3 days in Cappadocia is the perfect amount of time to enjoy the fairy tale city. So, here is a comprehensive 3 days itinerary in Cappadocia.
What’s in our Cappadocia Itinerary Guide?
Great history, fairytale landscapes, and the hot balloons coloring the sky are just some of the things you will experience on a visit to the great Cappadocia, in Turkey.
In this detailed guide, I will take you on a travel journey through this magical city. Our 3 days itinerary in Cappadocia 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 interested also 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.
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Cappadocia in 3 days: Top Things to Do & See
Are you wondering if three days 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 3 days Itinerary | Day 1
1. Explore the historical Goreme
Goreme is full of surprises, from fairytale chimneys, 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.
2. 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 this beautiful 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, 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.
(Click here for more information on tours in Cappadocia)
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.
3. 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 3 days itinerary | Day 2
1. 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 the hot air balloon is one of the most famous 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 than Cappadocia.
The experience starts very early in the morning and finishes early too, by like 8 am. Most of the hot balloon companies take permission to fly before sunrise and a few of them after sunrise. (Click here for more information)
Pro Travel tip: The hot air balloon rides get booked very quickly or sometimes they get canceled due to the bad weather. Be sure to book a spot for the first morning you are in Cappadocia.
2. Quad Safari
Your Cappadocia 3 days itinerary is full of hiking, sightseeing but it lacks a bit of adventure. A two hour ATV Quad tour can fix that! The Quad Safari is a popular option in Cappadocia if you want to get off the beaten track. The experience is fun and adventurous.
You will drive through fascinating valleys, hills, and rock formations of the magical Cappadocia. Nothing can beat that! (Click here for more information)
3. Horse riding
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!
(Click here for more information)
Cappadocia 3 days itinerary | Day 3
1. 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 region and they can even use drones to shoot amazing photos.
2. 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 Red and Rose valleys takes abouts 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 the 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 bridging a lightweight jacket.
Pigeon Valley: The Pigeon valley highlights some of the best views on the outskirts of Goreme. Pigeon Valley, 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 the 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.
(Click here for more information on Green tours in Cappadocia)
Pro Travel Tip: This tour requires a lot of walking. Make sure you are not tired to enjoy it better.
3. 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.
When to Visit Cappadocia?
I believe the best time to visit Cappadocia is during Summer (April-June) and fall (September-October). Summer in Cappadocia is the high season. Therefore, things might get very pricey. Spring and Fall are the most recommended times to visit Cappadocia as the weather is perfect for hiking and other activities.
How to Get to Cappadocia?
1. 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. And don’t think flying is going to be expensive. You can find some VERY cheap flight options 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 1hour and a half, and it will cost you as little as $15.
There are two airports in Istanbul, Istanbul Airport (Newly opened in 2020) 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.
2. 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 Airport, 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 70/80TL- $10.
Alternatively, there are private transfer options that you can book before your trip. (Click here for more information ).
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. However, Goreme seems to attract more people than Uchisar, so we will be covering this 3 days itinerary while staying in Goreme town in Cappadocia.
In Goreme, Sultan Cave Suites is one of the best and famous hotels in Cappadocia. Sultan Cave Suites has one of the best rooftops to watch the balloons and take stunning pictures for your Instagram.
You might also like: Dreamy stay in a cave hotel: Kelebek Cave Suites
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 in Cappadocia. (Click here to check them out)
Are you ready for your 3 days adventure in Cappadocia?
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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?