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Cappadocia/Turkey 3: Hike through the Ihlara Valley In

Updated: Mar 1

This 14 km hike along the Ihlara Valley is one of the most popular in Cappadocia. In parts, the scene almost resembles an amusement park - small ornate bridges, benches, steep stairs, rest areas and places to stop line the way.

Ihlara Valley In Cappadocia/Turkey three friends

When we were there, it was snowing and so there are not too many photos. If the weather is nice and you have more time, you can explore (some of) the 105 churches and almost 10,0000 rock caves carved into the stone. And certainly also chill out wonderfully by the river ...

-Factor: ♡♡♡♡

Starting point: Von Ihlara

Finishing Point: Selime Cathedral

Duration: 3 h

Distance: 10,6 km

Difference in altitude: 130 m uphill and 220 m downhill

Refreshment stops: There are several small stands along the way where you can get freshly squeezed juice, tea or coffee. In Belisirma, a rustic restaurant right by the water invites you to enjoy a traditional meal.

Level of difficulty: red

GPS data on Komoot - you have to log in to see it: GPS-Daten auf Komoot

Getting there: It's a bit tricky to do this hike by public transport. My recommendation would be to take a rental car to Ihlara.

Now there are two options either you do the hike there and back as it is very flat except for the entrance to the valley, it is not really strenuous or you take a taxi from Selime back to Ihlara. Unfortunately there is no Uber here.

Ihlara Valley In Cappadocia/Turkey up to 120 m deep

The Ihlara Valley on the border between Güzelyurt and Aksaray, as well as the whole landscape of Cappadocia, was formed by the volcanic eruptions of Mount Hasan. The Melendiz River has formed the valley: it flows through the Ihlara Valley, which is 14 km long and 100-120 metres deep, starting in the town of Ilisu and flowing northwest through the towns of Ihlara, Belisirma, Ziga, Yaprakhisar and Selime. It ends at the cathedral of Selime.

Getting started:

After arriving in the picturesque and colourful village of Ihlara, the walk begins, leading to a small waterfall and a pond. The villagers still fish in this part of the river and here the gorge begins to narrow. Continue along the river with lush trees surrounded by steep rock walls on both sides. There are several hidden cave churches carved into the side walls - Here you can admire some with beautiful frescoes depicting scenes from the New Testament.

Halfway along the route, at the foot of the village of Belisirma, is a good place to have lunch by the river.

Lunch in Belisirma in the Ihlara Valley in Cappadocia/Turkey

The local restaurants offer a hearty feast of traditional local dishes. After lunch, continue on more remote trails until you reach the village of Selime. This part of the walk looks very different as the gorge widens and many farmers use the land to grow vegetables or graze their cows, donkeys and sheep. The trail ends in the village of Selime - if time permits, be sure to visit the stunning Selime Monastery at the top of the valley.

Now there are two options: either you do the hike there and back, as it is not really strenuous except for the entrance to the valley, or you take a taxi from Selime back to Ihlara. Unfortunately there is no Uber here.


General information and some photos and films for a first impression are available at:

I will tell you about 4 hikes with GPS data in the next blogs:


From the airport in Kayseri (ASR) it takes one hour by bus to Göreme, which is the best starting point for all adventures.

Maximum flexibility? Then a rental car is a good idea; these can be rented relatively cheaply directly at the airport (research, for example, at Caution: Many hotels are in small alleys and have no parking space. It's best to ask beforehand


April to May and September to October are the best times for an active holiday in Cappadocia.

Spring is beautifully green and there are lots of flowers, but the humidity can make it hazy.

In autumn, nature is parched and brown, but the air is clear and the weather tends to be more stable.


The travel guides I found are out of date. The most recent one is from 2016. There are no printed hiking guides (at least I couldn't find any).


So far there is no detailed walking map (at least I couldn't find one) of Cappadocia.

There is not really good map material yet I have saved some tours with GPS data on my blog

If this is too wild for you, you can also book a hiking guide.


Ali is a Turkish original with Berlin roots, or the other way around. His family comes from Cappadocia and he came back 30 years ago. Since then he has been showing visitors his country with a great sense of humour and in perfect German.

Ali Kaya +90 532 614 4132 (WhatsApp),

Bilal also speaks perfect German, can be booked for hiking and sightseeing.

Bilal Coskun +90 533 719 99 42 (WhatsApp),


Hiking shoes with a good tread, rain and sun protection, and - for cooler days - warm clothes are recommended. Göreme is situated at 1104 m. We had sub-zero temperatures and snow at the beginning in March.

Click on the first picture to see the beautiful Henna Hotel


The Henna Hotel is so Influencer-worthy that we hardly dared to book there. Balloons fly over a perfectly appointed terrace with fresh fruit and silver teapots that look like Aladdin's magic lamp. A 400-year-old tea room in velvety green and with stained glass windows resembles my idea of 1001 Nights luxury.

muhammara at Seten Restazrant Göreme

The rooms are beautiful, the staff super helpful, the breakfast a rich blast and although the hotel was always booked up, the roof terrace was never crowded. Priceless? Not even that: double rooms with breakfast start at 45€ in low season.

At Hotel Utopia in Ürgüp you can sleep in original cave rooms. These look super great, but are not necessarily something if you don't like narrow rooms and want to sleep with an open window at night.

The hotel has a great hammam and delicious breakfast is served on the roof terrace. The only drawback is that the balloons rarely pass by here.


Our absolute favourite restaurant with mega scenery and rooftop bar is Seten in Göreme. We found the meze particularly delicious - especially the muhammara made of peppers, tomatoes with pomegranate and walnuts.

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