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car rental vs guided tour for 2.5 days

San Francisco
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car rental vs guided tour for 2.5 days

So I will be staying in Goreme for 2.5 days in the end of May. From reading other posts on this forum, it seems the best way to see as much as possible is to rent a car one day and do a guided tour the other.

1. Is it pretty easy to rent a car once you get to Goreme? Once I get there, will I be able to reserve a car for the following day? What is the avg going price for one day? I have been quoted 50 euros for a manual car.

2. Arrival Day- See Goreme Open Air Museum, Red/Rose Valley, White/Love Valley

Car rental day- See Pasabag, Zelve open air museum, Devrent Valley, and Uchisar castle

Guided Tour Day- Green Tour Derinkuyu underground city, Ihlara valley, Yaprakhisar, Selime monastery, Pigeon valley viewpoint

Am I able to fit in anything else? Soganli Valley? Mustafapasa? Should I just rental the car for both days and do everything on my own?

Thanks!

Dan

Lisbon, Portugal
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1. Re: car rental vs guided tour for 2.5 days

You can rent a car in Göreme, it usually costs 100TL per day for one with manual transmission.

Your plan makes sense. Depending on what time you arrive, you should be definitely able to go to the open air museum (1-2 hrs depending on how crowded it is). If you walk on from open air museum to Kaya camping and then walk down through Meskendir valley to Red and Rose valleys, it'll take you about 3 hours. Walking in White and Honey (Love) valleys will take at least another 2 hours with getting there and then getting back to Göreme, so I'm not sure you'll have enough time for that. It might be a better idea to go to the real Love valley which is just behind Göreme, you can walk through it it in less than an hor, ending your walk at the sunset point above Göreme.

You should also go to Soganli valley and Mustafapasa when you rent a car, after Devrent valley go to Ürgüp and from there to Mustafapasa and Soganli. On your way between Göreme and Pasabag you should also go to the old village of Cavusin and climb up to see the biggest and oldest church in the area, it's worth it.

Going on the Green tour to see Derinkuyu, Selime and Ihlara is also a good idea. The total distance is about 200 km, and as fuel is quite expensive in Turkey and on the tour entrance fees and lunch are included.

Rochester Hills...
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2. Re: car rental vs guided tour for 2.5 days

We just got back from there. Also stayed in Goreme at the Kelebek (they were extremely helpful in figuring out our itinerary once we got there). This is what we did.

Day One: Walk to Goreme Open Air Museum. Hiked through Sword, Rose and Red Valleys, ending up in Cavusin. Walked up to the "top" of Cavusin (you'll understand when you get there, the rock looks like the Coliseum kind of and you can walk up to the top of it). Took Dolmus back to Goreme (you catch it from the side of the main road, not from the center of the city, just ask when you're there and people will point the way).

Day two: Rented a car through the Kelebek Hotel for 60 TL for a manual (fit our family of 4 just fine). Drove to Avanos (to get gas) then down through Nevsehir and to Kaymakli Underground city. We chose that underground city after a discussion at the Kelebek because that is the one we were guaranteed to be able to get a guide at the entrance. We were told to ask for "Uncle Mustafa" but he had just left to take some people on a tour so we went with Shakir (older gentleman) and had a nice time. 50TL for him guiding our family for 55 minutes in the city. From there we drove to Soganli Valley and hiked through it, visiting the churches. Had lunch there beside the river under flowing almond trees....NOT at the restaurant "at the parking lot" but at the restaurant that is on the left side of the ride as you pull in and pay your ticket price as you enter the valley (again, this will make perfect sense when you're there). Owner was super nice and gave us "extras" and food was fabulous and bathrooms were super clean.

From there we wandered up to Mustafapasha (could have stopped at a monastery on the way and also the Roman ruins, but didn't). Scenery was really nice all along the way and we enjoyed the rural atmosphere and the farmers all working in the field. There were more tractors on the road than cars, so driving was SUPER easy the whole way. Went through downtown (go "downhill" to get to the old Greek part) then drove under an aqueduct (?) and ended up at a greek monastery or church or something. Goofed around there and had fun (getting stuck, scaring ourselves with the heights). Drove through Urgup and got out a few places to have a look. After that we drove to Honey/Love valley and hiked into it. Got back to Goreme just before sunset. Driving was absolutely no problem. We liked the freedom of spending more time where we wanted and skipping things that weren't interesting.

