How to Spend Your Best 3 Days in Cappadocia

Couple looking at the Hot air Balloons over the Red Valley in Cappadocia, Turkey

Your wildest dreams cannot prepare you for what awaits you in central Anatolia, Turkey. At first, I was not interested in visiting this unfamiliar place, the pronunciation of Kap-ah-do-kya. But my curious travel gene made me check it out, and I was glad I did. No images can do justice to the fairy tale Wonder-world that awaits you, filled with peculiar honeycombed chimneys and pinnacle landscapes. So I had to include an Istanbul to Cappadocia Itinerary for 3 days on our trip to Turkey. Cappadocia is so impressive that I had to share our magical experience and compiled The Best 3 Days in Cappadocia Guide, including magnificent Cappadocia attractions.

Couple overlooking the town from the  viewpoint in Göreme, Cappadocia
us at the viewpoint in Göreme, Cappadocia

So to get a glimpse of what awaits you, do yourself a favour and check out Sultana Caves Suite, The Museum HotelHezen Cave Hotel, and Sultan Cave Suites.  All these gems have breathtaking views over the Valleys. For example, at Sultan Cave Suites, you can enjoy breakfast on the rooftop deck, admiring the magnificent view while Hot air balloons float by; even if you don’t stay overnight to relax on the Turkish rugs and cushions on the roof deck, watching the Hot air balloons passing by, you can take fantastic photos to relive the wonderful experience back home.

Cappadocia At A Glance 

The history of “The land of beautiful horses”, or Kapadokya as it’s also known, began more than 10 000 years ago in 1965. J Melaart discovered the remains of an ancient civilisation while carrying out excavations. Christians in Cappadocia went through years of persecution that forced them to live and work underground. In the Bible’s New Testament, you’ll find more of the history of the Hittites who lived in this part of central Anatolia long before the birth of Jesus Christ.

Quick Tips

For information on Currency, language, required Visas, travel adapters, gadgets, and safety and tips on travelling around Turkey, see the Ultimate Planner for Travel to Turkey. Turkish people are warm and friendly and like to ask about your well-being and invite you for complimentary tea, coffee, or juice, which can get overwhelming.

Islamic holidays: Ramadan and Kurban Bayrami are the major Islamic holidays. It begins at sunset on the first day and lasts until sundown the following day. Keep this in mind when booking your accommodation.

Best Time To Visit Cappadocia

Cappadocia is an all-year-round travel destination, and each season has its charisma, and the best time to visit Cappadocia depends on the experience you want. But, whatever season, you will go home satisfied, spending the best 3 days in Kapadokya. We visited Cappadocia in June, and the weather was perfect. Here are Cappadocia weather temperatures for each month of the year.

Cappadocia weather and Cappadocia temperature
Cappadocia weather and Cappadocia temperature

Disclaimer: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost, I will earn a commission should you click through and make a purchase. 

Distance Istanbul To Cappadocia

The distance from Istanbul to Cappadocia is about 735 kilometres (Istanbul to Goreme).  

Flight From Istanbul To Cappadocia

Your fastest option is booking a flight that lasts about 1 hour and 20 minutes. At least three airlines fly out of both airports in Istanbul. Istanbul to Nevsehir and Istanbul Kayseri flights are not expensive, especially when booking in advance.  

Two Istanbul Airports 

Istanbul to Cappadocia flights: Flights depart from Istanbul Atatürk Airport and Sabiha Gokcen Airport, and there are also flights from Istanbul to Cappadocia.  

  • Atatürk Istanbul International Airport, situated on the European side of Istanbul,
  • Sabiha Gökçen is located on the Asian side of Istanbul.   

Cappadocia Airports

Flights from Cappadocia to Istanbul depart daily from both airports in Cappadocia.  

  • Kayseri airport Cappadocia
  • Nevsehir airport Cappadocia

Tip: We use trusted partner Travelstart for specials and the best options. The best option is to book a direct flight from Istanbul to Cappadocia. Make 100% sure of your Istanbul airport arrival time as well as your Istanbul airport departure.

Bus Istanbul To Cappadocia

Taking a Night Bus from Istanbul to Cappadocia takes 10 hours.

