I don’t actually have photos from Derinkuyu Underground City because it was narrow, dark, and crowded. And I forgot to take photos outside. So this is more a guide for anyone who is visiting it to provide a few practical pieces of information. This article has some pictures and info for those curious.
This was our 2nd underground city to visit. The first was Kaymakli two years ago. Kaymakli is a bit closer to Goreme and a hint smaller. But it has no easy places to eat near it, so Derinkuyu wins for that.
We decided to do Derinkuyu when departing Cappadocia on our drive back to Ankara. If you have a toll sticker and can jump on the toll road near Derinkuyu, it doesn’t add any time versus driving from Goreme without a toll sticker. Most toll roads in Turkey require a sticker that you have money added to and you typically cannot pay cash at the toll. Do not go through a toll booth unless you know they have a spot for cash! You’ll get a big ticket.
Parking at Derinkuyu is crazy, but we were lucky to get a spot right near the entrance. Google Maps took us a weird way at first. Navigate to parking here. We actually got free parking with diplomatic plates! That was a first for us here. Otherwise, it’s only like 10 tl. On the photo below, parking is off Eski Camii Sk near the white vehicles.
The site sits near a small grassy area surrounded by several cafes. Cafes in Turkey typically mean beverages plus only one or two food options. Gözleme is our go-to food option. It’s a flaky bread with fillings. We normally do Kaşarlı, which is a white cheese that is a mix between cheddar and mozzarella. We all like it. They also had soup. Nice outdoor seating. On the photo above, we ate at the cafe marked with the orange coffee cup.
Near the ticket booth were bathrooms. They had a mix of Western and squat toilets, though only 1 Western toilet was working. Tickets I believe were 60 tl for my in-laws. Our Musekarts got us in free. Kids under 8 are also free, though they often ask for proof of age.
Underground cities are tight, with lots of bending over, stooping, and narrow passageways. One part early one was very, very narrow. If you are a larger person, you might have difficulties with it. There are also tunnels that are very short. My (tall) 5 year old didn’t have to bend at all, though he came close at parts. He is just about 4′ (120 cm). But my 8 year old did have to bend in parts, and the adults definitely had to bend way over. This includes climbing down or up stairs or long passageways. If you have a backpack, it is easier to wear it on your front, as ours kept scraping the roof when we bent. If you have challenges with claustrophobia, bad knees, or can’t bend, please reconsider.
The passages are mostly marked and you follow the crowds. While it is mostly a loop, there are parts that are deadends-you go down and explore, and then return. This creates some bottle necks. At one point there was a large group of people hanging out in a cavern near a steep set of stairs down. Not knowing what people were doing, we started down the stairs only to be yelled at. Turns out this was one of those dead end passages and a large group was going to be coming up. We waited and waited as the cavern filled and almost bailed to exit because of the crowd when we finally got to go down. It was a long way down, which meant a long way up again.
There are not many signs, so if you want to learn information, then hiring a guide would be helpful.
We stopped at the little Museum shop and cafe on the way out, as we’d promised the kids ice cream (on a stick, not dondurma).
It was a fun stop and worth doing on the way in or out of Goreme.