Home » What to do in Cappadocia, Turkey in 3 days: A Guide to the Best Things to Do & Places To See

What to do in Cappadocia, Turkey in 3 days: A Guide to the Best Things to Do & Places To See

Cappadocia in Turkey is one of the most interesting and beautiful places I have ever been in the world. If you’re looking for fascinating landscapes, unusual activities to do and interesting places to see, Cappadocia is a brilliant place to spend 2 or 3 days, or even a week. If you can include a stay in Cappadocia in a Turkey trip itinerary, you will not regret it. I loved my time here so much that I’d love to return in winter, when the incredible landscape is dusted with snow!

In this post, I’ve put together a list of the must see attractions in Cappadocia, as well as detailed information on everything you might need to know before visiting. Covering topics like where to stay, how to get around Cappadocia and how to plan your stay, this post should include everything you need to get planning your own visit to Cappadocia!

best things to do Cappadocia
Looking out over Cappadocia

Exploring Cappadocia: Essential things to know

Location and Getting to Cappadocia

Cappadocia is located in the east of the country in a region called Anatolia. It is a few hundred kilometres from the border with Syria.

It is an easy one hour flight from Istanbul to get to Kayseri Airport (the nearest airport to Cappadocia) and many airlines fly this route, such as Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines.

When to go to Cappadocia?

Both summer and winter seasons (and spring and autumn in between) offer really varied experiences and each is totally magical. I went in the summer which was brilliant and I loved dipping into the pool to cool off.

The main advantage in going in the summer months over spring, autumn or winter is that the weather is more stable and therefore, it is easier to guarantee a hot air balloon flight. If the winds are too high, the balloons cannot fly.

Where to stay in Cappadocia?

Well, it is a missed opportunity to not stay in a cave hotel whilst in Cappadocia. I’ve written more on this further down and included suggestions of some of the best hotels to pick from. I stayed at the Sultan Cave Suites which I highly recommend as one of the best luxury cave hotels in Cappadocia.

Using local tour companies

There are a huge number of local tour companies in Cappadocia to choose to do a day tour with. We used a small company arranged through our hotel, the Sultan Cave Suites. Another idea is to use GetYourGuide and to arrange your tour in advance of arriving in Turkey. I’ve popped some great tours here below:

The top things to do in Cappadocia

See Cappadocia from above in a hot air balloon

It goes without staying that this is an absolute bucket list experience in Cappadocia for any visitor. In fact, for many tourists, a hot air balloon ride is the sole reason travellers visit Cappadocia. I found it to be an pretty incredible experience and we found our pilot to be very adept in flying a hot air balloon, he will took us so high above the whole region and then right down into the valleys, almost within touching distance of the fairy chimneys.

There are several companies in town offering hot air balloon rides. It’s hard to really distinguish between the various tour companies so I’d recommend arranging your hot air balloon ride through your hotel as they’ll have their own trust tour operator.

Butterfly Balloons is widely considered the premium company to go with, as they offer more private rides with less people, however we found the rides to cost significantly more.

We enjoyed a hot air balloon ride above Cappadocia with a company called Kapadokya Balloons. Their service was faultless and experience was magical. We even enjoyed a champagne toast after the hot air balloon ride!

hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia
Preparing our hot air balloon
hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia
Flying over Cappadocia
hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia at sunrise
Amongst all the other hot air balloons
hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia at sunrise
Flying over the magical landscape
hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia at sunrise
Flying super high over Cappadocia

Visit the Göreme Open Air Museum

The Göreme Open Air Museum is a vast complex of monasteries and churches located just minutes from the centre of Cappadocia. The whole complex dates back to the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries and is a bit of an otherworldly destination. The rock faces have been carved out and adorned with some really interesting, beautiful and well-preserved frescoes, it is quite something.

