Cappadocia in Turkey really is the dreamiest of dream places, all those photos you’ve seen really do look like the real thing, actually no, I think the real thing is even better!
I recently visited for the second time and once again spent 2 full days and 3 nights there. If you’re wondering how long to stay in Cappadocia for I feel like 2 days in Cappadocia is a good amount of time, of course we always want more time and if you could push for 3 days then I would recommend this so you have more time to explore and do all of the things on offer, but if you end up with 2 days, that’s enough for you to see the area and get a good feel for this region of Turkey.
Here are my recommendations of how to spend 2-3 days in Cappadocia including some important tips and helpful information to ensure your trip goes as smoothly as possible!
2 – 3 Day Itinerary for Cappadocia, Turkey
Day 1 in Cappadocia
If you start your first full day in Cappadocia waking up in Cappadocia you have to spend it doing a Hot Air Balloon ride.
You probably know by now that Cappadocia Balloon Rides are very popular and I must say that I think they’re the only thing that makes mass tourism look good. Hundreds of Balloons leave the ground in and near the town of Goreme and soar into the sky for the next hour and this is without a doubt a must-do attraction in Cappadocia!
Prices for Balloons start at about €140.00 these days in Cappadocia. The options below are great options to book and make sure you do book in advance as they get very busy now.
Important Tip: The reason I suggest you book a hot air balloon ride on your first morning, even though you might not feel like waking up this early on your first morning is because they do sometimes get cancelled because it’s too windy. Your company should be able to tell you the night before if it’s cancelled so you won’t have to get up, but if you only have 2 or 3 mornings in Cappadocia trying to do it on your first morning gives you another 1 or 2 mornings to do it if it does get cancelled and if there is space another day. Plus, it’s a great way to start the trip!
After your perfect morning up in the sky, you’ll still have time to head back to your hotel and have breakfast as your hot air balloon will finish at about 8:00am. I stayed at Cappadocia View Hotel and I really liked it, it’s not directly in the centre of Goreme but it’s just a 2 minute walk down the street, because of this the prices are slightly lower, I paid €117.00 for 3 nights in a nice double room and it benefits from a huge terrace to watch the balloons from in the morning!
In terms of what to do in Cappadocia, there are plenty of walks and hikes to do in and around Goreme which is the main town of Cappadocia (Cappadocia is the region) thanks to its many nearby valleys, so I would suggest having a little walk through the town in the morning although don’t spend too long as most places will be shut so spending longer this afternoon will be better, and then heading towards the Open Air Museum. If you are going to do a day tour in Cappadocia (more on that in day 2’s section) which includes the museum don’t go in today, but if your tour doesn’t go then I would recommend going into the Open Air Museum and getting the audio guide so you can understand what you are seeing.
After that cross the road and head into the impressive rock formations that make up the start of Sword Valley. From here you can keep walking until you find Red Valley and loop back around to the town.
For more detailed information on walks around Cappadocia, I found this post helpful: 8 Short but Sweet Cappadocia Hikes.
Important Tip: I had grand plans to walk around both Valleys as I have just suggested to you however although I found the start of the track well, I had trouble seeing where it continued when I was looking on the downloaded map on my phone (I use maps.me) and ended up high on rocks and a bit scared to come back down because they can be quite slippy thanks to the sand, and I was unable to see where the actual trail went. So although I definitely recommend going for a walk close to Goreme, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to find certain places, just walk and see where the paths take you.
With that being said, I know of one too many people who have got lost in the Valleys near Goreme and in 2 cases, the weather has suddenly turned bad and they’ve had to hitch hike back to Goreme! So on your walk be sure to have a map and/or a downloaded map on your phone, a phone full of battery, take plenty of water (ideally take more than you think you’ll need) and take lunch/ good snacks as in the Summer it gets very hot and although there are cafes a long the main road from Goreme to the Museum, once you start walking into the Valleys there are none. Take suncream and a hat if you are there in Summer and a rain coat if it looks like it might rain, as again, it get’s very hot in the midday heat and there is barely any shelter from the sun or rain unless you’re in a cave, and make sure you wear trainers, walking shoes or sandals with a good grip, no flip flops or fashion sandals!
I don’t say this to scare you but if you are keen to really explore, and you should because the landscape is totally out of this world, just be cautious that this is like nowhere else in this world and therefore it can be a bit confusing. Hiking Tours are also popular though so if you’d rather join a tour to hike the Valleys you could do that.
If you return from your walk and you haven’t had lunch, have lunch in the town of Goreme, there are so many places to eat and most of them all sell the local foods. A local food to try in Cappadocia is a Pottery Kebab which is an Anatolian speciality prepared in a clay pot or jug, they do vegetarian versions too!
The price of food is really reasonable in Goreme, a cold small dish like Vine Leaves is about 15TL/€2.00, a full meal like a Pottery Kebab is about 30-40TL/€4.10-5.50.
