Pigeon Valley Walk, Cappadocia
This popular 90-minute walk, linking the two centres of Üçhisar and Göreme, takes in one of Cappadocia’s most spectacular valley landscapes, though the way ahead is much less clear than one might suppose, even with the newly erected concrete direction posts. And there’s the odd tricky section. Don’t attempt it alone or after rain. Also be prepared to turn back if you run into a kangal, or Anatolian sheepdog; I recently encountered an angry one – she had young pups – and rapidly diverted into another valley.
The newly erected marker posts are numbered from the Göreme end, following Uzundere Caddesi up from the otogar, but the directions given on this page start from Üçhisar to allow a downhill walk. Begin at the head of the valley on the approach to Üçhisar where the roadside cafes advertise panoramic views over the valley; a number of well-trodden tributary paths lead down into the bottomlands. The valley, well-watered in some seasons, runs past orchards, vegetable plots and vineyards tended by elderly villagers. On either side the valley walls, like stacks of pinkish meringue, steepen. Here are the rock-hewn alcoves, pigeon cotes, for which the valley is named. Where the valley turns into a sheer gorge keep left to follow the tracks along the higher slopes, and be prepared for a scramble – the tricky section – to return to the valley below the gorge. The lower stretch, lined by the region’s signature rock formations, passes through wonderful flow-sculpted tunnels to emerge at a tarmac lane which leads into Göreme.