Güllüdere (Rose) Valley

Top choice in Göreme

The trails that loop around Güllüdere Vadısı (Rose Valley) are easily accessible to all levels of walkers and provide some of the finest fairy-chimney-strewn vistas in Cappadocia. As well as this, though, they hide fabulous, little-visited rock-cut churches boasting vibrant fresco fragments and intricate carvings hewn into the stone.

If you only have time to hike through one valley in Cappadocia, this is the one to choose.

Follow the signs from the Güllüdere Valley trailhead to the Kolonlu Kilise, chiselled out of a nondescript rock facade. Take the trail through the orchard and then cross the tiny bridge over the gully to enter the church's gloomy lower chamber. Climb up the staircase and you'll find a white stone nave studded with sturdy columns carved out of the rock.

From there, backtrack through the orchard and follow the main trail to the Haçlı Kilise, where the Cross Church Cafe with its shady terraces just below the entrance provides the perfect excuse for a hiking break. The church, accessed by a rickety wooden staircase, has frescoes dating to the 9th century on its apse and a spectacular large cross carved into its ceiling.

Head north from the Haçlı Kilise and, when the trail branches, take the right-hand path to reach the Üç Haçlı Kilise, with its stunning ceiling relief and damaged frescoes featuring an enthroned Jesus.