As you weave through the bizarre rock kingdoms in Cappadocia, a region in Turkey’s Central Anatolia, magic hangs in the air. Among the immense fairy chimneys and clusters of cave dwellings, one half expects a unicorn to wander past. Or a dragon to fly overhead. “Oh, hello there! Given anyone a good scorching today?”
This could be a fantasy novel setting, but it’s a real-life city, and it goes by the name of Göreme. One of the most popular destinations in Cappadocia, Göreme boasts silver screen–worthy scenery and oozes with charm, but above all offers some of Turkey’s best adventure activities. From hot air ballooning to ATVing, Göreme’s got it—and with jaw-dropping photo ops to boot.
Area archaeologists recently discovered that a sprawling subterranean city in Cappadocia that had been previously unearthed during construction work might be the most extensive in the world. Stretching five million square feet, the underground spectacle, once cleared of its rubble and opened to the public, is bound to change tourism to Cappadocia forever.
But before it does, sneak in a visit and experience Göreme’s soon-to-be-overshadowed aboveground attractions. Below the surface, Cappadocia impresses, to be sure. But above, Cappadocia is at its most enchanting. Visitors could easily spend an entire week here, but for those short on time, just one day will do. Here’s how to spend 24 perfect hours in Göreme.
Ann Babe is a New York City-based writer who loves the unexpected adventure. She has contributed to Conde Nast Traveler, Forbes, Techonomy, and Language Magazine, among other publications.