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- A practical guide to Cappadocia
The unique terrain of Cappadocia is ideally suited to trekking of all levels. All manner of hiking trails and walk paths abound – leading through the hearts of the canyons beneath the trees on the valley floors, and up above on the cliff edges, with dramatic views across the entire landscape. There is much for the discerning visitor to learn from the Cappadocia region. You could explore the plethora of cave churches that are scattered throughout the canyons and valleys. Or you may decide to visit the many museums such as the wonderfully preserved Göreme Open Air Museum where the story of the region is old in clear and graphic detail. You can explore rock churches dating from the fourth century and frescoes from the eighth. Alternatively experience the surreal feeling of exploring one of the underground settlements such as the one at Kaymakli.
Although there are many hiking trails throughout the valleys of Cappadocia, so far only basic sketch maps are available, and signposts inadequate. (Update: see our maps here).
The hidden underground churches are just that - hidden ! Some visitors, visiting without a guide, (ahem... including me), have been frustrated to have walked past them without seeing the entrance, or in fact realising that they had walked past them.
Normally I prefer organising my own trips and exploring places on my own when I am on holiday. But I would make an exception for Cappadocia since there are times and places where having a guided visit can be more interesting and also more economical. Your guided tour includes comfortable transport in a minibus with A/C, entries to museums and sites and lunch and of course an English-speaking guide. For sites like Ihlara Valley, for example, (about 90km from Ürgüp), or the tours which include any of the underground cities, where regular public transport is thin on the ground, it is well worth taking a guided tour. It is also worth noting that guiding in Turkey is strictly controlled and all guides must have accreditation from the Turkish Tourism Authorities, subject to having a university degree or an officially recognised diploma in tourism.
Of course if you are good at map-reading (which I am definitely not, and I can get lost in a shopping centre!) there are plenty of walks and sights to do at your own pace and under your own steam. Otherwise here are a few of the companies in Cappadocia which have a good reputation for guiding in the area.
Based in Göreme, in the heart of Cappadocia, the land of fairy chimneys and amazing landscapes, 2K Travel Agency offers regular and tailor-made private tours and excursions. They also organise a large range of exciting activities and tours in Cappadocia as well as throughout all Turkey. Owned and run by an experienced husband-and-wife travel team, 2K Travel can help plan your travel anywhere, but their specialities include local Cappadocia cultural tours and ATV tours. What makes 2K travel special is the enthusiasm and professionalism of Gönul and Levent, whose main focus is on customer satisfaction whether for a day tour, a plane booking or a vacation visiting sites all around Turkey. Whatever your budget is and whatever your interests are, 2K Travel will go all out to make sure that your experience in Turkey is amazing. SponsorSee rates
Angelos Travel is a class A licensed travel agency in Göreme which organizes tours in Cappadocia and throughout Turkey. Well known in Cappadocia, they organise day trips, hot air balloon flights and also organize airport transfers at any time of the day. In groups or in private tours, they will find for your whole family what you want. In addition they are specialised in renting scooters and mountain bikes, as well as ATMs (Quads) which are very useful for visiting Cappadocia differently, at your own pace. With over 15 years of experience in Turkey, and many destinations across Turkey, including Cappadocia, Istanbul, Konya, Mount Nemrut, Eastern Turkey and the ancient cities of Troy, Pergamon, Ephesus and Pamukkale, Angelos Travel offers a great quality of guided tours. SponsorSee rates
HATTI TRAVEL, specialised in cultural and adventure tours, invites you to a unique journey throughout Turkey. Hatti Travel considers tourism as a means of bringing people closer together through "cultural participation"; they propose not only an amazing trip through lands of mysterious beauty, but also the opportunity of meeting local people and learning about a different culture. At Hatti Travel, the highly professional tour consultants have 40 years experience of organising relaxing and memorable tailor-made trips throughout Turkey. They would be happy to suggest ideas to complement your own and to organise the most appropriate programme to suit your cultural interests, time and budget. Let them guide you through you the wonders of Turkey on an unforgettable journey of cultural discovery. SponsorSee rates
Cappadocian Guide is a well-known travel agency in Göreme specializing in excursions and activities in Cappadocia.
It offers its customers various activities such as balloon flights, camel rides and excursions of several days horseback riding around the different valleys of Cappadocia; the more daring can learn to ride a quad around the amazing valleys or go on a jeep-safari aboard a comfortable 4x4. After your day's adventures you can relax by going to a dinner show of traditional Turkish folk dances or go and watch the famous whirling dervishes ceremony. In addition, Cappadocian Guide can take care of your airport transfers and will offer tours from Cappadocia, as far as Nemrut, Göbeklitepe, Hattusas, Pamukkale and Ephesus - the famous ancient city. Get off the beaten path, break way from the herd and treat yourself to an authentic experience with their experienced guides who speak your language. The agency's guides speak English of course as well as French, Spanish, Japanese, Korean and Chinese - yes, all those languages! Located in the center of Göreme it is an excellent starting point for all your excursions. Highly recommended. Sponsor
Why not hire a private guide? There are numerous benefits to hiring your own personal tour guide. Among them are flexibility of schedule and destination, a personalised tour design to include your particular interests, personalised attention and local cultural insight from your own private guide.
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