Goreme – Fairy Chimneys and Cave Hotels

Goreme – Fairy Chimneys and Cave Hotels

Goreme, a town of troglodytes, cave hotels and fairy chimneys was the first stop on our mini-tour of Turkey. Located in Cappadocia, Central Anatolia, it sits slap bang in the middle of the country and is home to rock-cut churches adorned with ancient Christian frescoes, underground cities and unique volcanic rock formations.

Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey

After getting up at ouch o’clock, two flights and a dusty bus drive later, we were more than happy to arrive at our Cappadocia hotel, The Kelebek Special Cave Hotel (kelebek means butterfly in Turkish). We’d booked late but managed to bag three nights in this gorgeous boutique cave hotel; we’d have to change rooms after the first night, but this wasn’t a problem; in fact it turned out to be a bonus. Hassan welcomed us and, as we checked-in, he dropped into the conversation that we’d been upgraded to a fairy chimney for the first night. Result! But wait, the website said the two fairy chimney rooms had shared bathroom facilities – this would be a major problem for Mr Jones. There was no need for concern, though, we’d been upgraded to the Presidential Fairy Chimney suite, the mother of all Fairy Chimneys. With en suite. Excited? Me? You bet!

Goreme, Cappadocia

View over Goreme

What is a Fairy Chimney?

You’re probably wondering by now what a fairy chimney is, so here goes with the topography. Cappadocia and the area around it is made up of valleys, canyons and large areas of volcanic rock. Over time the soft lava covering, known as tuff, has been eroded by strong winds, weather and flood-waters to create bizarrely shaped peaks known as fairy chimneys. These come in various shapes; cone, pointy, capped, pinnacled and in some cases remarkably phallic. The rock is soft, like pumice stone, and has been hollowed out for centuries to form these unusual dwellings.

Fairy Chimney Hotel Room

Fairy Chimney Hotel Room

The door on the right leads to our room, which was originally the wine-press – somewhat proper we thought! The Fairy Chimney was much more spacious inside than we’d imagined; it housed a seated fireplace area, balcony, en suite, entrance area and bedroom. I just loved the quirkiness of it all.

Kelebek Fairy Chimney Room

Our bed for the night

There were some lovely decorative touches to the room; locally made Turkish rugs and artefacts, a pair of traditional leather boots hanging on the wall and hand-carved wooden furniture. We were absolutely delighted with our unexpected stay in a Fairy Chimney – and the reason for our upgrade? The previous occupants didn’t like that there was no television in the room…

Fairy Chimney Room, The Kelebek, Goreme

Our Room

I can’t recommend The Kelebek Special Cave Hotel enough, the hotel itself is totally charming with a lovely restaurant and bar offering stunning views over Goreme town which is about 5 minutes walk away. There are 31 rooms including cave rooms, arch rooms, suites and fairy chimneys and prices vary per night and include breakfast. There is a small outdoor pool with sunbeds, a quiet garden and Turkish bath with various treatments available. The service at the Kelebek was excellent, food superb and attention to detail second to none. The staff was incredibly helpful recommending which tours would make sure we got the most from our visit. Staying at The Kelebek was one of the highlights of our trip to Turkey and is a Goreme cave hotel that I’d definitely recommend.

Check rates and availability for the Kelebek Special Cave Hotel

Kelebek Cave Hotel, Goreme

Kelebek Cave Hotel, Goreme

There are many types of accommodation available in Goreme from boutique cave hotels, rooms and backpacker hostels; something to suit every budget. The bus station in the centre of town provides extensive transport links to many areas of Turkey and Kayseri airport is just over an hour’s drive from the town. Many accommodations offer a free one-way airport transfer with the purchase of tours and balloon flights. Although Goreme is a small town there is no shortage of restaurants, cafes and bars and we ate some excellent food during our visit. More posts to come covering our stay in Goreme include our dawn balloon flight, exploring Derinkuyu underground city and the perfect Turkish breakfast.

Fairy Chimneys, Goreme

Fairy Chimneys, Goreme

Fairy-chimney-hotel

 

A Mini Tour of Turkey – two week itinerary

A Mini Tour of Turkey – two week itinerary

View of Istanbul from the Bosphoros

Istanbul from the Bosphoros

A Mini Tour of Turkey

September saw us set off for a two week tour of Turkey, a new destination for me, and one I knew little about. The more research I did the more I realised how much there is to this fascinating country. We had just two weeks and wanted to combine sightseeing, relaxation and city exploration all the while photographing and eating our way around the country. Two weeks gave us time to just scratch the surface. Here’s the itinerary for our tour of Turkey.

Goreme, Cappadocia

After flying into Istanbul we took a flight to Kayseri in the centre of the country.  We then transferred to Goreme in a region called Cappadocia in central Anatolia and stayed three nights here, the first in a ‘Fairy Chimney’ in the most charming boutique cave hotel in Goreme.  We explored the underground cave town of Derinkuyu, hiked through some incredible volcanic rock formations, had the most perfect breakfast of my life and took a dawn hot air balloon flight with around 80 other balloons. A memory I’ll always treasure.

Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey

Rose Valley, Cappadocia

Pamukkale

The next leg of our tour of Turkey took us from Goreme to Pamukkale in Denizli. It was a pretty gruesome 8.5 hour drive by night bus but worth every bone crunching, sleep-deprived minute to see Pamukkale’s incredible Cotton Castle. The white terraces are formed from calcium carbonate which eventually hardens and forms travertine pools.  People have bathed here for thousands of years.

Hierapolis

Nearby is the archaeological town of Hierapolis with amphitheatre, necropolis, monumental gates and ancient ruins. We had one night in Pamukkale in a lovely little family run hotel. Our room that looked like a set from a 70s porn film – not that I would know! The gigantic four-poster bed swathed in burgundy sequinned drapes and bedspread needs to be seen to be believed!

Cotton Castle, Pamukkale, Turkey

Travertines, Pamukkale

Bodrum

From Pamukkale we travelled down to the coast to Bodrum – another bus journey but this time only 4.5 hours and in daylight which meant we could take in some of Turkey’s scenery en-route.  We had five nights in Bodrum and a chance to kick back and relax.  We spent our time wandering the town searching out little bars and cafes, a day on a boat and a day in the hospital.  Best laid plans…

Watching your back - Turkish Eyes

Turkish eyes – watching your back

Istanbul

From Bodrum we flew back to where we arrived; Istanbul was the destination for our last two nights.  A lot was crammed into two days. We explored The Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque, the curiously creepy Basilica Cistern, and took a boat trip on the Bosphorus.  A morning spent at Topkapi Palace wasn’t nearly long enough and the hectic Spice Bazaar and Grand Bazaar were an assault on the senses. We dived into some delicious sweet treats while exploring Istanbul’s sweet side and enjoyed general wanderings and explorations.

Sultan Ahmed (Blue Mosque), Istanbul

Sultan Ahmed (Blue Mosque), Istanbul

Our Tour of Turkey

Here’s our route for our mini tour of Turkey. Straight lines are flights, wiggly lines are road routes.

Map of our mini Turkey Tour

Are you planning a trip to Turkey? If you have any questions or need any tips drop me a line. I’m happy to help where I can.