6 BEST Tours from Istanbul to Cappadocia: 1 – 6 Day Options

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Written By Sean Lau

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When it comes to planning a trip to Turkey, sometimes you just want it made easy for you, which is why those wanting to experience the highlights of two of Turkey’s top destinations, should consider taking a tour from Istanbul to Cappadocia.

Istanbul is one of the most visited and historic cities in Turkey. It’s home to some of the country’s most notable landmarks such as The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, and The Grand Bazaar.

After exploring Istanbul, you might be thinking you want to shake things up a bit. What better way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city than by taking a trip to the desert?

Taking a tour to Cappadocia from Istanbul means less planning stress as you hand over the creation of your itinerary to the professionals – bliss!

If you’re thinking you would like to combine a trip to these two breathtaking destinations in Turkey, then keep reading to learn more about the best tours from Istanbul to Cappadocia!

Our Top Pick

Hot-Air-balloon-Reusuable

3 Day Istanbul to Cappadocia Tour

If you’re not sure which tour to take, we recommend the 3-day Istanbul to Cappadocia tour because it covers all the highlights of Cappadocia.

It takes you to the most iconic valleys and includes an ATV Tour of Red and Rose Valley, a guided tour of Derinkuyu Underground City, a tour of Goreme Open Air Museum, a hike through Ihlara Valley, and of course, a Hot Air Balloon ride.

This tour is for those wanting to experience all the best of Cappadocia and only have a short amount of time.


How To Pick Which Tour from Istanbul to Cappadocia Is Right For You?

Before we dive straight in and tell you the best tours, let’s quickly cover how you can pick the right tour for you. 

Each of these tours are very different and unique from the other, so it’s important to think about what you want to get out of your experience before you book.

Are you looking to do hot air balloon rides?

Hot-Air-Balloon-Tours-Cappadocia-Turkey

Hot air balloon rides are one of the main reasons to visit Cappadocia and are truly an unforgettable experience. 

There is something so magical about taking to the skies with hundreds of other hot air balloons and watching the sun rise over the unique rocky landscape below.

But there is only one catch, and that’s hot air balloon flights don’t fly every day. This is because they cannot fly if the weather conditions are too windy.

If you desperately want to do a hot air balloon ride, you will need to look at tours that have at least 2 days in Cappadocia.

On the 2-day tour, a hot air balloon ride is sometimes included, but you only have one day to take the flight, so if the weather conditions are not right, you will miss out.

However on a 3 day tour from Istanbul to Cappadocia, if are unable to do the flight on the first day, you can try again on the second. If you really want to do the hot air balloon flight, then we recommend you look for tours that are at least 3 days.

If you can’t do the hot air balloon flight, the tour company will refund you for the price of this.

How much hiking do you want to do?

Visit-Rose-Valley
The Rose Valley hiking trail

Another thing Cappadocia is famous for is hiking. While the valleys are not steep nor the hikes strenuous, many of the hiking trails are long. 

The entire Red and Rose Valley hike is about 7.7km, and the Ihlara Valley Hike is another 10km, so if you plan to do both (especially in one day), you will have some aching legs at the end of it.

On top of the hikes, the tours also have a lot of walking at each stop.

There is also some level of scrambling when visiting the underground cities, and you should be prepared for a long climb up to the top of Uchisar Castle.

If walking is a problem for you, you will probably want to consider a 1 or 2 day tour. 

How much time do you have?

Of course, we are not all blessed with time, so the tour you pick will largely depend on how much time you have to spare.

If time is at your disposal, we recommend you spend at least 3 days in Cappadocia.

This is the minimum number of days you need to see the highlights, although you are going to rush through it!

Do you mind rushing?

The tours are usually designed to show you as much as possible in as little time. The average amount of time you spend at each stop on an organized tour is roughly an hour. 

If you don’t like rushing, then you might want to look at the 4+ day tours, which usually have a more flexible itinerary, plus free time on the first and last day, and some downtime in-between activities.

This way you can do some of the other things you want to do in Cappadocia that might not be included on the tour – say, a Turkish Hamam?

Related post: Best Tours of Cappadocia

Do you want a guide for Istanbul first?

