With its unique landscape, superlative hiking, panoramic drinking spots, hot air balloons and cave hotels, Cappadocia simply rocks. Here's our complete guide to spending 4 days in this magical wonderland.


Cappadocia is an intoxicating cocktail of sights and experiences. The dramatic canyons are playground to a mix of activities designed to energise the senses. Hot air balloon rides at the crack of dawn, hiking the beautiful valley trails, nursing a beer at a panoramic sunset point, visiting frescoed churches completely carved into the rock, or simply enjoying the experience of sleeping in a cave hotel.

As a massive bonus, Turkey is currently a very cheap destination thanks to its depreciating currency. Additionally, reduced tourist numbers over the last couple of years has made viewing the big sights easier and more relaxing. This meant our 4-day Cappadocia itinerary packed in many of the things we love to do, without the crush of the crowds, at a great price.

We loved Cappadocia for the simple fact that it lived up to its online promises. While it’s very touristy, the experiences are truly amazing and the main town, Göreme has an otherworldly feel that we loved. It’s unique, bold, enticing and exotic. Here’s how we did our 4-day Cappadocia itinerary.

Please note / This post contains affiliate links which means if you buy something following a link on this page, we’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting our blog. / Paul & Mark.

4 day Cappadocia Itinerary  Magical Balloon rides and mystic hiking scenery.

4-DAY CAPPADOCIA ITINERARY OVERVIEW

DAY 1 / Hot Air Balloon Ride followed by a magical hike through Pigeon and Love Valley

DAY 2 / Exploring Ihlara Valley before descending into the Underground City of Kaymakli

DAY 3 / Hiking Red and Rose Valleys and investigating the Rock Carved Churches of Göreme

DAY 4 / Visiting rural Turkish villages on route to the canyons and churches of Soğanlı


WHY GO TO CAPPADOCIA?

Drifting in a hot air balloon over sublime scenery

Hiking in a rippling sea of coloured rock

Ambling the streets of rural Turkish villages

Sleeping in a cave hotel in quirky Göreme

Legs dangling over panoramic sunset while sipping a beer

DAY 1 / HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE AND HIKE THROUGH PIGEON AND LOVE VALLEY

AM / Taking a hot air balloon ride is a mandatory activity in Cappadocia, and it was a highlight of our trip. This morning we got picked up at 4.30 am for what proved to be once in a lifetime experience. The feeling of slowly drifting over the sculpted canyons of the Cappadocian landscape in the early morning light is one we won’t forget in a hurry.

After recovering from the thrill of the balloon ride and while the temperature was still cool, we set off on a hike through 2 of the valleys. We started down narrow canyon walls of Pigeon Valley, before rising up to the panoramic views of Uçhisar Castle and descending again into the phallic rock formations of Love Valley. This stunning hike took us 4 hr 30 mins in total. Read a detailed description of the route and maps here.

PM / As the sunset approached, we drove up to Panorama Point. This is an excellent spot to while away an hour as the sun goes down. A nearby stall has some of the tastiest dried fruit we’ve ever tried, and Crazy Ali’s Café has couches and swinging chairs literally on the very edge of the canyon walls. So, with legs dangling over the valley, we watched the sun go down, toasting a very successful first day of our 4 day Cappadocia itinerary.

Back in Göreme, we had dinner at Köy Evi Restaurant (Aydinkiragi Sok No:40) serving the traditional clay pot kebabs, which a busload of Japanese tourists took great pleasure in watching us try to crack open.


Hot Air Balloon / Book for your first day in Cappadocia as flights are sometimes cancelled due to weather condition | Pre-Book: Hot Air Balloon + Champagne + Pick up

Panorama Point / ₺2 per person, if the gate is manned / Location: 5-minute drive from Goreme

DAY 2 / IHLARA VALLEY AND UNDERGROUND CITY OF KAYMAKLI

AM / Enthralled by the hot air balloon ride yesterday, we wanted to see the experience from another perspective. So, we got up at dawn and walked up to sunset point, a few hundred metres from our hotel. As the sun rises over the valley walls and the sky fills with hot air balloons, it’s truly memorable.