Göreme Open Air Museum is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and for good reason. You can easily visit here alone, as it’s just a short walk from the town centre, but I highly recommend going with a guide. It would be impossible otherwise to really grasp an understanding of this truly unique museum and learn the about the unusual history without a local guide.

best things to do in cappadocia
Göreme Open Air Museum
Must see attractions in Cappadocia
Exploring old cave homes in Cappadocia
top things to do in Cappadocia
Admiring the landscape
top things to do in Cappadocia
Looking out over Cappadocia
must see attractions in Cappadocia
Old cave homes
must see attractions in Cappadociamust see attractions in Cappadocia
The fairy chimneys of Cappadocia

Visit Uçhisar

The small village of Uçhisar is essentially a giant rock and the tallest point in Cappaddocia. It has a spectacular panoramic viewpoint which draws travellers who want the next best view in Cappadocia, without going up in a balloon. Most of the cave homes here have long been deserted, which provides a unique opportunity to have a bit of an explore in the ancient dwellings.

what to see in Cappadocia
Looking out over Uçhisar
places to see in Cappadocia
Uçhisar
things to do in Cappadocia
Appreciating the scenery
where to visit in Cappadocia
A display of Evil Eyes in Cappadocia

Explore Pasabag (Monk’s Valley)

Another must see attraction in Cappadocia is to visit the famous ‘Fairy Chimneys’ that dominate the landscape. The locals that used to live here carved into these fairy chimneys, so rather than living at ground level, they created rooms that are 10-15m above the valley floor.

Pasabag has some of the most striking fairy chimneys in Cappadocia, with some having twin and even triple rock caps. You can easily lose an hour or two wandering around this valley and climbing onto the rocks. It’s one of the most popular sites to see in Cappadocia, so definitely visit earlier than than later, as it gets very busy in the afternoon!

what sites to visit in Cappadocia
Explore Pasabag
what to see in Cappadocia in two days
Some of the unusual rock formations
what to see in three days in Cappadocia
what to see in Cappadocia in two days
Some of the unusual rock formations
Top things to do in cappadocia
what to visit in Cappadocia
The unreal landscape
best things to do in Cappadocia
Exploring

Stop by Devrent (Imagination Valley)

Devrent, also known as Imagination Valley, is fairly different to the rest of the area and a walk around here is one of the top things to do in Cappadocia.

Devrent doesn’t have cave homes, churches, or fairy chimneys. But in fact, it as a unique lunar landscape which consists of many different rock formations, all of which happen to look like animals. Guests to Devrent can let their imagination run free. You might see camels, snakes, seals, dolphins, a dragon. Some even say they can see Jesus in a rock formation too!

exploring Devrent in Cappadocia
Exploring Devrent
fairy chimneys in Cappadocia
I’m pretty sure I see a chicken
what to do in Cappadocia

Explore the ancient village of Cavusin

This old Greek village is often overlooked by visitors to Cappadocia and is rarely included in travel guides to the area. I think this is a real shame, as it was uniquely different to the other top sites in Cappadocia.

Exploring Cavusin was fascinating and a actually a great opportunity to have a real poke around the homes. In fact, I was surprised to see several homes for sale! It’s one of the oldest settlements in Cappadocia, but has long been abandoned following an earthquake. Remember to keep turning around, because Cavusin also offers some of the very best views in Cappadocia too!

exploring the village of Cavusin
Exploring the village of Cavusin

Sample the local cuisine

As with anywhere, it’s a always a great idea to explore local cuisine. Cappadocia offers many great places to try typical Turkish food, but I highly recommend a dining experience in the Avanos Valley. Arranged for us by Turkish Heritage Travel, we visited the owner’s family home in the valley with our tour guide Barış Şahin. The food served was fantastic and all vegetarian. Plus, the location was out of this world!

where to eat in Cappadocia
Climbing down to the valley
where to eat in Cappadocia
Walking through the valley
where to eat in Cappadocia
Our lunch being prepared
where to eat in Cappadociawhere to eat in Cappadocia
The family home in Cappadocia

Stay in a cave hotel

There aren’t many places where you can stay in a real cave hotel that dates back centuries. In Cappadocia you can, and I highly recommend staying at the incredible Sultan Cave Suites which I’ve written all about my stay. This hotel is also known to be home to one of the best photo spots in Cappadocia – its terrace.

