Imagine sipping on Turkish coffee while the sun slowly rises above the horizon and balloons fill the air. Cappadocia is full of enchanting rock formations and romantic caves. Ever since I saw pictures of this magical landscape on instagram, I knew that I had to go. Most people will spend a couple days exploring this majestic area, but I have a fantastic day long Cappadocia itinerary.
Over the years, I have traveled to countless destinations and more than 40 countries, but nowhere has captured my heart like Cappadocia. Tourists flock from all over to visit this mind-blowing destination 🤯. There’s nowhere quite like it, so maximize your time by checking out this amazing itinerary.
You Might Also Like These Posts:
Table of Contents
The Best Day Cappadocia Itinerary
Where to Stay
Cappadocia is the term used in tourism to encompass a region that is known for the natural fairy chimneys and a distinct shared culture. This region actually encompasses multiple towns that offer places to stay. Most people stay in Göreme or Uchisar, but you could also stay in Ürgüp, Avanos, or Ortahisar. Göreme is the most touristy of the towns, but it has the closest views of the balloons and boasts a lively scene. Uchisar is a bit quieter, but has fantastic landscapes and plenty of places to stay.
We chose to stay in Göreme, because we had a limited time and we wanted to be able to access everything quickly. I dreamt of staying in the typical cave hotels with a beautiful roof to watch the balloons from.
After doing a lot of research into the options available, we stayed at Cappadocia Cave Land Hotel. This hotel is right next to the downtown area and it is family-owned, so you really get a personal experience. The brothers who owned it emailed us before the trip to make sure that we were taken care of and booked various tours for us.
It featured a comfortable bed, a nice bathroom and did I mention that we were staying in a cave? Also, the hotel also had a roof where they set up a lovely Turkish breakfast on the rooftop that was a real highlight. I highly recommend this hotel because we had a great experience!
Other hotels to Stay in Cappadocia:
- Cappadocia Cave Suites
- Kelebek Special Cave Hotel
- Artemis Cave Suites
- Sultan Cave Suites
- Terra Cave Hotel
One Day Cappadocia Itinerary
Sunrise Hot Air Balloon
If you go to Cappadocia and you don’t ride in a hot air balloon, then you are doing it wrong. Cappadocia is the hot air ballooning capital of the world. Every day (weather permitting) hundreds of balloons go up in the air and it’s a majestic sight. I know that these rides are more expensive than most other activities available, but this is worth the splurge!
There are many options to consider when getting a hot air balloon. You will see advertisements for them all over town and there are many different types. In the busy months, like July and August, you may want to book ahead of time just to secure your spot. I did a lot of research into the balloons and found Voyager Balloons had great reviews. We had saved money by staying with our friend for the majority of our trip, so we chose to book the Ultra comfort option, which for a reasonable bump in price ($240 per person) meant less people in the balloon and a nice breakfast buffet.
The balloons start really early in the morning, so try and get a good night’s rest before 😴. They picked us up at 3:45 am to take us to the balloon headquarters. Once we got to the headquarters, we ate a nice breakfast served with Turkish coffee and tea. After they checked everyone in, they drove us to the balloon lift-off area.
We got to watch as they blew up the balloons in the early morning light. The workers blow hot fire and air into the balloon as it inflates, then they have to tip it upright. This is definitely a difficult task, our balloon didn’t lift up properly, so they had to start the process all over again. Once it was inflated we all climbed in and the ride began.
Our balloon pilot was incredibly skilled. It’s crazy to watch them navigate the mountains and the wind to make sure the ride is smooth for everyone, while also giving us an overview of the landscape. They make sure to turn the balloon around so that everyone gets to see all of the various natural features in the valley. The pilot also makes sure that you have plenty of opportunities for pictures during the ride. Don’t worry if you’re afraid of heights, my partner is terrified and he felt really secure! I will never forget the serenity of the ride along with the beautiful views that we got to enjoy.
After the ride, they bring you back down to the ground in a different landing spot. Waiting for the balloon below was a table full of a cake and champagne. It’s so fun to celebrate an amazing ride together!
Other Balloon Tour Companies:
- Discovery Balloons
- Turkiye Balloons
- Royal Balloon
Take a Day Tour: Red Tour
Once you get back from your balloon ride, you can change, prepare for the day and enjoy breakfast. From there, you can go on one of the day tours that runs through the area. These tours will pick you up from your hotel to start the adventure!
Because most people don’t rent cars when visiting Cappadocia, they offer three tours to help tourists see the area: the red tour, the green tour, and the blue tour, which are all about $50. All of these tours are supposed to be amazing, and are great additions to a Cappadocia itinerary.
The Red Tour covers the central Cappadocia region and shows many of the iconic views, the Green Tour covers the Southern region and includes more nature/hiking, and the Blue Tour shows the more authentic parts of Cappadocia like churches and museums. Given our short time-frame, we chose to do the Red Tour. You can book these when you get to Cappadocia, because they do not fill up.
On the Red Tour, you were able to see the Open Air Museum as well as multiple stunning valleys, eat a hearty lunch, and finish at a pottery demonstration. We had a great tour guide who made sure to keep those on the bus energized and answered all of our questions. Seeing the highlights of Cappadocia was truly magical. We were able to see some of the most iconic views on this tour and I felt like we got a good understanding of the area.
Horseback Sunset Ride
If you really want to see everything and make your day magical, then you can end the day with an ATV ride or a sunset horseback ride 🐎. You can book these experiences through your hotel and you do not need to book them ahead of time!
Our group decided to go on a horseback ride. About an hour after the Red Tour ended and about an hour before sunset 🌅, the horseback riding guide picks you up from your hotel. They will drive you to their ranch, pick out horses for you, and show you a few things before you begin riding.
The ride was two hours long and it takes you through a path around a hilly area that overlooked a stunning valley. Halfway in, we stopped at a tea house to get a quick snack and then head back out on our horses. Once we got to the peak of the mountain, the guides took pictures of us overlooking the sunset below. It was a very peaceful and magnificent way to end a day full of activities!
Dinner at Cave Restaurant
After a day full of touring, you will probably be famished. You can find a ton of great restaurants in Goreme. We went to the Inci Cave Restaurant, which was absolutely amazing! This restaurant is located in a cave, which is pretty cool. Make sure to order the regional specialties like pottery kebab and feast to your heart’s desire.
Great restaurants in Goreme:
- Topdeck Cave Restaurant
- Pumpkin Goreme Restaurant
- Cafe Safak
- Cafe Keyif
Morning Sunrise on Rooftop or Hillside
If you have the time, you should try to get up in time to enjoy the sunrise from a good vantage point. Many of the cave hotels have stunning views of the balloons going up in the air. If your hotel doesn’t have a good view, then you can walk to a nearby hillside to watch the balloons rise up.
It’s truly a breathtaking sight and reminds you of a fairytale 👸🏼. It’s the perfect way to end your trip in Cappadocia. This is also a great time to get those instagram famous pictures of people with balloons all around them.
Even though we only had a day in Cappadocia, it was one of the most memorable experiences of my lifetime ✨. If you are going to Turkey, then Cappadocia is a bucket list destination and this is a fantastic Cappadocia itinerary! I look back on this day as one of the best days in my life and I would love to return one day.
Let me know if you enjoyed this guide in the comments!
📌 Pin EPIC One Day Cappadocia Itinerary to Pinterest