Hiking in Cappadocia

best hikes in cappadocia
best hikes in cappadocia

Best Hikes in Cappadocia: Hiking in Cappadocia is an essential part of any visit to the region. Rock-hewn churches, epic fairy chimneys, exotic cave dwellings, and stunning rock formations dot the landscape of Cappadocia.

Hiking is the best way to see some of Cappadocia’s most famous sights. However, Goreme National Park and its surrounding area are enormous, and the number of trails in the area could easily reach hundreds.

This post lists the 11 best hiking trails in Cappadocia, so you don’t miss any of the amazing scenery the region has to offer.

Which Cappadocia Hiking Trails Are the Most Recommended?


Cappadocia covers an area of about 5,000 square kilometers. Goreme is a great place to set up camp if you plan on doing a lot of hiking and seeing a lot of the top attractions in Cappadocia. It’s the best option for visitors to Cappadocia.


Cappadocia White Valley and Love Valley

Cappadocia White Valley and Love Valley
Cappadocia White Valley and Love Valley

The 7.5-kilometer (4.66-mile) distance
Amount of time: approximately 2.5 hours
Goreme, the starting point
Uchisar Castle is the final destination.
Attempt Level: Moderate
One of the most well-known hikes in all of Cappadocia is the one between Love Valley and White Valley. A number of the most interesting fairy chimneys in the area can be seen there.

Rock formations in Love Valley that resemble phalluses are more noticeable than in other parts of Cappadocia, hence the name.
Contrarily, the whiteness of the rocks and sand in White Valley is what gave the area its name.

Neither valley can be considered independent of the other. You can choose to hike just one of the valleys, but most people do so because the trail connects Goreme and Uchisar.
The hike can also be done in reverse, beginning in Uchisar and ending in Goreme. You’ll have to figure out how to get to Uchisar before you can start the hike in this direction, but it will be easier than the standard route.

After exploring Uchisar, you can either retrace your steps along the same trail or take the Pigeon Valley hike (which we’ll discuss below) to get back to Goreme.
To fully appreciate the beauty of Uchisar Castle and the setting sun, plan your hike so that you get there just before sunset. Because Uchisar Castle is up high, it has some of the best sunset views in all of Cappadocia.


Cappadocia Pigeon Valley

Cappadocia Pigeon Valley Hiking
Cappadocia Pigeon Valley Hiking

Time spent: 1 hour
Goreme, the starting point
Uchisar Castle is the final destination.
The level of difficulty is somewhere between very easy and medium.
The Pigeon Valley, like the Love Valley and the White Valley, links Goreme and Uchisar. When returning from Uchisar via White and Love Valley, this path is a fantastic alternative.

The Pigeon Valley is significantly shorter, at only about 3 kilometers, making it much simpler than the Love Valley. You can see why this area of the valley is called Pigeon Valley: there are a lot of pigeon houses spread out along the path. Because pigeon droppings are so important to history, many pigeon houses were built just to collect them.

Visitors to Pigeon Valley will feel a part of that past as they hike through the area.
Near the beginning of the Pigeon Valley trail is the fantastic Nazar Borek & Cafe in Cappadocia. Get some snacks and drinks, maybe some traditional Turkish fare, before you head out on your hike.

Want more information? Here’s a comprehensive guide to Pigeon Valley.
The Blue Tour includes a stop at Pigeon Valley, so don’t miss it! Along with the sights in Pigeon Valley, the Green Tour also takes you to a lookout point in the valley. It’s a great place to watch the hot-air balloons over Cappadocia.


