Cappadocia’s wind-sculpted volcanic tufa has created an impressive series of valleys, dotted with towering “fairy chimneys” and dramatic rock formations. Taking its name from the pigeonholes carved into the tops of its fairy chimneys, Pigeon Valley (Güvercinlik Vadisi) is stunning, and visitors to Cappadocia shouldn’t miss it.
A photo stop at Pigeon Valley is a popular part of Cappadocia sightseeing tours, and a typical itinerary might also include Uchisar Castle, Pasabag, Avanos, or the Göreme Open Air Museum. Tours heading south to Derinkuyu Underground City or to Ilhara Valley also stop at Pigeon Valley. Travelers can also hike the 2.8-mile (4-kilometer) trail between Göreme and Uçhisar; the trail passes through Pigeon Valley and affords spectacular views of the fairy chimneys.
Things to Know Before You Go
- There is no entrance charge to Pigeon Valley, but a guide will help you find the best view points and fill you in on the region’s fascinating history and geology.
- Pack sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water in the summer months, especially if you plan to hike, as there’s little shade in the valley.
- Although there are wheelchair-accessible view points, exploring off the main road requires negotiating uneven and rocky terrain unsuitable for those with limited mobility.
How to Get to There
Pigeon Valley runs south of Göreme toward Uchisar and can be reached on foot, by mountain bike, or by car. There is no public transport to the valley, but it’s a short taxi ride from both Göreme and Uchisar.
When to Get There
The most popular time to explore is during the summer months (June-August), but it’s best to avoid the midday sun. For the most stunning views, time your arrival for sunrise, when the sky will be filled with multicolored hot air balloons, or sunset, which is most impressive against a backdrop of the fairy chimneys and Uchisar Castle.
The Pigeons of Pigeon Valley
The rock formations of Pigeon Valley are notable for their dovecotes or “pigeon houses”: holes carved into the tops of the fairy chimneys to attract pigeons. Historically, these pigeons were used as messenger pigeons and for winemaking: The region’s volcanic soil provides fertile terrain for grape growing, and winemakers would collect pigeon droppings to use as fertilizer. These days, most vineyards use chemical fertilizers, but some winemakers still believe traditional methods yield the sweetest grapes.