Sultanahmet-Istanbul-Mosque

Most tours from Istanbul to Cappadocia go straight to Cappadocia, especially if they are between 1-3 days. However, if you have just landed in Istanbul and haven’t seen the city yet, then you might want to cast your eyes at the 5 and 6-day tours, which have 1-2 days in Istanbul first.

Regardless of which tour you choose, you can expect to spend at least 3 days in Cappadocia, with the rest of the time spent in Istanbul or traveling.

Related Reading: Which Is Better: Istanbul vs Cappadocia?


The Best Tours from Istanbul to Cappadocia

Now if you’re thinking this all sounds excellent and you know what you’re looking for, then it’s time to show you the best tours to Cappadocia from Istanbul!

Go take a look…

1 Day Tour from Istanbul to Cappadocia

You might be thinking, “hold up, isn’t Cappadocia 720km away?”

Yes, it is!

And because Cappadocia is an unmissable stop on any Turkey itinerary, you can find direct flights throughout the day – including very early in the morning and late at night, making it totally possible to visit for one day.

On a one day tour from Istanbul to Cappadocia, you will be woken up at the crack of dawn.

This small-group tour starts at 5.30 am, where you are then picked up from your hotel by private transfer, and taken to Istanbul Airport. 

You will then take a short flight to Kayseri International Airport where you will meet your guide and driver for the day. You will have the luxury of an air-conditioned minivan, a blessing on a hot summers day!

Rose-Valley-Trek-Views
Rose Valley
Cavusin-Cappadocia-Red-Tour
Basilica of St John the Baptist, Cavusin

The first stop on the one-day tour is the beautiful Rose Valley.

We always say if you only have time for one valley in Cappadocia, make it this one.

Rose Valley is a stunning valley full of famous fairy chimneys (historic sandstone rock dwellings), cave churches, craggy rock pinnacles, orchards, and viewpoints.

As you wander around the valley, your guide will tell you about the history of the valley and how the cave dwellings were once used, as well as tell you about the formation of the valley such as how Rose Valley gets its name. 

You will then head to the old village of Cavusin where you’ll find the Basilica of St John the Baptist, a huge structure that sits on a cliff top overlooking Cavusin.

Here you will have lunch at one of Cappadocia’s finest restaurants, serving traditional food, before heading on to the next stop.

The next stop is the old town of Ortahisar, which is a vibrant town made up of cave dwellings and stone houses. You’ll visit the impressive Ortahisar Castle, a 295-foot-high Byzantine-era fortification, which offers panoramic views of the region below.

Kaymakli Underground City
Kaymakli Underground City

After that, you’ll visit one of the most unique places in Cappadocia; the Kaymakli Underground City

During the 7th century BC (or so it is believed) the local Christians built a series of underground cities to hide from Byzantine invaders.

There are several underground cities in the region, but Kaymakli is believed to be the oldest.

Experts believe that it once housed 3,500 people, including all their livestock and belongings.

As you wander through the tunnels and caverns, your guide will tell you all about what life might have been like for these people and what we know about its history. 

The last stop is Pigeon Valley, which is so named because it was used by local people to house their pigeons.

As well as being a place of historical importance, it’s also beautiful and has more of those epic Cappadocian rock formations that make the region so famous.

After exploring Pigeon Valley, it’s time to head back to Istanbul.

Your driver will take you back to Kayseri Airport where you can catch your return flight. You’ll be picked up from the airport in Istanbul and taken back to your hotel.

Pros

  • If you only have one day to spend, it covers most of the highlights of Cappadocia
  • The tour price includes everything from transport, flights, entrance tickets, and your guide. The only thing not covered by the price is gratuities and the cost of your meal.
  • Children are welcome on this tour

Cons

  • This tour has a maximum of 20 people, and if full, it can be hard to hear the guide if you are standing at the back.
  • It does not include a hot air balloon ride 🙁
  • There is a lot of walking and in Kaymakli Underground City, you may need to do some crouching. It’s not recommended you do this tour if you have back problems, claustrophobia, or if you use a wheelchair
  • You only have a day in Cappadocia, so expect this to be a whistle-stop tour. You only get to spend an hour at most at each place, so you might feel it’s a little rushed.

2 Day Tour from Istanbul to Cappadocia

Personally, I think 2 days is the bare minimum amount of time you would need to spend in Cappadocia, and this 2-day tour from Istanbul to Cappadocia covers all the highlights!

