Skip to Content

2 Days in Cappadocia Itinerary for 2024

We may receive a commission if you make purchases through affiliate links (at no extra cost to you). Read why our approach to travel is different.

Share This Article

3 weeks ago

Set amidst the rugged expanses of the Anatolian plains, Cappadocia is a real life fairy tale. The chances are, even if you’ve never set foot in Türkiye before, you’ve seen photos of this mystical region. The cave dwellings of Goreme, hidden cities of Derinkuyu and Kaymakli, hot air balloons soaring above otherworldly sandstone fairy chimneys. Every sight in Cappadocia is a spectacle.

Cappadocia is one of those places you really ought to visit at some point; a true bucket list destination, even if your bucket list is longer than your arm. Aside from the staggering beauty, there’s a whole lot of great activities to enjoy – and it’s home to some culinary delights. But where isn’t in Türkiye?

Before You Go: Planning your Cappadocia itinerary

When is the best time to visit Cappadocia?

If you’re looking for the best months to visit Cappadocia, we have good news: Cappadocia is a year round destination. Summer is generally the most popular time to visit, with dry weather and warm, but not unpleasant, temperatures averaging around 25°C (77°F).

Winter brings cooler weather (often hovering around 0°C/ 32°F) and a little snowfall, but fewer visitors and lower hotel prices.

How long to spend in Cappadocia?

We recommend spending two days in Cappadocia. However, make sure to time your Cappadocia itinerary so that you have two days / three nights. Bad weather often cancels hot air balloon tours, so you’ll want to make sure you have more mornings in case of cancellation.

Getting to Cappadocia

By plane

With two airports serving the region, the best way to reach Cappadocia is to fly. If you’re coming from abroad, the chances are you’ll fly through Istanbul and connect.

The smaller of the two, and closest to Cappadocia’s top sights, Nevsehir Airport (NAV) handles mainly domestic flights from Istanbul with Turkish Airlines and their subsidiary AndalouJet. Kayseri Erkilet Airport (ASR) is busier with a bigger choice of airlines, with several flights a day to Istanbul plus a number of other Turkish destinations including Antalya and Izmir.

Pegasus Airlines and Sun Express operate a handful of year round international flights to Kayseri from Germany and the Netherlands.

By bus

Türkiye’s domestic bus network is extremely elaborate, offering the most scenic and cheapest way to get to Cappadocia. From Goreme, you can bus directly to popular tourist destinations across the country, including the gateways to the Turkish Riviera: Antalya (7 hours) and Bodrum (15 hours).

Best area to stay in Cappadocia

The first thing to understand is that Cappadocia is a region full of little towns. While there’s hotels to suit all budgets dotted across the Cappadocia region, you’ll want to make sure you decide which town best suits your trip.

For a short stay, it’s best to pick somewhere close to the action, so booking a hotel in Goreme is a good idea. It’s the center of Cappadocia’s tourism industry, with easy access to all the sights and activities, plus some fantastic restaurants (although if you’ve spent much time in Galata or Nişantaşı, manage your expectations).

Better still, there are no boring chain hotels here; it’s all quirky independent hotels. If you’re after a spot of luxury, look no further than the adults only Sacred Mansion. For a the real Cappadocian experience, check out Terra Cave Hotel where the rooms are carved into the rock. For those on a budget, Goreme Cave Rooms is a great choice with a central location and outdoor pool.

Best restaurants in Cappadocia

For a provincial town, Goreme has an amazing number of excellent restaurants. Many serve traditional Anatolian cuisine, but you’ll find plenty of international eateries too.

One spot which you really shouldn’t miss is Dibek, right in the center of Goreme. Housed in a 475-year-old cave house, they serve classic Cappadocian home fare. You’re here for their famous dish, the testi kebabi (pottery kebab). Cooked in a traditional clay pot, the meat (or vegetarian mixture) is mixed with pepper and tomato and served alongside rice and salad.

We always recommend booking in advance, and do let them know you’ll be ordering testi kebabi (they need 24 hours to make it).

Some other top spots for local dishes are:

If you’re craving a break from Turkish food, head to Quick China, an upscale Asian restaurant which serves all the Chinese staples along with the flavors of Korean, Thai and Japanese.

What to do during your 2 days in Cappadocia

Around Goreme

If it is those famous photos which have piqued your curiosity and led you to spending 2 days in Cappadocia, the chances are fairy chimneys and hot air balloons are at the top of your Cappadocia bucket list.

Hot air balloon rides

To make the most of the wind conditions, Cappadocia’s hot air balloons only fly early in the morning. Just before sunrise every morning, dozens – over 100 in peak season – of balloons rise from the valleys around Goreme.

Wrap up warm as, even with the heat of the burning gas which inflates the balloon, the higher you go, the cooler it gets. As do the views. Witnessing sunrise over the magical rocky landscape is something truly spectacular.

The feeling of bobbing around in a powerless basket is almost euphoric and something everyone should experience at least once.

Unsurprisingly, hot air balloons are probably the most popular activity here. You may be able to book locally out of peak season, but you’ll pay for the privilege. In our opinion, it’s worth booking your trip in advance. The best options usually include return hotel transfers, breakfast and a glass of bubbly on landing.

