Today we decided to head out on our own. We had loved our tour the day before and had been very happy with the tour company, but we wanted to do a full day of underground cities and then visit another local town we were not staying in. There are lots of tours that visit one city or the other but for both we ventured out on our own; this is also why we had a rental car.
We started out first thing in the morning at Derinkuyu Underground City. This was awesome!!! Top pieces of travel I’ve ever done! It’s really a full city, built down; this isn’t built into the side of a mountain. The city dates back to the 8th century B.C. and supposed to be 60 meters deep and could provide shelter for 20,000 people, (no that’s not a typo).
We started at the entrance and took a rebuilt stairs case down a level. It was a very simple system follow red arrows down and blue arrows up; beyond that you had full range to wander on your own and not get lost.
The highest levels would house livestock, again that’s not a typo they had stables in their underground city. The upper levels also had large storage rooms. As you moved deeper into the city there were spaces for everyday needs, chapels, wine and oil presses, storage, and living space. Also as you moved deeper and deeper the tunnels got smaller and smaller. The living spaces remained comfortable, but many of the passages required bending over and even crawling – It was awesome! It was fascinating and so much fun to wander around on our own and see where we would end up!
After fully exploring the Derinkuyu Underground City we hopped in the car and headed off to Kaymaklı Underground City, with a quick car lunch along the way. The Kaymaklı Underground City was laid out with a very similar organization to the Derinkuyu Underground City. It was more developed, (more handrails and less holes to fall into), which also meant there were more tours, and more of a designated path. Still fascinating but not as much fun as having full run of the city to yourself, (or nearly to yourself).
From the Kaymaklı Underground City we headed to Goreme. Goreme is the largest town in the area and where most people stay. We had read that it was overly touristy which is why we stayed in Urgup but we still wanted to visit it. We had a very nice walk around the town and then wandering through small streets. We eventually landed at a restaurant for dinner and were very happy to sit back with a glass of wine.
Derinkuyu Underground City – Loved It!!! Would love to go again. It is less developed then Kaymaklı Underground City, so if you are a little unsure you might not want to start here. But if you are looking to wondering through a new experience with a child since of aw this is the place for you! – Must See!
Kaymaklı Underground City – Loved it, almost as much as Derinkuyu Underground City! If you are a little skeptically this is still a great experience with a little more order. – Must See!
General Underground City Notes – If you are claustrophobic this is going to be a tough sight for you. If you can brave the initial decent the first level will have lots of room to move around and is very spacious. Also, there are red arrows for down and blue for up, but you don’t have to go all the way down to start working your way back up. You can change direction at any time and head out.
If you decide to tour a city like this with a small child, you’re awesome! You will also want to figure out the best way to do so. We used a soft carrier, our Ergo and it was perfect, a metal framed carrier would not have fit through most of the spaces. If she were a little older we might have let her walk for parts of it, she would have fit in the tunnels perfectly, but I would highly recommend a harness, (aka leash). We have never used one, but this is a perfect place for one to keep everyone safe.
Goreme – Before visiting we read that this town was overly touristy and that other towns were more pleasant to stay in. If we were to go back I think we would stay in Goreme. It was more touristy then the other towns, but I would say it was still a long way from overly touristy.
Rental Car – We got a rental car to give us the most control and flexibly with a toddler. You don’t need one, in fact most people don’t rent one. In whichever town you stay in you’ll be able to walk to everything and if you plan on doing tours then you really have no need for one. With that said we loved the day that we spent on our own that was only possible because we had our own car. If we were to visit again I would probably want to do a combination of guided and self-guided tours. I would probably price out having a car the whole time verses the price of an airport transfer and renting a car in town for a day or two for some self-guided tours