While much of the beauty of Cappadocia surrounds the town of Göreme, it is worth exploring a little further afield. So, after breakfast, we drove to Ihlara Village, about 1 hour south-west of Göreme. Ihlara Village is the starting point for a hike up the beautiful narrow canyon of Ihlara Valley. It’s a simple walk along the valley floor beside the river with churches carved into the canyon walls and cafés serve you tea.

PM / On the way back from Ihlara Village we visited the Kaymakli Underground City. The construction of this cave city begun in the 7th or 8th centuries BCE. Today the city descends 8 levels into the earth and has stables, a church and storage rooms connected by over a hundred tunnels. Many of the rooms were used as a place of refuge for Christians trying to escape persecution from Arabs, Turks and Mongols over the years.

After returning to Göreme we went to Paşabağı, a collection of some of the most striking fairy chimneys and mushroom topped formations in the area. It compact and close to the highway so it can get inundated with bus groups, but it only takes 30 min to see everything and so it’s worth it for a few quick photos.


Ihlara Valley Tour / Hotel pick-up + Lunch + Hike

Kaymakli Underground City / 8:00 – 18:45 Apr-Oct; 8:00 – 16:45 Nov-Mar | Price: ₺25. | Travel: Kaymakli is around 50 min from Ihlara | Directions: download our map.

DAY 3 / RED AND ROSE VALLEYS AND THE CHURCHES OF GÖREME

AM / Already in the routine of shockingly early mornings, we got up at dawn again this morning to hike the Red and Rose Valley trails. Our goal was to do the walk in the cool morning light, while the balloons were floating over-head.

This is a fantastic hike that winds its way through some of the finest valleys in the area. There are many excellent view-points perched over oceans of rippling red, rose and white rock. The only downside is the challenge of finding the trailheads and following the paths, which in spite of a profusion of signs, is not particularly easy. The walk took us about 5 hours, including getting lost briefly a couple of times. To help with the navigation we have put together detailed hiking instructions and maps.

PM / In the late afternoon we drove to the Göreme Open Air Museum. This museum surrounds an area of many of the best preserved frescoed churches. Three of the churches, included in the entrance fee, have frescoes in decent condition. But the best is at Karanik Kilise where you have to pay a little extra, which we recommend you do.

After spending just over an hour at the museum, and as the sun began to sink over the horizon we walked up to sunset point in the south of Göreme. Here we grabbed a beer from the stall on the summit and sat at one of the many benches to enjoy sunset over this beautiful landscape.

For dinner, we went to My Mother’s Cafe. Despite the terrible name, the food was pretty good. Honest, hearty Turkish cooking without too much fuss.


Göreme Open Air Museum / Allow 1 hour to 1 hour, 30 minutes to explore the museum | Hours: 08:00 – 18:30 | Price: ₺30 + ₺10 more for if you want to go inside Karanik Kilise, which we recommend | Location: Merkez, Müze Cd. Nevşehir

DAY 4 / VILLAGE LIFE AND THE CANYONS OF SOĞANLI

AM / Today we jumped in the car and took off for the rural villages of Mustafapaşa and Cemil, on the way to the canyons of Soğanlı. Mustafapaşa – just 10 minutes south of Göreme – is halfway between a rural village and a town coming to terms with tourism. Tractors roam the streets where a few tourist shops, cafes and hotels have slowly started to pop up.

Cemil, however, is untouched by tourism. It actually looks like it’s been untouched by everything for a few hundred years. The town is crumbling down a valley side; chickens and cows line the roads – there’s not even a chance of a cup of tea here. But, it’s a very photogenic place.

About an hour drive after leaving Göreme we arrived at Soğanlı, a town that has been occupied since Roman times and was a centre for Christianity in the Byzantine Empire. We first visited the very pretty frescoed Tahtali Church, but the real highlight was strolling through the second valley with a number of carved churches and beautiful views of the valley.  Our favourites were: Snake Church, Domed Church and Hidden Church. At the end of the valley, a cafe is set up in a beautiful garden by the river.

PM / After returning to Göreme, we went for a late afternoon stroll around the Gorkundere Valley. It’s a shorter valley than some of the others in the area but it has some very impressive phallic rock formations that make great photo opportunities. Next, we went to the nearby Zemi Valley and visited the very cute El Nazar Kilise – a 10th-century church carved from a single piece of rock. The frescoes inside are very impressive and a chatty attendant was very keen to point them all out.

