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Hike the Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia in Winter

Head to Turkey to walk through ancient valleys, float above unique landscapes in a hot air balloon and sleep in a cosy cave hotel

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Trip Ref #10676

Hike the Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia in Winter

Head to Turkey to walk through ancient valleys, float above unique landscapes in a hot air balloon and sleep in a cosy cave hotel

DURATION
4 nights
LOCATION
Turkey
ANNUAL LEAVE
3 days off work
SEASON
Dec-Mar
GROUP SIZE
Up to 14 people
MEETING POINT
Kayseri Erkilet Airport
ACCOMMODATION
Comfort

Boutique Hotel

OVERALL RATING

4.5

Based on 2 reviews
DIFFICULTY
Easy

Gentle activity and culture combined. Some short hikes with possible sub-zero temperatures; a basic level of fitness will handle it all

Hike among ‘fairy chimneys’ and explore cave cities in the UNESCO-listed Cappadocia region – without the crowds

Choose to fly in a hot air balloon at sunrise, or watch the dreamy spectacle from the rooftops of Göreme

Cook regional dishes with a local family in their authentic Cappadocian home for a traditional Turkish evening

Bunk down in a cave hotel with views over the jaw-dropping Rose Valley and indulge in the ritual of a Turkish bath

Day 1

Touch down in Turkey

Hoşgeldiniz – welcome to Turkey! Your host will collect you from Kayseri Airport and transfer you to your hotel in Göreme, a fairytale hamlet in the heart of Cappadocia. Your base for the next four nights is a cosy, boutique cave hotel, a restoration of unique historical ruins. Enjoy some free time to wander around the picturesque town before sunset, including an optional visit to the UNESCO-listed Göreme Open Air Museum – a splendid cluster of monastic Byzantine artistry with rock-cut churches, chapels and monasteries. Take in the breathtaking views of snow-capped houses cut into the rock from the panoramic terrace of your hotel, then join your fellow travellers for a welcome drink and dinner.

Day 2

Hike amongst Cappadocia's iconic fairy chimneys

Hiking

3hrs · 7.5km · 180m up · 180m down

Enjoy a relaxed breakfast, then head out to explore the White and Honey Valleys (the latter is also more popularly referred to as the 'Love Valley'). Set off on your first short hike amongst the iconic fairy chimneys that Cappadocia is famous for: there are hundreds of these towering rocks, formed by volcanic ash over millions of years ago and eroded by the wind. Hiking here in winter is incredibly picturesque – not only will you avoid the summer crowds, but the views of these rock formations dusted in snow (weather depending!) is even more magical. Warm up with a hot meal and head to Uchisar Castle for jaw-dropping moonscape views of Cappadocia. Back in Göreme, you'll be welcomed by a local family in their house for an authentic Turkish evening – cosy up and help your hosts fire up a traditional dinner, then head back to your comfortable hotel for the night.

Day 3

Explore the Red and Meskendir Valleys and indulge in a Turkish Bath

Hiking

2.5hrs · 5km · 400m up · 580m down

Wake before sunrise for an unforgettable, bucket-list experience (optional; payable locally) – a hot air balloon ride, floating above the historic cave dwellings of Cappadocia. (Flights are always subject to weather conditions, so you'll have a few chances to try it until your departure day, should today's trip get cancelled.) If you're not a fan of heights, you can always enjoy the dreamy spectacle from the rooftop terrace of your hotel. Later, hike through the Red and Meskendir valleys, exploring the pinkish-red glow of these surreal rock formations, ancient cave churches and natural tunnels. Reach Çavuşin Old Roman village by lunchtime and explore the rock-cut dwellings and elegantly carved stone houses here, dating back to 150 BC. This afternoon, you'll have a few free hours at leisure before indulging in a quintessential Turkish experience – a traditional hammam ritual, including a blissful scrub and massage session in a Turkish cave bath.

Day 4

Derinkuyu underground city and Ihlara Valley

Hiking

3hrs · 7km · 100m up · 200m down

Start the day early and drive to the impressive site of Derinkuyu, an ancient, multi-level, underground city of the Median Empire which extends to a depth of around 85 metres. It is large enough to have sheltered as many as 20,000 people, together with their livestock and food stores, and to date, it is the largest excavated underground city in Turkey. After your visit, drive to the Ihlara Valley for a final trek into the canyon along spectacular rugged walls, water streams and ancient monasteries carved into the rock. Back at the hotel, warm up with a hot shower or bath and toast your adventure with your group!

Day 5

Goodbye Cappadocia!

Your adventure comes to an end after breakfast. Bid farewell to your fellow adventurers before you’re transferred to the airport in time for your onward journey home. As most international flights from Kayseri Airport fly via Istanbul, you may also decide to extend your winter adventure with some extra days in one of the greatest cities in the world!