Rent A Car At Istanbul Airport

Depending on the stops you make, it will take about 9 hours if you decide to drive to Cappadocia. Rent a car with Auto Europea scooter, or a Quad bike and explore the valleys independently. The Locals are friendly and always eager to make a special deal.

Best Things To Do In Cappadocia

  • Experience Cappadocia From A Hot Air Balloon.
  • Explore the Underground cities of Derinkuyu and Kaymakli during your three-day Cappadocia Itinerary.
  • Horse riding in Cappadocia, known as the “Land of beautiful horses.”
  • Visit the historic Cave churches.
  • Watch the sunset over the picturesque fairy chimneys and valleys from a sunset point, Cappadocia.
  • Visit Göreme open-air museum, Cappadocia or Zelve open-air museum.
  • Take a bus to Uchisar Castle for a magnificent view.
  • Go on one or more of the Best Cappadocia tours; read more on Cappadocia tour packages and Cappadocia day tours.
  • Hiking in Cappadocia on a Cappadocia trail for your best hikes in Turkey
  • We were trekking the Valleys in Cappadocia. Explore the Rose Valley, Love Valley, Pigeon Valley, Ihlara Valley, or the amazing Red Valley.
  • Visit Cappadocia houses and towns,
  • Go on one of the many outrides on Quad bikes to explore the valleys and view Sunsets.
  • Experience the uniqueness of Cappadocia in Winter.

Attractions Around Cappadocia

Here are unique places to experience in Cappadocia and the travel distances from Göreme.     

  • Apple Church: 15.7 km
  • Özkonak Underground City: 18.6 km
  • Mazı Underground City: 18.9 km
  • Goreme Open-Air Museum: 1.7 km
  • Dark Church: 1.7 km
  • Uchisar Castle: 2.3 km
  • Nikolos Monastery: 7.4 km
  • Zelve Open Air Museum‎: 4.9 km
  • Red River River: 10 km
  • Urgup Museum:  7.6 km
  • Nevsehir University:  7.8 km
  • Tuzla Su Park:  8 km
  • Şehit Polis Ahmet Kara Park:  8.2 km
  • Zeki Soyak Park:  8.4 km
  • Pigeon- and Rose Valley: 1.3 km
  • Red River River: 10 km

How Many Days In Cappadocia, Turkey? 

With so much to see and experience, I recommend at least a 3-day Cappadocia Itinerary; however, we could easily stay a month.  

A standard Cappadocia map is freely available everywhere in Göreme and Cappadocia. This historic natural wonder in Central Anatolia is the most beautiful region in Turkey.

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Best Sunrise In Cappadocia 

For your best Sunrise in Cappadocia, here are a few spots to add to your Cappadocia Itinerary:

  • From a Hot Air Balloon.
  • Visit the Sunset Point in Red Valley near Ortahisar,
  • At the Fairy Chimneys in the Love Valley or Zemi Valley
  • Go to Ortahisar Castle,
  • The Panorama Point near Urgup
  • Hotel Rox Cappadocia
  • Sunset viewpoint in Göreme.

Istanbul To Cappadocia Tours / Goreme Tours 

Prices For Tours And Activities

The Cappadocia holiday can be as expensive as you want it to be. However, it all depends on where you stay, what and where you eat, the excursions you take and the transport you use.

  • Red tour Cappadocia
  • Blue tour Cappadocia
  • Green tour Cappadocia
  • Atv tour Cappadocia
  • Hiking in Cappadocia
  • Cappadocia bike tours
  • Atv Cappadocia private tour.

The Best Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Ride

The best place in the world for a Hot air balloon ride is undoubtedly in Cappadocia. However, for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, do not leave the balloon ride until the last day, as the weather is unpredictable. Your tour company will pick you up early and drive you to a venue for coffee and a light breakfast.

After a short safety briefing, you can continue to the launch site, where dozens of Balloons get ready to take off. They first prepare the Balloon, and you can only take your stand. Seeing all the balloons taking off into the air is fantastic and exciting. The 360-degree breathtaking view over Cappadocia at sunrise is worth every penny. Your Balloon driver will turn the Balloon every few minutes to ensure you see everything possible. The best spot is at the back, not between the poles on the sides. Rides are available twelve months a year, weather permitting.

Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Price

A must-do during your best 3 days in Cappadocia is to Book a Hot air Balloon flight. Book your Hot air balloon ride long before your 3-day Cappadocia Itinerary starts. The options vary depending on the group size, ranging from $190 per person. There are about 25 Hot air Balloon Companies. Flights last about 60 minutes. A smaller group or longer ride will come at a much higher price.

What To Pack For Your Hot Air Balloon Excursion

Prepare for the unpredictable weather and much cooler high up in the air. 

  • Layered clothing
  • Rain jacket as the weather is unpredictable,
  • A warm jacket
  • Gloves, hat, and scarf as it gets cold up in the air.
  • Camera equipment and spare batteries
  • Water
  • Binoculars (optional)

Where To Stay 

Kapadokya Otelleri – Best Hotels In Cappadocia 

From Luxury hotels & cave suites to Backpacker hostels, the choice is endless. For various accommodations and exclusive deals, check out my link below. They’ve never disappointed us and provide free cancellation.

Cave hotel Cappadocia Winter in Turkey
Cave Hotel Cappadocia Winter in Turkey

Check out Prices and read reviews on All The Best Things to Do in Cappadocia, Turkey.

Save up to 30% on Car Rentals Worldwide

Other Towns & Attractions

Istanbul To Cappadocia Itinerary 3 Days

How To Get To Cappadocia: Nevsehir Cappadocia

Nevsehir, also called Nyssa, is situated about 9 miles from Urgup Museum, Nevsehir, in the Valley of Kizilirmak on Mount Kahveci, and was found by the Hittites more than 3000 years ago.

How To Travel From Nevsehir To Cappadocia 

There are various ways to travel from the airport of Nevsehir to Cappadocia if your Hotel needs to arrange a shuttle. Transport and other services in and around Cappadocia. The cheapest way to get to Cappadocia will cost approximately 20 Turkish Lira and take 15 to 20 minutes.

For the best way to travel to Cappadocia, in and around Turkey, or during your Istanbul, Cappadocia 3-day Itinerary, check out Turkey Travel Talk.

Uchisar Town in Cappadocia
Uchisar Town in Cappadocia

JESUS was 30 when he began teaching the word of God in Palestine and was crucified upon the accusations of Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of Jerusalem. Disciples of Jesus Christ left Palestine to spread the lessons of Christianity in different regions of Turkey.

Best 3 Days In Cappadocia

Explore The Cappadocia Churches

During your Istanbul to Cappadocia Itinerary 3 days, you will be amazed by the beautiful Churches. At least 600 churches in the area were made out of soft rock, with the most beautiful paintings on the wall from ancient times. Also, experience the exotic groups of about 16-20 meter high fairy chimneys in the ZELVE region.

Zelve villages bear evidence that Christians and Muslims once lived here together. You will be astonished by how the Hittites lived and everything they accomplished with the very little they had. Exploring the churches is one of the best things to do during your 3 days in Cappadocia.

Uchisar Cappadocia

During their Cappadocia holiday, a popular destination for travellers, you find the Uchisar Valley and Uçhisar Castle. Located about 8 km from Nevsehir, you shall discover Uçhisar, which attracts many visitors, mainly to Uchisar Castle. The tallest Fairy Chimneys are also visible from a distance.

Where To Stay During Your Istanbul To Cappadocia Itinerary 3 Days

For the best accommodation and prices at Uçhisar Otelleri, check on the link below. For specials on Nevsehir Otelleri, Uçhisar Otelleri, and other accommodations in the area, visit

Cavusin Village

The Village Cavusin is midway between Goreme and Avanos in the Avanos district. Churches and houses in the area were built between the 1st and 10th centuries. A church dedicated to St. John the Baptist is available to see still today and is a famous attraction among Christian priests and tourists.

Monks Valley

Where To Find The Best Lookouts 

One of your best memorable experiences during your Istanbul to Cappadocia 3-day Itinerary will be the sunrises and sunsets.

Although there are many viewing points in the area, the one located at Kızılçukur Seyir Tepesi charges an entrance fee. The sunset cafe in the Red Valley, situated in Monks Valley, is a must-see during your Cappadocia holiday. Finally, visit the Panorama lookout near Orthisar and a mere 15-minute drive outside Goreme.

Monks Valley is perfect for relaxing on cushions or a couch next to little wooden tables. The magnificent view over the Valley is an unreplaceable memory that will last a lifetime and one of the best places to capture the sunset. You can take cash to buy refreshments at the Cafe at the viewpoint. They sell wine, beer, and snacks.