Including a hot air balloon ride.

Day 1

This tour starts early with a pick-up from your hotel in Istanbul to catch an early morning flight to Kayseri International Airport. 

From here, you will be picked up by your guide and head straight to the Goreme Open Air Museum, one of the biggest open-air museums in Cappadocia.

This former cave city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and sits in the Goreme Valley, and allows visitors to walk in the footsteps of settlers who lived here thousands of years ago.

You’ll see former homes, stables, kitchens, and wineries, as well as see Byzantine frescoes painted inside the cave churches.

Devrent Valley Camel Rock
Devrent Valley
Pasabag Valley

After exploring the museum, you’ll head to Devrent Valley, where you can take photos of the animal-shaped rock formations that make this valley famous.

Then you will continue on to Pasabag Valley, also known as Monks Valley, where you’ll get to see more of the impressive Cappadocia landscape.

Next stop you’ll head to Avanos, a town known for its pottery, silk, wool, and carpet weaving trades. Here you will get to visit the pottery shops and see the masters at work.

After exploring the town, you’ll enjoy a traditional Turkish lunch, before heading to Goreme Panorama, which offers wonderful views of the Goreme National Park and the fairy chimneys.

Uchisar Castle
Uchisar Castle

In the afternoon, you’ll head over to explore Uchisar Castle.

This is the highest point in Cappadocia and has unrivaled panoramic views extending over Pigeon Valley, White Valley, and Love Valley in the distance.

After Uchisar, you’ll be taken to your accommodation for the night; a special-class cave hotel.

Day 2

Cappadocia-Hot-Air-Balloon-Ride

Wake up early on the second day to take flight in a hot air balloon. Soar above the valleys and watch the sunrise over the impressive rock formations.

Note: hot air balloon tours are subject to weather conditions, and in the event, the hot air balloons can’t fly, you will be refunded 75 Euro for the cost of the flight.

After the hot air balloon tour, it’s back to the hotel for breakfast, before heading out to explore Rose and Red Valley, two valleys famous for their pink and red hues.

Then, it’s on to the small village of Cavusin to see the famous St John the Baptist Church.

Pigeon-Valley-Cappadocia-Turkey-Featured

Then you will be taken to Pigeon Valley, where you will have time to spend wandering through the valley and see the pigeon houses that give this valley its name.

The next stop is Derinkuyu Underground City. Of the several underground cities in Cappadocia, Derinkuyu believed to be the biggest one. 

It is said that it was once home to 20,000 people and extends down to 8 levels.

After exploring the underground city, you’ll continue on to Ortahisar, where you’ll see more of Cappadocia’s famous rock-cut cave dwellings and churches.

Wander the narrow streets and dip into the boutique stores, before heading to the airport for the flight back to Istanbul.

You will be picked up from Istanbul airport and taken back to your hotel.

Pros

  • Only 12 people on this tour
  • Includes 1-night accommodation in Cappadocia
  • Includes one breakfast at the hotel and two lunches. You only have to pay for one dinner. 
  • Includes the cost of a flight, transfers to and from both airports, a driver, and a guide

Cons

  • Not suitable for wheelchair users
  • The cost of entrance fees are not included. You should bring an additional 80TL for Pasabag valley, 150 TL for the Goreme Open Air Museum, and 125 TL for the Underground City.
  • Flights are hand luggage only, so you need to leave your suitcase in Istanbul

3 Day Tour from Istanbul to Cappadocia

If you are undecided on which Cappadocia tour from Istanbul to take, then the 3 day tour is our number one pick. It covers all the highlights, allowing you to really get a feel for Cappadocia and see the major attractions.

If you have been looking at the red or green tour of Cappadocia, this tour essentially covers both of them, plus a hot air balloon flight, and an ATV tour. 

You also have two nights in Cappadocia, so you have more opportunities to take a hot air balloon flight if it is unable to fly on the first day due to poor weather conditions.

Day 1

The tour begins at 7.00 am when you are picked up from your hotel in Istanbul and taken to the airport.

Here you will board a flight to Kayseri airport where you will be picked up by your guide and driver and taken to your hotel to check-in.

Drop your luggage, grab some lunch, and sit back and relax on the terrace with a hot cup of Cai whilst looking over stunning views of the region.

