Nature in Motion: Cycling Amid Kapadokya’s Fairy Chimneys
Located in the Central Anatolian region of Türkiye, Kapadokya is a unique geographical region and international tourist destination known for its stunning, rugged landscape. In 2019, nearly 4 million international visitors visited Kapadokya to marvel at its geological beauty, its history, and awe-inspiring attractions. A steadily growing number of these travellers have been coming to experience Kapadokya’s wonders in a new way - on bike! Many of these cyclists have found that the unbridled freedom one can find only on a bike makes cycling one of the best ways to kick-start any Kapadokya adventure.
Hit the road
Beginning one’s Kapadokya bike adventure is easier than it has ever been. For international visitors, the fastest way to reach Kapadokya is by plane. The region is served by two airports, Kayseri Erkilet Airport (ASR) and Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport (NAV), both within about an hour from one of the region’s town centres. Travelers can find multiple direct flights to both these airports flying out of Istanbul every day. Once in Kapadokya, there are many local companies that offer cycling tours to visitors. A range of different tours are available including road bike tours, single track mountain biking, and off-road adventure biking. Visitors are welcome to bring their own bikes; however, most local companies have high-quality bikes available for rent. Whatever one’s level or preferred style, Kapadokya has splendid options available for every cyclist.
The Kapadokya region offers a comprehensive array of entertaining routes for all types of cyclists. Due to the unique geography, Kapadokya is a true heaven for single track mountain biking. The diversity of topography allows for routes welcoming all levels from beginners to experienced mountain bikers. If speeding down rocky shutes is not for you, there are also many road bike routes which allow cyclists to cover a broader range of this legendary landscape. Meander through the winding Göreme valley, marvelling at the canyons, rock-cut houses, and churches, or even climb the shoulder of Erciyes volcano. Finally, if you are the type of cyclist that enjoys blazing one’s one trail, Kapadokya offers many offbeat trails for adventure biking. Wheeling down dirt tracks and village roads against a backdrop of rocky fairy chimneys makes one feel as if they are visiting a fantasy world. No matter what your preference, Kapadokya has the bike route for you!
Visit the rock-carved hotels
Surely one of the most striking features of Kapadokya’s landscape is the caves and hollows dotting the largest rock faces along its valleys and in its towns. These rock carvings accumulated over centuries, and were the primary dwellings for many of the region’s inhabitants throughout history. Nowadays, while locals no longer live in cave dwellings, in the towns of Ürgüp and Göreme some of the central rock carvings have been updated and outfitted with every modern accommodation for tourists who would like to have an enchanting cave hotel experience. After a long day of cycling through arid valleys and across rocky outcrops, the cool, relaxing sanctuary of a cave hotel bedroom is what every cyclist needs. For those staying overnight in Kapadokya, this is an experience not to be missed.
Experience the local cuisine
Situated in Central Anatolia, the heartland of Türkiye, all the trappings of the country’s famous cuisine can be found in Kapadokya. Mouth-watering mezes, sizzling kebabs, and rich desserts, like baklava, are readily available at the many restaurants in each town. The discerning tourist, however, would be delighted to try some of the region’s specialties. One delectable example is testi kebab, a mix of vegetables and meat placed into a clay pot, sealed with bread dough, and then slow cooked to maximize the flavor of each ingredient. When served, the clay pot is broken before the diner offering an experience that is both memorable and delicious. Kapadokya is also one of Türkiye’s largest wine-producing regions, with many wineries known for their high-quality products. One can taste the local wine for themselves before buying a bottle to take home as most wineries offer wine tasting options. With great restaurants, testi kebab, and famous local wines, Kapadokya has delicious dining and drink options to regenerate and relax any cyclist after a long day of riding.
Enjoy the unique scenery
As any traveler to Kapadokya knows, the scenery and landscape are unforgettable. Formed from volcanic ash and centuries of erosion, the windswept valleys of carved rock mesas and escarpments seem as if they’ve been transported here off the face of the moon. The fantasy-like landscape has inspired local folklore for years. Some rock formations, resembling chimneys, have been said to be the dwellings of magical fairies because of the curious nature of their formation. Today, this unusual natural beauty is the biggest draw to the area, as many come to the region to observe it in full from the bird’s-eye view of a hot-air balloon. Kapadokya’s hot-air balloons are world-famous and the vista is truly unbeatable. While visiting cyclists may not wish to venture into the sky, the view of nearly a hundred balloons dotting the skyline over this magnificent landscape as one speeds along on their morning ride is a sight to behold.
Cool off in one of the world’s highest waterfalls: Kapuzbaşı Falls
Traveling south of Kapadokya’s major towns, is quite a unique destination - Kapuzbaşı Falls, the world’s second highest group of waterfalls. Coming from the Aladağlar (Anti-Taurus) mountain range, these waterfalls burst from the valley's slopes at a height of 2,000 meters above sea level. These 70-meter-high cascades offer a mountain oasis of greenery, the sound of rushing water, and relaxing hiking trails for any cyclist who has taken the longer road south.
In an area that is already established as one of the world’s most sought-after travel destinations, travellers are finding new ways to rediscover Kapadokya’s beauty. Experienced cyclists visiting Türkiye will be pleased to find that there is an abundance of routes for all types of bike trips, and plenty of wonderful accommodation and attractions along the way. Other visitors or beginner cyclists will also find plenty of options available with local tours, bikes for rent, and attractions available close to their hotels. This emerging trend makes this historical and beautiful region an even more irresistible place to plan one’s next vacation. What are you waiting for? Plan your next bike adventure in Kapadokya today!