Love Valley is set just outside of Goreme and if you follow the trail within this incredible valley full of rock formations, you will end up all the way to Uchisar to visit the castle. Love Valley is famous for it’s phallic-shaped rock formations, which have been created through thousands of years of erosion.
LOVE VALLEY IN CAPPADOCIA
In this blog post, I will share everything you need to know about visiting Love Valley in Cappadocia.
MY EXPERIENCE AT LOVE VALLEY AND THE TRAIL TO UCHISAR
You might be wondering why it is called Love Valley. As you can see in the photos, the phallic rock formations have excited everybody, and know these penis-shaped earth pillars are world-famous. Love Valley can be experienced in three ways. (Four ways I guess if you fly over it in a balloon!)
- Driving to a viewpoint overlooking the earth’s pillars and rock formations. Here you can enjoy the company of several other tourists on guided tours and some cheesy love heart-shaped seats and other photoshoot setups. It’s a great viewpoint but a little touristy but if you just want to drive up, have a look and keep on with your sightseeing it is a perfectly fine option.
- You can hike all the way through Love Valley to Uchisar, passing by the rock formations up close on a trail with likely nobody else. I followed this trail starting at the point on the map at the bottom of the blog post and it was a beautiful, relatively flat, peaceful walk through to Uchisar taking 1-2 hours.
- Begin at the starting point I’ve added below and walked into Love Valley and then exit the same way. This way you get to experience Love Valley up close and personal but don’t need to walk all the way to Uchisar if you don’t feel like a big expedition.
*There is also an awesome Quad-Bike Safari Tour that takes you through Sword Valley, Love Valley, and Rose Valley during golden hour!
TOP 3 PLACES TO STAY IN CAPPADOCIA
LOVE VALLEY HIKING TRAIL TO UCHISAR
To begin the hike to Uchisar you will need to take the turn-off on the left (before the turn-off to the pin for ‘Love Valley’ provided by Google Maps). If you scroll down to the bottom of the blog post, I have made it very clear with photos and diagrams of where the trail begins.
The trail starts on a wide dusty road but you are quickly immersed by earth pillars, cave dwellings, and fascinating rock formations.
After about 15 minutes of walking, you will reach the epi-center of Love Valley. This is the area where the phallic rock pillars are most condensed. You will see the viewpoint above to your right. Here there are lots of little trails going up and down around the rock formations and leading you inside some of the cave dwellings. I believe you can make your way down from the viewpoint but haven’t done that myself so I can’t confirm that.
In this cluster of phallic rock formations at the heart of Love Valley, you will find a small cafe. We stopped in for a drink, which turned out to be very expensive but delicious orange juice for 16 Turkish Lyra. Possibly worth it.
The old man in the cafe told us we should just head directly through the valley and ‘dont go up’. So off we set winding our way along the paths. Often we had to choose between multiple paths but they all more or less kept you heading towards Uchisar down the valley.
The key was not to get stuck up too high and not be able to make your way back down into the center of the chasm because it was too steep.
We often walked directly down the path when it got a bit wild and used the waterway in the center as a simpler path. This was a great idea until the waterway got wet! We also had to go through quite a series of tunnels to continue on our path toward Uchisar.
There didn’t seem to be a defined path and at times we weren’t quite sure but hiking in Cappadocia is not incredibly popular so the trail isn’t marked or defined. We often found ourselves ducking through bushes and sliding down little sandstone hills to keep progressing forward. It was an interesting trail nonetheless.
The final section of the valley was brilliant with waving sandstones in a beautiful, stark white surrounding us. I’ve never quite seen a landscape like it.
There are a few exit-points out of the canyon but we ended up exiting towards the left and then followed a dirt road for 10 minutes until we made it to Uchisar. You won’t get lost because you can see the castle from within Love Valley at the latter stages of the hike.
All up it took us over two hours but as you can imagine there were quite a few photo-stops along the way. If you powered through I wouldn’t be surprised if it could be done in under an hour.
We then headed up to Uchisar and had an afternoon Hookah while we waited for sunset so we could climb Uchisar Castle for views out over all of Cappadocia. It was an epic day with two great attractions.
To get back from Uchisar to Goreme town center it is a 40-minute walk or you can take the local bus for$1. We started walking but a local picked us up and dropped us back. Another hitchhiking win in Cappadocia.
HOW TO GET TO LOVE VALLEY IN CAPPADOCIA
The most popular region for tourists to stay while exploring Cappadocia is a town called Goreme. Uchisar is the other nearby town, which is also an option but Goreme is the popular choice by far. Goreme is packed with hotels, restaurants, and cafes, while Uchisar is a little quieter.
From Goreme town center to Love Valley is 3km, which takes 5-10 minutes by driving. It’s important to note that when you put ‘Love Valley’ into Google Maps, it will lead you to the viewpoint, which is kind of above Love Valley. The road you want to begin the trail leads you into the heart of Love Valley and after 15 minutes of walking, you will look up to your right and see all of the tourists up at the viewpoint.
So on the Love Valley map below, the pin is actually on the upper viewpoint, not the trail. As you can see there are two trails leading to Uchisar. You basically want to enter the trail, which is closer to Goreme’s town side. I will mark the spot with an X where you should begin on a screenshot of a map below to avoid confusion. I have also added a photo of where we began the trail.
There are a few other modes of transport in Cappadocia, although I suggest walking and trekking because there are lots to see on the way to each attraction, and locals will pick you up and drop you further down your route. We never tried to hitchhike but one day we were gifted three separate lifts.
HOW TO GET TO CAPPADOCIA
Cappadocia isn’t actually a town as many people think but it is an entire region. Within this region are towns such as Goreme (the most popular tourist spot), Uchisar, Urgup, and Ortahisar among others. There are two airports that serve Cappadocia.
- Kayseri Airport (70km/60 minutes) is the main airport and takes just over an hour by van/bus to reach Goreme Town
- Nevsehir Kapadokya Airport (/40km/40 minutes is the secondary airport, which is closer to Goreme but only by about 20 minutes.
The big difference here is that Kayseri is a bigger airport, with more flight options, and often has cheaper flights. It is very convenient and quick to fly into Kayseri and I did it twice.
To get from Kayseri (or Nevsehir) you need to pre-book your shuttle or be prepared for an expensive taxi. The cheapest and easiest way to do that is to book online here. For under $15 you can ride in a shared, air-conditioned airport transfer or a private transfer from $50.
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. The buffet breakfast spread was amazing as were 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!
THE 3 MOST POPULAR CAPPADOCIA TOURS
- Sunrise Hot Air Balloon: My number one recommendation is to do a sunrise hot air balloon flight and be blown away by this magical experience.
- Cappadocia Sunset ATV Tour: The best way to spend sunset in Cappadocia is on the ATV tour amongst the amazing rock formations.
- Cappadocia Red Tour & Goreme Open-Air Museum: All of the best tourist sites in one day!
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