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15km (9 1/3 miles) east of Nevsehir; 6.5km (4 miles) west of Ürgüp

With so many other charming and more characteristic villages in Cappadocia, it's a wonder that Göreme's popularity never wanes. Its name recognition has been high among backpackers, a state of affairs that led to a profusion of charmless, dormitory-style pensions and fly-by-night bars catering to a coed crowd.

As travelers to the region increase, young ambitious entrepreneurs are stepping up to the plate with better-endowed pensions and outright luxury hotels. For the most part, however, the presence of "modern," albeit low-rise, concrete slabs detracts from the magic of the horizon.

Ultimately, I don't usually recommend Göreme as a base, but with the prices of rooms skyrocketing in such places as Ürgüp and even Üçhisar, Göreme is increasingly making sense. Staying here does have its advantages. The main appeal of Göreme, besides the Open Air Museum located on its fringes, is the village's proximity to some of the most scenic valley walks. Inconspicuous early churches dot the landscape between the town and the Open Air Museum, popping up unexpectedly at the edge of a lonely corner of a valley. In Göreme itself, one of the few villages in which the rock homes and fairy chimneys have been continually inhabited, the attractions share the spotlight with the daily lives of the locals. Gentrification has yet to push out its natives and, with it, the authenticity of the village. In Göreme it's still common to run into a donkey delivery, or stumble upon a devout gaggle of chatty women and chickens, while staying fairly accessible to food, transportation, and Internet cafes.