Cappadocia / Goreme - tourist trap?

I am contemplating visiting the Cappadocia region in October for a couple days. I had been thinking of staying in Goreme. However, I've noticed a lot of forum posts both here and over on LP talking about Goreme as being totally overrun with tourists and just really not a pleasant experience - in fact almost every recent post says the same thing. Anybody with recent experience in the area care to comment? Are there other towns I should consider? Should I just skip this area altogether?

Posted by Lamont
Corsicana, Texas, USA
351 posts

Goreme is one of the main towns to base yourself in when visiting Cappadocia. It has the hotels, the restaurants, and the tour companies that a tourist might need when visiting the region. I was there last May, and never had the feeling that Goreme was over-run with tourists. In any case, a visitor would probably not be in-town for most of the day - they would most likely be touring the Open Air Museum, or hiking one of the surrounding valleys, or descending into an underground city, or riding horses, or possibly riding in a hot air balloon. Cappadocia is one of the most memorable places I have ever seen. Stunning natural scenery, amazing historical sites. Research the various attractions in the area, and if they look interesting, don't let internet reports keep you from visiting.

Posted by Carol
Martinez, CA, USA
522 posts

Have to agree with Lamont. We were there in Sept.2011 for 4 days and loved it. The town was not 'overrun with tourists' but it was a pleasant town for walking and most of the time you will be out exploring. We rented a car for 3 days and visited the Goreme Open Air Museum, Zelve Open Air Museum, Fairy Chimneys, Soganli (another open air museum), Derinkuyu Underground City, as well as Ihlara Valley, Devrent Valley, Uchisar Castle and many other sights. We also went on a hot air balloon ride which for us was only soso but we're still glad we did it. The open air museums consist of churches, houses, etc. carved into the mountain sides. The churches have painted walls and some are a thousand years old. There are many valleys for hiking and too many sights to list. We stayed in Goreme at Anatolia Cave Pension which we highly recommend and which you can check out on booking.com. Goreme also has many good restaurants. It was one of the many highlights of our 24 day trip and an area of Turkey you should not miss!

Posted by Tolga
Cappadocia, Cappadocia, Turkey
2 posts

Hi Matthew, Goreme is definetly a more crowded area but it is also a matter of what you like. If you want to be able to walk out to a more crowded and bigger town when you exit your hotel then urgup and goreme are the correct places. If you are more into genuine calmness and town that still have the ancient spirits than Uchisar and Mustafapasa are to go. Uchisar is the highest town so has the best view of the whole area.
I can suggest Taskonaklar Rocky Palace in Uchisar.

Posted by Galen
Dallas, United States
390 posts

We were in the area last fall on an RS tour that stayed in Mustafapasa. Consequently, we had transportation (the tour bus) to places we wanted to go. If I were there on my own however, I'd stay in Urgup or Goreme. I wouldn't describe them as "totally overrun" with tourists. Anyway, I wouldn't let the number of tourists ruin the opportunity to visit this unique and wonderful area. Good luck.

Posted by Elaine
Mission Viejo, Calif., USA
783 posts

My husband and I took a tour to the Cap. area, one year ago. We had been on a Tauck tour. When it ended in Istanbul, we flew to the Cap. area. Our tour was supposed to be for two nights at a hotel and, the hot air baloon ride, touring, etc. From the moment we landed, our tour company sucked. We had booked the tour through Gray Line Tours, here in the U.S. The problem was the tour company they booked in the Cap area. It so sucked. Even the driver, who picked us up at the airport, stunk to high heaven. He didn't have A/C in his beat up van either. Nobody spoke English over there. We did enjoy the hot air balloon, but that was it. It was the biggest waste of money. We spent the arrival day trying to get our visit cancelled. We finally got to fly out the next day. We had to eat the cost of the tour and hotel though. The whole Cap. area is so dirty and dusty. It is like visiting hell.

Posted by Rosalyn
Berkeley
1007 posts

We were on a tour to Turkey in 2010 and agree that Cappadocia was one of the highlights. It's not like anything you've ever seen before. The natural setting is spectacular, and the historic sights are fascinating. You should have pretty decent weather in October and not hordes of other tourists. We stayed at one of the cave hotels (not sure, but it might have been called Cave Suites Hotel), which I think was in Goreme; and that was a lovely experience, too.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2506 posts

Love this area, and if you live in Hawaii, you will be struck by the complete contrast. I'm with the majority on this question, go and have a great time.

Posted by Matthew
Kihei, HI, United States
112 posts

Just as a follow up, I did end up going for two full days in the middle of October, and this was one of the highlights of my trip. Thanks for those who gave advice, especially the person who recommended Uchisar. We flew in early the first day, picked up a car, and went straight to our cave hotel (Taka Ev), which had panoramic views over the desert. The owners of Taka Ev charted our course both days. The first day, we poked around the Kaymakli cave city. Drove to the town of Ihlara, where we had a surprisingly good meal by a stream, then backtracked to the little village of Belisirma, which is built into the side of the cliffs and was a very conservative Muslim area. Parked the car there and hiked back toward Ihlara along a beautiful forested gorge that follows a river, an area called valley of the monsestaries for the painted churches and monestaries carved into the walls of the valley. On the second day, we toured the Goreme open air museum first thing in the morning. At the site, got a guided tour of the dark church, which was by far the best preserved painted rock church we saw. Went to various formations, including one where we had lunch on the side of the road. We ate pide with various fillings – meat, cheese and peppers, handmade by a grandmother. Her grandaughter was 18 and had been married two years already, but she was very feisty, giving some unsolicited and blunt marriage advice to my unmarried sister in law, and chastising her when she didn't finish all her food. Went on to Zelve open air museum, another rock town that was only abandoned 50 years ago. Spent a couple of hours in Goreme, which is actually a nice little town.

Posted by Matthew
Kihei, HI, United States
112 posts

There was a ton of other little stuff we did too, small hikes, stopping in towns, monuments, other churches. Having a car was a big help obviously, and the roads were good and relatively well marked (we had a turkish speaker who could ask for directions when in doubt). We did not feel really rushed here, although I think 3-4 days would have been better. To my original question of "is it overrun?" I would say it's probably getting there, but it's still very much worth going. There were definitely large crowds in some places, and we were visting on the cusp of off season, but I think having a car and some good advice of when to go to certain places vs others was very helpful. But the place is definitely not ruined the way a Waikiki, Dubrovnik or a Florence is.