Göreme

Love Valley

Goreme (Göreme, pronounced guh-reh-meh, uh like er in "her") is a town in the Cappadocia region of Turkey. The town is centered in the middle of an internationally popular region that is best known for its natural rock formations, often called "fairy chimneys". The rock formations are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Get in

By bus

Several bus companies (Nevsehirliler, Metro, Goreme Tourism, Suha and Göreme Cappadocia) have day-time and overnight buses that run directly from Göreme to Istanbul (or directly from Nevshehir, 20 minutes down the road). You can catch a bus from Istanbul by catching a ferry to the Harem ferry port. Make sure you book a couple of days in advance in peak times as buses book out. There are connections to Konya (3½ hours), Ankara (40 TL, 5 hours including a transfer in Nevşehir), Denizli (10 hours), Pamukkale (10 hours), Selçuk (12 hours), Kusadasi (12 hours), Marmaris (13 hours), Bodrum (13 hours), Alanya (9 hours), Çıralı (10 hours), Canakkale (17 hours), Kayseri (2 hours, 15 TL), Trabzon, Van.

If you book your ticket directly to Göreme, make sure that the bus (or a smaller van associated with the bus company) will drop you off at the Göreme bus station (otogar) even if the bus ticket says Göreme. It is a common occurrence for a bus company to sell you a ticket that says Göreme but then drop you off somewhere in Nevşehir, sometimes at a tour office, and hope that the folks at the tour office will help you get to the Göreme bus station. The Metro Turizm bus company is reliable, and the transfer is included in the ticket.

There are numerous buses from Göreme to other parts of Turkey. The cheapest fare quoted to Istanbul as of July 2010 was 50 TL direct from Sultanahmet (Old City), Istanbul by Suha Company with reclining seats and TV sets at the back of every seat, though this required changing buses at Nevsehir and arriving at Göreme by shuttle most of the times.

By plane

The nearest airports to Goreme are in Kayseri or Nevsehir. To Kayseri Airport, Turkish Airlines as well as Onur Air or Pegasus have several flights a day from Istanbul. SunExpress is another low-cost option.

Outside the airport are only taxis (cost 12 TL to the main bus station, otogar) and arranged shuttle buses, no dolmuş. The stop for city buses is a bit down the road following the airport exit. The Kayseri otogar is far from the airport. From otogar, there are very limited direct lines to Göreme (10 TL), but more frequent lines to Avanos, where you can transfer to a local bus for the remaining 9km to Göreme; the station is unmarked and the ride costs 2.5 TL.

If you have a hotel transfer option, take it: it is much more convenient.

Get around

The town of Goreme is fairly small, and walking is your best option. Walking also provides excellent views of the surrounding canyons, which are sights themselves. Available for rent are mountain bikes, scooters, motorcycles and all terrain quads. There is regular bus service to Nevşehir (every half hour as of Oct. 2008), and from there to regional destinations including the underground cities at Kaymaklı and Derinkuyu. Dolmus service also runs approx. every hour to nearby cities like Avanos and Urgup.

If you travel by bus, make sure you know when the last bus back to Göreme is. It is possible that service from Nevşehir stops at 18:00.

See

Göreme has a wide selection of natural and cultural wonders. Simply walking through the village you will be amazed at the bizarre 'fairy chimney' rocks cut naturally by the wind and rain.

Several tour operators offer one-day packages (green tour, red tour, blue tour) that may include a stop at a Caravansari, one of the amazing underground cities, a walk through the ancient churches decorated with frescoes, and finally a stop at a carpet/pottery/onyx shop. Whereas these one-day tours can make your journey significantly easier, they are fairly expensive (expect to pay about 100 TL per person). The red tour is almost a scam, since you can do the trip yourself almost for free (only twice 2 TL for the public bus, and 15 TL for the open-air museum). Furthermore, avoid buying at the shops, as you pay 2-3 times higher through commissions.

If you are on a budget, note that other churches with simple geometrical motifs can be seen for free in the chimneys across the street (easy hike).

Dark Church
three Fairy Chimneys

Do

For a cheaper option take the 15 min. scenic minibus ride to the nearby city of Nevsehir where you can get the same service in a non-tourist place for as low as 25 TL. Just get off at the main intersection in Nevsehir and ask around for "Hamam".

Dervish dancing at Turkish Night

Buy

Pottery - Avanos, 10 km away, has been a pottery center for centuries. Many stores will sell pottery in Goreme, and you may end up at a pottery workshop at the end of a tour, but for the best prices, head into Avanos and wander around the back streets. Compare the prices and quality, and if you are worried about it surviving shipping/your backpack, ask them to stand on it to test the strength (vases, jugs, and larger objects should take their weight). While the quality in touristy shops is often high, you will be paying 2-3 times what you otherwise would.

PotteryStore

Carpets - Goreme and the surrounding area are known as one of the top places to buy carpets in Turkey. Their proximity to well known local weaving villages means the prices are generally cheaper than Istanbul and the atmosphere for purchasing far more relaxed with few if any hassles. Try Tribal Collections -Nomadic Ruga & Textiles- they get the best reviews.

Potter

Eat

Goreme has a wide selection of typical Kebabs and Pide, as well as some unusual 'pottery' dishes that are prepared and served in a clay pot which you can 'break' open. Often the 'pottery kebabs' are precooked earlier in the day so check around to see which restaurants require a 'pottery kebab' booking - it's likely that they will be the places that make the kebab on the spot (they take about an hour to cook). Many of the restaurants and bars change hands on a regular basis, making specific recommendations difficult.

That said, Alaturca, with mains from 15-20 YTL, is considered to be one of the finer dining establishments in central Turkey, but is overpriced for the quality of food and a stiff service that is out of place in an otherwise informal town. Alaturca is on the secondary road that heads towards the open Air Museum.

Drink

Simply walking by carpet shops will open invitations for tea. If you're thirsty, take advantage of this free drink and learn something about carpets at the same time.

For a good western style coffee, M&M Cafe on the main street serves a great cappuccino, with real espresso and a nice little area to sit outside. Coffeedocia, near the bus station is a larger place, better to relax but with a very westernised feel, drinks are not as good and higher priced.

For the bar scene, several bars and clubs are open (primarily in the high season), and there is a disco in nearby Avanos frequented by locals and tourists alike.

Sleep

Göreme has a huge selection of hostels, hotels, and guest houses (some 60 odd). The friendly (and tout-free) accommodation office can help you find something. Upmarket and boutique hotels also exist in Göreme. Many places include breakfast in these prices (as of Mar 2008). As of 2015, prices have become higher - 30 TL is the starting point for dorm beds with breakfast (Kose Pension being one exception), and doubles run upward of 50 TL.

Many of Göreme's hostels and hotels offer the unusual option of sleeping in a cave. Much of the rock in the area is sandstone (tufa) which is fairly soft, and for centuries rooms (and houses) have been created by cutting directly into the soft rock. Comforts in these 'cave rooms' range from truly cave like to beautiful and tasteful with modern bathrooms; almost all have windows and are fairly well lit.

Camping - There are two camp grounds on the road into Goreme from Uchisar. If you're ok going without facilites for a night or two, there are limitless options for finding your own hidden away cave down one of the valleys and setting camp inside.

Budget

Mid Range

Stay safe

Police Station at Open Air museum
ladder and chimney with foot-support

Hiking is mild, not notably strenuous or fraught with danger that can't be ascertained by oneself. Woman however should not go hiking in the valleys alone as there have been a few incidents over the years.

Go next

Move on to Malatya or Kahta and take a tour to Mount Nemrut. (UNESCO World Heritage site)

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, March 11, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.