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How to Spend 3 Days in Cappadocia, Turkey – The Ultimate Itinerary

Usually, I start my itinerary posts off lamenting how I wish I had more time in whatever place I’m writing about. However, for once, I think I finally figured out the appropriate amount of time to visit a place (at least this place). Having 3 days in the Cappadocia region of Turkey felt like just the right amount of time to see the highlights of Cappadocia!

How to Spend 3 Days in Cappadocia, Turkey – The Ultimate Itinerary

What It’s Like to Ride a Hot Air Balloon in Cappadocia, Turkey with Butterfly Balloons

Day 1 – Explore Goreme + Afternoon Activity

Morning – Explore Goreme

Your hotel will likely be in Goreme (I have some accommodation suggestions at the end of the post), after you get checked in walk into town to do some exploring! There are a ton of great restaurants and bars to enjoy, as well as souvenir shops. You can also stop at Sultan Carpets to buy your magic carpet, or simply take a photo with their majestic set up in the back of the store (You have to pay a fee for that, though – double-check before you snap pics)!

Afternoon/Evening – Horseback riding or Quad Tour or Wine Tour

Horseback riding

Now, depending on how adventurous you are, you can spend your late afternoon/evening a few different ways. The most popular option is horseback riding through the valleys with their fairy chimneys. These rides typically last 2 hours. So, it’s great to sneak in at the end of your day. (Click here for more info.)

fairy chimneys

Quad Tours

The 2nd most popular option is riding a quad (or ATV) through Love, Sword and Rose Valleys. These tours also last about 1-2 hours and are perfect to take just before sunset. You’ll get a different perspective of these unique valleys, plus get to have some fun driving an ATV! (Click here for more info.)

love valley
Love Valley – named for the exact reason you’re thinking..haha.

Wine Tour

And if that all sounds like way too much work (I hear ya!), why not take a wine tour? It’s not too often that you get to visit a wine region that has been in production for 4,000 years! (Click here for more info.)

Day 2 – Hot Air Balloon Ride & Red Tour

Sunrise – Hot Air Balloon Ride

Ah, but the reason for Cappadocia’s fame is most certainly those magical hot air balloon rides! Be sure to schedule your hot air balloon ride the first morning you are in the area. This is because if there is bad weather, you’ll be able to go up the next day then. (Most companies offer this “rain day” option.) This is an absolute must-do if you’re in Cappadocia! (Click here for more info.)

What It’s Like to Ride a Hot Air Balloon in Cappadocia, Turkey with Butterfly Balloons

Rest of the Day – Red Tour // Uchisar, Goreme Open Air Museum, Pasabag Monks Valley, Devrent Valley, Love Valley

Yes, you’ll have plenty of time to do the Red Tour and a hot air balloon ride. The balloon rides finish up by 8 am – so, plenty of day left to do some exploring! If you book a tour company, this day won’t be very strenuous because you’ll be driving from spot to spot (which is nice, after getting up before sunrise for a hot air balloon ride). You can also rent a car yourself and easily get to the places featured on the Red Tour (some spots, like the Goreme Open Air Museum, are even within walking distance of the majority of hotels in Goreme). Click here for more information on the Red Tour.

Day 3 – Photoshoot & Green Tour

Sunrise – Photoshoot

Now, if you’re dead set on getting the perfect photo of the hot air balloons rising over Goreme – I highly recommend you stay at the hotels listed at the end of the post. Then, you just have to stumble out of bed before sunrise to take your photos! However, another option is to hire a local photographer to take you around to all the hot spots for photos. This tour here looks especially cool because you’ll also have a vintage car for photos! (Click here for my blog post about photos & click here for the tour mentioned.) And if photos aren’t your thing…feel free to sleep in today!