ATV-Tours-Cappadocia-Turkey

At 4.00 pm, you’ll be taken out to Red Valley where you’ll embark on an ATV tour.

The sunset ATV tour is one of the top things to do in Cappadocia as it allows you to see the impressive rock formations of Red Valley without hiking.

As you feel the thrill of the ride, look out at the rocky landscape and see how the colors naturally change in the setting of sunlight.

After the ATV tour, you’ll be taken back to your hotel where you can enjoy a Turkish dinner on the terrace.

Day 2

On the second day, you’ll wake up between 4.00 am and 5.00 am for a hot air balloon flight. Take to the skies to witness the enormity and beauty of the landscape from above, along with hundreds of other balloons, as the sun rises around you.

If your hot air balloon flight is unable to take off due to weather conditions, you will try again the next day. If the flight cannot take off during the tour, you’ll be refunded 75 Euro for the cost of the flight.

After the flight, you will return back to your hotel for a quick breakfast, before heading out to Uchisar Castle.

Wander the former houses, kitchens, and stables of the castle, before heading up to the viewpoint to see more incredible views of the region.

Goreme Open Air Museum Cappadocia
Goreme Open Air Museum

After that, you’ll head to Goreme Open Air Museum. Here your guide will walk you through the remains of the ancient city and tell you about life in Cappadocia in the 7th century BC.

Explore the remains of rock churches, houses, and more.

The next stop is Cavusin village, a small village with an impressive cave church. 

Then you’ll be taken to Avanos, a town known for its pottery and handicraft trade. Here you will have lunch before seeing a pottery demonstration.

After lunch, you’ll be taken to Pasabag Valley, otherwise known as Monks Valley, where you can walk around the fairy chimneys and see more of the impressive rock formations.

Finally, you’ll be taken for a quick stop at Devrent Valley (also known as Magic Valley or Imagination Valley) where you’ll find several rock structures in the shape of animals, before heading over to Urgup to visit the Urgup Carpet Factory. 

After this action-packed day, you will be taken back to your hotel.

Day 3

On the third and final day, your day will begin at 9.30 am, where you will be taken to Goreme Panoramic view, a viewpoint with incredible views over the Goreme National Park.

Derinkuyu Underground City Cappadocia
Derinkuyu Underground City

After that, you will be taken to explore Derinkuyu Underground City, one of Cappadocia’s many underground cities. Your guide will take you through the halls and chambers that were once used as shelters from invaders back during the Phrasian period (or so they believe).

See where more than 20,000 people slept, cooked, prayed, and lived, along with their livestock, thousands of years ago.

After that, it’s time to get some fresh air with a small hike through Ihlara Valley, where you will have a late lunch in Belisirma village. 

Ihlara Valley Green Tour
Ihlara Valley
Selime Monastery Green Tour Cappadocia
Selime Monastery

After that, you’ll head over to the Yaprakhisar Panorama for incredible views of the valley, before heading over to the Selime Monastery. 

The final stop on the tour is Pigeon Valley and an onyx factory, where you will learn about how the onyx stone is mined.

Once the tour is over, you will be taken to the airport where you will say goodbye to your guide and fly back to Istanbul. A car will be waiting for you to take you back to your hotel in Istanbul.

Pros

  • Only 15 people on this tour
  • Includes 2-nights accommodation in Cappadocia
  • Includes all breakfasts and lunches, you only have to pay for dinner. 
  • Includes the cost of all attractions and entrance fees, hot air balloon flight, flight to and from Istanbul, airport transfers both ways, a driver, and a guide

Cons

  • Not suitable for wheelchair users
  • There is a lot of walking involved
  • Children under 6 cannot take part in the hot air balloon tour or ATV tour
  • Flights are hand luggage only, so you need to leave your suitcase in Istanbul

4 Day Tour from Istanbul to Cappadocia

Those who have landed in Istanbul and have not had time to explore the city will enjoy this 4 day tour of Istanbul and Cappadocia. It takes in the highlights of both places, so you can see it all in a short time with a knowledgeable guide.

Day 1

The tour begins in Istanbul, where you will be taken around the historic sites of the city. 

See the iconic Byzantine mosaics and minarets of the Hagia Sophia, marvel at The Blue Mosque, walk in the footsteps of Ottoman sultans at Topkapi Palace, and check out the Hippodrome and Egyptian obelisk. 

