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Short Cappadocia stop

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I wiped out my earlier post, so this one will be shorter...

I have a few days after an Istanbul conference in late June and have decided to travel solo to Goreme. I'm a 50+ year old female who loves the outdoors. My first visit to Turkey.

I can fly into NAV arr 8:30am Sunday morning and fly out of ASR at 7;20pm on Monday. My flight back to the US is around noon on Tuesday, so I'm playing it safe overnighting by IST.

I am thinking of either spending the day on my own--open air museum, walking a valley (which one?), hiring a local driver or taxi where/if needed.
An alternative is a half-day walking tour of Pigeon and Love valleys if on offer that day. Another alternative is guided 2hr Red valley walk that ends up at the sunset point. I expect it will be hot, so I'm thinking 2-4 hours is enough walking. I can also get a walk as part of a group tour the next day, but that means fewer sights on the full-day tour on Monday.
Any suggestions of best activities solo from Goreme? Anyone taken one of the short or half-day walking tours? Favorite valley walk?

Up early on Monday to watch sunrise and balloons if weather cooperates (I will not be taking balloon ride). Best to go to sunset point? Somewhere else early like one of the valleys?

I am considering a group tour this day to get to sights further afield.

Which has the best variety, do you think? (I know I won't see everything in such short time)
1.Hike in Rose Valley (3 km); Pasabag - Monks Valley; Kaymakli Underground City
2.Red and Rose Valley . Cavusin Village,Kaymakli Underground City Uchisar; Cappadocia Handcraft Center.
3 Hiking in Meskendir Valley and Rose Valley. Cavusin Village, Love Valley; Kaymaklı Underground City; Pigeon Valley;Uchisar Castle
I think some of these are really the same, just described differently.
Any questions I should pose to the companies besides the obvious--drive by, stop, or visit each listed site? Any shopping stops?

If I can't find anything that fits, I will consider hiring a private guide, but the cost is rather high for one person.

Now to book the plane ticket ($100 RT) and look at hotels!

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    I'm not sure I fully understand your questions, and perhaps it's too late, but FWIW: Pasabag is, IMO, extraordinary, and the walk from there to Cavusin would (I think) give you a nice exposure to the geology of the area. I would skip the handcraft center. If you can fit an underground city it, go for it! Try to make some time for the Goreme Outdoor Museum, too -- the murals are worth seeing.

    Hope that helps!

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    Sorry to be so vague--symptom of my confusion in trying to choose the few highlights I can see in 1.5 days traveling solo and accidently deleting my original post. I've booked the flights, so now have Sunday later afternoon/evening and Monday until an evening flight back to IST.

    I am thinking I have 3 or 4 options for Sunday late afternoon:
    1. going to Goreme open air museum. It is open until 7pm. Seems easy enough on my own.
    2. get a taxi/bus to Uchisar and walk back through Pigeon Valley on my own. Is this safe? Interesting enough scenery or save walking for other valley?
    3. hire a driver through my hotel to drive me to various points and valleys for me to walk and photograph, then drive me back. I'd need a reasonable list in terms of stops such as Love Valley, etc. and route.
    4. One tour company that runs walks may have one that I could join for 2 hr Red Valley ending up at Sunset Point.

    For the full day, I either join a group tour or plan my own independent.
    I like getting up early and walking before the heat of the day, so a short walk would be possible before a 9-10am group tour pickup or I can choose a tour that includes walking. The group tours that do not include Goreme Open Air (assuming I go on my own on Sunday) are as follows. It looks like you would recommend #1 based on the description. They may be the same, just different description.