For dinner this evening we went to the Organic Cave Kitchen (Isali Mahallesi Ali Cavus Caddesi No 15) for very tasty food on their outdoor deck.


Soğanlı / Driving time from Göreme is around 1 hour | Hours: 8:00-20:30 | Price: ₺5|  Download: download our map.

Gorkundere & Demi Valley / Park at the large empty looking carpark here, and walk past the awful looking Tourist Hotel to enter the valley. El Nazar Kilise entry fee: ₺5.

ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED TO PLAN YOUR OWN 4-DAY CAPPADOCIA ITINERARY

We are firm believers that condensed itineraries like this don’t happen through luck alone. A little pre-planning, research, and understanding what you are looking for in a destination, will help make your travels far more successful. Here’s some further information we think you might need to plan your own Cappadocia trip.

HOW TO GET TO CAPPADOCIA

Cappadocia is smack bang in the middle of Turkey. It has two airports nearby. One at Nevşehir (40 mins drive to Göreme) and the other at Kayseri (60 mins drive to Göreme), both of which fly to a number of domestic locations for about ₺250 (£41 or $55).

CHECK FLIGHTS

AIRPORT TRANSFERS

As both airports are a considerable distance from Göreme, where most people stay when visiting the area, you’ll need to organise a transfer from the aiport to your hotel. If you’re not hiring you own car, private or shared transfers are available in air-conditioned mini-vans. Your hotel will be able to organise transfers for you, or you could book using the links below.

 

SHARED AIRPORT TRANSFER / Cappadocia Airport to Hotel

PRIVATE AIRPORT TRANSFER / Cappadocia Airport to Hotel


HIRING A CAR IN CAPPADOCIA

Both airports have car hire facilities although Kayseri has more choices. If you want to visit Ihlara and Soglani Valleys then having a car is helpful. Driving in Turkey is also not as hard as many people think – read our tips for driving in Turkey.

AUTOEUROPE

The best portal we’ve found for booking hire cars is AutoEurope. They have access to cars from all the major companies which are compared on a grid format that clearly displays the prices for different car sizes across each provider.

They also display what is and isn’t included in the price and offer good value insurance options. With a great interface and 24-hour customer service, we highly recommend them.

Use the below links based on your home location to start planning that road trip today.

EUROPE CUSTOMERS / Check hire car prices
USA CUSTOMERS / Check hire car prices


BEST TIME TO VISIT CAPPADOCIA

Cappadocia sits on a plateau over 1,000m high, so in winter the temperature can drop to around 0°C and in summer it’s often upwards of 30°C. If you enjoy hiking, as we do, then the shoulder seasons (April – June and September – October) are perfect.

Rainfall is higher in Spring than in Autumn, and being a little windier, this makes balloon riding a bit more susceptible to cancellations. The up-side is the landscape is greener, flowers more abundant and the days longer.

We travelled during Ramadan which meant the valleys were much less busy as locals don’t take holiday during this time. We also had no problems booking hotels late (so we could keep some flexibility) or getting into good restaurants with the best viewpoints on offer.

In 2020 Ramadan will be 23 Apr to 23 May, and it 2021 it will be 12 Apr to 11 May. These are both excellent times to visit Turkey.

Finally, the Turkish currency has been very weak recently, making Turkey a very cheap holiday destination. Our advice: go earlier rather than later if you plan to visit Turkey.

OUR 4-DAY CAPPADOCIA ITINERARY COSTS

Turkey is cheap at the moment, so visiting Cappadocia is relatively affordable. The total cost of our 4-day Cappadocia itinerary, for two people, was ₺6,000. With May 2018 rates of ₺6 to the British Pound; ₺4.5 to the US dollar; and ₺5.1 to the Euro, this equates to:

4 day Cappadocia Itinerary
US $1,330
4 day Cappadocia Itinerary
GBP £1,000
4 day Cappadocia Itinerary
EUR €1,150

HOW WE SPEND

While our backpacking years are behind us, we don’t exactly go over-boad on spending when we’re travelling. Most of our accommodation options are good, decent places in the right location. However, staying in a cave hotel in Cappadocia is all part of the experience so we spend a bit more here then we usually would. Otherwise, Cappadocia is a very affordable destination, with the exceptin of the balloon ride. Having said that, after taking balloon rides in other countries, this is by far one of the cheapest you’ll find.