In the afternoon, because there are so many things to do in Cappadocia and things to do in Goreme, I have broken them down into sections:
Adrenaline Activity: One of the popular things to do in Goreme now is to go Quad Biking! You’ll see these all over the town and on the outskirts of the town, especially if you went for a walk around the Valleys in the morning as they go into Sword, Love and Rose Valley. If you want to book a tour in advance or looking into the details. Have a look at this tour.
Relaxing Activity: Have you ever heard of a Hammam? A Hammam is a hot steam bath followed by a massage and a popular thing to do in Turkey. There are a few places in Goreme that offer an Hammam in a Turkish Bath. Heybe Hotel is a really good option as their website is very up to date and user-friendly with all the information and prices, I also popped into the spa and it’s really nice and relaxing, and pretty fancy. Otherwise you could book a 2 hour Turkish Bath Experience online here. I would suggest booking in advance especially if you are not that flexible with your time incase they are busy. A Hammam would be a great way to spend an afternoon in Cappadocia.
Cultural Activity: Food is a big part of Turkish Culture and there are plenty of Cooking Classes available, you could book one once you get there or book one online.
Chilled Activity: If you’d rather have a chilled afternoon, be sure to head to a cafe or restaurant terrace, or even your own hotel terrace if you have one, get a Turkish Coffee or Turkish Tea and enjoy the views of the town for a few hours because this really is a fairytale land and you don’t have to be doing lots of busy activities to appreciate it!
Come evening be sure to head up to Sunset Point in Goreme for Sunset. If you’re staying in Cappadocia View Hotel as I did which is just a few minutes from the centre, give yourself about 20 minutes to walk up there and try to get there about 20 minutes before the sunset time. You may need a map on your phone as the roads are quite twisty but basically just head up the hill towards the huge Turkish Flag on the hill above Goreme. Once you get to the hill, turn left as I found it was a lot quieter a long here and you should be able to find a quiet spot to watch the sun go down in front of you whilst looking over Goreme Town that sits in the Valley.
If you are feeling a bit more adventurous though you could head to Uchisar Rock Castle instead for sunset, it’s the highest point in Cappadocia and a popular places to visit for sunrise and sunset. There are public buses that run from Goreme Town past the Castle. Be warned you do need to climb up to the castle though!
Head down into Town for Dinner and again, there are lots of options for Dinner in Goreme. There are limited things to do in Cappadocia at night I found and this is, one because of the local culture and religion and two, probably because tourism is so centred around the hot air ballooning where people get up very early in the morning so generally there’s no need for entertainment late into the night, but there are some restaurants that are open until late if you want to stay out a bit later and the Turkish Bath’s are open for Traditional Hammam’s until 22:00 so this is another option of something to do in Cappadocia at night.
This post contains affiliate links, if you would like to go on any of the tours I have linked via Get Your Guide who only work with reputable companies, I would appreciate you using the links contained in this post as I paid for the trip myself and get a small commission at no extra cost for you if you use them for providing you with this helpful information.
Day 2 in Cappadocia
If you didn’t do a Hot Air Balloon Ride the morning before, be sure to book one in for this morning. If you did, I still recommend you get up early and watch the Balloons in Cappadocia from the ground, it isn’t quite as special as being in one but trust me when I say it’s still very special and spectacular! I was able to see an incredible viewing of the Balloons from my terrace at Cappadocia View Hotel and this is one of the big reasons I would recommend Cappadocia View Hotel if you are wondering where to stay in Cappadocia.
If you do not have a terrace to watch them from, go back up the hill and this time go to Sunrise Point (the same hill as Sunset Point, just the other side), be warned that it does get busy up here and a lot of tour groups do tend to go up but you should be able to find a quiet spot and it’s well worth going anyway.
I would recommend spending the rest of your day on a day tour around Cappadocia as it’s the best way to see the area and see all of the places to visit in Cappadocia safely and with a knowledgable Guide. There are 2 popular day tours from Goreme, the Green Tour and the Red Tour.
I did the Green Tour on my first trip to Cappadocia a few years ago which took us to Derinkuyu Underground City as there are a huge amounts of Underground Cities in this area, Ihlara Valley for a 4-5km trek, a typical Anatolian village where you have lunch by the river and see some Churches and then to one of the largest rock-cut monasteries in Cappadocia. It’s a good tour but it is quite a long and it takes you far away from Goreme so there is a lot of time spent in the bus, and you do not explore the local Valley’s of Goreme in this tour.
On my recent trip to Cappadocia I did the Red Tour which took us to the Open Air Museum just outside Goreme with a guided tour around it, Uchisar Rock Castle, Love Valley for a photo stop, Devrent Valley and Pasabag Valley with a lunch stop at a restaurant and then to see some Pottery being made.
Read all about my experience on the Red Tour around Cappadocia here.
