Canyons, Volcanoes and Fairy Chimneys – Hiking in Cappadocia
In the Turkish highlands of Cappadocia, hikers can feel like real explorers: it's lonely here, far away from the trekking paths of the Alps or the Pyrenees. Bizarre rock formations, canyons and buried evidence of ancient civilisations from Asia Minor create a territory in Inner Anatolia that is only just being discovered for hiking tourism. Routes of different lengths and levels of difficulty and a family-run, authentic infrastructure make it easy for independent travellers to fall in love with the magical volcanic landscape.
Bizarre tuff cones and deeply carved river valleys give the landscape an almost unreal character and make every hike an experience. The ravines and valleys have names that sound well in Turkish: the Ilhara Canyon, a deeply carved ravine with rich vegetation and many ruins and cave churches of the Byzantine era, opens up in the highlands of Güzelyurt.
The Red Valley (Kızılçukur), Swords Valley (Kılıçlar Vadisi) and Love Valley (Aşk Vadisi) do their evocative names justice. Crater lakes and salt lakes are the remnants of active volcanic activity millions of years ago. The special geology and the wealth of forms of the country are revealed to hikers along the edges of the crater. Overgrown fields and orchards introduce green into the rocky topography.
By the way: the hiking trails in Central Cappadocia and in Göreme National Park are varied and divided into different challenging levels of difficulty. It is best to ask for route suggestions locally - there are no accurate hiking maps for the region yet, which the travel scouts in Turkey suspect is due to military reasons.
Destination: Kayseri, Ankara