Sultan Cave Suites review
Some of the exterior of Sultan Cave Suites
breakfast terrace at Sultan Cave Suites
The breakfast terrace at Sultan Cave Suites
swimming pool Sultan Cave Suites
The swimming pool at Sultan Cave Suites
Most beautiful hotel in Cappadocia
The most beautiful hotel in Cappadocia

Experience a Cappadocia sunrise

A sunrise in Cappadocia is pretty special – I’ve never seen anything like it. The sky fills up silently with floating hot air balloons, offering a magical scene like nothing I have ever experienced. One of the best places to witness this wizardry is from the Sultan Cave Suites terrace with its Instagram-famous terrace. I stayed Sultan Cave Suites myself and I’ve put this guide together here, detailing how to best capture the sunrise in Cappadocia and why the terrace at Sultan Cave Suites really is the best photo spot in Cappadocia.

sunrise at Cappadocia
Admiring a beautiful sunrise at Cappadocia

Explore the town centre of Cappadocia

One of the top things to do in Cappadocia is to simply wander and explore its quaint town centre. Offering some of the best shopping I found in Turkey, I couldn’t stop buying cute souvenirs or stopping by some of the lovely coffee shops and cafes.

what to do in Cappadocia
Exploring the town of Cappadocia
Exploring the town of Cappadocia
Exploring the town of Cappadocia

Have you been to Cappadocia before? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments! Visiting Cappadocia had been on my travel bucket list for so long and was just one of those epic adventures. There are so many things to do in Cappadocia but I found three days to be an ideal amount of time to spend in Cappadocia to visit all of the best places to see.

I hope this has been helpful if you’re planning on heading to the amazing town of Göreme and Cappadocia. If you’re considering a longer Turkey adventure, you might find my two-week Turkey itinerary useful, as well as my guides to Bodrum,  Pamukkale, Ephesus, sailing the famous Turquoise Coast and Istanbul.

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Disclaimer: This visit to Cappadocia, Turkey was entirely paid for by myself and there was no involvement from the tourism board or the Sultan Cave Suites team. This is an independent guide

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37 Comments

  1. December 11, 2017 / 1:19 pm

    I am headed to Turkey for the second time but still won’t be making it to see cappadocia unfortunatelty. Your post and pictures look beautiful. There seems to be more in the area than the hot air balloons. Such a rustic old world charm.

    ❥ tanvii.com

  2. Michelle Leslie
    December 11, 2017 / 3:07 pm

    OMW, never in a million years would I have even imagined something so stunning Claire. That GÖREME Open air museum is out of this world. Every single place on my wishlist of travel places has just been moved down the list. Cappadocia is now right at the very top. Stunning!!!!

  3. Joanna
    December 11, 2017 / 3:12 pm

    I do believe that the magic of Cappadocia stands in the beautiful balloons that you can admire at sunrise from the beautiful high balconies of some privileged buildings in the city. The town itself looks gorgeous! The Greek village looks like a place I would love to visit and maybe stay overnight as well if there’s a chance. It’s fascinating that some of those houses are for sale as well.

  4. December 11, 2017 / 4:50 pm

    I can’t say that I ever had any desire to visit Turkey, until this blog. What a beautiful place and amazing sites!

  5. Chique
    December 11, 2017 / 7:06 pm

    This looks like the land of Rapunzel with the hot air balloons. I think my daughters would love to travel here. It’s remarkably beautiful.

  6. Komal
    December 11, 2017 / 7:32 pm

    The hot air balloon ride looked magical as did the Imagiantikn Land. Wow! Have you been to toner places in South east Asia?

  7. Kendra W.
    December 11, 2017 / 10:23 pm

    The sights there look amazing! I love reading travel blogs so I can see the world through the eyes of others, until I’m able to travel myself. the village of Cavusin looks really cool.

  8. December 11, 2017 / 11:08 pm

    I must see Uchisar one day! I’ve also always wanted to take a balloon ride, but have never had the opportunity. What a view from that balcony

  9. December 12, 2017 / 2:23 am

    The sights are absolutely stunning! This would make such a wonderful and romantic trip to go on! I always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon but I’m so frighten of heights!

    How was the travel cost on this?

  10. Maria
    December 12, 2017 / 9:03 am

    That picture of all the balloons in the air is just so incredibly beautiful! I’d love to go on a trip like this, it has to be so much fun!

  11. December 12, 2017 / 12:29 pm

    This looks amazing and the pictures are stunning! Never seen them before but your post makes it appalling! Not planning any trip yet but when I do, I sure will find this helpful.

  12. Cia Black
    December 12, 2017 / 2:25 pm

    What an amazing expedition, I love hot air balloons but honest have never thought to try them out while traveling abroad, I can’t even begin to imagine the site with the sky full of balloons.

