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3 Days in Cappadocia – The Ultimate Cappadocia Itinerary

If you’re trying to figure out the best Cappadocia itinerary, then this post is perfect for you! This unique region in Turkey is renowned for its distinctive fairy chimneys, ancient cave dwellings, unique rock formations, and stunning hot air balloon rides.

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! Trust me, it’s exactly how long you need to stay to experience everything there is to the landscape around the region, which truly looks like something out of a fairytale.

Lindsey hiking in Cappadocia Turkey, with ancient rock-cut churches at Selime Monastery in background

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Best Time to Visit Cappadocia

Before we discuss the best 3-day Cappadocia itinerary, let’s first consider when you should visit this stunning region of Turkey.

The best time to visit Cappadocia is from the end of April to June and September to October. During these months, the weather is pleasant and there is little chance of rainfall. However, the first few weeks of April may experience high winds, which can cancel hot air balloon flights.

During winter, you may get the chance to witness Cappadocia with a light dusting of snow, which would be a mesmerizing view! I, personally, did this itinerary in November. While it was chilly, there were less crowds.

Summers in Cappadocia are hot and dry, and many places do not have air conditioning. If you are not fond of the heat, it would be better to avoid visiting Cappadocia during this time of the year.

Also, the easiest way to Cappadocia is to fly in. Airports are in Kayseri and Nevsehir. I would then suggest arranging a shuttle bus transfer, which will be more cost-effective. Or, you can also arrange a private car transfer.

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

Hot air balloons in cappadocia, turkey.

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.

This charming town is the perfect introduction to the region’s rich history and unique geological formations. It also happens to be the main tourist town in Cappadocia.

You can also stop at Sultan Carpets to buy your magic carpet, or simply take a photo with their majestic setup in the back of the store. (You have to pay a fee for that, though – double-check before you snap pics. You’ll be paying it in the local currency which is Turkish Lira.)

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.

A wide angle view of fairy chimneys in Cappadocia.
Quad Tours

Quad tours, aka ATV tours, are incredibly fun and a great way to explore this area. In fact, 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!

A wide angle view of love valley, in Cappadocia.
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!

The region’s volcanic soil and special climate have made it a fertile ground for vineyards. The wine tour will take you to some of the best local wineries where you can learn about the winery history, see the process of wine making, and of course, sample some of the finest wines.

Day 2 – Hot Air Balloon Ride & Red Tour

Sunrise – Hot-Air Balloon Flight

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. (Most companies offer this “rain day” option.) This is an absolute must-do if you’re in Cappadocia!

A woman on a hot air balloon looking at other hot air balloons in Cappadocia and pointing.

Rest of the Day – Red Tour // Uchisar, Goreme Open Air Museum, Pasabag Monks Valley, Devrent Valley (Imagination 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 Göreme Open Air Museum, are even within walking distance of the majority of hotels in Goreme).

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! And if photos aren’t your thing…feel free to sleep in today!

Read more: Behind the Scenes of My Hot Air Balloon Photos From Cappadocia, Turkey

A woman sitting on a couch with hot air balloons in the background.

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 that 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 getting up early riding in a hot air balloon. (It’s also important to dress comfortably for the Green Tour!)

*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.

NEVSEHIR, TURKEY - MAY 17, 2015: Whirling dervishes perform in an old caravansary in Nevsehir, Turkey.
Whirling dervishes perform in an old caravansary in Nevsehir, Turkey. Photo via Shutterstock.com

Where We Stayed in Cappadocia

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. Next door is also Mithra Cave Hotel, which boasts a similar view of the hot air balloons each morning!

Read my review of the Sultan Cave Suites.

*Cappadadocia also has tons of budget-friendly room options with some well-rated hotels starting at $34 USD a night.

*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!

Restaurants to Try in Cappadocia

I had some questions about dining in Cappadocia, and wanted to give a quick rundown of some of our favorite restaurants in Cappadocia for this itinerary!

  • Seten offers a fine dining experience, specializing in Turkish cuisine with a modern twist. The restaurant prides itself on using fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create dishes that showcase the rich culinary traditions of Turkey. This is the restaurant in the Sultan Cave Suites (pictured above), so it has an incredible view. We enjoyed it, but it is on the pricier end.
  • Mozaik is a cozy restaurant that features traditional Turkish cuisine, with a focus on authentic flavors and high-quality ingredients. The staff here were wonderful and the food was great. This is where we went to have our clay pot!
  • Topdeck was our favorite restaurant! It’s located in a cave that used to be a stable and has an incredible atmosphere. The staff was so kind, and the food here was also amazing. I want to go back to Cappadocia just to eat at this restaurant again.
  • Old Cappadocia had wonderful food and very affordable prices.

Traveling to Cappadocia Essentials

Visa Requirements

To check if your country requires a Visa for traveling to Turkey, visit the iVisa website.

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. I use the Trawick International plan and have filed claims with them in the past. Getting reimbursed has been a piece of cake. They are even recommended by Forbes!). I highly recommend getting a free quote to get started.

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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  1. Stay Alive says:

    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. haveclotheswilltravel says:


      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. Stay Alive says:

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

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

        1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

          I am not familiar with Pakistan’s requirements. The hot air balloon flight prices will vary, but on average are about 160 euros.

  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. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      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. Blair villanueva says:

    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!

    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      I hope you get to visit one day!

  4. Melanie KateMel says:

    The scenes with the hot air balloons look amazing. So beautiful I would love to do that trip

    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      I hope you make it there one day! 🙂

  5. 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

    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      We really did. 🙂 Hope you had a great weekend too.

  6. Life Of A Med School Wife says:

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

    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      Aw, thank you!

  7. 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.

    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      Oh yes, I just meant that 3 days is the perfect amount for Cappadocia. It can certainly vary depending on where you’re visiting. 🙂

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