Included

Guides

Expert, English-speaking local guide

Accommodation

4 nights in a boutique cave hotel

Meals

All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 3 dinners

Transfers

To and from the airport and everything in between

Equipment

Crampons, should snow and ice conditions require them

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

Visas where required

Day 1

Boutique Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Boutique Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3

Boutique Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4

Boutique Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

The food in Turkey is more than just your classic kebab, with traditional and local meals as varied as the country's history. Many dishes make good use of seasonal vegetables, with fresh bread always in easy reach. A classic Turkish breakfast (kahvalti) is a mezze-type affair with bread, butter, olives, white cheese, cucumber, tomatoes, jam and honey, alongside strong coffee or freshly brewed Turkish tea. For lunch or dinner, you could be served dolma (stuffed vegetables packed with rice, spices, pine nuts, and dried fruits) or lahmacun (flatbread topped with minced meat and seasoning). Many types of kebap or köfte are popular, along with sweet or savoury börek (filo-based pastries), followed by sweet specialities.

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for – please just request this on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Göreme

You'll spend all four nights at the comfortable, boutique Taskonak Hotel, right the the heart of the Cappadocia region. An authentic stone building dating from 1885, the property is built into the surrounding rock according to the regional architecture. It is within walking distance of the village's lively centre, with its bars and restaurants. You'll stay in en suite cave rooms on a twin-share basis, each of which blend unique design and charming furniture with comfort. The hotel also has a dining room, a bar and free WiFi, as well a beautiful rooftop terrace with breathtaking views over Rose Valley, one of the most beautiful valleys in Cappadocia.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Kayseri Erkilet Airport

Any time on Day 1

Ends

Kayseri Erkilet Airport

Any time on Day 5

Transfers

On Day 1, your host will meet you on arrival at Kayseri Airport and transfer you to your hotel in the city. The guide will hold a meeting for the group at the hotel around 6pm, before a welcome dinner at a local restaurant, so a flight arrival by 4pm is recommended. On Day 5, your host will transfer you from Cappadocia to Kayseri Airport in time for your onward flight. Transfers will be arranged at set times depending on the arrival/departures times of the rest of the group – so occasionally there may be some waiting time, should the other travellers in your group be arriving and departing at slightly different times than you. If your flight time does not match the arranged pick-up services, there are also regular buses connecting the airport with Göreme (journey time approximately 1hr 15 mins and €5 per person).

For those arriving early, or wanting to stay on longer, extra nights at the hotel and private airport transfers can be arranged with your host at an additional cost. Please see Optional Extras for more information.

Travel options

There are indirect international flights to Kayseri from the UK, as well as direct and indirect flights from various major hubs in Europe which transit via Istanbul. If you wish to include an overnight stay in Istanbul, it may be cheaper to consider separate tickets with different airlines (e.g. Wizzair or other low cost airlines from the UK to Istanbul; then internal flights between Istanbul and Kayseri Airport with Turkish Airlines or others).

Alternatively, you can choose to fly into Nevsehir Airport (40 minutes away from Göreme) or travel from Istanbul to Göreme via an overnight bus – your host can arrange pick-up transfers from any place in Cappadocia on request. Please contact them for further info and ad hoc rates.

From the US, there are indirect flights from various major hubs which transit via Istanbul and Frankfurt.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

Ice crampons (should terrain conditions require them)

What do I need to bring?

BAGS

  • Soft overnight duffel bag or luggage
  • Daypack (20-30 litres)
  • Waterproof liner for kitbag/rucksack, or drybags

CLOTHES

  • Down jacket
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Breathable wicking layers
  • Fleece jacket or similar
  • Thermals (merino is best)
  • Warm hat
  • Gloves
  • Buff or neckscarf
  • Hiking trousers and shirts
  • Underwear and socks
  • Swimwear (for the Turkish baths)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sleepwear
  • Sturdy, waterproof hiking boots (worn-in)

OTHER

  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Ear plugs
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Headtorch or torch
  • Reusable water bottle x1 litre (or x2)
  • Energy bars and snacks - read our article on Best Hiking Snacks
  • Water purification tablets/filter system

You can read more about crampons and selecting the right boots here.

*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Additional Night in Göreme Twin/Double/Single Room

Payable Before Departure

Additional Night in Göreme Twin/Double/Single Room

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Transfer from/to Kayseri airport to/from Göreme (1-3 pax)

Payable Before Departure

Transfer from/to Kayseri airport to/from Göreme (1-3 pax)

Transfer from/to Nevsehir airport to/from Göreme (1-3 pax)

Payable Before Departure

Transfer from/to Nevsehir airport to/from Göreme (1-3 pax)

Linda H.
History, culture and food

Great trip to learn about the history and culture of the area combined with short hikes in amazing scenery. Sefa, our guide, was outstanding - really knowledgeable and great fun.

