Balloons at dawn over fairy chimney rock formations.

Mark Read


Surrounded by epic sweeps of golden, moonscape valley, this remarkable honey-coloured village hollowed out of the hills has long since grown beyond its farming-hamlet roots. Although the central 'downtown' strip has suffered what can only be described as 'un-beautification' from a flurry of roadworks, which have partially concreted over the old canal, in the back alleys Göreme's charm has not diminished. Sure, new boutique cave hotels are constantly popping up everywhere, but tourists still have to stop for tractors trundling up narrow, winding streets where elderly ladies knit on sunny stoops. Nearby, the Göreme Open-Air Museum is an all-in-one testament to Byzantine life, while if you wander out of town you'll find storybook landscapes and little-visited rock-cut churches at every turn. With its easygoing allure and stunning setting, it's no wonder Göreme continues to send travellers giddy.


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