Goreme Open Air Museum

You’ve seen the fairy chimneys from above, but now it’s time to see them up close. Our top recommendation is to head for Goreme Open Air Museum, a mile’s walk from the town center. On top of seeing fairy chimneys, a visit to the museum will also allow you to witness one of the most spectacular monastic sites ever to exist.

Part of Goreme Historical Park, this UNESCO World Heritage Site sits in the shelter of Goreme Valley which became an important burial site during the Roman-era. As Christianity spread, monasteries were built throughout the valley, followed by chapels and churches.

Best of all, they were all built into the rockface. Make sure you allocate enough time to this site, as there are over 60 chapels within this 1 km long section of the valley alone.

Rose Valley

Leading away from Goreme towards the town of Cavusin, the Rose Valley is one of Cappadocia’s most serene and popular attractions. This is the place to get those iconic Cappadocia photos.

Taking its name from the gorgeous pink hue on the rocks, the best time to witness Rose Valley is at sunset.

A fun way to see the valley, along with equally beautiful Love Valley, is to take a quad bike (ATV) tour during sunset. This allows you to get up close and personal with the rocks at their pinkest time.

Further Afield

Derinkuyu Underground City

No one truly knows why an entire underground city was built in Derinkuyu. What comes as even more of a surprise is that it was completely forgotten about until 1963 when a local man took a sledgehammer to his basement wall. Beyond it, he found a network of tunnels stretching 85 meters down towards the Earth’s core.

Historians believe that the first tunnels date back to the 7th century BCE and were later expanded during the Byzantine period. Over the course of history, Türkiye has seen more than it’s fair share of religious persecution and underground dwellings proved a safe harbourage. As recently as the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1917, Armenians sheltered in the tunnels here.

Kaymakli Underground City

Derinkuyu’s smaller and lesser-known neighbor is also home to a hidden city. The tunnel networks actually meet up underground, although it’s not possible for tourists to walk between the two today. As you travel between the two by road, you’ll get an idea of the sheer size of them.

Getting to Derinkuyu & Kaymakli

Derinkuyu is 35 kilometers from Goreme. Hiring a car and driving is the quickest way to reach the Underground City, but it’s possible by public transport. Buses leave from Goreme Bus Station on Turgut Ozal Myd and you’ll need to change in Nevsehir. Timetables aren’t advertised online, but both buses run at least every 30 minutes during the day. Payment is usually in cash only.

Uchisar

Standing on the edge of Goreme National Park, Uchisar looks stunning set among pink fairy chimneys. The highlight of any visit to Uchisar is the Kalesi (castle) which stands high above the town. Built as one of the most important lines of defence for Cappadocia, the castle is thought to date from the early Byzantine period.

Uchisar Kalesi is one of the few sites in Cappadocia that is not commercialised at all. Whilst tourism in Cappadocia has grown massively in recent decades, Uchisar has somehow escaped the radar of many visitors. In short, Uchisar is one of our favorite hidden gems in Cappadocia.

Whilst you’re in town, don’t miss lunch at Cappadocia Senza, a local dining hotspot with views of the castle. You’ll find all the Cappadocian classics, but the highlight here is their traditional lamb shank served with pine nuts and pilaf.

Getting to Uchisar

Just four kilometers from Goreme, Uchisar is the easiest place to visit if you’re staying in Goreme, making it ideal when you have just 2 days in Cappadocia. The Goreme to Nevsehir bus runs every half hour, stopping in Uchisar along the way.

Selime Castle

The most extensive cave complex in Cappadocia, Selime Castle is like no other castle you’ll ever have seen. An elaborate cave dwelling dug into the rock, Selime was built in the 9th century by Byzantine forces to serve as a defence against Arab invasions.

It’s an impressive feat of engineering with two grand halls, a basilica and a double courtyard which overlooks the Menderes River.

Getting to Selime

85 kilometers from Goreme, a visit to Selime is the longest trip on our 2 days in Cappadocia itinerary. But don’t let that put you off, it’s thoroughly worth your while. Hiring a car is the easiest way to reach Selime. The drive takes just over an hour, depending how often you have to stop for photos. If traveling by public transport, take the Flixbus to Aksaray where you can get a taxi to Selime.

Avanos

Just north of Goreme, Avanos sits on the banks of the ancient Halys River, the longest in Türkiye (now known as the Kizilirmak). Once dotted with underground cities, Avanos is now the cultural hub of Cappadocia.

Kapadokya Yaşayan Miras Müzesi is the place to go to learn about the region’s heritage. Exhibits cover everything from the stories behind Cappadocia’s cuisine to the history of the region’s famous pottery.

For an extra special experience, book a pottery masterclass and leave with your own work.

Pottery has been made in Avanos for over 4,000 years, thanks to the river being rich in clay. We love the dozens of family-run potteries and ceramic studios where you can pick some up unique souvenirs to take home.

Getting to Avanos

It’s just a 15-minute drive from Goreme to Avanos if you’ve got your own car. Taxis are also cheap and readily available from hotels or can always be found on Muze Cd. You’ll also find regular buses from Goreme Bus Station.


Share This Article

Looking for the best comprehensive travel insurance? SafetyWing has you covered.
And for your eSIM in every country, there is only one option we recommend: Airalo.


Read more of our best insights from around the world