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Cappadocia 3 Day Itinerary: The Best Things to See and Do

Cappadocia is a magical region in central Turkey, famous for its fairy chimneys, cave hotels, underground cities and hot air balloons. It is a place where nature and history blend together in a spectacular way, creating a unique landscape that will leave you breathless. If you are planning to visit Cappadocia, here is a 3-day itinerary that will help you make the most of your time and see the best attractions.

Day 1: Goreme Open Air Museum, Uchisar Castle and Love Valley

On your first day in Cappadocia, start by visiting the Goreme Open Air Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that showcases the rich cultural and religious heritage of the region. The museum consists of several rock-cut churches and monasteries dating back to the 10th to 13th centuries, decorated with beautiful frescoes depicting scenes from the Bible. You can admire the stunning architecture and art of these ancient sanctuaries and learn more about the history and beliefs of the people who lived here.

Next, head to Uchisar Castle, the highest point in Cappadocia, offering panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and villages. The castle is a massive rock formation that was carved out by humans and used as a fortress and a settlement. You can climb up to the top of the castle and enjoy the scenery, or explore the many tunnels and chambers inside.

After lunch, take a hike in the Love Valley, one of the most scenic and amusing valleys in Cappadocia. The valley is named after its peculiar rock formations that resemble giant phalluses. The valley is also home to many pigeons that nest in the holes of the rocks. You can walk along the trail that follows the valley floor and marvel at the bizarre shapes and colors of the rocks.

Day 2: Hot Air Balloon Ride, Ihlara Valley and Derinkuyu Underground City

On your second day in Cappadocia, wake up early and treat yourself to a once-in-a-lifetime experience: a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia. This is one of the most popular and unforgettable things to do in Cappadocia, as you get to see the sunrise over the fairy chimneys and valleys from above. The balloon ride lasts about an hour and includes a champagne toast and a certificate at the end.

After breakfast, drive to Ihlara Valley, a 14-kilometer long gorge that was formed by a volcanic eruption and carved by a river. The valley is also known for its rock-cut churches that are hidden among the trees and cliffs. You can hike along the river and visit some of these churches, such as Agacalti Church, Yilanli Church and Selime Monastery. The valley is also a great place to enjoy nature and spot some wildlife.

In the afternoon, visit Derinkuyu Underground City, one of the largest and deepest underground cities in Cappadocia. The city was built by early Christians as a refuge from invasions and raids, and could accommodate up to 20,000 people. The city has eight levels that are connected by tunnels and stairs, and includes living quarters, kitchens, storerooms, churches, stables, wells and ventilation shafts. You can explore some of these levels and marvel at the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the builders.

Day 3: Red Valley, Rose Valley and Turkish Bath

On your last day in Cappadocia, explore two of the most beautiful valleys in the region: Red Valley and Rose Valley. These valleys are named after their colors that change according to the sunlight. The valleys are full of fairy chimneys, caves, churches and vineyards. You can hike or bike along the trails that connect the valleys and visit some of the highlights, such as Kolonlu Kilise (Columned Church), Uzumlu Kilise (Grape Church) and Hacli Kilise (Cross Church).

After enjoying the natural beauty of Cappadocia, pamper yourself with a Turkish bath, also known as hamam. A Turkish bath is a traditional ritual that involves washing, scrubbing, massaging and relaxing in a steamy room. It is a great way to cleanse your body and soul, as well as experience some Turkish culture. There are many hamams in Cappadocia where you can enjoy this service for a reasonable price.

Cappadocia is a place that will enchant you with its fairy tale atmosphere and charm you with its history and culture. With this 3-day itinerary, you will be able to see some of the best things that Cappadocia has to offer and have an unforgettable trip.