Cappadocia Rose Valley

Cappadocia Rose Valley Hiking
Cappadocia Rose Valley Hiking

The 4.3-kilometer distance (2.67 mi) one-way (not including a 900-meter walk to get to the start of the trail from Goreme) (not including a 900-meter walk to get to the start of the trail from Goreme)

The hiking time is 1.5 hours, but allow 2.5 hours if you want to stop and take pictures of the amazing rock formations along the way.
Place of Departure: 900 meters north of Goreme
Conclude at the Red Valley Overlook.
Attempt Level: Moderate

The Rose Valley is a must-hike for any visitor to Cappadocia, with its historic cave churches and breathtaking scenery. Two of Cappadocia’s most out-of-the-ordinary churches, the Crusader Church and the Columned Church, are located along the trail.
Christian churches were likely constructed in that area in the third and fourth centuries AD, or close to two thousand years ago. The frescoes inside are not as clear as those in the Goreme Open-Air Museum, but they are still visible. Turkey’s churches are in bad shape because Christianity is no longer the main religion there.

To reach one of the best sunset vantage points in all of Cappadocia, hikers should begin their journey in the Rose Valley, located about a kilometer north of Goreme.
This viewpoint is often busy because it is easy to get to by car and has a few cafes and places to sit so people can enjoy the view.

Your options for leaving Rose Valley upon completion of your hike are to either return the way you came or to take the Red Valley route. If you want to make a small loop and see what else this area has to offer, the Red Valley is a great addition.


Cappadocia Red Valley

Cappadocia Red Valley Hiking
Cappadocia Red Valley Hiking

Distance: 3.3 kilometers (2.05 miles).one-way (not including a 900-meter walk to get to the start of the trail from Goreme) (not including a 900-meter walk to get to the start of the trail from Goreme)

The hike itself should take about an hour and a half, but visitors will likely linger longer to take in the scenery.
Place of Departure: 900 meters north of Goreme
Conclude at the Red Valley Overlook.
Attempt Level: Moderate

If you’re looking for a hike in Cappadocia that complements the Rose Valley, head to the Red Valley instead. The name of the area comes from the red and pink colors of the rocks at sunset, which make hiking there a truly unforgettable experience.
Not as many ancient rock-cut churches have been preserved here as in Rose Valley, though.

Located about 900 meters north of Goreme, the starting point of the Red Valley hike is identical to that of the Rose Valley hike. It also continues to the same destination, the Red Valley Sunset Lookout. For this reason, a hike that takes in both the Red Valley and the Rose Valley is among the best in all of Cappadocia.

Hikers can take a break and have a cup of tea at one of the tea houses that are spread out along the trail, which also has some beautiful rock formations and “fairy chimneys.”


Cappadocia Ihlara Valley

Cappadocia Ihlara Valley
Cappadocia Ihlara Valley

A distance of 10.5 kilometers (6.52 mi)
Hiking time: about three to four hours
First Stop: Ihlara Village
At last, Selime
Extremely Difficult

Approximately 14 kilometers in length, the hike through Ihlara Valley is one of the longest in all of Cappadocia. Most hikers, though, only do a small part of the trail. The first 10.5 kilometers are especially popular.
Hikers will start this section by descending into the Ihlara valley from the quaint village of Ihlara. If you follow the Melendiz Stream, you’ll first visit the picturesque Belisirma Village and then arrive in Selime, where you can explore the legendary Selime Monastery and its breathtaking frescoes.

Alternatively, hikers can take the scenic route from Ihlara Valley to Belisirma Village, where they can enjoy a meal at one of the village’s restaurants perched on rafts in the river. Hikers won’t want to miss this one-of-a-kind opportunity to explore the area’s verdant landscape and listen to the river’s soothing sounds. This path is about 3.1 miles in length (5 kilometers).

Hiking in Cappadocia’s Ihlara Valley is unlike any other, thanks to the valley’s verdant vegetation in contrast to the surrounding desert. Despite the canyon and towering rock formations, there are still people living in caves.

Getting to Ihlara Valley from the main Cappadocia attractions is probably the hardest part of a hiking trip there. It takes more than an hour to get to Goreme by car. In light of this, most tourists to Ihlara Valley either hire a car or take part in an eco-friendly tour.