  13. Agnes Vazhure
    December 12, 2017 / 2:41 pm

    This Cappadocia Turkey looks like a great and awesome place to explore. Lots of beautiful scenery and views. I remember my friend visit the beautiful place of Turkey and she really enjoys the peaceful and stunning ambiance of this place. I will absolutely put this on my Bucket list for my next travel visit this 2018.

  14. Marnie
    December 12, 2017 / 2:59 pm

    Oh wow these photos are stunning! The hot air balloon ride is definitely on my bucketlist!

  15. December 12, 2017 / 5:36 pm

    Now I really want to go here! What beautifful pictures, I’d love to see the little Greek village but it all looks amazing to explore. I LOVE the photo of you sat with all the balloons in the air, that is magical!

  16. December 12, 2017 / 8:21 pm

    Cappadocia looks like a beautiful place to visit. I love all the rock chimneys and the hot air balloon photos are so cool!

  17. Diana
    December 12, 2017 / 10:01 pm

    Omg! The hot air balloon ride seems to be an amazing and magic experience! I’d love to live it sooo much!

  18. December 12, 2017 / 10:03 pm

    Cappadocia is definitely on my travel list! I have heard so many things on that part of turkey! and your photos are stunning!

  19. Ariel
    December 12, 2017 / 11:52 pm

    This place looks so beautiful, I would love to take a hot air balloon ride. Your pictures are gorgeous and stunning. I’ve never been to Turkey but I would love to go sometime!

  20. December 13, 2017 / 5:52 am

    These photos are stunning! The Cave hotel looks like a really cool place to stay. I’d love to take a hot air balloon ride, but I don’t know if I have the nerve to do it.

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      December 18, 2017 / 2:09 pm

      So amazing 🙂 I also found the hot air balloon a bit scary at first, and then I relaxed :)X

  21. December 13, 2017 / 8:59 am

    WOW! it looks so beautiful there! would love to go visit!

  22. December 13, 2017 / 11:41 am

    I have never been to Turkey but it looks so beautiful. I would love to visit the air museum

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      December 18, 2017 / 2:07 pm

      You definitely should 🙂 X

  23. December 13, 2017 / 12:14 pm

    I gotta say, your photos are sooooo…. instagram-ish! I’ve never thought about going Turkey, but looking at your photos make me think about putting it in my bucket list! The hot air balloon and Monk’s Valley will be the top 2 places I would like to visit!

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      December 18, 2017 / 2:07 pm

      Ah thank you! I know, just the most amazing scenery!!! x

  24. Nicole Flint
    December 13, 2017 / 1:23 pm

    Oh my goodness those air balloons!! The photos you took of those were breathtaking! Monk’s valley looks really cool and a great way to experience the culture more!

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      December 18, 2017 / 2:06 pm

      Thank you! I know, totally amazing 🙂

  25. Elizabeth O
    December 13, 2017 / 2:22 pm

    Turkey is such an amazing place to visit and to explore. I am jealous of your photos. It seems that you had a fun and awesome experience there in Cappadocia Turkey. I would love to visit it someday.

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      December 18, 2017 / 2:05 pm

      Ah thanks, hope you visit soon!! x

  26. Candy Rachelle
    December 13, 2017 / 2:27 pm

    Those are such amazing places that everyone could ever see. If I bumped into that place for sure I will took lots of selfie. Nobody can avert me from taking and documenting those spots for sure.

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      December 18, 2017 / 2:05 pm

      Haha, too right! x

  27. Britney
    December 13, 2017 / 5:24 pm

    I need this place in my life!!! I love traveling and Turkey looks amazing! Definitely on my list of places I must go. Your pictures are really beautiful too! Keep up the good work, I will be back to see more.

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      December 18, 2017 / 2:04 pm

      Thank you, appreciate it! I hope you visit soon 🙂 x

  28. December 26, 2017 / 4:06 am

    Wow gurl. Turkey is gorgeous. I never looked up much on turkey. It’s so pretty! Wow

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      February 6, 2018 / 7:31 pm

      I know! Such an underrated beautiful country! 🙂

  29. August 4, 2018 / 10:23 pm

    Wow… I just added Cappadocia to my own bucket list. The pics look amazing and your blog too.

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