The final stop is the Grand Bazaar, the largest covered market in the world. With the help of your guide, you can navigate your way around the many walkways and alleys, and pick up souvenirs from the shops.

After a day of exploring, you’ll head to the airport where you’ll catch an evening flight to Cappadocia, where you’ll be picked up and taken to your hotel.

The Grand Bazaar Istanbul
The Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

Day 2 

The second day starts with breakfast at the hotel, before heading over to explore the Goreme Open Air Museum.

After that, you’ll be taken to the Devrent Valley, and Pasabag Valley. Head to Avanos for a Turkish lunch and to see a pottery demonstration.

After lunch, head over to Goreme Panorama for incredible views of Goreme and the fairy chimneys below. Then it’s on to Uchisar Castle, the highest point in Cappadocia, where you’ll be met with even more stunning views.

Head back to your hotel in the evening for free time at your leisure.

Day 3

Red-Valley-Rocks
Red Valley
Pigeon-Houses-Cappadocia
Pigeon Houses in Pigeon Valley

After breakfast, get ready for another action-packed day! Head over to Rose and Red Valley and hike through the valley’s iconic red rock formations. See rock-cut churches and cave dwellings.

Then, head over to Cavusin village to see the famous rock church of St John the Baptist.

After that, you’ll be taken to explore Pigeon Valley, where your guide will tell you why the man-made pigeon houses were built into the volcanic rock.

The next stop is Derinkuyu Underground City, where you will walk in the footsteps of 20,000 Christians who used the cave cities as hiding places from Byzantine invaders.

Ortahisar Cappadocia
Ortahisar

After that, you’ll be taken to Ortahisar, where you can enjoy wandering around the narrow streets and admire the picturesque stone houses.

In the evening, you have more free time at your leisure.

Day 4

On the fourth day, you will have breakfast and check out, before being taken to Kayseri Airport to catch a flight back to Istanbul.

Pros

  • Only 12 people on this tour
  • Includes 3-nights in a cave hotel accommodation in Cappadocia
  • Includes 2 breakfasts and 3 lunches, you only have to pay for dinner. 
  • Includes the cost of flights to and from Istanbul, airport transfers both ways, a driver and a guide
  • Flight includes 15kg hold luggage

Cons

  • Not suitable for wheelchair users
  • There is a lot of walking involved on one day, rather than being spread out
  • Day 4 is really just a travel day
  • Does not include the entrance fees to historical sites, Hagia Irene (320TL/person), Goreme Open Air Museum (150TL/person), Kaymaklı Underground City (125TL/person), and Zelve Open Air Museum (75TL/person)
  • You need to consider the days you book this tour. The Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesdays, the Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays, and the Blue Mosque is closed on Fridays, so you need to time your trip around these dates.
  • A hot air balloon flight is not included in the price, but if you want to add this on, speak to your tour guide and let them know you would like to do one and they can help you to organize this.

5 Day Tour from Istanbul to Cappadocia

On a five-day tour from Istanbul to Cappadocia, you will experience the magic of both Istanbul and Cappadocia in an action-packed itinerary.

Day 1

You will be picked up from the airport and taken to your hotel in Istanbul. The hotel will be a 4 Star or a High-Class Boutique Hotel.

Day 2

Explore the highlights of Istanbul as you wander around the city with a knowledgeable guide. You’ll be taken to the Hagia Sophia Mosque and admire the beautiful interiors of his historic building. 

After that, you’ll visit The Blue Mosque, one of the biggest mosques in Istanbul and an iconic landmark, known for its mass of intricately decorated blue tiles. 

Obelisk from Egypt, Istanbul

Pass by the Hippodrome, the former center of sports and political activities in Constantinople. This is where you’ll also see the Obelisk from Egypt.

The next stop is the Topkapi Palace, the former imperial residence of the Ottoman Sultans and where the Great Ottoman Empire was ruled. 

The final stop of the day is the Grand Bazaar, a huge covered market with great historical importance.

Day 3

On the third day, you’ll be picked up from your hotel at 6.00 am and taken to Istanbul Airport to fly to Cappadocia.

From Kayseri International Airport, you’ll be taken to the first stop of the day; Devrent Valley.

Here you can stop and take photos with some whimsical rock formations in the shape of animals.

