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Hot air balloons floating over cappadocia
Hot air balloons floating over cappadocia
close up hot air balloon in goreme
hiking through love valley in cappadocia
Cave hotel bed in turkey
unique street vendor in turkey

Cappadocia's Caves and Valleys

Destination: Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia is described as both a lunar landscape and a fairyland of bizarre geologic formations. Millions of years ago, extensive volcanic eruptions covered the land with a layer of soft volcanic ash, or tufa. Erosion in the form of wind and water then carved a myriad of formations, including mushroom shapes, pinnacles, caps, and cones, including the famous "fairy chimneys". This soft rock was easy to carve, and the area has been inhabited since prehistoric times by different populations that have scraped out caves and built underground cities. In particular it was a place of sanctuary for early Christians during the Roman era. This combination of unique beauty and interesting human history make Cappadocia a must see place on any trip to Turkey. Maximum group size: 12

Highlights

  • Wandering among the fairy castles of Goreme
  • Hiking through valleys that each have their own personality
  • Experiencing an authentic "Whirling Dervish" ceremony
  • Visiting Christian cave churches that date from times of Roman persecution
  • Experiencing the hospitality of an old culture that has always welcomed visitors

Departures and Prices

September 17 to September 21, 2020
$1895.00 - Available
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Inclusions

  • Experienced local guide (there will be an Adventures in Good Company guide if the group size is 6 or more)
  • Five nights double occupancy accommodation
  • All meals from breakfast on Day 2 through breakfast on Day 6 except for one lunch
  • All activities on the itinerary including guided hikes and the Whirling Dervish ceremony
  • Roundtrip internal flight from Istanbul to Kayseri
  • Roundtrip transfers from the Kayseri airport to Goreme and from the domestic airport to the hotel
  • Transportation within Cappadocia
Not included: alcoholic beverages, guide gratuities, trip insurance.

Details

This trip is designed for women who enjoy hiking and want to explore this area on foot. Hiking is generally 3 - 5 hours; the trails are rocky with both ups and downs that are sometimes steep and may have loose pebbles. We take our time, though, and make sure everyone has the support they need.

We combine hiking to hidden gems off the beaten path with visiting some of the well-known highlights of Cappadocia, including the Goreme Open Air Museum, a Whirling Dervish performance, and the underground city. Our itinerary is flexible and can be adjusted to whatever ways best allow us to immerse ourselves in the landscape, history, and culture of this unique area.

We will spend two nights in a tourist class Istanbul hotel and three nights at the Sultan Cave Suites or a similar "cave hotel" in Goreme. It's a very unique experience!

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

DAY 1
Arrive Istanbul anytime today. We'll arrange a shuttle to your hotel. There are no planned activities for today but Istanbul is an interesting and safe city to explore on foot.
DAY 2
Depending on airline schedules, we'll arrange a transfer to the airport for your 90 minute flight to Kayseri, where you'll be met by the local guide. From the Kayseri airport it is about about a 1 hour drive to our "cave hotel". There will be time to settle in and explore the town before going out for the first dinner in Goreme.
Goreme is a small village right in the center of Cappadocia. Its setting amidst towering fairy chimneys and majestic honeycomb cliffs, surrounded by the stunning Rose, Honey, and Pigeon Valleys, truly make it one of Turkey's unspoiled treasures. One of its remarkable qualities is the co-existence of a traditional way of life (farmers still work the fields among the fairy chimneys) with a modern tourism industry. Here you can see the old and new Turkey side by side as you wander past ancient cave houses still lived in by local families who have maintained their tradition of hospitality to visitors.
DAY 3
Today and the next two days we will go for hikes with our local guide. Our hike today introduces us to the traditional villages of Cappadocia. Our transfer takes us to rural Kavak, a farming town that sees few tourists. We walk from here to Bahceli, where a cup of tea at the local tea house gives us a chance to take a break and absorb the local culture. From here, we walk to Ayvali and lunch in a pension decorated with folk art. This is the only place in the region which offers organic food. Our route is mostly undulating with occasional steeper ups and downs. After lunch we'll visit the Kaymakli Underground city, one of the many underground cities for which Cappadocia is known. Probably originally started as caves, they were expanded over the centuries as Christian inhabitants sought refuge from successive invasions of Romans, Arabs, Mongols, and Ottoman Turks. This underground city is one of the best excavated and most sprawling, and provides a fascinating look into a little known aspect of Turkish history. We return to Goreme for dinner and the evening. Hiking: 4 hours, about 5 miles B, L, D
DAY 4
Today we'll break away from the classical trekking routes in the area. Our bus picks us up at 8.30 in the morning and departs for Cavusin Village. We'll wander the village that is largely deserted because of continuous rock falls. On our path out  we'll visit the little known church of John the Baptist, the biggest cave church in Cappadocia. It was first built in the 5th century and houses unique paintings from the 6th - 8th century. Our path continues steeply up to the summit of Bozdag mountain, where a panoramic view of the entire region awaits, including Uchisar, Goreme, Cavusin, Avanos, Ortahisar and Zelve. Enchanted by spectacular views of Mount Erciyes, we follow a smooth path over the plateau and descend for lunch in a small family run restaurant in Red Valley. When we say family run, we mean that literally; we eat on their patio and our meal is likely to be served by the grandmother. We'll also visit the Grape church, built right in a fairy chimney. After lunch we'll visit the Goreme Open Air Museum. Containing the finest of the rock cut churches with beautiful frescoes, it is one of the must sees of Cappadocia. Depending on our time and energy, we might walk or take our bus back to hotel, where we'll have time for a shower before another trip highlight.

