Cappadocia, Turkey travel tips

Where we ate:

All places are in Göreme, unless otherwise noted.

  • Cappadocia Pide Salonu – Most of the lower-end restaurants in Göreme bottom out at the same prices. This restaurant is a good place for pide, often described as Turkish pizza (try the walnut and cheese). They also have nice soup and roasted eggplant salad (however, skip the fried eggplant salad): YEH
  • Dibek – Supposedly “the” place for pottery kebap, a local specialty, you even need to order it earlier in the day. Unfortunately, the pottery kebap was far from special and their mantı was unevenly cooked and salt-less: NAH
  • Anatolia Kitchen (might be Anatolya Kitchen)- Some of the best food we had in Turkey, which considering the oft-bland meat-heavy Turkish meals, isn’t saying all that much. But, they had a nice outdoor patio, friendly staff, reasonable prices, and flavorful food: YEH
  • Juice and Gift Shop on Rose or Red Valley Trail – If you pass other hikers, just ask them if they’ve passed this nice spot to rest and rehydrate. Oh, they also have beer: YEH

Where we stayed:

  • Shoestring Guest House – Cozy, friendly place with backpacker-priced and even nicer cave rooms, your choice of generous breakfast included. Downsides: despite what the signs say, they haven’t had wireless for ages (though one internet connected computer is available for free), the pool was non-swimmable, and they overcharge for beer and wine. If they had cleaner shared bathrooms, we could have moved in: YEH

What we saw:

  • Pigeon, Rose and Red Valleys Trails – Though they are beyond inadequately marked, and so take twice as long to hike for all the getting lost you’ll do, each of these trails can be pleasantly conquered in a day as one-ways if you take the local buses to get there or back: YEH
  • Uçhisar Kalesi (Uchisar Castle) – Described as the cheap alternative if you can’t afford a hot air balloon ride, huffing your way to the top is worth it for the panoramic views of the Cappadocian landscape, all the way to the distant snowcapped mountain, Erciyes Daği: YEH
  • Göreme Open Air Museum – Like most sites in Turkey, overpriced and overfilled with tour groups. Yet still, a nicely preserved collection of frescoed cave paintings. The Dark Church, while impressive, was not quite worth the extra 8 YTL each surcharge: YEH
  • Derinkuyu Underground City – Overpriced but still fun. Of the few underground city sites in the region, this is apparently the one to go to for independent travelers, because they don’t bring large tour groups here. Not for the claustrophobic: YEH
  • Local Cappadocian buses – They cover ground for cheap. The stops are not usually marked, but just ask the bus’ ticket seller where to pick up the return bus, or ask around town: YEH