Kaymakli(Kaymaklı) along with Derinkuyu are two of the most popular underground cities near Cappadocia. While Derinkuyu is considered the deepest, Kaymakli is supposed to the widest. The history of Kaymakli dates back to 8th century BCE. The city like all other underground cities was used to protect its inhabitants from raids. Kaymkali remained inhabited through the Roman, Greek, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman rules and even the early 20th century. It is now, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.
While in Göreme, Turkey, my parents and I decided to visit Kaymakli. We chose Kaymakli since we read and heard that it was better for people with Claustrophobia. As I always try, we decided to visit Kaymakli on our own instead of joining a tour. After our breakfast, we walked for about 10 minutes to the Göreme bus stop. Göreme in general was quite empty during our visit and gave the feeling of an abandoned town! It did not take much effort to spot the bus stand!
Visiting Kaymakli by Public Bus
This is something I have noticed in a lot of countries and Turkey was no exception; the bus drivers and conductors are always very excited and happy to help tourists navigate the system. We boarded a bus to Nevsehir(Nevşehir) and paid 2.5L per person for the ticket. After a short 15 minute ride, almost everyone, including the conductor got off at Nevsehir bus depot on the road. The conductor explained to us which bus to get on and also how to get back to Göreme. We crossed the road and go on the mini bus to Kaymakli costing 5L per person. The driver stopped right in front of the entrance to the underground city and informed us of our arrival.
Inside the city
Walking past the shops yet to open, we reached the ticket counter around 10am. There was barely anyone visiting at this time! The entrance fees was 25L. No pictures or reading prepared us for the city. We did not take any guide to explore the city. There are enough guiding arrows in all the main areas for easy navigation. We did explore some parts without any arrows but it was not difficult to find an arrow again to get back on path. . Most paths are high enough to be able to walk without bending. We were able to bend a little and continue in the rest. We spent over an hour underground walking through the rooms, going up and down, wondering how this intricate system was built. The city is a testament to how well we as humans can survive in all sorts of conditions
By the time we finished exploring the city and came out, the parking area started to fill with tour buses and the shops open. We were able to get some good souvenirs, including a scarf at a great price.
Return to Goreme
We walked out and could find the bus shelter right outside the main gate. Shortly after, a mini bus came and asked us to get in if we were going to Nevsehir. The bus went around the city before it headed to Nevsehir. We got off opposite to where we boarded our bus to Kaymkali, earlier in the day. Since the buses had a board mentioning the destination, we got on the one saying Göreme. The entire journey and visit took us about 4 hours, leaving enough time to explore Göreme in the evening.
The bus to Nevsehir also passes by Uchisar Castle. You can board on this bus if you are interested in exploring the castle. It is also possible to take a bus to Derinkuyu from Nevsehir. Visiting Kaymakli by public bus enhances an already special experience. Despite, my father and I having varying level of claustrophobia, neither of us faced any trouble exploring the city. The trip in itself cost only under 2USD but the insight into local transportation was priceless. Of course, visiting the city itself was treasurable.
Traveled: Sept 2018