Within the region there are different towns that offer its own take on the destination. In Urgup, clients will want to visit its famous wine houses and sample the reds and whites of the region, while Avanos has a long history of pottery making.
Clients can stop by a workshop for a kick-wheel demonstration, then stock up on beautiful vases, plates and more.
After a couple of days exploring on foot, a hot-air balloon ride is indispensable as it’s the best way to soak up the serene yet striking peaks and valleys of the area, find the thousands of tiny “windows” on the rock surface and really absorb the reach of this otherworldly spot. There are more than enough outfitters in the area, including Goreme Balloons.
They also won’t want to miss a whirling dervish performance—a ceremony called Sema, from the Sufi’s Mevlevi Order, where followers whirl around in a representation of their remembrance of God. It is a beautiful sight, with performers dressed in white and whirling in perfect, slow unison, best enjoyed at Sarihan Caravanserai, a 13th century caravan stop—one of many throughout the country—that hosted traders and merchants and their animals overnight.
There are plenty of above-ground hotel choices here, but there’s no reason why clients can’t have a truly local experience by staying at one of many hotels hewn from the indigenous rocks, with accommodations available in a variety of price and luxury levels. Kelebek Hotel in Goreme used to be a family home and has 31 rooms in caves, fairy chimneys and in the outside structure, with rates running roughly $60-$210 dbl. According to Artisans of Leisure’s McGee, Turkey is in especially high demand among their clients. “Many of our travelers return with us to Turkey to re-visit favorite destinations such as Istanbul and explore new areas they didn’t have time to see on their previous tours,” he says. The company’s Journey Through Turkey is a comprehensive 18- day escape that visits Istanbul, Troy, Gallipoli, Ephesus, Pamukkale & Aphrodisias, Bodrum, the Turquoise Coast, Antalya and Cappadocia—with private touring and Artisans of Leisure’s usual accoutrements, of course. “This tour is a great option for travelers who want an in-depth and thorough experience of Turkey’s diverse cultural attractions and beautiful landscapes, complete with private touring and the best hotels and resorts in the country,” explains McGee. Journey Through Turkey starts at $13,765 pp dbl land-only.
Turkish Airlines offers daily nonstop flights from LAX, Chicago O’Hare, Washington Dulles and JFK to Istanbul (IST), as well as connecting flights from Atlanta, Dallas and other U.S. cities. From Istanbul, the airline flies twice daily to Denizli (DNZ).
Artisans of Leisure: (800) 214-8144; artisansofleisure.com
Gemini Travel: (347) 352-0003; geminitourism.com
Goreme Balloons: goremeballoons.com
Pam Thermal Hotel: pamthermal.com
Sun Express: sunexpress.com
Turkish Airlines: (800) 874-8875; turkishairlines.com
Kelebek Hotel: kelebekhotel.com
Venus Hotel: venushotel.net