    1.Hike in Rose Valley (3 km); Pasabag - Monks Valley; Kaymakli Underground City
    2.Red and Rose Valley . Cavusin Village,Kaymakli Underground City Uchisar
    3 Hiking in Meskendir Valley and Rose Valley. Cavusin Village, Love Valley; Kaymaklı Underground City; Pigeon Valley;Uchisar Castle

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    I think you would do well to consider spending your time on Sunday afternoon in / around the Goreme Open Air Museum. Particularly if you are staying in Goreme, it is very easy to get there (maybe a 10 or 15 minute walk from the center of town along a major road), and it has some very impressive murals -- things you won't see in the other options you identify. I'm sure you are aware that the area is known for the paintings in the interiors carved into "fairy chimneys" and some of the finest are in this park. If it helps you plan, I spent a few hours in the park itself. Too, there's a pleasant little valley just to the Goreme-side of the Goreme Museum, entrance to the left as you are walking back to town. You can walk in about a mile and then turn back. I think it was Zemi Valley, but I'm not positive, and I'm not sure it matters as I don't remember a sign.

    For your full day, I think it would make sense to choose an option that

    (a) includes one of the underground cities -- I also chose Kaymakli and it suited my needs well; even if you go on your own, do get a guide for the underground city itself -- there a number of features that are quite interesting that you might not otherwise notice or understand) and

    (b) includes amazing Pasabag.

    So yes, of the 3 options you outline, my personal preference would be #1. BUT I'm not sure you would err with either of the other choices -- it is an amazing part of the world!

    FWIW, I wasn't that impressed with Cavusin, but I'm sure it depends on context.

    If you can get to the Devrent Valley, that's another option you might want to pursue. That particular valley isn't really for hiking -- you just go to look out at the very unusual shapes into which the rock has been carved. You might just ask a taxi to take you there, give you 15 minutes, and then return to Goreme. Or, if you take your full day on your own, I believe, it is close to Pasabag -- but do confirm that!

    I (solo female traveler) did not feel unsafe walking alone anywhere in Cappadocia when I was there in 2012. I can't say whether things have changed or if you will feel the same. FWIW, I am increasingly aware of the risks of solo hiking (e.g., should I twist an ankle), so you might want to make sure that you are going at a time when other people are likely to be about and/or that someone knows your plans. Just a thought....

    IMO -- and its no more than that -- one could spend days walking the different valleys of the area and finding, and savoring, differences among them. That said, the differences between valleys are, I think, generally less pronounced than the commonalities among them, so I left the area thinking that WHICH valley one hikes is probably less important than how that hike fits in with one's other plans.

    In case it helps, here's a relevant excerpt from my trip report:

    "I arranged with my B&B to have someone leave me off at the Zelve Open Air Museum (where I spent about 1.5 hours) and then walked back to Goreme. The route is marked on a map that many local places seem to provide. It goes through Pasabag, where I spent about 1/2 hour, and then on to Cavusin, where I stopped briefly for tea. You then walk through a valley, with various options for exploring side valleys (e.g., the rose and red valleys), before heading back to Goreme. Unfortunately, I missed the turn-off, and so added about an hour to my hike. I ended at my hotel, after crossing the road to the Goreme Open Air Museum at a point that I think was about 10 minutes to the museum (but I can't swear to that). All told, my walk from the start of the Zelve Open Air Museum to Goreme took somewhere between 6.5 and 7 hours, including the time I spent at the museum and a LOT of time for taking photographs. I'm sure someone could walk it more rapidly if one wanted to do so. Or you could take longer, if you explore all the interesting side valleys or climb up to ridges for views, etc." (NOTE that I visited Kaymakli on a different day.)

    Enjoy!

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    Thanks for taking the time to give me such detailed feedback. Just what I need.

    I've settled on the SOS hotel. They have a stone room with balcony available at a good price (I prefer to cave room). I now have air and hotel. I'll book the shared airport shuttle.

    I think I will plan for the afternoon/evening on my own. Hopefully Goreme Open Air. Then decide on the group tour or private guide. I think the group tour #1 sounds best to me, too. I think it is Heritage Tours.

    I know what you mean about being more cautious. I've read the stories of people falling off a jogging trail and rolling down a hill not far from houses, not to be found for days. I have many times taken solo hikes in national parks and similar because I won't let being on my own prevent me from seeing some amazing sights; however, I do try to be prudent, bringing emergency supplies and preferably a cellphone signal.

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