4 days in Turkey: Istanbul and Cappadocia in one trip

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Planning to spend 4 days in Turkey? We got you covered! In this post, I’d like to share with you our 4-day itinerary for Turkey. During 4 days in Turkey, we managed to visit Istanbul and Cappadocia. While it doesn’t sounds like much time, we were actually able to see some of the main landmarks in Istanbul and even enjoy a lovely hot air balloon ride!

4 days in Turkey - Istanbul and Cappadocia

Our itinerary is pretty tiring and feel free to repeat it if you really want to travel as much as possible, because it involves one night without sleep. At all. Not even 2 hours of sleep (unless you’re one of those people, who can sleep well on the plane). But let’s get straight to the itinerary:

4-day itinerary for Turkey: Istanbul and Cappadocia

Before we start with the itinerary, here’s the brief overview of what we did in 4 days in Turkey:

Day 1: Arrive in Kayseri for Cappadocia (early morning). Day in Cappadocia. Stay at Cappadocia Cave Suites. Quad safari tour around Cappadocia (check availability here)

Day 2: Early hot air balloon ride (check availability and book in advance), flight to Istanbul, stay at Boutique Saint Sophia

Day 3: Explore Istanbul – take a half-day tour of the city (book here) and a Bosphorus cruise (check availability)

Day 4: Breakfast in Istanbul, a trip to the markets and a flight back home

Alright, let’s look at the itinerary in more detail!

Day 0 – Flying to Istanbul & Kayseri at night. On the day 0 of our trip, we woke up, went to work and then went directly to the airport to take the 23:55 flight from London to Istanbul with Pegasus airlines. The flight from London to Istanbul takes approximately 4 hours. You can check the prices for the flights online here.

Day 1. Cappadocia & AMV tour

We decided to go to Cappadocia right away and took a domestic flight from Istanbul to Kayseri (1.5 hours of flying). In Kayseri, we took our pre-booked shuttle (arranged by our hotel) and headed to our lovely hotel Cappadocia Cave Suites.

4 days in Turkey - Istanbul and Cappadocia

The reason why we chose Cappadocia Cave Suites – fabulous Instagrammable terrace overlooking sunrise and hot air balloons in Cappadocia. If you want a photo like the one below – this hotel is your best bet. It’s definitely one of the most Instagrammable places in Cappadocia.

4 days in Turkey - Istanbul and Cappadocia

Cappadocia Cave Suites is often sold out, so it makes sense to check its availability in advance. Check  it now!

In case, Cappadocia Cave Suites is fully booked, these are some good alternatives:

Museum Hotel
Sultan Cave Suites
Rox Goreme

Since Cappadocia is getting incresingly popular due to Instagram (well, to be honest, Cappadocia is one of the most Instagrammable places in the world), I recommend booking the hotels at least 4-5 months in advance!

After arriving at the hotel, we went for a late breakfast in one of the restaurants in Goreme (One Way restaurant – that’s the name) and got back to the hotel to take a Quad Safari around 2 valleys of Cappadocia. I strongly recommend taking an AMV (quad bike) tour, as it’s the best way to explore the valleys.

If that’s not your cup of tea, here are some other amazing tours to take in Cappadocia:

The best of Cappadocia with lunch

Full-day private tour of Cappadocia

4 days in Turkey - Istanbul and Cappadocia

After taking the quad bike tour, we went back to our room, changed and headed to the hotel terrace to take some shots of the sunset in Cappadocia. Afterwards, we went to the restaurant Seten for dinner – it was amazing and I definitely recommend you visiting this restaurant. During the high season and the weekends, consider making a reservation, otherwise, the restaurant might be fully booked!

Day 2: Hot air balloon flight & going back to Istanbul

We woke up at 4:30 am to be picked up from the hotel to go to the hot air balloon ride. Our flight was seriously impressive – it was like a proper tour of different valleys and the balloon was contantly getting up and down. However, we started flying too late when the sun has already risen, so we missed the amazing pink light. Some companies that offer cheap prices have low rating because the balloon just stays in the air at one spot and does nothing.

Consider taking a more expensive flight package as well. We bought the cheapest one paying £130 per person, however, we were packed like sardines in the hot air balloon basket. If you want some nice photos of you in the balloon – consider getting a package, where there are only 8-12 people in the basket. For example, this tour guarantees small groups in the basket.