BOOKING & TIPS FOR YOUR 4 DAYS IN CAPPADOCIA

Cappadocia is a very tourist friendly destination to visit, so finding tours is very easy to do. In fact, Göreme is more a tourist hub that a regular town. You’ll find numerous tour outlets and booking agencies as you stroll the streets.

One of the things we didnt’ want to hire a guide for was to hike through the incredible scenery of Cappadocia. So, if you’re interested in doing the same, have a look at our Hiking in Cappadocia article.


WHERE TO STAY IN CAPPADOCIA

Cappadocia is a large area, but we suggest you stay in Göreme. It’s a unique place with many buildings carved into the rock and rooftop terraces overlooking the fairy chimneys and surrounding valleys. Moreover, many of the best hiking trailheads are nearby, sunset and sunrise viewpoints are easily accessible, and the town has plenty of facilities and restaurants. While it’s sole purpose is tourism, it actually maintains something of a local feel without too much annoying selling.

CHECK HOTEL PRICES

WHERE TO STAY / OUR PICKS

While location is usually our priority in selecting accommodation, Cappadocia is a little different. The charming cave hotels dotted around Göreme is all part of the experience. Here are some of our favourites, from budget charm to all our luxury.

BUDGET CHARM / CHARMING CAVE HOTEL

Staying in a cave is what you do in Göreme and Ibrahim and his family have created a charming set of rooms built into the rock. The service is excellent as is the central location. Check current prices CHARMING CAVE HOTEL

STUNNING CAVES  / ARTEMIS CAVE SUITES

A more upmarket cave option, this hotel has classier rooms each with an outdoor terrance with excellent views of the town. It is nestled just under sunset point, so it’s only a short walk to watch the balloons drift over the fairytale landscapes in the early morning light. Check current prices ARTEMIS CAVE SUITES

A LITTLE LUXURY  / CARUS CAPPADOCIA HOTEL

This place is for those that want the cave feel but with all the bells and whistles of a modern hotel. An underground swimming, a spa and wellness centre, fine breakfasts and an excellent rooftop terrace. The location is great too. Check current prices CARUS CAPPADOCIA HOTEL

TOURS TO BOOK IN CAPPADOCIA

There’s no shortage of tour agencies in Göreme. However, we strongly recommend booking your hot air balloon in advance for your first morning in Cappadocia. It’s not uncommon for flights to be cancelled due to weather. Here are some other tours you may find useful:

 

HOT AIR BALLOON / Pick-up + Champage

FULL-DAY PRIVATE TOUR / Best sites in Cappadocia

ILHARA VALLEY TOUR / Hike + Lunch

INSTAGRAM / ANYWHERE WE ROAM

We are Mark & Paul. Curious + Adventurous. Anywhere We Roam is the story of our travels – the world as seen through our eyes.⁣⁣⁣

If you found this article helpful and you’d like to see more of our photography, head over to Instagram and follow our journey.⁣⁣⁣

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WHERE NEXT?

Firstly, if you found this article helpful, head over to Instagram and give us a follow.

Secondly, if you are not completely convinced about heading Cappadocia, then read about all the top moments on our trip or our hot air balloon experience. Or if hiking is your thing, checkout our 3 favourite walks which explore the beautiful valleys in the area.

Here’s some more reading you may be interested in.

5 DAYS IN ISTANBUL

TWO WEEK TURKEY ITINERARY

OUR TOP EXPERIENCES IN ISTANBUL

If you have any questions please leave them in the comments section below – we will always reply. To stay up to date with our travels, follow us on social and signup to our NEWSLETTER.

Complete guide to spending 4 days in Cappadocia / 4-day Cappadocia itinerary / #cappadocia #turkey #hotairballoon

Complete guide to spending 4 days in Cappadocia / 4-day Cappadocia itinerary / #cappadocia #turkey #hotairballoon

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