Goreme National Park is in Turkey, and houses Cappadocia, along with the small town of Goreme. The landscape is full of strange rock formations, and unusual dwellings that have been carved out of the natural stone. Today, cave churches are still intact and even have well-preserved paintings on their walls. Ride horses through the valleys, elevate above it all in a hot air balloon, stay in some incredible hotels, eat traditional foods—travelers can venture far into the country, just in this one area. To get you started, we’ve come up with a list of incredible things to do in Goreme National Park.
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Stay in a Cave Hotel
What Is It? Cave dwellings were carved out of the rock within Goreme long ago, and while super awesome to even look inside one of these mesmerizing abodes, it’s way cooler to stay in one.
Why Do It? Aydinli Cave Hotel has been converted into an earthy yet luxurious 14 room hotel with ambient surroundings.
Good to Know: Breakfast is included, featuring local fruits, eggs and a region favorite—cheese pancakes with grape molasses.
See Old Churches at the Open Air Museum
What Is It? Goreme Open Air Museum is certainly not your average stagnant building with artifacts pressed behind the glass. One can immerse into the artifacts, which are in a designated outdoor area, next to a rocky hillside.
Why Do It? Churches and structures dating as far back as the 4th century are remarkable presentations of the past, and even those will little knowledge of the Middle Ages can appreciate the detail.
Good to Know: There are several captivating churches to explore, each offering their own unique feel.
Take a Balloon Flight in Goreme Valley
What Is It? It’s not a secret that one of the best ways to see Goreme is by lifting off in a colorful hot air balloon. Highly rated because of its route over the valley, this tour celebrates the scenic journey with a champagne toast.
Why Do It? Rock formations are lit up in gold as the sun rises over the terrain—it’s a totally unique perspective.
Good to Know: If the weather takes a turn for the worst, it is possible balloons may be temporarily grounded for safety.
Hike or Drive Near the Fair Chimneys
What Is It? When researching Goreme, the Fair Chimneys are likely what will pop up first. Alien-like pointed rock pillars sweep over the horizon, accumulating into a grand display.
Why Do It? Often, folks choose to find a specific balloon ride that will graze over the top of the spectacle, but other excursions can take guests by vehicle, or you can opt to go on your own.
Good to Know: Getting up close is easy on foot, but we suggest exploring both by air and ground.
Stay the Night at Camping Aqua Park
What Is It? Can you imagine camping in Goreme? In the morning, after unzipping your tent, dozens of colorful balloons dot the sunrise sky—it’s amazing.
Why Do It? Spaces can accommodate both RVs and tents and are overall fairly simple. But what more could you really need with a view like that?
Good to Know: Camping Aqua Park also has, as the name suggests, a little pool area with waterslides, from where you can also see the lovely landscape.
Watch the Sunset
What is It? Sunset Point is THE place to witness one of Goreme’s iconic sunsets—couples bring blankets and cuddle as the sky goes gold. Instagram gurus contort in artistic ways to capture that majestic snap. Solo travelers make the short but steep walk to the top to reflect.
Why Do It? Sunset Point displays views of the city below, and it is worth braving the small crowds.
Good to Know: A hilltop cafe sells bottles of wine, cups of tea, or beer to enjoy as you glide into the night.
Eat at Cancan Cafe
What Is It? Cancan Cafe is a small family run business that has snagged the top spot on TripAdvisor for places to eat in Goreme.
Why Do It? Savory kebabs of chicken, a refreshing selection of fresh veggie plates, warm flavorful soups and darn good bread will feed both your stomach and soul.
Good to Know: Homemade ravioli and sizzling beef are amongst the comforting eats, but lighter fare delivers robust taste as well.
Drink Real Turkish Coffee
What Is It? Kings Coffee Shop is humble, authentic, and right in the center of downtown Goreme.
Why Do It? True Turkish coffee, made with powdery ground beans and a bit of sugar, is brewed into a pleasantly frothy concoction that rivals any espresso.
Good to Know: Coffee is an important part of the culture in Turkey, and is even used in traditional moments, such as when a man meets his lady’s family to ask for her hand in marriage. Many say Kings Coffee Shop has the best brew they’ve ever tasted.