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Discover Turkish delights on this short but sweet trip from Istanbul to Antalya

Fairies, valleys, kebabs ­– oh my! You've got a handful of days to get to grips with cracking Cappadocia and here’s how you do it: get totes historic in Kaleici, go underground in Derinkuyu, hike the Ihlara Valley and feast in Istanbul. Serefe! (cheers!)

In 2015 this trip was known as ' Five Days in the Fairylands'

Antalya, Turkey
Istanbul, Turkey
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
24 reviews
Min 18 , Max 29
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • The weird and wonderful world of Cappadocia might be the most amazing place in Turkey. Its fairy chimneys and sprawling rockscapes look like they were cut out of a science-fiction cartoon

  • You'll have the chance to take a hot air-balloon ride over the top of it all, giving you the ultimate view of this awesome landscape

  • Exploring the underground city of Derinkuyu is mind-blowing – it goes 60 metres underground and used to house thousands of people

  • Work off some of that delicious gözleme with a hike through the beautiful Ilhara Valley

  • Get a dose of good old-fashioned Turkish hospitality, staying with a local family in a traditional guesthouse in Ortahisar

Is this trip right for you?

  • There's plenty of free time on this trip, which means you're able to take advantage of many optional activities. You will need some extra cash to do so, however.

  • Unlike most other Geckos Adventures, this trip starts early on the morning of Day 1, instead of in the afternoon. Consider arriving a few days earlier to make the most of your time in Antalya.

  • Some of the sites visited involve walking on rocky and/or steep hillsides, so it's important to bring sturdy, comfortable walking shoes and a hat. Long sleeves are also a good idea, of course.

  • It can get quite cool in these destinations, particularly from October to April, so don't forget to pack some extra layers.

  • There are a couple of long bus rides. The good news is, public buses in Turkey are pretty cool and comfortable.


Arrive in Antalya to meet your tour leader and the rest of your group. This takes place at 8 am the Lazer Pension ('pension', or 'pansiyon', is the Turks' cool, homely, old-fashioned version of 'guesthouse'). From here, you'll head to the station and take a bus to Goreme, a town in Cappadocia (approximately 9.5 hours). Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride, young adventurer. When you get there, you can stretch your legs and take an orientation walk with your trip leader. Then grab a beer, or a tea, or perhaps a strong Turkish coffee if you need a pick-me-up (Turkey is the land of beverages, especially the hot variety).
Our accommodation is at  Nazim's house in Ortahisar, check out the views over the secluded valley. This is an amazing spot.. Tonight you'll be treated to some Turkish hospitality as Nazim and his lovely family take care of us.
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Phallic rocks, fairy chimneys and underground cities. Cappadocia’s got it all. This morning you have the option of taking a very early hot-air balloon over the crazy landscapes at sunrise (those who choose to take this optional extra will have a seriously excellent time, and your friends back home might think you've been to another planet when they see your photos). Later in the morning it's time to go underground and explore the cities down there. There are 36 underground cities in Cappadocia; the widest is Kaymakli, the deepest is Derinkuyu. These rabbit-warren metropolises were lovingly carved into the earth by the Hittites around 3,500 years ago. If that doesn’t get you excited, you’re a robot. Later on there will be free time to hit the nightlife of Goreme, or go to a Whirling Dervish 'Sema' performance (optional). 

Notes: The hot-air balloon activity can only be booked locally. Please speak to your trip leader on Day 1 to organise this.
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Goreme - Derinkuyu Underground City tour
Optional Activities
  • Goreme - Hot Air Balloon, Cappadocia - EUR230
  • Goreme - Whirling Dervishes - Sema Performance - EUR25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Strap on those boots for a hike up into the hills. Walk through the mountains to Ortahisar, where you'll be spending the night in a traditional guesthouse. Don't worry, you don't have to be a super-fit athlete for this walk, it's a nice and easy and relaxed. You won't even have to carry your bags – they'll be on a bus bound for Nazim's House. Thanks Nazim! Thank you driver! The total distance you walk will depend on the group and which route is taken.
Take a walk to Ortahisar Castle if you like

  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Goreme - Dinner at Cappadoccian Family House
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Spend the day exploring the Cappadocia area some more. If you like, you can stop by the Göreme Open Air Museum, a medieval wonderland of old rock-cut churches and frescoes. For a very different taste of the dizzyingly diverse landscape around here, you could check out Avanos, which is a chilled-out little town about 10 minutes away, known for its pottery and a 'red' river. Tonight it's time to say goodbye to Cappadocia (take a couple of last photos as you fight back the tears) and catch your overnight bus to Istanbul (approximately 10–12 hours).
  • Overnight Bus (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Goreme - Open Air Museum - TRY30
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your trip comes to an end this morning on arrival into Istanbul. But it's a great idea to stay a little longer. So many activities, so little time. You can get all cultural at the Blue Mosque, splash some cash at the Grand Bazaar (the rugs ain't cheap, but they are beautiful and handmade), take a ferry cruise along the blue waters of Bosphorus (this is awesome and only costs a few Turkish Lira, unlike the some of the houses you will see on the shore as you cruise past), or just eat your weight in last-minute pides. You can’t really go wrong.

Please note: if you wish to book a flight out of Istanbul today, we recommend avoiding flights before 1pm to allow for any delays on your overnight bus.
Optional Activities
  • Bosphorus Boat Cruise (Public Boat) - TRY25
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.


3 breakfasts, 1 dinner


Overnight bus, Public bus


Budget hotel (2 nights), Pension (1 night), Overnight Bus (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Goreme - Derinkuyu Underground City tour
  • Goreme - Dinner at Cappadoccian Family House


Our Complete Cappadocia trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 24 reviews in the last year.

Complete Cappadocia, October 2016

Brittney Tyrrell

Complete Cappadocia, September 2016

Maria Daco

Dates & availability

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Important notes

An optional single supplement is available on this trip. Please refer to your booking agent for further information.
Please note: On the following nights the Single Supplement is not available:
- Day 4: Overnight Bus

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.