3 days in Cappadocia is the perfect amount of time to enjoy the fairy tale city. So, here is our 3 day comprehensive Cappadocia itinerary.
What’s in this Cappadocia Itinerary?
Great history, fairytale landscapes, and the hot balloons coloring the sky are just some of the things you will experience on a 3-day visit to the great Cappadocia city in Turkey.
In our detailed Cappadocia itinerary, We will take you on an unforgettable travel journey through this magical city.
This 3-day Cappadocia itinerary features everything you need to have a great trip from the top things to do, and places to see to where to stay and eat.
If this is your first time in Turkey and you haven’t visited Istanbul yet, I suggest taking a look at our Istanbul 3 days itinerary post. And you might be also interested in discovering the seven most-underrated cities in Turkey.
Are you already in Cappadocia and looking for things to do? Just go straight to the best things to do in Cappadocia in 3 days heading.
How many days in Cappadocia
We believe that 3 days are more than enough to experience the fairy tale city of Cappadocia.
On the first day, you will experience the town and surroundings, on the second day go on a full day tour and adventure, and the last day is all about relaxing and chilling in your cave hotel, so 3 days is the perfect amount of time you can spend in Cappadocia.
However, if you don’t have 3 days to spare you can also make it work with just 2 days. All you have to do is read our 3-day itinerary and skip day 3 or feel free to mix and match the activities.
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Cappadocia 3 days itinerary: Top Things to Do & See
Are you wondering if three days in Cappadocia will be enough? Yes, absolutely! 3 days is the right amount of time to make the most of your trip and maximize your visit. And here is how:
Cappadocia Itinerary | Day 1
Explore the historical Goreme
Goreme is full of surprises, from fairytale chimneys, and fascinating rock formations, to mysterious underground houses. I honestly felt like I’m on another planet.
Take advantage of your first day to explore your hotel’s surroundings and maybe go a little bit further to explore the restaurants and the houses mysteriously crafted into the rocky mountains.
Full-day Red tour (Goreme Esentepe, open-air museum, multiple valleys, and pottery workshop)
Exploring and hiking through the specular Cappadocia valleys and historic sites is a must-have experience when visiting the city. You can either hire a private local guide to drive you around or join a group tour with expert guides.
There are many tour guides that are easily found online or through your hotel. Whether you do the red tour by yourself or through an agency, these attractions must be on your list:
Goreme Esentepe: Located between Uchisar and Goreme. This stunning panorama provides breathtaking views of the town of Esentepe and the surrounding landscape of fairy chimneys.
Goreme Open Air Museum: An impressive series of churches and chapels that date back to the Middle Ages. Carved into the mountains, the site served as an important Christian center of learning.
Monks Valley: Famed for its three-headed fairy chimneys.
Devrent Valley: Famed for its almost lunar landscape of small, pointed fairy chimneys.
Avanos Pottery Workshop: The small town of Avanos is home to a terracotta industry dating back to 3000 BC.
Three Beauties: The Three Beauties, or Three Graces, are three fairy tale chimneys located near Urgup. It is the most famous symbol of Urgüp.
The tour price varies from one tour company to another. But it usually starts from $40 a person and goes up to $140 for a private tour.
The Red tour usually starts in the morning and takes approximately 7 hours depending on how many attractions you will visit.
Pro Travel Tip: Booking a tour or a private driver is highly recommended for this experience. The distance between these tourist attractions is time-consuming and needs an expert in the area. So, you could rather enjoy your time learning and enjoying the landscapes instead of wondering how to traverse this tricky terrain.
Our Favorite Tours In Cappadocia:
- Red (North) Tour Cappadocia (small group)
- Full-Day Private Experience Tour in Cappadocia
- Green (South) Tour Cappadocia (small group)
Explore Goreme at night + a romantic dinner
After a long day of touring and hiking, you can enjoy a romantic Turkish dinner on your hotel’s terrace.
The great thing about Cappadocia is that while being a unique international destination, it also offers the traditional Turkish hospitality and iconic food that Turkey has become famous for.
Cappadocia Itinerary | Day 2
Hot Air Balloon ride
A magical picture of hot air balloons coloring the sky of Cappadocia is what probably encouraged you to visit, right?
A ride in a giant flying balloon is one of the most famous and fun things to do in Cappadocia. The experience allows you to discover the magical scenery of the city from high up.
During the flight, the balloon reaches as high as 3000 feet. For me, the hot balloon is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that everyone should have and there is no better place to do it other than Cappadocia.
The experience starts very early in the morning (before sunrise) and finishes early too, by like 8 am. Most hot balloon companies take permission to fly before sunrise and a few of them after sunrise.