Yana B.
Beautiful Cappadocia and a great guide

Really loved Cappadocia, nice group and excellent guide. Shame about no snow or hot air balloons — it would be useful to adjust expectations for the next group and tweak the kit list.

We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 47kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity, ensuring the protection of the reserve and its wildlife.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

This is a relaxed trip that combines cultural exploration with relatively gentle activity. The hiking sections are short and will involve being on your feet for a maximum of four hours and with no significant ascents or descents involved. However icy, snowy or very cold weather conditions can make the going a bit slower, or slightly more challenging than usual.

To enjoy this trek you need to have an average level of fitness and no previous hiking experience is needed. Depending on the snow conditions, you may be walking with crampons (included and hired locally, if needed) and you will be shown how to use these effectively and safely.

Sure can! Over 70% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion but there is an expectation to tip for good service. Your guide will help with advice, however, we suggest the below as a guideline per person:

€20-25 per person for the trip

Of course, you are free to tip more or less, and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality – a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

The local tap water in Turkey is generally not safe to drink and at times heavy chlorination is used to purify the water often makes the taste unpalatable. Please bring along your own reusable water bottles (at least 1.5L) to fill up to avoid buying single-use plastic bottles and bring water purification tablets or a different purification system for extra safety. Please find more info here

Cappadocia is without doubt one of the most beautiful places in Turkey, and in winter you are in for a treat! Even just a light sprinkling of snow gives the landscape a magical, fairytale atmosphere and every view is quite simply breathtaking. Snow often falls from late November to early March, but in the desert it rarely snows everyday. However, even without snow, every activity included in the trip will still be equally worth it. Make sure you pack plenty of warm layers as temperatures often drop below zero.

A major added bonus is that winter is the perfect time to beat the crowds, so it's not unusual to share the trails only with a few other travellers. The quieter winter season allows your host to take you to some locations which would otherwise be too crowded to visit in the summertime. Travelling outside of the peak summer season also provides the opportunity for the local people to have year-round work, which is an important element in sustainable tourism.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

It rarely snows every day in Cappadocia between November and March, so it should be still easy to hike, explore and drive around without major disruptions. Overall, the choice of the route, the hiking distance and elevation is always decided by your local guide, taking into consideration group's fitness and the weather conditions, so small alterations can always take place with your safety in mind.

Riding in a hot air balloon above Cappadocia during winter is one of the most magical experiences you can have. Balloon flights operate all year round, but are always weather dependent: snowy, icy or windy conditions can increase the chance of it being cancelled – so for this reason, we haven't included it in the trip. Please let your host know when booking if you are interested in joining a hot air balloon flight. Your host will be able to provide all the details and exact pricing in the pre-departure information sent around two weeks before you go, and again during the first briefing, and will be able to arrange it for you.

Budget approximately €200-250 per person for the flight, which you'll pay locally to your host should the activity go ahead. A bonus of travelling in the winter months is that the cost for a hot air balloon flight is typically much lower than compared to the busy summer months. Given that you'll stay in Cappadocia for a few days, the chances that you get to fly are higher, but never 100% guaranteed. Remember, you’ll need to wrap up very warm if flying between November and March.

Most flights from Europe connect to Kayseri Airport via Istanbul so it's easy to plan an overnight stay or a few extra days in the city should you have the time. Occasionally, it may be cheaper to consider separate tickets with different airlines (e.g. Wizzair or other low-cost airlines from the UK to Istanbul, then internal flights between Istanbul and Kayseri Airport with Turkish Airlines or others).

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last-minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're always in good company on one of our adventures.

Our trips are typically made up of a mixture of solo travellers and small groups of 2 or 3 friends, with most in their 30s-50s.

Our sociable adventures are solo-friendly by design and naturally attract outdoorsy people with a shared mindset; a love for adventure, a desire to push themselves and meet awesome, like-minded people along the way.

It’s this camaraderie that has so often turned a great adventure into a life-changing one.

Don't just take our word for it:

  • 95% of people rate the group dynamics on our trips 5/5
  • 90% of people recommend joining a trip to make new friends
  • 75% of people have met people on our trips that they would now consider friends

See here for more info about the Much Better Adventures tribe.

Interested in a more exclusive experience? Opt for a 'Private Group' through the dates and prices tab to book this adventure for just you and your chosen companions.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

TRIP DEPARTURE DATES

March 2024

Wednesday • 6th March 2024

to Sunday • 10th March 2024
€1,060.00
4 Booked • 10 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 28th December 2024

to Wednesday • 1st January 2025
€1,110.00
6 Booked • 8 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Pay In Installments

You can choose to pay for this trip in as many installments as you like, with no interest or fees.

Full Financial Protection

Your money is safe. Every booking is fully financially protected.

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