Göreme is the most popular place to stay when visiting the larger region of Cappadoccia in central Turkey. This UNESCO World Heritage Site protects ancient cave dwellings, church frescoes, and so-called "fairy chimneys", and welcomes over a million visitors every year.
Guided tours leave at sunrise and offer breathtaking panoramas of the valley below.
This area offers many ancient cave dwellings and churches to explore within walking distance of downtown Göreme.
Join one of the tours to visit this expansive valley where you can relax by the river with a warm glass of tea.
This underground city is hundreds of years old and was strategically built to protect against Muslim invaders at the time.
An ancient fortress, this site was almost used as a backdrop by George Lucas in his "Star Wars" trilogy, and remains an eye-catching and popular tourist spot.
The highlight of the Göreme area, this open air museum is centered around a group of breathtaking churches that were cut into the Cappadocian cliffs sometime in the 11th and 12th centuries. The setting is amazing, and the sheer audacity of the builders can knock you back, but the true wonders are inside chapels like Elmali Kilise and Azize Barbara Şapeli, which feature astonishing frescoes with Christian themes. It's all just a mile or so east of Göreme itself, so you can pop over in a few minutes if you're staying in town.
Usually translated as the "Church of the Evil Eye", El Nazar Kilise is a short walk southeast of the town center and makes a wonderful complement to the Open-Air Museum. While the interior of the church boasts Byzantine-era frescoes that make many more famous churches around the world seem dowdy, El Nazar Kilise is relatively off the beaten tourist track, with far smaller crowds than those next door. So you stand a good chance of enjoying its biblical scenes and remarkable architecture in peace and quiet.
Just a few miles south of Göreme, you'll find another of Cappadocia's incredible archaeological treasures. A weaving maze of underground tunnels built in the late Byzantine-era, Kaymakli was created as a means for the area's Christians to evade Arab invaders and keep their communities alive in a time of turbulence. Spread out over 8 floors (4 of which can be visited) Kaymakli included a church, storage areas, kitchens, sleeping quarters, and even a winery - and descending into its bowels is a fascinating experience.
Translated as "the Hidden Church", there's a good reason why Sakli Kilise is so-called. Located at the peak of a hill near the heart of modern Göreme, the church lay undiscovered for centuries, before being excavated in 1956. Again, it's a lavishly decorated affair, making it all the more astonishing that it lay hidden for so long - and making you feel relieved that it's seen the light of day. However, be aware that gaining access to the church can sometimes be tricky, although the custodian of El Nazar will be happy to help out visitors.
The best way to appreciate the completely unique architecture and landscape of Cappadocia is to take a walk in the great outdoors, and there's no better place to do so than Gulludere Vadisi (Rose Valley). Situated just north of Göreme, the valley is packed with attractions, including the rock-carved Kolonlu Kilise and Haçli Kilise, whose 9th century paintings are among the oldest in the region (and where you can take a pitstop for a snack at the cafe). But the real joy is just imagining life in such an other-worldly environment.
The best time to visit Göreme is in the spring between April and June when the weather is cooler and prices are slightly cheaper out of season.
Kayseri and Nevsehir Airports are the closest domestic airports, located 46 and 26 miles away from Göreme, respectively. Many travelers will then transfer by hotel shuttle bus to Göreme.
Take the D750 from Turkey's capital city of Ankara to reach Göreme in 3.5 hours.
Nevsehirliler and Metro all offer connections to Göreme from main Turkish cities like Izmir, Antalya, Istanbul, and Ankara. The trip from Ankara takes four hours and costs around ₺80.
Rock Valley Pension is a great place for solo travelers with dorm-style accommodation, an outdoor swimming pool, and incredible views of the valley. Shoe String Cave House has rooms carved into the local caves and a free buffet breakfast included.
Downtown - the center of Göreme has many tourist shops, hookah cafes, and restaurants - some even built into the surrounding caves.
Uchisar - this neighborhood offers amazing views looking down on Rose Valley, the Open-Air Museum, and Uchisar castle.
Ürgüp - here you can enjoy more the nightlife scene, with bars and restaurants serving liquor late into the night.
Most of the town is accessible by foot, however there are small "dolmus" buses that can connect you to other neighboring cities of Uchisar and Kayseri. The cost is ₺10 and can be paid directly to the driver.
There are no traditional taxis in Göreme, and any transfer should be pre-arranged beforehand with your hotel to get you between destinations safely, directly, and for the correct fare.
Göreme Rent A Car and Silk Road Rent A Car offer daily vehicles for as little as ₺100.
Müze Caddesi is the main shopping area in Göreme, with many stalls selling rugs, scarves, key chains, and other souvenirs. The nearby town of Avanos attracts visitors for its beautiful pottery demonstrations and wares for sale.
BEĞENAL Supermarket and Ilhan Supermarket are the two biggest grocery stores. A dozen eggs costs ₺6.
Safran Restaurant is a family-run restaurant in the center serving local delicacies like manti, a Turkish-style ravioli. Meal prices cost around ₺50 for two people.