Alternatively, you can take a private hot air balloon tour! You can check the price and availability here >

4 days in Turkey - Istanbul and Cappadocia
A guide to flying in a hot air balloon in Cappadocia: all you need to know

If you want to read a bit more about flying hot air balloons in Cappadocia, head to my guide to flying how air balloons in Turkey >>>

After taking the hot air balloon ride, we returned to our hotel and slept for a couple of hours before actually starting packing and getting a shuttle back to the Kayseri airport.

We flew to Sabiha Airport in Istanbul and it took us nearly 2 hours to get to our hotel. So it was already 8 pm, when we arrived at our hotel. We decided to go for some food and the evening walk around Istanbul. Istanbul looks amazing at night! The area we decided to explore was Taksim. We walked all the way to stunning Galata tower and then went back to the hotel.

Read my post about the most Instagrammable places in Istanbul >>>

Where to stay in Istanbul

Istanbul has plenty of different hotels for any budget. One of the best-rated hotels that we would recommend is Boutique Saint Sophia (check availability here, as it sells out pretty fast).

If you’re on a budget, check La Maison Story Hotel out.

If you want to treat yourself, Four Seasons Sultanahmet is absolutely amazing. We stayed there 5 years ago (when it was £250 a night and not £850) and loved every minute of it.

Day 3 in Turkey: Istanbul & Four Seasons Hotel

If you haven’t been to Istanbul before and would like to learn more about this city, I recommend taking a city tour like this 6-hour small-group highlights tour of Istanbul.

If you’re on a budget, here is an amazing half-day sightseeing tour of Istanbul.

I also recommend taking a Bosphorus cruise if you’re in Istanbul on a warm and lovely day and of course, this amazing evening walk and food tour of the city!

In the morning, we went to Hagia Sofia (the queue wasn’t that big, but still, we spent about 30 minutes there), so we decided to buy the Istanbul pass – this card usually gives you access to the most museums in Istanbul (and you can skip the queues too).

4 days in Turkey - Istanbul and Cappadocia

Later, we went to the Blue Mosque, that, unluckily, was closed for visits (it was under reconstruction) and walked to the Topkapi Palace, where we stepped the queue and successfully got in! We also got inside the most impressive part of the Topkapi palace – the Harem with its incredible tiles.

the most Instagrammable spots in Istanbul, Turkey i

Afterwards we went to eat in one of these touristy restaurants near the Topkapi palace – we tried the famous Turkish pancake and had a Mixed kebab. The restaurant was okay, but totally overpriced for Turkey! The name of the restaurant is Han, by the way, so you can avoid it if you prefer.

After spending an hour in the hotel and relaxing for a while, we decided to go on walk around the embankment of Bosphorus and watch the sunset from there. We walked all the way from our hotel to Karakoy, where we found the famous fish stall of Turkish Super Mario. The fish wrap we tried there was the best one we ever tried, so this place is definitely recommended to you – this is the address – Makaracilar Caddesi 3-45A.

Insta-worthy spots in Istanbul

We ended the day drinking Turkish Tea and eating some of the most famous Turkish delight, ice-cream and pahlava in the famous Turkish chain Hafiz Mustafa.

4 days in Turkey - Istanbul and Cappadocia

Day 4. Istanbul + flying back to London

On the day 4 in Turkey, we woke up a bit late, checked out from our hotel and went to have breakfast in one of the panoramic cafes with the traditional Turkish breakfast – Saade Kahvati located on the last floor of the hotel Darussaade. The breakfast was 55 Turkish lira per person – around 12 euros, but it was simply amazing!

the most Instagrammable spots in Istanbul, Turkey i

Later on, we went to the Basilica Cistern that was impressive as well and went inside the Hagia Eirene church located in front of the Topkapi palace. From there, we walked all the way to the Grand Bazaar and the Egyptian Bazaar and bought some pretty amazing Turkish delight there.

4 days in Turkey - Istanbul and Cappadocia

We still had some time before our flight at 9:30 pm, so we walked all the way to Balat – a very colourful hipster district of Istanbul that looks like Lisbon or Porto in Portugal.

Insta-worthy spots in Istanbul

In order to go back to the hotel and pick up our bags, we took Uber and it took us 1.5 hours to get from Balat to Sultanahmet because of Istanbul’s crazy traffic. Not to risk our flight, we actually decided to take a train, metro and a taxi to the Sabiha airport (took us 1.5 hours in total) – would have been more than 2.5 hours by a shuttle bus or taxi!

That was pretty much it – we managed to see a lot during these 4 days in Turkey and we would definitely return to this amazing country again. We liked the hospitality and the friendliness of the people, as well as tasty food and great public transport.

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