Pro Travel tip: The hot air balloon rides get booked very quickly or sometimes they get canceled due to the bad weather (You will get refunded). Be sure to book a spot before your trip.
Our Favorite Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Tour:
- 1-hour Hot Air Balloon Flight Over the Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia
- Comfort (Small Group) Cappadocia Balloon Ride
Cappadocia Quad Tour
Your Cappadocia itinerary is full of hiking, and sightseeing but it lacks a bit of adventure. A two-hour ATV Quad tour can fix that!
The Quad Safari is a popular activity in Cappadocia if you want to get off the beaten track. The experience is fun and adventurous. I highly recommend going for it.
You will drive through fascinating valleys, hills, and rock formations of the magical Cappadocia. Nothing can beat that!
Our Favorite Quad Safari Tour in Cappadocia
Adding a little bit more adventure to your trip won’t hurt. I personally love horse riding and do it whenever I can.
In Cappadocia, you will be horse riding for two hours through fairy tale chimneys and valley landscapes. Just think how amazing that is gonna be!
Our favorite horse riding tour in Cappadocia:
Cappadocia Itinerary | Day 3
Photoshoot at Sunrise
It’s almost time to go back home so you have to take some very nice pictures with the hot air balloons for Instagram. The previously mentioned hotels in Goreme are the ones you want to be in to take your photos.
Another great option is to hire a professional photographer that knows all the instagrammable spots in the city and they can even use drones to shoot amazing photos.
Our favorite photoshoot service in Cappadocia:
Full-day Green Tour (Multiple valleys, underground cities, and Uchisar Castle)
The green tour is all about exploring the natural beauty of south Cappadocia. Imagine a full day of exploring terrific underground sites. Similar to the red tour, the green tour offers multiple stops at historical and ancient sites.
You can either combine both tours to get a full picture of this magical city and its impressive sights or you can choose one of them if you are not a fan of too much sightseeing. The green tour includes most of these astonishing locations.
Meskendir Valley: Meskendir Valley is located near Ortahisar. Here, you can enjoy a short trek through the magnificent landscape. In this valley, you will see the famous Meskendir Church and its surprising interior.
Red and Rose Valleys: Hiking the Red and Rose valleys would be a great value to your Cappadocia trip.
Both valleys feature beautiful rock formations, hidden churches carved in mountains, and local villages connected with small tracks. The hike through the Red and Rose valleys takes about two hours and it ends in Cavusin village.
Cavusin Valley: After the two-hour hike, you will stop at Cavusin, one of the oldest villages in the region. The village is famous for its biggest cave church in all of Cappadocia, the Church of John the Baptist.
Derinkuyu Underground City: There are 36 underground cities in Cappadocia that were built by the Christians to escape persecution. Derinkuyu is the largest one and it has 16 levels that can accommodate up to 20.000 people.
Pro Travel tip: It gets cold down there, consider bringing a lightweight jacket or a winter jacket if you are visiting in winter :p
Pigeon Valley: The Pigeon valley highlights some of the best views on the outskirts of Goreme. Pigeon Valley, is named after the ancient pigeon houses carved into the cliff faces over centuries.
Long ago, farmers throughout the region used pigeon manure as a rich source of fertilizer for their crops.
Uchisar Castle: The town of Uchisar is the heart and the highest point of Cappadocia. The town was named after its rock castle Uchisar. The views of Cappadocia and the surroundings are unbelievable. On the way up, there are plenty of cave houses to explore.
Love Valley: Love Valley in Cappadocia is famed for its huge (up to 40 meters high) and naturally formed phallic formations. Allegedly, these formations date back 3-9 million years ago (Waw!) and they were formed due to a volcanic explosion.
Pro Travel Tip: This tour requires a lot of walking. Make sure you are not tired to enjoy it better.
Our favorite Green Tour in Cappadocia
Whirling dervishes show
The Whirling Dervishes is a famous Turkish experience found in many cities in Turkey, including Istanbul. The religious enlightening ceremony in Cappadocia is performed in an ancient Caravanserai that was once used along the Silk Road. You will be truly mesmerized by how engaging the show is.
Our favorite Whirling Dervishes Show package:
Bonus: Alternative things to do in Cappadocia during your 3 days trip
One of the things you can consider doing when you are in Cappadocia is having an evening of relaxation in a Hammam bath or spa. Hammam spas are a very popular thing in Turkey and they have been around for centuries.
During a traditional Hammam ritual, you will relax in a steamed room to get ready for a full-body massage with Turkish products. After the massage, you can just lie down on the heated marble and let all your stress come out before the helper comes to give you a proper scrub to remove all the dead cells from your skin.
After the Hammam ritual is finished, You’ll instantly feel refreshed, relaxed, and rejuvenated.
