On top of the balloon flight which is a must when going to Cappadocia, there is quite a lot else to see. There are several torus organized bringing you around the area. Bare in mind that tou can do the balloon flight and one of the tours in the same day (time wise)
For this trip we were 8 which made it quite convenient in getting discounts around. We also only had a full day that we could explore the area so what it most made sense was to book a private tour with a guide which offered us full flexibility even though it was a bit more expensive than the regular tours.
Cost & Guide info
The price for the tour with the guide was 350 Euros & without a guide it would have been 300 Euros. We booked everything via the hotel, so not sure if you contact directly the guide it could be that it's cheaper.
âOur Tour Guide was Cagatay, and you can find more about him under the LINK. We really learned a lot about the places we visited and about Turkey in general from him.
Our Tour selection
Worth mentioning: tickets for museums & lunch was included
Kaymakli Underground City
If you are claustrophobic do not go, seriously or make sure you get there during the week when probably less crowded.
"The ancient name was Enegup. Caves may have first been built in the soft volcanic rock by the Phrygians, an Indo-European people, in the 8th-7th centuries B.C., according to the Turkish Department of Culture. When the Phrygian language died out in Roman times, replaced with Greek, to which it was related, the inhabitants, now Christians, expanded their underground caverns adding the chapels and inscriptions. The city was greatly expanded and deepened in the Byzantine era, when it was used for protection from Muslim Arab raids during the four centuries of Arab -Byzantine wars (780-1180). The city was connected with Derinkuyu underground city through miles of tunnels. Some artifacts discovered in these underground settlements belong to the Middle Byzantine Period, between the 5th and the 10th centuries A.D. These cities continued to be used by the Christian inhabitants as protection from the Mongolian incursions of Timur in the 14th century. After the region fell to the Ottomans, the cities were used as refuges from the Turkish Muslim rulers, and as late as the 20th century the inhabitants, called Cappadocian Greeks, were still using the underground cities to escape periodic waves of Ottoman persecution." (Source)
"The houses in the village are constructed around the nearly one hundred tunnels of the underground city. The tunnels are still used today as storage areas, stables, and cellars. The underground city at Kaymakli differs from Derinkuyu in terms of its structure and layout. The tunnels are lower, narrower, and more steeply inclined. Of the four floors open to tourists, each space is organized around ventilation shafts. This makes the design of each room or open space dependent on the availability of ventilation." (Source)
Goreme Onyx Jewelry Store
We stopped at this store although not on our list as it was right across the Pigeon Valley Panorama point and out of curiosity.
I can't say it's worth your time. First it's just a store, even if at the beginning they show you for 30 seconds something related to Onyx their only interest is selling. Second the jewelry is quite expensive especially considering that normally prices in Turkey should be significantly small for these type of Jewelry.
There is a post on TripAdvisor that the place is a scam, possible, I don't know anything regarding gemstones so would be hard to judge.
Pigeon Valley Panorama
This was just a stop to have a look at the landscape. They do have loads of Pigeons there and you can also feed them, I mean you can buy some grains and give them to the birds.
You could also find several trees filled with evil eye talismans hanging from them.
"A popular belief existing in many corners of society is the evil eye. A look can cause pain, injury, or bad luck to anyone on the receiving end. People who are envious or simply believe that a person does not deserve the good fortune bestowed on them also give the evil eye subconsciously. Therefore, throughout history, man has made many forms of talismans designed to ward off bad luck. A rabbit's foot is the most common European example and in Turkey, the Nazar Boncugu is widely displayed in homes, shops, and business." (Source)
"The top of the Uchisar Castle, provides a magnificent panorama of the surrounding area with Mount Erciyes in the distance. Many rooms hollowed out into the rock are connected to each other with stairs, tunnels and passages. At the entrances of the rooms, there are millstone doors, just like the ones in the underground settlements, used to control access to these places. Due to the erosion in places of this multi-leveled castle, it is unfortunately not possible to reach all the rooms. Most of the rooms, located on the north side of the castle are in use as pigeon houses (dovecuts) today." (Source)
"Cavusin Village, located between Avanos and Goreme towns, is surrounded by a valley, which becomes gradually wider, called as Red Valley. By the beginning of 20th century, the village had a composed population with many Christian Orthodox families. The houses were actively used until 1924 when population exchange had happened between Greeks and Turks. All the Christian citizens from this village and all over Turkey had to leave their country to Greece as well as all the Turkish Muslim citizens in Greece had to move out from Greece to Turkey because of the same population compulsory. According to the officials, about 1.2 million Christians left Turkey while about 600.000 people came from Greece." (Source)
"You can climb up to top of the village through a twisty path, which offers breathtaking views of Red Valley and Uchisar Castle. There is also a church called asSt. John the Baptist from 5th century on top of the village. This church is the second oldest church in Cappadocia and has a unique fresco of "The Murder of St. John" even though the other paintings have been destroyed. The other church in Cavusin Village, Nicophoras Phocas, is one of the best protected churches in Cappadocia . This church has almost all the life of Jesus on paintings and in pretty well-protected form. The church has been built after the order of Byzantine Emperor, Nicophoras Phocas, when he visited Cappadocia in 960s. The church is dating back to around 965 and has the painting of Nicophoras and his family as well." (Source)
Avanos - Omurlu - pottery making
Pottery making in Turkey is huge or big enough to have the opportunity to visit some pottery making demonstrations.
The experience starts with an explanation how they perfectly shape the pots to fit the cap :). You can watch the demonstration while enjoying a Turkish coffee.
From there you can see how they paint the ceramic which is interesting to see
while at the end they bring you to their shop, which is super pretty but equally expensive
Lunch: Han Restaurant
They have this cafeteria type of buffet food with all you can eat. For what it is, I think is a nice place to try different foods (especially desserts)
"Devrent Valley (also spelled as Dervent Valley) reveals many different rock formations and is only a 10 minute drive from Goreme. The small fairy chimneys in the valley form a lunar landscape, or moonscape, by their strange look. The valley also has many animal shaped rocks. It looks like a sculpture zoo made by nature. Some of the most important, or the easiest seen animal shapes are camel, snake, seals, and dolphin. If you let your imagination run free you will find many others. It is like looking at clouds and seeing a dragon." (Source)
Some specially looking fairy chimneys can be found in the Love Valley. Why I say special? Have a look :D
Walk a bit around to explore the landscape or you can go an a longer hike if you have the time.
and of course you can take advantage to get some funny pictures.
Uc Guzeller (fairy chimney)
"These three Fairy Chimneys are commented as mother, father and child. The big fairy chimneys which are on the next step are known as grandmother and grandfather. Also, Uc Guzeller is known as Catalkaya. According to the legend, a king s daughter who lives in Cappadocia gets married with a shepherd. The king doesnt forgive them although they have a child. When the princess escapes from the soldiers of the king, she prays to the God: (please, my God, make us either a stone or a bird.) The God accepts their prayer and they immediately turn into a Stone. So, these three fairy chimneys (Uc Guzeller) are known as the princess, her husband and her child." (Source)
After the stop at Uc Guzeller we asked to be dropped in the center of Goreme to have a beer until it was time for the sunset.
I actually have no clue if there is more to it, than enjoying the sunset, but for sure is worth passing by. A lot of people come there to say goodbye from the day.