A scenic area in Cappadocia, Zemi Valley is one of the best, yet less hiked valleys in the region. It’s a less-visited spot as compared to other valleys in the region, but it offers equally stunning views and a great trail as others. The Valley hike is a 6 km trail that runs from Goreme to the Urgup–Nevsehir road. When you hike through the valley you will go through several caves, arches, and pass through a small stream. You will be mesmerized by rock-carved churches, troglodyte cave houses, and amazing rock formations. The views along the way are stunning and every turn would have a surprise for you.
It will take you around 3-4 hours to finish the hike and reach your destination, so don’t be in a rush, take your time and explore every feature of the valley. The trail is relatively simple and safe; it’s a dirt trail mostly and will be wet at times as you pass through a stream. One of the parts is steep and you will have to use a rope to climb, but it isn’t a thing to worry, as even a four-year-old can climb easily. You will also have to climb or descend a couple of hills. There are a lot of trees, so you will find plenty of shade, but it’s better if you wear sunscreen.
You can begin from the end of the trailhead, this way you will end up in Goreme or take up the normal route. If you get a ride, you can drop at the Urgup – Nevsehir road and follow the trail to reach Goreme. You can also take the bus and get there. The other option is to start in Goreme. The path begins from Goreme and leads you to in the middle of almost nowhere between Ortahisar and Uchisar. The distance is almost the same, but this way, you go through both Zemi Valley and Gorkundere Church.
If you begin from Goreme, the trailhead is easy to find and you will see a sign on the right side. There is a parking lot right there, so if you are on a vehicle, you can park it there.
The whole valley is surrounded by high mountains and green areas and if you are a historian, photographer, or adventurer, this place is a haven for you. When you hike, you will pass through mushroom-shaped fairy chimneys that were made by soft volcanic tuff. The residents of the area made their homes within these natural formations.
There are markers along the trail that tell you the directions and the distance, but you won’t find them on every part, so you may have to navigate some parts on your own.
There is a Zemi Cafe on the way; you can have breakfast here or a coffee. This peaceful and shady place is the first prominent thing you would see on the trail. When you continue from there, you will see a sign pointing left to the El Nazar Church; you can take that 20-minute route or go right and continue the main trail. As we mentioned earlier, the valley is not as popular as other valleys, so you can expect a little or no crowd.
Soon, you will get to the stream where you may see a few ducks. You will also have to pass through a layer of mud, which is not messy, at least in summer. As you got out of the valley, you do this by climbing the last part. You will reach the exit point that could be the entry point if you take the alternate route.
There are plenty of options for you to stay including the cave hotels. You can taste the local cuisine, get to know the local culture and history, and take a souvenir with you. While you are there, you can also hike other trails and see what they have to offer.