I enjoyed both tours and both have their positives and negatives. The Green Tour felt less busy from what I remember because the tour groups are spread out more, whereas on the Red Tour everyone goes to the same places at the same time and you don’t go off walking too much to lose the other groups. However the Red Tour does visit the iconic spots and major Cappadocia Attractions that you see photos of online and therefore makes it worth it. The Red Tour is a bit cheaper and also a slightly shorter day with a lot less travelling which is good if you have been up early to see the balloons in the morning and are tired.
I did the Red Tour through Tourmania and I booked it using the below tour link which was no more expensive than booking it in Goreme when I arrived, in fact it was €4.00 cheaper. I really liked the company, our bus was good, the driver was good and our tour guide Tugba was fantastic! I have also linked to a Green Tour which you can book online too.
Head out to see the sunset if you have time, the shops will be open all evening so if you need to buy anything or pick up any souvenir’s now is a good time. Then spend the evening having Dinner in Goreme tasting the local food, relaxing in the beautiful town and soaking up the atmosphere that this incredible and unique place has to offer.
Day 3 in Cappadocia
You probably still have time for some of the activities above like going quad biking or having a Hammam if you haven’t already. If you want to go on another day tour you could do the Green or Red Tour, which ever one you didn’t do on Day 2, as I said they both go to completely different places so you will see a new side of the region and therefore going on both is a popular thing to do in Cappadocia.
Another popular day tour from Goreme is to the Salt Lake which is very unique, you can book it online or at a tour operator in Goreme town. The day trip usually combines the Lake with a trip to an underground city.
Be sure to book your bus to another area of Turkey or back to the airport in advance especially in high season.
Following this 2-3 day itinerary for Cappadocia will give you a brilliant few days there and ensure you see a much as possible!
Important and Handy Information
How to Get to Cappadocia:
There are a few options and ways to get to Cappadocia. If you are travelling from or though Istanbul, the best way is to fly. I flew from London to Cappadocia in one day with Pegasus Airlines connecting in Istanbul S.Gokcen Airport for 2 hours, both of my flights went really well and although it was a fairly long day it was totally worth it and stress free. I flew back to Istanbul with Pegasus Airlines on a flight which took 1 hour 20 minutes where I spent 2 days before finishing my trip in Turkey.
Goreme does not have an airport and Cappadocia is the region so there is not an airport called Cappadocia either. Cappadocia’s Airport’s are Kayseri Airport which is where I flew in and out of with Pegasus Airlines or Nevsehir Airport.
Book a mini bus with your hotel in advance so they are there to pick you up, mine cost 35TL. It’s about a 1 hour drive from Kayseri Airport to Goreme.
If you are travelling from elsewhere in Turkey, Pamukkale for example or somewhere on the coast that does not offer flights or has an airport you can get a bus or an overnight bus to Cappadocia. I got an overnight bus from Pamukkale to Goreme. Bus travel and overnight bus travel is very popular in Turkey and safe so although you may not get the best sleep, bus is a popular way to travel to and from Cappadocia.
Also remember that most nationalities need a Visa for Turkey. You can apply for an E-Visa online in advance.
To SEE my trip from London to Cappadocia, have a look at my YouTube video:
Where to Stay in Cappadocia:
Cappadocia has so many Hotels of all different budgets, plus there are plenty of hostels available too so Cappadocia can be visited on a budget.
I stayed at Cappadocia View Hotel which I would recommend, especially for its terrace.
On my first visit I stayed at Diamond of Cappadocia Hotel which is right in the centre of Goreme. I also enjoyed by stay there.
Search for hotels in Cappadocia here:
How Long to Stay in Cappadocia:
Hopefully by now you can see that 2 days in Cappadocia is a good amount of time, ideally 2 full days with 3 nights is best. However if you wanted to stay in Cappadocia for 3 days or 4 days there are plenty of activities and things to do in Cappadocia to keep you busy.
How to Get Around Cappadocia:
Unless you are hiring a car to drive yourself around Cappadocia, which people do do, you will have to rely on mini buses, taxis and tours to get around the area. Goreme is walkable and it’s possible to walk into some of the Valley’s from the town but there’s a reason why the day tours are so popular and that’s because to properly see the area you do need to do one, use the public bus system or hire a private driver. This is why I also recommend staying in Goreme as it’s well catered for tourists, you could stay in another village or town nearby if you hire a care that perhaps isn’t as touristy, but without your own car staying anywhere else but Goreme would be difficult.
Group Tours to Cappadocia:
If you would rather go on a tour to Cappadocia and see more of Turkey on a tour at the same time, I would recommend going to Turkey with Travel Talk Tours. I’ve been to Egypt and Greece with them and my friend recently went to Turkey with them, she saw so much including Cappadocia!
I hope this helps plan you trip, let me know in the comments below or by tweeting me @wandering_quinn!
If you’re visiting some other places in Turkey you may like these other posts of mine:
I flew to Cappadocia in collaboration with Pegasus Airlines but all thoughts, opinions and love for Cappadocia are my own. I paid for everything in Cappadocia myself so these are my honest recommendations. This post contains affiliate links but at no extra cost to you, if you use the links to make a purchase I get a small commission for recommending them.