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Cappadocia

Day trips from Istanbul to Cappadocia are more akin to a psychedelic fairytale, with honeycombed hills and towering boulders offering a glance of beauty that looks more at home in a sci-fi fantasy land.

If you find yourself on holiday in Istanbul, make sure to enhance your experience with a day trip to Cappadocia. Whether you’re an admirer of hikes, a lover of natural beauty, or merely want something different from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul, a trip to Turkey’s Goreme valley should be high up on your list.

How to get to Cappadocia from Istanbul?

Travel by plane

The best option for getting to Cappadocia from Istanbul involves a plane, with flights leaving from Istanbul Ataturk Airport or Sabiha Gokcen Airport and arriving at either Nevsehir or Kayseri airport. This is the fastest option, but also the most expensive one.

Travel by car

You can travel by car from Istanbul to Cappadocia. It's about 750km. Therefore, it's going to take you a full day for each way.

Travel by bus

Buses are leaving from Istanbul to Cappadocia. Keep in mind that the journey will take at least 10 hours each way. Therefore, if you decide for this option, make sure to plan to stay there a couple of days at least.

Take a tour

Several tours include transportation to Cappadocia by plane or bus, plus some activities in the destination. The most common activity is riding a hot air balloon. Several tours have this activity included, since it must be reserved in advance because there is limited capacity.

There are day trips to Cappadocia by plane or multi-day tours. If you take a 1-day tour by bus, you will not have much time for activities in Cappadocia.

How much do guided tours from Istanbul to Cappadocia cost?

Day trips from Istanbul to Cappadocia include round-trip flights and pick up and drop off from local hotels in Istanbul. There are plenty of one-day trips available, which include prominent sightseeing in Cappadocia. These day trips cost around €320.

If you don’t fancy flying, there are also day trips by minibus. Travel times are significantly longer for day trips by minibus and cost around €230.

If you want to stay for longer, there are overnight options which are probably the best solutions. Two and three-night tours include accommodation, with some of the tours featuring hot-air balloon rides over Cappadocia. Tours lasting longer than a day cost between €300 up to €800 for private tours including other landmarks.

How long does it take to get to Cappadocia from istanbul?

Flying to Cappadocia from Istanbul takes around one hour and 20 minutes, with a further hour needed to get from the airport to Cappadocia.

If you’re taking a bus, expect the journey to take anywhere between 10 to 12 hours. There are overnight bus journeys available.

When is the best time to visit Cappadocia?

The best time for day trips from Istanbul to Cappadocia is between April and June and September and October. These months are when the weather is pleasant throughout the day. There is also less chance of rain.

If you visit during the winter months, you might be lucky enough to see snow settling on the rock formations, but make sure you wrap up warm.

Summers can be hot, but Cappadocia experiences desertic weather. The temperature falls down at night time and, therefore, the weather is pleasant during the summer months as well.

What are the best things to do and see on day trips from Istanbul to Cappadocia?

Hot-air balloon

A hot-air balloon ride is one of the best ways to view Cappadocia, and provides the opportunity to take in panoramic views of the majestical area. Many day trips from Istanbul to Cappadocia provide the opportunity for a ride in a hot-air balloon so that you can witness the sweeping, dramatic landscapes below.

If you want to ride a hot air balloon and you are travelling by car or your tour does not include it, make sure to reserve it in advance. There is a limited number of balloons that are licensed to fly every day and, therefore, seats sell out quite fast. Find and compare hot air balloon flights in Cappadocia.

Goreme Open-Air Museum

The Goreme Open-Air Museum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the main attractions in Cappadocia. It was once an important Byzantine monastic settlement uses to house monks. Today, you can see many refectory monasteries placed side-by-side. Each one comes with its own fantastic church, and the museum is located just 15 minutes from Goreme village centre.

Derinkuyu

Derinkuyu was one of the largest underground cities in the world and housed up to 20,000 people at one stage. The ancient underground city was only discovered in 1963 after a Turkish resident knocked down the wall to his house, only to find a hidden, ancient 18-storey city that had been there for several million years.

Kaymakli Underground City

Derinkuyu isn’t the only underground city in Cappadocia. In fact, there are some 36 underground sites, each one with a unique tale to tell. Kaymakli Underground City features many subterranean passages and chambers with living quarters, stables, kitchens and cellars. This well-preserved city was once home to Christians who sought refuge from persecution.

Red Valley and Rose Valley

If it’s romantic sunsets that you’re after, Red Valley and Rose Valley have you covered. Their names come from the pinkish red-coloured rock that changes colour throughout the day. Their position makes Red Valley and Rose Valley ideal for sunsets, as they sit where the sun beams down and often provide a pink colour on the rocks that they shine off.

Ortahisar

A charming town in the Cappadocia region, Othahisar is picturesque and full of fun things to do during one of your day trips from Istanbul to Cappadocia. Ortahisar Castle is like nothing you have ever seen with its rock formation dominating over the town. The Ethnographic and Culture Museum features a handful of displays that portray historical life in Cappadocia.

Pigeon Valley

Known for its many human-made dovecotes (Pigeon Houses) that were carved into the volcanic tuff, Pigeon Valley is one of the most popular attractions in Cappadocia. A favourite with hikers, Pigeon Valley is a top spot for walking around and seeing the beauty of Cappadocia first hand. It’s also possible to explore Pigeon Valley on horseback or via a jeep.

Devrent Valley

While humans inherited most of the valleys in Cappadocia, Devrent Valley remained people-free. As a result, there are no churches or castles. Instead, visitors can expect to find pink-hued rock formations and geological anomalies that are the result of centuries of erosion. The rocks form pillar-like shapes and other odd shapes, which makes for a great picture or two.

Pasabag

Also known as Monks Valley, Pasabag is noted for its fairy chimneys. Visitors will find an unusual, almost moon-like landscape that has remarkable formations. They’re called fairy chimneys because early inhabitants of the area believed they were chimneys for the fairies who lived underground.

Cave hotels

If you decide to extend one of your day trips from Istanbul to Cappadocia, make sure you stay in a cave hotel. Even if you’re only there for the day, it’s still worth taking the time to explore these interesting buildings. It’s a chance to see how the locals lived thousands of years and experience the troglodyte lifestyle in luxury.

Travel tips

  • If you are interested in riding a hot air balloon, plan and book in advance because the seats sell out fast.
  • Don't forget your camera! Cappadocia offers amazing landscapes.
  • In Cappadocia, you can undertake many outdoor activities. Bring a pair of comfortable shoes.
  • If you are travelling in the wintertime, keep in mind that Cappadocia can experience rigid weather.