Destinations Magazine

Exploring Cappadocia's Beauty on the Green Tour

By Livingthedreamrtw @livingdreamrtw
Ilhara Valley, Turkey While it is incredibly easy to visit some of Cappadocia's most famous rock formations by taking a quick bus ride from the city of Goreme, this is only scratching the surface of the beautiful scenery the region has to offer.   To truly get the most out of any trip to Cappadocia, it is best to schedule a day trip on one of the many tours that are offered from the city center. 
The two most popular tours are the red tour (covering the north), and the green tour (covering the south).  While both day trips cover some sites that are easily reached from the city center on your own, we ventured out on the green tour to explore some of the more far reaching attractions including the Ilhara Valley, Selime Monastery, Derinkuyu Underground City, and more famous valleys containing the fairy chimneys everyone comes to see.
Ilhara Valley
Ilhara Valley, Turkey
The first major stop of the tour visits the Ilhara Valley, a large canyon full of green trees, many unique flowers, and a modest sized river flowing through it all.
If you would have told us that the Ilhara Valley was going to be as lush as this before we saw it, we would have called you a liar.  It is quite the surprise for all visitors, especially in August when we visited, as the open fields in Cappadocia can only be described as a sparse and barren landscape that spans as far as the eye can see.
Ilhara Valley, Turkey
The walk through the valley on the Green Tour is only for a couple of kilometers, but in that time you get to follow the curves of the valley while taking in the beautiful scenery at each turn.   Lunch is served at one of the few restaurants located inside the valley and is a great feast of delicious Turkish food, even if the restaurant is purely designed for tourists.

Derinkuyu Underground City
Derinkuyu Underground City
The underground cities in Cappadocia are one of the most interesting attractions in the region outside of the famous fairy chimneys everyone comes to see.  These "cities" are made up of a massive complex of tunnels carved deep into the rocks that have been used as a place of refuge since the 8th century B.C.
Exploring the underground city is not an easy task for most visitors.  The tunnels and stairways throughout the various levels of the complex are designed to be uncomfortable.  Those who are over 5'8" like myself will have a relatively awkward time bending over to squeeze through most of the paths, and many walkways are barely wide enough for two to walk side-by-side.   (In fact, if you are much taller or wider, we think this attraction will not be very pleasant for you).
Derinkuyu Underground City
For those in hiding, running through these was an every day task.  For those seeking to attack the refugees, getting through was almost impossible as an entire army would have to file through the narrow tunnels at no more than two by two assisted only by candle light.   With the power of numbers greatly diminished, those in hiding were able to easily make their escape, and could do it all without going up to the surface.
You would think that a city carved underground would only have one exit (to the surface), but the underground cities in Cappadocia are a bit more elaborate than that.  There are several unique cities that have been found around Cappadocia, and many are linked to each other by tunnels that are several kilometers long!
Derinkuyu Underground City
If one city was discovered, the inhabitants only had to run to the next city, seal the tunnel, and make their escape. 
After a disorienting hour in the city, you make your escape back to the surface where the natural sunlight burns your eyes for a few seconds.  Just think of what it would be like to hide down here for many days without seeing the sun and surviving only on candle light.

It doesn't sound very pleasant to us.
The Fairy Chimneys
Cappadocia Fairy Chimneys
Of course, you cannot go on a tour in Cappadocia without seeing the famous fairy chimneys, and our tour went to several lookout spots throughout the day to take in these beautiful formations.
We didn't book the tour to go see these as they are all over Goreme and the nearby walking paths.  The only reason we're including them in this post is that I cannot write about Cappadocia without showing off the beautiful formations you'll see at every turn.
Cappadocia Fairy Chimneys
While the fairy chimneys are what draw you in, Cappadocia is a destination worth visiting for far more than just that.   From the gorgeous valleys, underground cities, and many other unique formations we did not even mention in this article, there really is a lot to see; and we cannot wait to go back.
We'd like to thank our friends at Viator for taking us along on the Green Tour in Cappadocia during our stay.  To check out the full itinerary or book it yourself during your upcoming stay, click here!
Exploring Cappadocia's Beauty on the Green Tour Exploring Cappadocia's Beauty on the Green Tour Exploring Cappadocia's Beauty on the Green Tour Exploring Cappadocia's Beauty on the Green Tour

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