Tonight we'll attend a whirling dervish ceremony. This ceremony, called Sema, is the inspiration of Rumi (1207 - 1273) and symbolizes the different meanings of a mystic cycle to perfection. The Sema ceremony represents a mystical journey of man's spiritual ascent through love, finding the truth and arriving to the "Perfect". Then he returns from this spiritual journeys as a man of maturity and greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to all creatures without discriminating in regard to belief, class, or race. No matter what you believe, it is an experience that stays with you. Our evening ends with another dinner at a nearby restaurant. Hiking: 4 hours, about 5 miles B, L, D
DAY 5
Although we have not included a hot air balloon ride in the itinerary because they are quite pricey ($200 or more) and not everyone's cup of tea, they are incredibly popular here. If you have ever had the urge to take a hot air balloon ride, this would be the place and our hotel can easily arrange it for you. It's an early morning activity so you can do it and still be back in time for our hike. Our walk today will show you the hidden valleys of the area with their vineyards and orchards of walnut, quince, and apricot trees. Starting in Goreme we soon leave the paved road and start walking up the Pigeon Valley. This valley is known for small fields, lush vegetation, and somewhat phallic rock formations. The path takes us to Uchisar, home of the "Uchisar castle", a massive rock on top of a hill with many carved rooms and spectacular views from the top. After our buffet lunch, we head for White Valley, where the path, with occasional steep descents, offers spectacular views of the natural cliffs and the man-made caves, and passes through a few tunnels carved into the rock.  Our  path leads us back to Goreme where we'll have time to clean up and have dinner before transferring to our late flight back to Istanbul tonight. Hiking: 5 hours, 6 miles with 800 ft elevation gain to the top of Uchisar. B, L, D
DAY 6
If you're staying on for the Istanbul and Turkey's Coast trip, you have today to relax, wash clothes etc. Otherwise you are free to leave anytime. However, when planning your return flight, you should consider that you won't be getting back to Istanbul until quite late (e.g. midnight) the night before and you will need to leave the hotel 3 hours before your flight time. And if you have time, there is still lots more to see and do both in Turkey and the region. B

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*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "Did this trip meet your expectations?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.

Of course, I knew about Ephesus and Cappadocia but I simply wasn't aware that there were so many other historical sites. We did many 'out of the ordinary' things which made the trip special..

Cappadocia's Caves and Valleys 10/10/2016-10/14/2016


Group compatibility made traveling fun. Local were knowledgeable and eager to share their country. AGC was essential to smooth trip encounter and problem resolution.

Cappadocia's Caves and Valleys 10/10/2016-10/14/2016


  1. Where do we eat?

    We'll eat in locally owned restaurants where you can order off the menu. Breakfasts will be served at our hotels. For dinner we'll eat out at different restaurants in Goreme.
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    We can accommodate vegetarian, lactose-free, and gluten-sensitive diets. We cannot guarantee a completely gluten-free diet and we cannot provide a kitchen guaranteed to be free of cross-contamination. If you are vegan, we ask that you bring some additional protein bars; and if you are gluten-sensitive, please bring some gluten-free snacks. If you have severe allergies, Celiac disease and/or other significant dietary restrictions, please call the office before you register.
  3. I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?

    You only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise we’ll pair you up with someone and then switch roommates every time we switch lodging.
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