Istanbul to Cappadocia – Experience Turkey’s rich history and natural beauty on this week-long trip, which includes stops in Istanbul, the former capital of the Byzantine, Roman, and Ottoman Empires, and Cappadocia, a region known for its unique lunar landscapes, including Göreme, Uçhisar, and Urgup.
Istanbul is a city that boasts a wealth of architectural marvels, including the Bosphorus Shore, the Grand Bazaar, the Blue Mosque, and the Golden Horn. These landmarks reflect the city’s multicultural history and its vibrant, energetic atmosphere. During your visit, you’ll be able to experience the lively pace of life in Istanbul firsthand. After exploring the city, you’ll travel to Cappadocia, a region that has captivated travelers for centuries with its stunning lunar landscapes.
The region is known for its unique fairy chimneys, valleys, and canyons, all of which have been shaped by centuries of wind and water erosion. From the hectic streets of Istanbul to the mystical beauty of Cappadocia, this trip offers a chance to experience the two most enchanting regions of Turkey.
Day 1: Arrival in Istanbul and private transportation to your accommodation”
On your arrival at Istanbul Airport (either Istanbul International Airport or Sabiha Gökçen Airport), a private driver will be waiting to transport you to your hotel or rental apartment for the duration of your trip.
Day 2: Tour of the Sultanahmet district’s classic landmarks – Istanbul to Cappadocia
This one-day tour of Istanbul offers a guided visit of the city’s rich history and heritage. The day begins with a visit to the iconic Sainte-Sophie Basilica, built in the 6th century. Next, we will explore the Basilica Cistern, a mythical underground water tank that was also used as a film location for the James Bond movie. After a coffee break with panoramic views of the city, we will visit the beautiful Blue Mosque, known for its intricate blue ceramic tiles.
Later, we will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant (included in the tour price) before visiting the Grand Bazaar, a 1455 marketplace with 4000 shops that was once the center of trade in Constantinople. We will also see the Suleymaniye Mosque, the largest imperial mosque in Istanbul, built by the renowned architect Sinan during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent.
To end the day, we will stop for a café with stunning views of the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus, and the city, before visiting the spice market or Egyptian market in the Eminönü district. The Egyptian Bazaar, also known as the spice market, was built by the Venetians in 1663 using tax money from Cairo and features a wide variety of spices.
DAY 3 – Culinary and cultural walk on two continents – Istanbul to Cappadocia
On this typical day in Istanbul, you will have the chance to experience two iconic and bustling districts that are located at the heart of two continents. The first district, Beşiktas, is situated on the European side of the city and is known for its vibrant and lively atmosphere. With narrow streets full of shops, restaurants, bars, and terraces, Beşiktas is a great place to sample some local street food and taste traditional Turkish dishes.
The second district you will visit is Üsküdar, located on the Asian side of the city across the Bosphorus. Üsküdar is one of the oldest districts of Istanbul and has a more family-oriented and conservative atmosphere. During the day, the district comes alive with its local market, which attracts both tourists and locals. You will have the opportunity to explore the market and discover the unique culture and traditions of Üsküdar.
DAY 4 – Cappadocia – Horse riding or Anatolian cooking class – Istanbul to Cappadocia
On this day of your tour, you will be transferred by private car from your hotel or apartment in Istanbul to the airport for a flight to Nevşehir or Kayseri. From there, another private transfer will take you to your hotel in Cappadocia. We also offer car rental services upon arrival at Nevşehir or Kayseri Airport.
For those interested in horse riding, we offer guided rides of 2, 3, or 4 hours through the stunning lunar landscapes and rock formations of Cappadocia. You will have the chance to gallop through valleys such as the Rose or Rouge valleys, the Amour valley, or other nearby areas, depending on the weather and your comfort level on horseback.
For those interested in cooking, we offer Anatolian cooking classes in the small village of Ayvali, just a few kilometers from Urgup. Led by local resident Tolga and his family, these classes offer the opportunity to learn about regional cuisine, techniques, and flavors in a friendly atmosphere. You will also have the chance to discover the inside of a typical Anatolian home.
DAY 5 – Cappadocia – Göreme treasures tour – Istanbul to Cappadocia
On this day, you will visit the Göreme valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to rocky sanctuaries, troglodyte villages, and underground cities that date back to the 4th century. This open-air museum is filled with mural paintings from the 10th to 13th centuries and offers a unique look at the region’s rich history and cultural heritage. You will have the chance to explore sites such as the Snake Church, the Loop Church, and the Refectory.
Later in the day, you will visit the Zelve Valley, which was a major Christian religious center between the 9th and 10th centuries. You will walk through three valleys filled with troglodyte houses, mosques, tunnels, and small churches, and enjoy panoramic views of the Göreme and Dervent valleys.
During the day, you will also take a 1.5 hour walk through the Gulludere valley, also known as the Love Valley. Afterwards, you will have the chance to visit a wine cellar in Urgup, a well-known wine village.
DAY 6 – Cappadocia – Day off and departure to Istanbul – Istanbul to Cappadocia
Before departing for the airport, you will have the opportunity to spend some time exploring the old quarter of the city, visiting a museum, or doing some shopping. You can reach the airport either by private transfer or with your rental car. This is a great opportunity to take in the local sights and sounds and get some last-minute souvenirs before your trip comes to an end.
DAY 7 – Istanbul’s Asian Shore: half a day in Kadıköy, the city’s new cultural and arty center – Istanbul to Cappadocia
Kadiköy, formerly known as Chalcedon, is a vibrant district in Istanbul that has been a hub of cultural innovation for centuries. It has attracted artists, musicians, writers, and other creative individuals who have helped to shape the unique culture of the area. Today, Kadiköy is a thriving economic center that offers a high quality of life to its residents.
During this tour, you will arrive by boat in the market district, a bustling bazaar that mixes traditional and modern elements. Here, you will find cafes and hipster shops alongside an array of fresh produce, spices, fish, and traditional pastries.
Kadiköy is also known for its intellectual vibrancy, and you will have the opportunity to learn about the Ebru tradition of water marbling art, which has had a significant influence on fields such as fashion, cinema, and contemporary art. You will also learn about the rock and lefty culture of the neighborhood by meeting with local residents.
The tour will conclude in the Moda neighborhood, known as the “Brooklyn of Istanbul” for its creativity and way of life.