Best time to Visit Cappadocia
The best time to visit Cappadocia is during Summer (April-June) and fall (September-October). Summer in Cappadocia is the high season. Therefore, things get very pricey.
Spring and Fall are the most recommended times in the year to visit Cappadocia and avoid high-season craziness. Also, the weather in Cappadocia during Spring and fall is perfect for hiking and other tour activities.
Winter on the other hand may be another nice way to experience a different Cappadocia. From November to March, snow transforms the city into a magical white landscape. However, you will be very limited when it comes to outdoor activities you can do, so choose a nice cave hotel where you can enjoy a nice winter vacation.
How to get to Cappadocia
Cappadocia from the Airport
Cappadocia is located in central Turkey, about 756 km by road from Istanbul. As you can see it’s quite a distance, so the quickest and most convenient way to get to Cappadocia is to fly in to spend that time enjoying the city
You can find affordable internal flights from Istanbul to Cappadocia with Turkish Airlines (My favorite airline) and Pegasus (A budget-friendly airline).
There are two airports close to Cappadocia, Kayseri, and Nevsehir, where you can easily find shuttle buses connecting Cappadocia to the airports and they take you directly to your hotel.
Nevsehir Airport is closer to Cappadocia, about 20 minutes drive. However, there aren’t many available flights going there.
If you are visiting Cappadocia from Istanbul, the flight to Kayseri airport is about 1.5 hours, and it will cost you around $80 for a round trip.
There are two airports in Istanbul, Istanbul Airport on the European side and Sabiha Gokcen Airport on the Asian side. You can choose where to fly from depending on where you are in the city and the flight’s availability.
Istanbul to Cappadocia by Bus
This option isn’t for people with back problems. I personally would never survive the trip with my back pain. The ride to Cappadocia from Istanbul by bus takes about 10 to 12 hours.
There are both night and day buses. Check this service bus called Metro Tourism for options and schedule information.
Once you reach Kayseri or Nevsehir, you will need to get to Cappadocia, specifically the Goreme area, where most hotels are.
The easiest way to get to your hotel is to arrange the transport with your hotel, most of them provide an airport transfer service and you should expect to pay around $10 to $15.
Alternatively, there are private transfer options that you can book before your trip.
Where to stay in Cappadocia Goreme?
Goreme and Uchisar are the most popular areas in Cappadocia. Both areas are full of hotels, tourist attractions, travel agencies, and tons of restaurants and cafes.
Goreme seems to attract more people than Uchisar, so here are our favorite hotel options in Goreme town in Cappadocia.
In Goreme, Sultan Cave Suites is one of the best and most famous hotels in Cappadocia. Sultan Cave Suites has astonishing rooftop views of the hot air balloons coloring the skies of Cappadocia. Check Out Sultan Caves Suites Here
There are also other options with incredible terrace views of the hot balloon such as:
Most cave hotels that offer an exclusive and unique view of the hot balloons can be quite pricey but are definitely worth it. However, if you are looking for budget-friendly hotels in Goreme, there are plenty of them on Booking.com.
Are you ready for your 3 days adventure in Cappadocia?
Visa Requirments to Visit Turkey
- Visa-Free Access Up to 90 days period
The citizens of the following countries can enter Turkey visa-free for a period of 30 to up to 90 days per visit.
European Union European Union (excluding Cyprus and Latvia), EFTA members’ citizens, Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Georgia, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iran, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, North Macedonia, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vatican City, Venezuela, Russia, Belarus, Brunei, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Latvia, Macao, Mongolia, Thailand, Turkmenistan
- Electronic Visas (e-Visa)
If you come from one of these 28 countries you can apply and obtain an electronic visa (e-Visa) for a fee prior to arrival. The duration of stay for most of these nationalities is up to 90 days (up to 30 days for some) within 180 days.
Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, HKG British National, Canada, China, Cyprus, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Fiji, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Oman, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Suriname, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United States
- Sticker visa required in advance without an exception
Unfortunately, if you are a citizen of one of these countries you will need to apply for a sticker visa to enter Turkey.
Bhutan, Cambodia, Cuba, Guyana, Kiribati, Laos, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, North Korea, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Syria, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.
Get your Travel Insurance
Because we never know what might happen during our trips, being covered with travel insurance is always a good idea. If you don’t have one already, get a quote now from my always favorite travel insurance World Nomads.
Cappadocia is famous for its weirdly shaped structures and the iconic Hot air balloon experience. We have shown that there is much more to do in Cappadocia in 3 days, like hiking, outdoor activities, and exploring some unique and rare ancient sites.
If you have any questions at all about our Cappadocia 3 days itinerary – don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments section. And I’m curious, what day looks like the most fun to you?