On my first visit to Goreme in November 2009, I was all over it like a hot rash. The summer had officially finished yet it was still thriving with backpackers arriving from Istanbul on the overnight bus. There seemed to be travelers from all over the world heading there with eager anticipation to see for themselves the lunar like landscape, cave hotels, ancient churches and an amazing sunrise view of twenty or more hot air balloons in the sky.
During my first visit, I was constantly in awe at the strange rock formations that I first spotted while driving into the region. Staying in a cave hotel was also a quirky novelty and since the town was relatively small and I walked most of it in just an afternoon, it had a canny knack of feeling comfortable.
I visited again in 2012 and in 2015 and even though, the vibes of my first visit had worn off, it still felt welcoming and an ideal place for a solo female traveller to feel safe. Unsure whether the amount of genuine cave hotels had dwindled, or the resort was bigger, it seemed more uniformed and not so rustic but I was in the right place at the right time, with a fuzzy feeling that Goreme was my 2nd home.
Is Goreme a Good Place for Hotel Accommodation?
Since it is the tourism capital of Cappadocia, any potential visitor has a wide choice of hotels to choose from, including authentic cave hotels or manmade buildings, with luxury or budget facilities. At the height of summer though, definitely pre-book your accommodation because Goreme gets extremely busy.
If you are reliant on public transport, have a cheap budget and don’t seem to mind the touristic vibe, then yes, it is a good place to stay overnight but I prefer the traditional town of Ortahisar and specifically the Castle Inn. It is one of the best hotels I’ve stayed in.
Restaurants and Nightlife in Goreme
Truthfully, I think most restaurants in Goreme are unhygienic or just unprofessional. One restaurant, situated on a veranda overlooking the road to the open air museum was dirty and I constantly interrupted the staff from their gossiping just to get served.
Another restaurant pushed me out of the door as soon as I walked in because apparently the chef and owner had a massive argument and both had walked out. The quality of food in others was just horrendous.
It seems that the restaurants that know what they are doing and not winging it, are in the Urgup region. Also don’t expect nightclubs that are open until 5am. Goreme is all about sit down dining or cheap food to go.
If you hamper after an active night-life with nightclubs open till 5am in the morning, head to Bodrum, Istanbul, Antalya or other seaside places instead. People travelling with children will also find a lack of activities to keep kids entertained.
Things to Do in Goreme
While the centre of Goreme does not have any attractions itself, the surrounding areas are pretty awesome and things to do include…
- Fly high in a hot air balloon trip
- Visit the cave churches at the Goreme open air museum
- For hiking fans, nearby Pigeon and Love Valleys are ideal
- 3 to 4 hour horse riding treks are popular in the evenings
- Head to Panoramic Viewpoint for an amazing view over the town of Goreme
- Visit the town of Avanos to take part in pottery demonstrations
Green / Red / Blue Tours
Three tours are sold by local agents. Green and red tours are ideal for first-time visitors taking you to underground cities and valleys like Ihlara. On my third trip, I signed up for the Blue tour with Bridge of the world Travel, whose office is near the bus station.
This tour takes you to the lesser known places like Sobesos excavation site and Keslik Monastery. Aside from that, take lots of photos because describing the landscape of Goreme and Cappadocia to your friends back home is extremely hard to do. They need to see the photographs to believe you.
Goreme and Cappadocia always exceed my expectations on every return visit and I’ve never met anyone who didn’t enjoy it. Be sure to put it on your bucket list.