If you are planning a trip to the Cappadocia region of Turkey for a bit of hiking, then it helps to choose a place to stay that gives you the most access to trails without the need for a taxi or other transport. When I planned my trip, the first thing that I did was just look for hotels in the region with a low price and good reviews on Booking.com. This led me to book a hotel in Avanos. Fortunately, I learned before I arrived that Avanos is a bit away from all the hiking trails and action. In fact, you would have to take a daily taxi or dolmus bus into the other town, Göreme.
For the easiest access to the hiking trails, definitely book a room in Göreme. It’s a cute little town full of lots of cheap restaurants and very cheap (but nice) hotels. This is also the town where the famous hot air balloon rides take off from each morning.
When you’re ready to set out on a hike, you will likely see lots of the tour companies offering to drive you to trail heads and such. While you can do this, it’s really not necessary as you can easily get to them on foot. After all, this is the reason that you’re there, right?
Using Göreme As Your Base
Here’s what you need to know about hiking around Cappadocia when you use Göreme as your base – anything that you can see can easily be hiked to from your current location. And the nice thing is that these are not super long hikes. Probably the farthest hike that I went on took about 6 hours round trip.
Getting to Göreme is very easy. There are buses from Istanbul and other areas of Turkey, or you can fly into one of the two nearby airports. I was coming from Bodrum, Turkey, so I opted to just fly into Nevşehir airport because the bus ride was just too long for me. Do know that if you are coming from Istanbul that there is an overnight bus as well as one that leaves early in the morning. The total time to get to Göreme by bus is around 9.5 hours or so from Istanbul.
Once you get to the city center of Göreme, then you can walk pretty much anywhere that you need to be. The bus station is in the city center as well.
The Best Hotel In Göreme
While there are plenty of hotels and other accommodations for you to choose from in Göreme, I stayed at the Vineyard Cave Hotel.
I would definitely recommend it as the price is low and it is a very nice place to stay. Plus, it is just a couple minutes walk to the center of town, which means easy access to all the restaurants and shops without all the noise from the main street. I stayed in room #6 ( I think) and it cost me just € 240 for four nights there (less than $300 total). Plus, it included free breakfast and drinks any time of day. The brothers who run the hotel are happy to help you get where you need to be and don’t mind if you want to hang out in the seating area and sip on some Turkish tea after a long day of hiking.
It’s easy to find snacks and bottled water in town to take with you on your hikes. For a 1.5L bottle of water, you’re looking at paying around 1TL on average, which is only about $0.50 USD. That being said, some shops charge more than others. I found that when I bought water or snacks near a tourist attraction (like the Göreme open air museum), then the price was double.
After after a particularly long hike from Göreme through Çavuşin to Paşabağı Valley, I bought some Turkish ice cream for a bit of a pick-me-up and it cost me 5TL for a cone (for perspective, I paid this much for two cones in Bodrum). But, Paşabağı Valley is where all the tour buses stop for the tour groups to see the fairy chimneys, which is why the mark-up was so high.
If you get to your hiking destination and find that you’re too tired to make the trek back to your hotel in Göreme, it is very easy to find a taxi. And they are very cheap in this area. I paid around 10TL to take a taxi from Paşabağı Valley back to Göreme as it was getting dark and I was a bit tired from my long day.
There’s actually a few small hotels in Çavuşin, as well as Uçhisar, but since those are in opposite directions of Göreme, I do think that it makes the most sense to use Göreme as your base in order to hit the trails with the least amount of unnecessary back tracking or going out of the way. The hikes are long and a bit strenuous, so you don’t really need to add in extra walking for no reason when you can find a good, cheap place to stay in Göreme. But, if you don’t intend to hike through Pigeon Valley or up to Uçhisar, then Çavuşin is a good place to stay as there are a lot of trails in that area, but not as many restaurants and shops. Here’s a decent map of the area trails.
Beyond Hikes: Renting Bikes and ATVs in Göreme
If you want to get in some activities other than hiking, then you may want to consider renting ATVs or bikes to do some exploring.
You’ll actually see a lot of places like the one in the photo above when you’re in Göreme. And when you go up to check them out, you will not see any prices listed. This is because pretty much anything for sale is negotiable in Turkey. It’s also because a lot of the places like to try to scam tourists on these rentals. It only takes a brief moment reading some of the reviews on TripAdvisor to see what I’m talking about.
So, here’s what you need to know about renting scooters, ATVs and bikes when you’re in Cappadocia. First, gas (petrol) is VERY expensive in Turkey. In fact, they have the highest prices that I’ve seen anywhere thus far. Second, most of the ATV and scooter rentals are offered as “guided tours” and not for solo rides. Again, if you read any reviews on TripAdvisor, then you will find that for the most part these tours are a waste of money. However, some people have managed to talk the shops into letting them take out the rides without a tour guide.
I don’t really think a scooter is a practical choice for the area, but an ATV is a great way to explore on your own. I did not rent one as I had other things scheduled for my time there. But do know that the terrain in the region will lead to lots of dirt/dust being stirred up and your clothes will get very dirty on the ATVs.
After doing a LOT of hiking in Cappadocia, I can tell you that the terrain is perfect for some single track mountain biking, if that is your thing. You can even book several day biking tours, as mentioned on this site, or just do a day rental. You can also get road bikes to travel between the towns. Honestly, I think that this is the best deal that I found as you can rent a good road bike for around 25TL for an hour.
I definitely suggest renting a road bike if your time permits it. You can easily cycle on down to Çavuşin for some exploring and lunch at a local cafe. Check out some of the cave houses and then keep on pedaling to Paşabağı Valley to check out some fairy chimney formations. Or, if you prefer lots of challenging hills, head off in the opposite direction toward Uçhisar – it will be quite the workout!
And remember, rental rates are negotiable!