The Turkish region of Cappadocia is famous for its amazing rock formations, history and outlandish beauty. The weird spires and towers of rock have been formed as a result of the erosion of the soft volcanic rock which covers the region. There are fabulous, varied walks which wind their way through this fascinating region. Historical sites include the troglodyte homes and churches, buried towns and other early Christian artefacts, weaving a rich tapestry that well deserves its UNESCO World Heritage status. All in all, this is one of the best places in Turkey for a hiking holiday - perhaps even one of the best walking destinations in the world.

There is no single well-known trail here. Instead, pedestrians are free to choose from a whole range of walking delights. There are a number of varied and surreal valleys around Goreme that provide some of the best walking. Goreme is at the centre of a whole cluster of attractions now within the Goreme National Park and so is a good place to use as a base for your explorations.

Amongst the highlights near Goreme is the Rose Valley - a dramatic tumble of rocks leading down from the Ak Tepe shoulder to Cavusin. From the fabulous viewpoint at Kizilcukur you make your way down ladders and through tunnels, making your way down through and between strange rock formations. In the lower reaches, it is a good idea to cut up onto the low ridge that lies between the Rose Valley and the Goreme plain and walk along the Goreme facing side of the ridge to the south-east for a bit to see some particularly bizarre rock formations and some fascinating rock houses.

Another lovely place to walk is the Zelve canyon complex. This is an open air museum so you are unlikely to find you have the place to yourself, but there are a lot of sites here all crammed into a relatively small area. Walk deeper into the three canyon branches here to escape from the coach tours. The ruined churches here beneath towering cliff faces are of special interest.

From the fascinating Goreme Open Air Museum, head into the Valley of Love or the Valley of Swords. For breathtaking views, you can climb higher on the ridge path above Love Valley. Climbing to the summit of Ak Tepe is also a fantastic idea for spectacular views.

These are just a few of the many valleys and ridges you can explore while on a walking holiday in this area. It is a good idea to take your time and explore a little further afield too if you have the time. A pair of lovely valleys, for example, are found at Soganli, south of Goreme, and around 50km from Goreme is Ilhara Valley, perhaps one of the loveliest valleys, or canyons, in Cappadocia. Here you will find a lot of churches and a monastery hewn from a rock wall.

If you tire of walking, a hot air balloon ride over this area is also very highly recommended.


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