Located outside the town of Goreme, Red Valley (Turkish: “Kizilcukur” valley) is one of the best natural attractions in Cappadocia. The red-colored rocks, man-made dovecotes, and ancient churches, all add to the beauty of this area. If you want to experience the real magic of the sunset, this is the best spot in Cappadocia. The experience you would get here can’t be compared with anywhere else.
It is called Red Valley due to the red-rose color of the rocks spread through the valley, although you can also see lively yellow rock formations, which are not much common in Cappadocia.
There are different ways by which you can reach Red Valley; you can choose to go straight to the sunset viewpoint as well. You can drive to the trailhead, hike the trail, visit the ancient churches, and then enter into the town of Goreme. Also, you can drive and go straight to the sunset viewpoint, this way you can avoid walking. Furthermore, if you want to hike through the valley, you can hire a guide.
Throughout the valley, you can see rock-cut churches, which are decorated with frescoes, and although it’s been a long time and frescoes are partially worn away, you can still see them on stone walls. If you don’t have much time to visit all the churches, you can visit two of the most famous churches, Grape Church (Turkish: “Uzumlu“) and Cross Church (Turkish: “Hacli“). Both these historic cave churches are fairy chimney churches and inside the churches, you can see some spectacular paintings that are in good condition. There is a small café below the church from where you can purchase orange juice, water, and snacks. If you have more time you can visit three other churches: Meskendir Monastery, Three Crosses Church, and Column Church. There are also other churches in Red Valley, but some churches are locked; Joachim and Anna Church, Zindanonu Church and Ayvali Church.
The Red Valley’s magical landscape is a result of thousands of years of geological formation. It was first developed by humans between 900-1100 AD, which was the Byzantine period. The irrigation system and cave churches were developed by the Byzantine Greeks. An intensive and properly developed agriculture system allowed a good population to live there. The other features include beehives, kitchens, and pigeons houses, which you can see as you hike the valley.
There are several opportunities for quad biking and horseback riding, but hiking on foot is recommended if you want to get the best experience. You can’t take a vehicle in the valley except for a bicycle, which you can also rent, but again, we recommend you to hike on foot. This valley has the best sunset viewpoint, so the best time to hike is evening, but you can also go in the morning and enjoy the amazing landscape. If you go at noon, the weather might be a bit unpleasant and you won’t be able to enjoy the views of either sunrise or sunset.
It’s a quite famous hiking area in the region and it is usually a bit crowded. So, if you want to hike the valley comfortably and get to the sunset viewpoint on time, you need to begin hiking a few hours before from sunset. While you are hiking Red Valley, you can also hike Rose Valley as the two valleys are next to each other and at times you might not even know you are at which trail.
There are two to three cafes at the sunset viewpoint, which have beautiful seating areas. The seating areas include little tables, chairs, couches, beanbags, and more. As the spot is often crowded, the good seats might already be taken when you get there. But still, wherever you get to sit, you will get to see breathtaking views. Even though it’s a popular destination, the prices of the products are almost equal to what they are in the town. You can enjoy the sunset from the cafe or if you want a quieter spot, you can climb the hill to the flag viewpoint. It will take you around 15 minutes to get to the top and even though the trail is steep, you wouldn’t have any problem.