Day 1: Istanbul – Kayseri – Northern Cappadocia (L)
Begin your 2- or 3-day experience with an early morning pickup from your central Istanbul hotel, and travel to Istanbul airport for your flight to Kayseri.
Relax on the 1.5-hour flight, and on arrival at Kayseri airport, travel by air-conditioned coach into the heart of Cappadocia. As you travel, hear how this enchanting region was formed during thousands of years of volcanic activity and is rich with strange rock formations, caves and carved stone villages.
Head first for Esentepe, a hillside with spectacular views over the Göreme Valley. Here, take photos of the magnificent, lava-formed landscapes as a taster of what's to come, and then set off with your guide to explore properly.
Visit the rock castle of Uchisar and be wowed by the stunning views from the top. Then, head for the UNESCO-listed Göreme Open-Air Museum, famous for its rock-cut chapels coated in Byzantine frescoes. Admire the beautifully painted chapels and afterward, continue to Ortahisar Castle, another natural castle honeycombed with man-made chambers.
Break for a buffet lunch at a local restaurant, and this afternoon, explore two areas known for their mushroom-shaped fairy chimneys. Visit Pasabag (Monk’s Valley), whose chimneys are widely regarded as the best in Cappadocia, and ogle the Devrent Valley, where more mushroom-shaped pinnacles cover the hillsides.
Afterward, drive to your cave hotel and spend the evening at leisure amid Cappadocia’s magical landscapes. Perhaps enjoy dinner (own expense) at your hotel or a nearby restaurant tonight.
Overnight: 4-star MDC Cave Hotel in Cappadocia or a similar standard cave hotel
Day 2: Southern Cappadocia (B, L)
After breakfast, leave your hotel and drive to southern Cappadocia. Stop at Pigeon Valley where over the centuries, locals have carved pigeon houses into the cliffs to collect pigeon manure for use as an agricultural fertilizer.
Walk through Rose Valley, famous for its red-hued rock and hand-cut churches, and visit Kaymakli Underground City, one of Cappadocia’s best-preserved subterranean sites. Delve into the mazy passages and rooms as your guide explains how early Christians used them to hide from persecutors.
Stop for a buffet lunch at a local restaurant, and visit Cavusin, where a now abandoned settlement of rock-cut homes climbs up a hill. Take photos of the eerie village before continuing to the pottery town of Avanos. Watch local potters at work using centuries-old techniques, and perhaps buy some colorful ceramics (own expense) as souvenirs.
Later, transfer to Kayseri and fly back to Istanbul where your 2-day tour ends at the airport. Alternatively, if you’ve selected the 3-day tour, return to your cave hotel and spend the evening relaxing as you wish.
Overnight if option selected: 4-star MDC Cave Hotel in Cappadocia or a similar standard cave hotel
Optional Day 3: Cappadocia – Istanbul Airport (B)
Check out after breakfast and transfer to Kayseri airport for your return flight to Istanbul airport, where your tour ends.