LAKE TUZ (PINK, SALT LAKE) NEAR CAPPADOCIA IN TURKEY
Lake Tuz is an incredible salt lake near Aksaray but only just over an hour drive away from Cappadocia. The lake is like remarkable because of its vibrant pink color. Despite how unique this location is, it’s not very popular and when I visited I enjoyed the entire lake to myself for as far as I could see.
WHERE IS LAKE TUZ (THE SALT LAKE)
Lake Tuz is actually not in Cappadocia, but I did visit it while staying in Cappadocia, which is why I thought it would be valuable to share that with other travelers who are staying in Goreme or the nearby towns of Uchisar or Orthahisar. We drove 1.5 hours from Goreme to reach Lake Tuz, which I have pinned on the map below. There may be tours to the lake but it is quite uncommon and I didn’t see any advertised. Once you arrive at Lake Tuz on the map you will realize it is huge. We picked a side that seemed pretty nice and there was no-one else there but who knows what you will find on all of the different sides of the lake.
We hired a car for $30 Euros in Goreme town at one of the travel agencies, which split by two people was a pretty cheap way to get around. On this day we first visited Derinkuyu Underground City, Ihlara Valley and then ended the day at Lake Tuz.
MY EXPERIENCE AT LAKE TUZ
After a long drive from Cappadocia, we started to get near Lake Tuz according to the map. We had originally aimed to keep driving to the top of the lake but passed a stretch along the side of the lake that looked beautiful and empty. Not knowing if our intended destination would be busy or look as nice we decided to park the car next to a field beside the highway and walk into the Lake.
We crossed the highway and then reached the area where the bushes end and they meet the beginning of the salt flats. It was at this point that we decided we needed to take off our shoes and leave our bags because the salt sinks a little and would ruin everything. It is incredibly dense and hard to remove. The issue with this decision is that the salt flats can be very sharp in areas. It’s a trade-off you will appreciate later.
*I’ve since been told that further north there is the main entrance with a cafe and other structures. Not sure what the advantage to that would be but it sounds like there will be other people, which isn’t what you want when you are trying to enjoy a peaceful sunset!
It was an hour before sunset when we arrived so we were able to enjoy the vibrancy of the pink lake in full sunshine as well as the pastel sunset reflections later on. I highly recommend doing the same as the lake is great in both lightings although you won’t be able to swim in Lake Tuz. It is incredibly salty and where we were it was only 1-ft deep and very sharp because of the salt on the floor. Other parts of the lake may be different, that will be for you to discover.
The most interesting part about the lake is the density of the salt formations. It seems that you are walking on pure salt. I actually picked up a few snowball sized balls of salt, which I instantly regretted as my hands were now covered in a never-ending layer of salt. This is a dangerous place for cameras. You’ve been warned.
As the sunset came we were treated to some beautiful purples and oranges that reflected on the shallow lake, which lay perfectly still at only a few inches deep.
FACTS ABOUT LAKE TUZ
- Tuz Golu means Salt Lake in Turkish
- Lake Tuz is the second largest lake in Turkey
- The lake occupies a ‘tectonic depression’ and is fed water by two major streams but has no outlet at all.
- Lake Tuz was declared a protected area in 2001 as there are a colony of ‘Greater Flamingo’ callin the region home as well as Great White-Fronted Goose in addition to the Lesser Kestrel.
WHERE TO STAY IN GOREME, CAPPADOCIA
Where I stayed: Design Cave Suites Cappadocia – I was lucky enough to stay at the Design Cave Suites in Goreme. The location was great and I walked to all attractions. The rooftop garden was awesome for sunrise balloon watching. Buffet breakfast spread was amazing as was the cave style room designs.
Best Cave Hotel with Pool: Local Cave House Hotel– This cave hotel rose to fame because of its incredible pool. Make sure you click the link and check out how epic the pool backdrop is, with those classic Cappadocia rock formations in the background and traditional cave rooms it is a top pick.
Cave Hotel with Best Roof View (and dogs): Sultan Cave Suites – This cave hotel became famous because of its epic rooftop area for sunrise viewing. Guests can lay out on traditional pillows and carpets while watching the hot-air balloons flying above. The hotel dog might also join you for a photoshoot on the roof!
Budget Option in Goreme: Emre’s Stone House – For just $6 USD per night you can enjoy Cappadocia and this budget accommodation even has an epic rooftop to enjoy. It’s the best value in Goreme, Cappadocia.
Save money in Cappadocia by staying at an Airbnb! Get a FREE $40 Airbnb Coupon by using my code when you book! I use Airbnb on about half of my travels and find you always get more value than a hotel.
TRANSPORT IN CAPPADOCIA
Hire a Private Driver: Hiring a driver for a few hours to take you to several sites will cost about 100 Turkish Lyra depending on the car and your negotiation, which is about $20 USD. This is a good idea if you want to see 1-2 locations in an afternoon.
One of the best ways to get around is to hire a driver that will allow you to create a customized itinerary. That way you can visit all the spots you are interested in. To hire a private car with a driver/guide you can book online here or you might be a bigger group and in that case, it can be cheaper to hire a van in Cappadocia, which also comes with a driver.
Rent a Mountain Bike: We thought about renting a mountain bike but they were 150 Turkish Lyra for the entire day so it would have been 300 Turkish Lyra for both of us just to transit around. That’s almost $60 USD. It would have been fun but once we fund out everyone wanted to help us by giving us lifts there wasn’t much need. We either walked or hitchhiked.
Rent A Scooter/Moped: A scooter costs about 150-200 Turkish Lyra ($30-40 USD) per day and could be handy if you want to explore some attractions a bit further away or venture over to Uchisar.
Rent an ATV: Given the rough terrain in Cappadocia, an ATV is a fun option to help you explore the natural wonders and rock formations of the region. Prices are about $40 USD for two hours. If you are keen to head out on an ATV there is an awesome Quad-Bike Safari Tour that takes you through Sword, Love and Rose Valley during golden hour!
HAVE YOU CHECKED OUT THE REST OF MY CAPPADOCIA BLOG POSTS?
Click on one of the articles below to check out all of the places you should visit while in Cappadocia!
The big guide! This post has all of my favorite activities, which I personally did while in Cappadocia for ten days: 24 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN CAPPADOCIA
The hiking guide! Find out about all of the best hikes in Cappadocia with details, directions and lots of photos: 8 AWESOME HIKES IN CAPPADOCIA
Thinking about flying in a hot air balloon in Cappadocia? Read this first: CAPPADOCIA HOT AIR BALLOONS: THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU FLY
Have you heard about the castles in Cappadocia? Check these out:
Not sure where is the best region to stay? Wondering which hotel provides the best value? Check out this guide that will help you decide: WHERE TO STAY IN CAPPADOCIA: THE BEST HOTELS & HOSTELS
OR… I write a post about the 12 BEST CAVE HOTELS IN CAPPADOCIA that you might find interesting.
I’ve written a blog post for almost all of the places I’ve visited while in Cappadocia. You can find every single one of these articles right here: CAPPADOCIA ARCHIVES