Day Three: We did a 2 hour ATV trip (which was really fun, especially with teenaged boys) through Hitchhikers (you'll see them in downtown Goreme). They also had a 4 hour. Mostly we did this just for our teenagers to have fun, but it ended up being a great way to see a couple of valleys we hadn't while hiking, and also to see valleys we HAD seen from different views. You stop several times to explore on foot. After this we went hiking up the valley behind Goreme....ahhhh, what is it called? The one that leads up to Uchisar. I would have loved to hiked all the way up to Uchisar and brought the dolmus back, but my family was revolting by this point to hike any further. It would have made more sense to hike DOWN from Uchisar.

Rochester Hills...
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3. Re: car rental vs guided tour for 2.5 days

I should add that we chose not to do the Ihlara Valley tour because in the end it seemed like "just a valley" and not anything really specific to this part of the world. And my kids were sick of "more churches" (again, you'll understand when you get there). We honestly had the most fun hiking by ourselves and exploring things all alone with our flashlights so we could have a fun time. TAKE A SMALL FLASHLIGHT WITH YOU!!!! We really aren't tour bus type people at all, so it didn't appeal to us. For the price of the tours, we would have rented a car for a second day for our family of 4.

One thing that, in retrospect, might have been interesting would have been to do a GOOD guided hike of the Zelve Open Air Museum (if you like climbing and scrambling around and exploring).

San Francisco
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4. Re: car rental vs guided tour for 2.5 days

Thanks for replying guys!!

Mia- Will I be able to do Pasabag, Zelve open air museum, Devrent Valley, Uchisar castle, Cavusin, Soganli Valley, and Mustafapasa in one day?

DrDebi- I am also staying at Kelebek hotel and they have quoted me 50euros for one day. You paid 60TL?

Good tip on the flash light! I will be sure to bring one. Are road signs pretty well posted that you won't get lost driving from one place to another?

Thanks!

Rochester Hills...
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5. Re: car rental vs guided tour for 2.5 days

We found the flashlights to be seriously invaluable. The best thing you can possibly take to Cappadocia!

Talk to the front desk at the Kelebek. I think as Americans we tend to think that travel services offered through a hotel are going to be more expensive or some kind of rip-off, but that is absolutely NOT the case in Cappadocia and certainly not at the Kelebek. They actually got us a rate for the ATVs that was 15 TL less per person than what Hitchhikers tried to quote us.

When you check in at the Kelebek they'll take you to your room, then have you come back down to the front desk and they'll help you plan what you want to do and how you want to do it (on foot, by tour bus, renting a car....). They are incredibly helpful. Ali is the owner and he is great if you talk to him. We ended up talking a lot to Ulan (sounds like the Disney movie "Mulan") because I think he tended to be there in the evenings when we were haunting the front desk with a thousand questions. Super friendly young guy and really helpful. Ask and ask and ask questions. He helped us set up our hikes for the first day with a map and showing us what landmarks to look for, etc. Then the second day he showed us on the map the two recommended routes for our driving day. Basically either a loop including Ihlara valley, or a loop not (we did the "not"). We had a long discussion with him about the pros and cons of each of the underground cities you can visit, etc. and that helped me far more than all the guidebooks I had read. The rental car agency that they work with had cars starting at 60 TL for a small manual. Oddly, the rental agency (that's who you actually paid the money to, not the Kelebek) wanted cash only, no credit cards, so make sure you have cash on hand. They took my husband's USA driver's license with no problem. The 60 TL car was some kind of little....Dachia? Something like that. My husband is an engineer for GM and my teen boys are car enthusiasts also and they were stumped as to that brand of car. The nice thing was they brought the car to the hotel in the morning at whatever time you want (we rolled out the door at 9 am) and when you're done you just park it outside the door and leave the keys at the Kelebek front desk. If you use the same rental company, they might bring the car to you basically empty (ours was) and you return it empty. We drove around Goreme for a few minutes on fumes before asking a tour bus driver where the gas station was.....turns out you have to drive to Avanos or Nevsehir. So we headed first to the gas station.

The maps with notes that Ulan helped us with were absolutely fine for navigating around the area. He even told us helpful things like "Driving through Nevsehir is the one part that can be a little confusing, so watch carefully" -- and we had no problems. And "the monastery might be closed because the man who runs it lives in Uchisar for the winter and I don't think he's moved out there yet, but check and see". :)

Rochester Hills...
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6. Re: car rental vs guided tour for 2.5 days

If you're hiking the Sword-Rose-Red valleys the first day after Goreme Open Air Museum, you will naturally end up in Cavusin. When you funnel out of Red/Rose valley (never could figure out which was which) you end up on a dirt road, walk through a cemetery, and then end up in the heart of Cavusin. So you won't need to do that the day you have a car. Ulan showed us that from Cavusin we could continue on with our hike to Pashabag (?) and Zelve Open Air Museum, but by that point we were DONE.