Sunset at Goreme

Sunset at Goreme
Sunset at Goreme

One kilometer (0.62 mi) away
Time spent: 15 minutes
Goreme, the starting point
Goreme Sunset Point is the final stop.
Effort Level: Low

If you’re traveling to Cappadocia with young children or elderly relatives, we highly recommend hiking to Goreme Sunset Point. The lookout is within the city limits; to get there, visitors need only climb a short hill.

Goreme Sunset Point gets its name from the breathtaking views of the setting sun that can be seen from there. From here, you can see Uchisar Castle and the surrounding valleys and canyons in all their glory.

As a memento of their visit, guests can use the platform specifically designed for that purpose. Goreme Sunset Viewpoint is one of the few hikes in the area to charge a small fee.
Since it is so convenient to reach, this site should be on your list of must-sees in Cappadocia. This is a great place to watch the sunrise, and it’s also a great place to see the hot air balloon rides!


Cappadocia Hidden Church


Hiking Distance 1.2 kilometers (0.74 miles)
Time spent: around 30 minutes.
Goreme, the starting point
Concluding Location: Underground Church
Effort Level: Low

While exploring the valleys of Cappadocia, we have become quite familiar with one of the many hidden churches that dot the landscape. This church goes by the generic name “hidden church,” with no other designation.

Even though the exact location of this hidden church cannot be found on any maps, a hiker can get a good idea of it using Google Maps. Located in the back of the Museum Ranch,
The condition of the secret church is dismal.

Much of the interior decoration, including paintings, has faded or been destroyed, and many of the columns have collapsed. The fact that nature was allowed to reclaim what was rightfully hers was a major draw for us.
The secret church will probably only have you and your group there.


Cappadocia Zemi Valley

Inches: 3.2 kilometers (2 mi)
Time spent: 1 hour
Position: 500 meters to the east of Goreme
The final destination is located roughly 500 meters east of Goreme.
Effort Level: Low

One of the easiest and most convenient hiking routes in Cappadocia is the loop through Zemi Valley. The trail begins just outside of Goreme’s downtown area and passes through some impressive fairy chimneys.

Zemi Valley is often referred to as a smaller version of Love Valley, and it’s easy to see why: there are many rocks in this valley that resemble male genitalia. The fairy chimneys themselves are worth the short hike, even though visitors won’t find any caves or churches in the area.

Getting close to the chimneys on one of the shortest hikes in Cappadocia is a must-do if you’re in the area.


Natural History Museum of Zelve Cappadocia

Time required: 1.5–3 hours
You’ll need 25 lira to get in.
Effort Level: Low

Travelers to Turkey’s Cappadocia region won’t want to miss the Zelve Open-Air Museum. The Zelve Monastery spans three valleys, and it was a Byzantine-era settlement where Muslims and Christians coexisted.
The people of the Zelve Valleys left their homes because they were afraid for their safety. Despite the lack of frescoes, this area of the world has some of the most impressive rock-carved caves and cave houses.

It takes about an hour to hike through all three of Zelve’s valleys. However, if you want to take your time and soak in the area’s rich history, plan on spending at least two hours here. This area is perfect for those who want to get some exercise and gain some cultural insight at the same time.

It’s far away from the main Cappadocian settlements, so you’ll need transportation like a car or taxi to get there.


Devrent Valley Cappadocia

Devrent Valley Cappadocia Hiking
Devrent Valley Cappadocia Hiking

Tours last between 30 minutes and an hour and are free of charge.
Effort Level: Low

Though it’s not a hiking destination, Devrent Valley is a popular destination in Cappadocia. Because the fairy chimneys can be interpreted in so many different ways, the area is often referred to as “Imagination Valley.”

The rock formation at the entrance that looks like a camel is the most famous, but people have also seen a dolphin, snails, birds, and even an old woman.

Because of its diminutive size, Devrent Valley isn’t among the best places in Cappadocia to go hiking. A hike around the valley can be completed in under 15 minutes, but it’s easy to waste more than 30 minutes here just staring at the varying rock formations.