Devrent Valley Imagination Valley Cappadocia
Devrent Valley (Imagination Valley)

After that, you’ll head to Pasabag Valley (or Monks Valley), where you’ll spend 45 minutes exploring the unique rock formations that make Cappadocia so famous.

The third stop is Avanos, a small town known for its pottery, silk, wool, and carpet weaving trades. Here you will enjoy lunch and watch some masters demonstrate their craft.

After lunch, you’ll explore the unique Goreme Open Air Museum, the remains of the ancient Phrasian city that dates back to the 11th century BC. Be sure to check out the historic cave churches, which feature ancient frescos of religious artwork.

The final stop of the day is Uchisar, the highest point in Cappadocia. Here you will spend time exploring the quaint village, and its magnificent castle, which offers panoramic views from the top.

views from uchisar castle
Views from Uchisar Castle

Day 4

The first stop is Red Valley. Wander through the valley and admire the impressive red rock formations and fairy chimneys. 

After 45 minutes of exploring the valley, you’ll head over to Cavusin where you’ll have time to explore the village and the impressive St John the Baptist cave church.

Then, you’ll visit Pigeon Valley, another incredible valley known for its unique landscape. Here you’ll see the pigeon houses, which are man-made holes carved into the rock and used to collect pigeon poop!

The final stop of the day is Derinkuyu Underground City, the biggest underground city in the Cappadocia region. Here you’ll spend an hour wandering the caverns and tunnels and learn about life back in the 7th century BC.

Day 5

On the last day, you will be picked up from your hotel in Cappadocia and taken back to Kayseri International Airport, where you will return back to Istanbul.

The tour ends when you land in Istanbul, and you will need to arrange transport back to Istanbul city center after the tour unless you intend to fly somewhere else.

Pros

  • Only 12 people on this tour
  • Optional hot air balloon ride available
  • Includes 4-nights accommodation in a 4* hotel 
  • Includes 4 breakfasts and 2 lunches 
  • Includes the cost of flights to and from Istanbul, airport transfers to Istanbul Airport and to and from Kayseri Airport, but not from Istanbul to the city at the end
  • Includes a driver and a guide
  • Infants are welcome and infant seats can be provided
  • Compared to other tours, there are fewer activities on each day but you spend more time at them (could also be a con)
  • Flight includes 15kg hold luggage

Cons

  • Not suitable for wheelchair users
  • No airport transfer back to Istanbul city center on the last day
  • Day 1 and 5 are not days of activities and more travel days
  • Compared to other tours, there are fewer activities on each day but you spend more time at them (this could also be a pro)
  • Does not include the entrance fees to historical sites, Hagia Irene (320TL/person), Goreme Open Air Museum (150TL/person), Kaymaklı Underground City (125TL/person), and Zelve Open Air Museum (75TL/person)
  • You need to consider the days you book this tour. The Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesdays, the Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays, and the Blue Mosque is closed on Fridays, so you need to time your trip around these dates.

6 Day Istanbul to Cappadocia Tour

Last but not least, is the 6 day tour from Istanbul to Cappadocia. This tour features three days in Istanbul and three days in Cappadocia and is for those travelers who only want to see these two cities before heading to another city/location.

Day 1

The first day is your arrival day in Istanbul. You will be picked up from Istanbul International Airport and taken to your hotel by private transfer.

Day 2

After you’ve enjoyed breakfast at the hotel, you will be taken on a tour of the historic neighborhood of Istanbul.

You will be taken to the Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the Hippodrome, and finally to the Grand Bazaar for shopping. 

At the end of the day, you will return to your hotel for an evening at your leisure.

Day 3

Spice-Bazaar-istanbul
Spice Bazaar, Istabul
bosphorus cruises
Bosphorus Cruises

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before being picked up and taken to the Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar). Walk through this L-Shaped market and ignite your senses with smells and flavors of cinnamon, saffron, mint, thyme and so much more. 

Afterward, you’ll get to sit back and relax on the Bosphorus River cruise. Take in the city skyline from the river, watch the seagulls swarm around Galata Bridge, and sail past some of the most beautiful Ottoman palaces.

In the afternoon, you will visit an underground cistern, a former Roman construction used to house the city’s water supply.

Spend the evening in Istanbul where you can explore at your leisure.