Caves Monks Valley
Caves in Monks Valley


The small town of Ortahisar was used as a shelter by Christians during ancient times.


About 1 km off the Zelve turn on the Avanos road, multi-coned and tall Fairy Chimneys await you. Love Valley is 4 km long and located north of Avcilar, with chirping birds the reason for its name. You should add this area when planning your Itinerary for your Cappadocia holiday.

Pasabaglari is also famous for its perfect Fairy Chimneys and Mushroom-shaped rock formations. I’ve read that at Pasabaglari, there are triple-coned fairy chimneys hollowed out and used as two rooms—a seclusion room by the 5th-century hermit St Simeon. For affordable accommodation in Pasabaglari and Urgup Otelleri, check out my link on


At an altitude of 1800m, Urgup town is one of the wealthiest towns in the province of Nevsehir, located on the Kayseri road about 20 km from Nevsehir and 7 km from Goreme. It is famous for its handicrafts, Kelim-Carpets, and a winery.

Mobile Library

In 1963, a mobile Library took books from Village to Village on the back of a donkey!


The beautiful old town of Avanos is located about 15 km from Nevsehir, 6 kilometres from Goreme National Park, and about 16 km from Ozkonak underground city. Avanos is famous for its Pottery factories selling terracotta products and is worth visiting. During antiquity, Avanos was named Vanessa, a town on the river. The Kizilirmak River, also known as the Halys River, is the longest river in Turkey.

Mustafa Pasa

South of Urgup, located about 5 km from Urgup, you shall find Mustafapasa, famous for its distinguished architecture-built houses. The city attracts many foreign- and Turkish tourists. Back in ancient times, the village was populated by Christian Greeks until Turkey and Greece exchanged the population.

The Christian Greeks called Mustafa Pasa Sinason. About 1 km from the town, you will find the Church of St Basil, exciting and beautifully carved out of a rock. One of the monasteries is now used as a hotel.

Explore Cappadocia On Your Own

We did it and saved a lot of money. To help you plan, check out the Best How to Plan Your Turkey Vacation. You are most welcome to contact me should you need more information.

4-Day Itinerary In Magical Cappadocia

I recommend at least four days in this fairytale world as there is much to see and experience. The best is to arrange your Istanbul to Cappadocia Itinerary for three days for the first few days so you save time. I strongly recommend flying out on the same day you arrive in Istanbul. Why waste time going to a Hotel only to spend the night, return to the airport the next day, and catch a flight? You can book your Cappadocia airport Transport to Goreme or your Hotel for a pick-up at the airport.

Cappadocia at Night is an absolute fairy-book picturesque world. Day or night, Cappadocia is a perfect must-experience on everyone’s bucket list. Our Turquaz Cave Hotel in Goreme has a breathtaking view and is central and within walking distance of Goreme town. Close to restaurants and also within walking distance of the Göreme museum.

Cappadocia Adventure To Explore The Valleys

Trekking the Valleys in Cappadocia is fantastic and very enjoyable. Either book a tour or discover the Valleys in your own time. It is a tremendous experience to be so close to nature and bring one closer to life and our Creator. Hittites lived under challenging conditions yet made the most of it, enduring much for their faith in Christ. Explore the Zelve Open Air Museum, Pasabaglari Fairy Chimneys, the Red- and Pigeon Valleys and Rose Valley on foot and even further.

Explore and admire the peaceful natural surroundings. There are many fruit trees and vegetables while strolling in the valleys. Locals use all the opportunities to plant fruit and vegetables in the fertile soil.

Packing List Cappadocia Daypack

  • Sun protection and a hat against the blazing sun,
  • An umbrella and a dry Mac or rain jacket.
  • Comfortable shoes (worn in)
  • Take Snacks and enough water.
  • Camera to capture the beautiful surroundings.
  • Cash as you might find a Vendor or two in the Valley, selling refreshments.

Zelve Open Air Museum

You’ll love exploring the Zelve Open Air Museum and Valley. This remarkable cave town was one of the largest cave-dwelling communities in the region. It is so large that it takes hours to explore. Zelve cave-dwelling is even more remarkable because Christians and Muslims lived here harmoniously until 1920 when the Christians drove out of Turkey.