Hot Air Balloons + Floral Maxi Skirt

Rest of Day – Green Tour // Derinkuyu Underground City, Ihlara Valley, Selime Monastery, Pigeon Valley

If you only take one tour while in Cappadocia, I highly recommend it being the Green Tour. This is because the places you’ll see are 1.) AMAZING 2.) They’re quite a long distance from Goreme and not the easiest to find. Taking a tour will ensure you’ll make it to all the spots mentioned in a timely manner. The Green Tour was my favorite part of this trip, and that’s because I was able to do a little hiking this day! Yes, this tour requires quite a lot of walking. So, it’s best to save this for a day that you’re not tired out from riding in a hot air balloon. (Click here for more info.)

**Honorable mention – Sema (whirling dervishes) ceremony

If you really want to get the most out of your trip and still have energy either after the Red or Green Tour – try to catch a 1-hour show of the whirling dervishes. I have heard nothing but amazing things about this experience, and I really regret not seeing it. (Click here for more info.)

Where We Stayed

We stayed at the Sultan Cave Suites – which has an incredible terrace view of the hot air balloons rising (pictured below) + authentic cave rooms. They also have a wonderful restaurant on-site and a breakfast buffet to die for. (Click here for my full review.) Next door is also Mithra Cave Hotel, which boasts a similar view of the hot air balloons each morning!

*Cappadadocia also has tons of budget-friendly room options with some well-rated hotels starting at $28 USD a night. Click here to check them out.

*If you’re looking for luxury accommodation while staying in Cappadocia, I recommend checking out Kayakapi Premium Caves – some of these cave rooms have their own private underground pools or Kapadokya Hill Hotel & Spa!

Visa Requirements

To check if your country requires a Visa for traveling to Turkey, click here.

Travel Insurance

It’s a good idea, no matter where your adventure takes you, to have travel insurance. You never know what might happen! Whether you get sick before your trip and can’t go, or you become sick or injured while on your adventure – being covered with travel insurance is a must. Some credit card companies do provide this service (check with yours), or you can get a quote from companies such as Squaremouth to find the best plan for you and your adventure. (This is the company I, personally, use. They are even recommended by Forbes!) To get a free quote, click here.

If you have any questions at all about the Cappadocia region of Turkey – don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments section. And I’m curious, what day looks like the most fun to you?

How to Spend 3 Days in Cappadocia, Turkey – The Ultimate Itinerary
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How to Spend 3 Days in Cappadocia, Turkey - The Ultimate Itinerary

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  1. Some questions that I have:
    Is this a place that you could travel solo?

    Also what is the visa process? Do you get visa easily and what timelines are we looking at?

    Lastly I am planning a 7 day tour so how much would that cost approximately?

    1. Hello,

      Thank you for your questions. You could absolutely travel to Cappadocia solo.

      As for the visa process, that depends on the country you have citizenship in. And for budgeting, that really comes down to what kind of traveler you are – luxury or budget? Where do you want to go? What do you want to see? etc.

      1. Let’s say if someone wants to travel from Pakistan.

        Budget traveler. Specifically interested in the hot air balloon trip.

  2. Love this guide! It has all the info I needed! I think three days does sound about ride! I had no idea you could do an ATV, or a wine tour there! I’d love to learn more about the history of the area. Any restaurant recommendations?

    1. Ah, I am the worst travel blogger when it comes to food recommendations! I always forget to put them in my posts! But Topdeck was my favorite restaurant. Their food, prices and service were fantastic. Seten is quite good (but on the pricier end) – get the clay pot there! I enjoyed Mozaik as well (really nice staff and good food). Old Cappadocia had good food and fantastic prices as well.

  3. When you mentioned wine tour, it sparks interests in me because I love wine and learning more about it. Omg I’m feeling jealous with your adventures!

  4. It looks absolutely beautiful and you saw a lot of nice things there! 🙂

    Hope that you are having a wonderful weekend 🙂 Our summer heatwave is continuing, today we are just resting at home in the aircon!

    Away From The Blue Blog

  5. This sounded amazing especially the wine tour and hot air balloons. You captured this trip perfectly.

  6. That’s about the best time for us too, Lindsey. Of course it all depends where you’re going, because some places have way more to do!! But we are home bodies at heart, so it’s hard to be gone for much longer.

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