recommend you bring a refillable water bottle with you. Your leader will advise you on refill points each day.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Turkey: Citizens from the UK, New Zealand and the EU travelling to Turkey for tourism purposes do not require a visa for visits of up to 90 days. Citizens of Australia, US and Canada require a visa that will last for up to 90 days Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against tetanus, typhoid, infectious hepatitis and polio. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at http://www.explore.co.uk/Travelhealth/ and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure.