Hiking In Cappadocia: Two Hikes Not to Miss

Everyone knows of Cappadocia as the place to go for hot air ballooning. Of course, you should absolutely splurge on a hot air balloon ride while in Cappadocia. It’s an experience you will remember for the rest of your life. We absolutely loved our hot air balloon ride and highly recommend it.

However, Cappadocia has so much more to offer than just hot air ballooning. In fact, Cappadocia is heaven for hikers as well. There are some amazing hiking trails that are easily accessible and easy to do without a guide, if you take a map with you.

Love Valley

While in Cappadocia, we managed to squeeze in two amazing hikes, one through the Love Valley, White Valley, and Pigeon Valley on our third day, and one through the Rose and Red Valleys on our last morning. We enjoyed both equally and we are so glad we allowed enough time to do them.

If, like us, you enjoy a good hike with spectacular scenery, read on and make sure you tackle these two hikes. You won’t regret it.

Love Valley

Hike 1: Loop through Love Valley – White Valley – Uchisar – Pigeon Valley

Start: Göreme (although you could also start from Uchisar too)

The most popular of these hiking trails runs through the Love Valley, an incredibly picturesque valley that is famed for its phallic rock formations. If you like a longer hike, this hike can be extended through the White Valley all the way to Uchisar and then you can even walk back to Göreme through Pigeon valley, making a loop. We were staying in Göreme and decided to do this.

Where does the Love Valley hike start?

The beginning of the Love Valley trail is located just outside of the main town of Cappadocia, Göreme. You can walk there from town or take a taxi.

We always use the Alltrails App for all our hikes so we found the location through this link. We also found some markers along the way.

As we left the main road to start on the trail, we met a new friend. It was a lovely stray dog who decided to guide us all the way to Uchisar. We almost didn’t need a map, however, she was a fair bit quicker than us at times!

Hiking Cappadocia
Our new friend the stray!

Love Valley

The Love Valley is the most popular and photogenic Valley on this hike. The Love Valley was formed by volcanic ash millions of years ago, following the eruption of one of the nearby volcanos. The ash solidified into soft rock and then eventually eroded due to the extreme weather Cappadocia can receive. Once you see the rock formations of Love Valley, you will totally understand the choice of name!

When we made our way down into Love Valley, we were lucky to see a pilot practising flying a hot air balloon. He guided the balloon so close to the rocks, it was amazing to watch.

Some people also recommend starting the hike before sunrise to see the masses of balloons flying overhead. We preferred to watch them from the terrace of our hotel, but I am sure it would have been amazing to do it at sunrise as well.

White Valley

White Valley

If you carry on from Love Valley, you will come to White Valley next. Some people believe this is an extension of Love Valley.

We were impressed with the scenery in White Valley as well. As the name suggests, the rock of White Valley is mostly whitish in colour.

The path became a little harder to follow at times and we had to check the map often to ensure we were on the right path, especially since our new four-legged friend took paths that were often a little hard for us to follow! But it wasn’t overly difficult.

At the end of White Valley, there is a steep path that leads you up the road to Uchisar. At the end of the steep path, there is a lovely man selling his pomegranate juice and I can tell you, it was very much appreciated at the time!

We did the hike early morning in October, so I can just imagine how hot it would be in the peak of summer!



Once in Uchisar, we made our way to the castle.  The castle is carved into a natural rock formation, on a hilltop overlooking the town and the surrounding desert landscape. It’s the highest point in Cappadocia and the castle can be seen from Göreme. The Uchisar castle was built during the Byzantine era and was used as a watchtower and fortress to defend the surrounding area.

Uchisar castle
View from Uchisar Castle

Many people visit the castle not just for its history but for its panoramic views of the region.

Pigeon Valley

Pigeon valley

After visiting the castle and walking around Uchisar, we followed the trail down into the Pigeon Valley and back to Göreme.

We had to take a slight detour at one point due to a couple of grumpy stray dogs who quickly let us know we weren’t welcome. Those guys weren’t going to show us the way like the one we met in Göreme!

Thankfully, as we had the Alltrails map, we managed to take another route and get back on track a short time later. It was a little scary, but I believe they were just protecting their territory. It wasn’t worth testing that theory out though!

Pigeon Valley

The Pigeon Valley was previously used as an area to collect pigeon manure to fertilise the region’s crops. The local farmers carved tiny houses into the soft rock to attract the birds for them to nest so that the manure could later be collected.

This type of fertilisation is no longer used but pigeons still live in the valley today, hence its name.

Once you’ve crossed the Pigeon Valley, you will end up back in Göreme and this is the end of this hike. Time for a nice Pide and a cold Efes!

Distance of this hike: If you follow this entire trail, the distance is around 11.7 kms. It took us around 4 1/2 hours as we stopped a lot for photos, visited the castle in Uchisar and took a wrong turn once or twice.

The Rose Valley

Hike 2: Loop through Rose and Red Valley

Start: Göreme

Another popular trail near Göreme is the Rose & Red Valley loop. Also found a short walk out of Göreme, this is another hike that will take your breath away.

We sadly couldn’t complete the entire loop as we ran out of time and had a plane back to Istanbul to catch. We did about half of it and boy was it worth it.

As with the hike to the Love Valley, we found the trail map from Alltrail app. Link here.

Rose & Red Valley

This hike took us through some spectacular valleys, filled with tea gardens, historic churches and houses carved into the soft rock. The views were amazing, and it was mostly easy to follow thanks to the map and some markers along the way. We barely came across anyone else on this hike, unlike the Love Valley which was busy.

One part of the hike was a bit sketchy, climbing a very steep hill. Thankfully there was a rope to help us!

Distance of this hike: The full loop is a 7.6 km hike and we only managed to do 4 kms by cutting across the middle. It still took us almost 2 hours as it was so photogenic that I kept stopping for photos!

What to bring when hiking in Cappadocia?

  • Water is extremely important. Apart from the lovely man at the top of White Valley, we didn’t come across anyone selling anything along the path. Maybe it was the time of year? I wouldn’t risk going without water in any case. Especially at the peak of summer!
  • Good walking shoes. I didn’t have my hiking shoes with me, so I used my trainers. I would have felt more comfortable with my hiking boots, so if you are traveling with some, use them. Otherwise, trainers are ok.
  • Sunscreen lotion and hat! Yes, it gets hot, even in Autumn.
  • Snacks, in case you take longer than you think. Always good to have.
  • I wouldn’t do these hikes without a map personally. Download the Alltrail app and make sure you download the map to your phone to follow along the trail. Some parts can be confusing.
  • A camera is essential! You will take so many photos of this stunning part of the world.

Where to stay in Cappadocia?

Zara Cave Hotel

We loved our stay at the Zara Cave Hotel. The hotel is in a great location walking distance to good restaurants in Göreme. You can go for a cave room or a fairy chimney room. There are 4 terraces where you can enjoy the sight of the hot air balloons taking off in the morning. Breakfast is very nice and if visiting in the colder months, the rooms were incredibly warm thanks to under floor heating. The hotel can organise all tours and a hot air balloon ride for you.

Find out their latest prices here.

The view from the terrace of Zara Cave

Harem Suites Cappadocia

Located in Uchisar, Harem Suites Cappadocia features a garden, shared lounge, a terrace and a restaurant. It is 200 metres from Uchisar Castle and 11 km from Zelve Open Air Museum‎, the property offers a bar and ski-to-door access. This accommodation provides room service, a 24-hour front desk and currency exchange for guests. Find out their latest prices here.

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Hiking In Cappadocia: Two Hikes Not to Miss Hiking In Cappadocia: Two Hikes Not to Miss

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