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Cappadocia for 3 full days..suggestions?

We will be in Cappadocia Aug 31-September 4th for 4 night. We are an active couple who love to bike and hike. We are more the do our own thing as opposed to tours, however not opposed to maybe one day doing a tour, and the other 2 on our own hiking or trekking. Maybe throw a winery in there as well.
I am guessing we will need our own vehicle. Best to rent at airport or have delivered as we may only need it for 2 days?
Also interested in a possible horseback ride as we grew up with horses, so looking for a reputable business, if anyone has suggestions.

Lastly Budget wise we are going to pick a hotel out of Goreme. We have it narrowed down to:
Aren Cave
Vineyard Cave
Cappadocia Cave Land
Goreme Mansion
Chelebi Cave house

Would like one with a great terrace to sit outside in the evening as well as to have as a viewpoint in the morning.


Posted by
3978 posts

We spent a couple days just hiking within walking distance of Goreme, and on our other full day we paid for a driver. They made a couple stops (underground city, Selime fortress), which i definitely recommend, but the main purpose was to drop us at one end of the Ilhara Valley and pick us up at the other. It was a special day. Our hotel, Kelebek, arranged for the driver. I believe they had a terrace--the breakfast was exceptional.

Posted by
4520 posts

Well, I can't help with a hotel since the one I stayed at is no longer in business, but I can tell you that Cappadocia is wonderful. It's been a while since I was there (2007) but I don't think a lot has changed in the basic scenery. There is a lot to do there, but I think what I enjoyed most was exploring the area and walking and hiking.

I did not have a car - I flew into Istanbul then took the train to Ankara and then the bus to Goreme, where the owner of the hotel picked me up. I think it's doable but I had a lot more time there than you, so a car would definitely be faster. But there are a lot of dolmuses (mini busses) that go from town to town so public transportation is certainly viable.

One of my favorite places was a small village called Cavucin, which I walked to from Goreme. At that time (and I hope that has not changed), it was a charming unspoiled village with huge rocks and wildflowers and places to climb. I don't think I have ever felt more at peace than when I was there. But there is so much to explore in the area.

I'm not sure any of this will help you but I'm sure other travelers who have been there more recently will chime in. If you want, here is a link to the online journal I wrote while I was in Turkey - - hopefully it can give you a few ideas.

I'm sure you will have a wonderful time - I've traveled to most of western Europe and parts of Asia and Turkey is my favorite country.

Posted by
6245 posts

First thing: IF you are planning to do the hot air balloon ride (it seems most people have that as their #1 Turkey bucket list item), then you really want to book that flight for your first morning in Cappadocia. Because the balloons only fly when the wind is calm, and often the wind is not calm. In that case you have the option to be rebooked on the subsequent days. If doing the balloon ride is important to you, plan this first, and build the rest of your itinerary around it, in order to give yourself the greatest possible chance of it happening. (FWIW, I thought the balloon ride was fun, and yes a bit of an expensive splurge, but what you gonna do when your spouse has been dreaming of it...).

Tips for (maybe) a better balloon experience:

  1. Shop around. Competition is fierce. Pay in cash for a discount (they prefer Euros).
  2. Some balloon operators have larger/smaller baskets (more/fewer passengers sharing the experience with you). Ask how many they will squeeze in.
  3. Try to be among the last to climb into the basket: the first people on tend to get pushed to the center (surrounded by other people), the last on tend to be on the outside, enjoying less-obstructed views. At least that was how it was for us.

The "sights" around Cappadocia are widely scattered. A car will be very handy, unless you want to pay for every excursion out to see/do anything. There are plenty of "tours" you can pay for, but if you prefer not to be part of an organized group, a car will be necessary. We rented a car at the airport in Kayseri (actually just outside the airport, the agency office was off-airport, they met us at the airport and drove us to the office for the paperwork). Driving around Cappadocia is easy.

About the "cave hotel" experience: we stayed in a nice one (used by RSE tours, I believe) and while it was OK, it was still...a cave. A little musty with with funky smells around the bathroom. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't completely awesome, either, and if I went back, I'd probably choose a more conventional hotel for more comfort.

Sending a PM with a link to more info. Cheers.

Posted by
21 posts

Great info....I think we will rent the car and do it in town once at the hotel.
We picked Cappadocia Cave Lodge for the views from the terrace.

Any thoughts on any of the tours??....we are usually the self tour type however if one stands out that we would not get to some of the spots while hiking??

Posted by
1 posts

We just got back from trip to Istanbul and Cappadocia we had an amazing experience! Travel agencies helped us to plan our trip, travel agency in Istanbul and for the balloon ride and cave hotel experience may help.

Posted by
3978 posts

Maybe you could share what some of the tours cover?
There are several different valleys--"rose," etc. I would scope out the logistics of the hikes first, as that was a definite highlight for us, seeing the rock formations up close.
One of the two underground cities would be next on my list.
The Selime monastery would be something I would include.
Last on my list but still a must is the Ilhara valley and its cave churches. You can find one tour to group several of those together, and hike leisurely on your other days.

Posted by
3 posts

I planned a 2 day stay there and did a lot of research. I think you're wise to stay in Goreme. I found Capp Cave Land Hotel but finally settled on a wonderful hotel, whose name escapes me now. But if you're still looking for a hotel, let me know and I'll dig up my info.
We had to cancel, as our cruise from Istanbul got cancelled last summer. But the hotel looked and sounded great, and in what I thought was a good location, but wasn't terribly expensive. But I agree that Goreme is your best bet, and I was looking for something where I could get up early and look for balloons....

Posted by
3 posts

Oh, just read some more, and see you've chosen your hotel. Maybe if you remember, it would be great if you could report back on your experience, especially the hotel. I still hope to get there in another year or two. But I finally remembered the hotel - Zara Cave Hotel. Says address is Nevsehir, but that's Goreme. 3 nights in July 2021, 255 euros. They have a few chimney cave rooms but in the end I chose a different, larger room.