Day 4

Wake up early to be taken to the airport for a flight to Cappadocia. Your guide will meet you at the airport in Cappadocia and take you to your hotel where you can check in and drop your bags.

Three Sisters Fairy Chimneys

After that, you will be taken to the Three Sisters Fairy Chimneys in Urgup, a quiet town in Cappadocia.

The next stop is Pigeons Valley, where you will learn about the history and importance of pigeons in Cappadocian culture. 

The next stop is Kaymakli Underground City, one of the oldest and deepest underground cities in Cappadocia. 

In the evening, you’ll be taken to your luxury cave hotel where you will spend the night and enjoy an evening at your leisure.

Day 5

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, before heading to Devrent Valley, where you’ll see some of the whimsical rock formations in the shape of animals. 

After that, you’ll head to Pasabag Valley to see the fairy chimneys and rock churches there, before heading to Avanos to see pottery demonstrations. 

The next stop is the Goreme Open Air Museum, where you can wander through the remains of this former ancient city and now UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The final stop is Uchisar Castle, where you can see panoramic views of Goreme National Park, before heading to the airport for the flight back to Istanbul. 

You’ll be picked up from the airport in Istanbul and taken to your hotel.

Day 6

After breakfast, you will check out from the hotel and be taken to Istanbul Airport or Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport by private transfer.

Pros

  • Only 15 people on this tour
  • Includes 5-nights accommodation in a 4* hotel 
  • Includes 5 breakfasts
  • Not a lot of walking involved, so better for those with reduced mobility or families with children
  • Has a shorter itinerary so there is more free time to enjoy
  • Not rushed, you spend longer at each place
  • Includes the cost of flights to and from Istanbul, airport transfers both ways, a driver and a guide, and all attractions listed in the itinerary
  • Flight includes 15kg hold luggage

Cons

  • Not suitable for wheelchair users
  • No lunches or dinners included only breakfast
  • Skips Red and Rose Valley, which are our personal favorite valleys in Cappadocia 
  • You need to consider the days you book this tour. The Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesdays, the Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays, and the Blue Mosque is closed on Fridays, so you need to time your trip around these dates.
  • A hot air balloon flight is not included in the price, but if you want to add this on, speak to your tour guide and let them know you would like to do one and they can help you to organize this.

What to Bring on an Istanbul to Cappadocia Tour

Most of these tours are designed to be a getaway from Istanbul, so you don’t need to bring too much with you. 

If you are visiting for 1-3 days, you can leave your big suitcase in Istanbul, and pack a small carry-on bag. In fact, most 1-3 day tours will not book hold luggage for your flight, so you will need to pay extra to bring a suitcase.

Here’s what we suggest you bring:

  • Sturdy, comfortable shoes. Most of these tours involve some level of hiking or go to an underground city, which has a slippery, stone surface. Leave flip-flops at home.
  • Sunhat and sunscreen. It can get quite hot in the middle of the day, and because of the white rock, it reflects the sun and makes it feel stronger than usual.
  • Pack warm clothes. Contrary to the above, it can get cold at night, even when visiting in the summer. Bring warm clothes to wear in the evenings.
  • Bring cash. If you need to pay extra for entrance fees, you’ll need to pay this to your guide in cash. 
  • Camera, obviously.
  • Head scarf (for women) and modest clothing for Istanbul. You will need to have your knees, shoulders and, for women, your hair covered when entering mosques in Istanbul.
  • Bring extra cash for a tip. Tipping is not required but it’s customary to tip your guide and your driver if you have enjoyed your experience. The recommended tipping price is 10% of your tour value.

Final Thoughts on Tours from Istanbul to Cappadocia

Taking an organized tour from Istanbul to Cappadocia is the best way to relieve some stress from your vacation planning. It can also be a great way to see a lot of sites in a short amount of time.

Having the added benefit of a knowledgeable guide, also means you can learn about the sites you are seeing, as well as get information about the history and culture of the area.

Taking a tour means your entire Istanbul to Cappadocia itinerary is taken care of for you. As you can see from the tours in this guide, most of them include everything, from transport (including flights), accommodation, entrance tickets, the price of a guide, and sometimes even the price of a hot air balloon ride.

While tours usually do cost a bit more than doing it yourself, you do get the added benefit of a stress-free time.

And after all, who wants stress on vacation?

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