When you're looking for the dolmus (bus) in Cavusin, walk "downhill" toward the main raid. Just keep asking people "dolmus?" and they'll point the way. There's nothing marking a stopping point, just look for people standing by the side of the road at an intersection. You'll want to be on the side of the road the dolmus will be on heading toward Goreme. I think the fare was something like 2.5TL and you pay in cash on the bus AFTER you sit down (not the driver, a kid will come around to collect it once the bus is moving again).

What's interesting, is after the first day, go back to the front desk at the Kelebek and talk to them (again, Ali the owner is great, and I also really recommend Ulan) so you can kind of readjust your plans for the next day. After the Goreme Open Air Museum we realized what Ali said when he told us "Then we'll talk about whether you want to see more churches or less churches!" We were in the "less churches!" category for our family, so it was easy to cross Ihlara Valley off our list. If you like scrambling around, tell them that, or if you like hiking or want to see villages or WHATEVER and they'll help to point you in the right direction. When we got back we asked the guys at the front desk what all the "caves" were alongside the road that the farmers were very busy hauling potatoes in and out of, and got the whole explanation. Interesting! So they are really a great source of information. Use them!

Rochester Hills...
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7. Re: car rental vs guided tour for 2.5 days

not "main raid"......"main ROAD"! :D

Rochester Hills...
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8. Re: car rental vs guided tour for 2.5 days

One other thought......if you're crunched for time on your driving day, you can always take Uchisar off that day beause you can easily hike from Goreme to Uchisar through a super scenic valley. I would suggest taking the dolmus TO Uchisar and then hiking back downhill through Pigeon Valley to Goreme. You pass some cute little farms as you get back to Goreme. Also, right at the end of Pigeon Valley before you get to Goreme there are some fun (and accessible) caves to scramble around on your RIGHT. Again (always!) make sure your flashlight is with you (at the underground cities too, EVERYWHERE!).

San Francisco
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9. Re: car rental vs guided tour for 2.5 days

Hi Debi,

It was Kelebek hotel that referred me to Heritage Travel, which then quoted me 50euros. So is it better to wait til I get there before renting a car? I probably won't get to the hotel until 1pm. Will that be enough for them to get a car ready for me for the following day? I guess that's the only thing I am afraid of....

Thanks for your reply!

Sounds like I should leave everything kinda open until I arrive. All these different valleys are getting me confused without maps, but sounds like they will point me in the right direction!

Dan

Edited: 8:15 pm, April 11, 2013
Rochester Hills...
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10. Re: car rental vs guided tour for 2.5 days

The only thing you really need to set up in advance would be a balloon ride (we didn't do the balloon thing). Otherwise just wait until you get there. We arrived around 9 pm, and figured out our first day just fine. We probably told them at the front desk that we wanted a car rental for the next day at about 5 pm, and it wasn't a problem. Though the cheapest cars go first, so do let them know as soon as you get there.

The hiking makes more sense once you get there. The first day you'll probably do the GOAM - sword valley - rose valley - red valley - Cavusin. Sword valley has white rocks, Rose valley has pinkish rose rocks, Red Valley has the reddest rocks. There! See how easy it is!?! Pigeon Valley goes between Uchisar and Goreme. Love/Honey (the phallus valley) is the one you really need a car to get to easily. Look for the signs and maps in Rose/Red valley when you're hiking because they make a lot more sense of the trail markers. Just realize that "Cikis" means "exit" in Turkish, so watch out for trails that say "Cikis" because it means "the way to exit a trail" and you might end up in a remote parking lot!

When you're hiking in these valleys, take small bills (and your flashlight!) because there are little "cafes" that sell water and tea and fresh squeezed juice. In Rose (?) Valley there is a winery/cafe (that makes it sound far more grand than it is, and I couldn't figure out the winery part) that actually has really good food. Anywhere from complete multi course meals to sandwiches (you have to ask for the sandwiches, we did and they were BIG!). We refer to it as "the cafe that saved our lives" because we thought it would take far less time to get to Cavusin and we'd have lunch there. Instead we found ourselves lost in this valley without food or water, ready to kill and eat our young. The cafe appeared just in time to save our family from doom! :)