The day starts early in the small village of Goreme, still with the cold morning air filling the narrow streets creating a labyrinth of stone houses; some of them using the rocks, which excavated provide comfortable housing that protects from the dry heat of this semi-desert region and from the cold winter, that here brings snow and ice.
In the morning, with the streets still empty is possible to feel the calm atmosphere of this small village, where women, wearing the baggy type “balloon” trousers, with flowery patterns, and scarf tied around her head, initiate housekeeping, cleaning the house, watering yards, shaking rugs…
A contrast to the pace that soon after will fill the streets with the buzz of tourists, with colorful costumes, wielding cameras and maps are headed to the highest point of the village.
Hence, in addition to having a global view of the village, which extends to Uçhisar, located a few kilometers ahead, you can get a broad view of wide vision and deserted rocky landscape featuring the Cappadocia, where the almost total absence of vegetation exposes the rocks shades, ranging from beige, gray to pale pink.
The typical landscape of the Cappadocia region is the result of erosion from rain and wind, which over millions of years was disaggregating these sandy rocks, resulting from volcanic activity… forming rock pillars, creating a sort of stone forest, tall chimneys or cones shape. Rivers, now dry, dug for centuries this rocky plateau creating canyons, creating sheltered valleys with excellent conditions for orchards, such as the Pigeons Valley, near Goreme.
Given the little hard texture of these rock formations, man has learned to take advantage of caves formed naturally to build houses to dwell. In the highest areas small holes dug in the rocks serve to shelter pigeons, whose excrements were utilized to fertilize farm fields.
Goreme, situated in the heart of excrement, is one of the towns that has developed with tourism and where the balloon flights are one of the main attractions, offering a unique view over the valleys and rock formations with flights to carry out with the sunrise that offers unique landscapes views. Here tourists gathering in large numbers, especially from Asia and there is a wide range of accommodation, with more than a hundred hotels and guesthouses for various prices.
In addition to the magical moments of sunrise and sunset, Goreme doesn’t offer many attractions. So trips to Pigeons Valley, near the village, were repeated not only by the pleasant and atmosphere of the place quiet as by existing orchards over valley, many of them abandoned, its branches laden with apples offered delicious snacks as well as provisions for the following travel days.
Despite being a “must do” a visit to Cappadocia, the balloon flights are expensive for a backpacker budget, at around 150 € per person for a one hour ride.
During winter, in addition to flights made at the sunrise, are also carried out flights in the evening, coinciding with the setting of the sun. The summer due to warm air currents caused by soil heat radiation does not offer safety conditions for the ascent of balloons, being carried out only one flight per day.
The flight is done in groups of 12 or 24 people, depending on balloon size.
Throughout the city there are dozens of travel agencies that organize these tours, which can also be arranged by hotels and guesthouses.
Where to stay:
Goreme has about 160 apartments, for various prices.
Alternatively you can also stay in Uçhisar, a little smaller, but offers the same tourist facilities in terms of accommodation, restaurants, gift-shops and travel agencies.
The choice fell to Whisper Cave Guest House in Goreme, which in addition to double rooms with bathroom also has two dorms: a 3 beds (female) and another 5 beds (mixed).
Whisper Cave Guest House
Aydinli Orta Mahalle
Güngör Sokak No: 17
Göreme / Cappadocia / Turkey
Tel: 00 90 384 271 24 68
Price: € 7 dormitory with shared bathroom
Breakfast included (very good)
Where to eat:
There are dozens of restaurants and cafes, more or less concentrated in the center of the village and some connected to hotels.
Many offer traditional food of Anatolia, where stews and soups are served in clay pots.
Cafe Goreme, situated on the main street is a meeting place of the local population, where men chat during hours in front of a cup of coffee or a glass of tea, which is undoubtedly the national drink of Turkey.
Goreme with its 200 inhabitants is not exactly a bus terminal, but just outside the village there is a bus parking area, were are concentrated several companies and ticketing agency.
Direct buses to major cities connect Goreme, and you can travel in night service to Istanbul, Ankara, Erzuruem, for example: Konya, Kayseri, where is the nearest airport, lies nearer to have connecting buses several times a day.