People can freely explore the many paths, caves, and abandoned buildings. Remnants of village life are to be seen everywhere. After your arrival, could you obtain a local map showing all the Valleys and Places of interest? The Cappadocia map is available on arrival, so you don’t have to bring one on your Kapadokya Holiday.

Could you allow at least 120 minutes to explore one Valley? Turkish people are amiable and will help if you need any assistance.

Devrent Valley 

Part of your best 3 days in Cappadocia is to explore the Valleys. An incredible adventure during our Cappadocia Holidays was exploring Devrent Valley, also called Imagination Valley—a mere ten-fifteen minute drive from the towns of Urgup and Goreme. You can start the day early by getting up, having breakfast, asking for a picnic pack and starting your adventure. Let your imagination run wild as you wind through this fantastic wonderworld. Please be on the lookout for reptiles amidst these valleys and rosy rocks.

Devrent Valley is a relatively small, Unique valley with many Fairy Chimneys. The darker, more complex top layers of rock here have protected the softer layers beneath from erosion. With time, more coloured layers of rock formation form animal-like shapes and structures, creating unique forms.

Allow approximately 45 to 60 minutes to explore Devrent Valley.

Ihlara Valley

The beautiful Ihlara Valley is in a 150m deep gorge with hundreds of churches and natural sights. There are also a handful of hikes around the region. So it is safe to wander and get lost in the valleys, picking fruit, meeting others, and even walking around. We felt so safe there. Exploring these fantastic Valleys was one of the many special times during our Istanbul to Cappadocia Itinerary of 3 days.

Pasabag Valley

Unique Pasabag Valley, also named Monks Valley, is filled with iconic Fairy Chimneys, and here you’ll get a feel for Cappadocia. The pillars of Pasabag are easily recognisable with 10-15 meters high rocks. Its name is due to the Monks who decided to seek refuge and shelter here.

Monks who lived here carved rooms for themselves at the bottom of the fairy chimney and worked their way to the top. Today, you can still climb and explore the upper chambers of the fairy chimneys. We had so much fun exploring the Caves and the valleys that I cannot wait to return.

Could you allow at least 40 minutes to explore Pasabag?

Goreme Open Air Museum 

A Monastery and home to many are located inside the Goreme Open Air Museum and the Fresco of the Dark Church, also called Karanlik Kilise. 

Could you allow about 90 minutes to explore the area? We, however, needed to remember the time. Who wants to be bound by time while exploring during your Kapadokya adventure?

Uchisar Castle

The Uchisar Castle stands high above the rest of the Cappadocia region. Upon visiting Uchisar Castle, you’ll see that many of its rooms are connected via stairs, passages, and tunnels. 

Droppings from pigeons are nutrient-dense fertilisers collected by local farmers for use in their vineyards. From the top of Uchisar, you’ll have a 360-degree panorama view of Goreme and the surrounding valleys. Allow approx. 40-50 minutes.

What To Expect From Cappadocia Weather Month by Month

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  1. Thank you for taking the time to comment. Glad you find it helpful.

  2. I have always wanted to visit Cappadocia. When things settle down, I am surely going to use this valuable itinerary. The way you gave the details of what to see, where to visit, where to stay for 3 day-visit to Cappadocia is really impressive.

  3. You have to 🙂 it’s amazing!

  4. Every time I see more pictures or hear more about this place I get more interested in visiting it. As much as I’m not into going up in a hot air balloon, I think I would tough it out and head up if I was there! So beautiful! Very helpful to know the best ways to get there too!

  5. It was truly amazing and a fairy tale world I never imagine existed. You have to add it to your list. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  6. This definitely sounds like a dream holiday. It is good that you stated, going for a balloon ride is like every penny worth spent. I have often heard travelers, letting go off the activity, as they find it expensive. But, the way you described it, I realized it is once in a lifetime experience. I would like to try it out, whenever I visit turkey.

  7. Thanks Tanya for taking the time to read the post and glad you’ve enjoyed it.

  8. Tanya Oosthuizen says:

    This is amazing, so so interesting! The history, the experience, the adventures.. I almost feel as though I’m living and feeling this first hand! Thank you Mimmie for giving us a beautiful captivating glimpse into this magical journey of yours! xx