The red Cappadocian tour includes a visit to Devrent Valley.


Meskendir Valley Cappadocia

Meskendir Valley Cappadocia Hiking
Meskendir Valley Cappadocia Hiking

Two kilometers away (1.24 mi)
It will take 45 minutes.
Beginning Location: Close to Kaya Camping
Point of Arrival: Consolidates into Red Valley
Effort Level: Low

Although the Meskendir Valley is not a highly traveled route for hikers in Cappadocia, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything of interest to see there.
Relax with a cup of Turkish tea (or a refreshing orange juice) in one of the many tea houses, cave dwellings, or sand tunnels.

Not many hikers visit this trail because its starting point is so inconveniently located (nearly 2.6 km from Goreme). Most of its visitors come from Ortisar and Kaya Camping, which are at the north end of the valley.

The trail ends at the entrance to Red Valley, allowing hikers to make a complete circuit of Meskendir Valley, Red Valley, and Rose Valley. We haven’t found much interest in Meskendir Valley, so I’d only suggest it if it happened to be on the way somewhere else.


Packing List for Hiking in Cappadocia

Packing List for Hiking in Cappadocia
Packing List for Hiking in Cappadocia

Preparing for hikes in Cappadocia can be difficult because of the region’s distinctive desert landscape. What to bring on hikes in Cappadocia is detailed below.

water, lots of it. It goes without saying, but some tourists fail to account for the sun’s dehydrating effects. You can always unpack everything and start over if you end up needing to.
You should wear sunscreen because the sun is intense in Cappadocia and most of the trails are exposed. If you’re visiting during the summer, even a few hours out in the sun will leave you with a painful sunburn.

Protection from the Sun: The sun is already intense in Cappadocia, but the sand reflects its rays, making them even more tiring on the eyes. If you want to keep your eyes safe in Cappadocia, sunglasses are a must.

If you’re out in the desert, you’ll want a scarf to keep the sand and sun off your face and hair. This is helpful not only when the wind is blowing and sand is hitting your face, but also in other windy conditions.

Get some hiking poles if you plan on tackling many of Cappadocia’s trails. Due to the presence of soft sand, some areas may be hazardous.


Where to walk and what to see in Cappadocia

The landscape of Cappadocia makes for a hiking experience unlike any other. There is beauty to be found around every corner of the desert, but it is important to remember that this environment can also pose serious risks if you aren’t careful. Our best hiking advice for Cappadocia is as follows:

Even though summer is a great time to visit Cappadocia, you should try to avoid going in the middle of the day when the sun is at its highest. Heat-related illnesses are more common in the middle of the day because most people aren’t acclimated to the heat.

Take along paper maps in case your phone dies along the way because the reception is spotty at best on most of these trails. You should carry an offline map on your phone at all times. Using maps. It is something we suggest.

Watch out! Many of the buildings in the Cappadocian Valley date back hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Be on the lookout in case something collapses; some of the supports aren’t quite where they should be. You should know that Cappadocia is a very secure place to visit.


Best Hikes in Cappadocia


F.A.Q.s About Hiking in Cappadocia

Where should I go for the best hikes in Goreme?

We recommend Red and Rose Valleys, Pigeon Valley, and Love Valley for hiking in Goreme. All of these places are close to the center of Goreme, making it easy for visitors to walk to some of the area’s most famous sights.

Where are the top Cappadocian short hikes?

Goreme Sunset Viewpoint, the Zelve Valleys, and the Zemi Valley Loop are three of the best short hikes in all of Cappadocia. Those walks can be explored in less than an hour, making them perfect for vacationers looking for less strenuous activity.

Before Visit

Cappadocia has a rich history and culture, and one of the best ways to learn about it is by going on a hike. Thanks for using our guide, we hope you now know which hike is the best in Cappadocia. Enjoy!