Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey

Ellie Swain

Senior Contributor

Visit Turkey’s Cappadocia and you may feel like you’ve stepped foot into a fairytale. Initially shaped by volcanic eruption and erosion, locals worked the rocky landscapes into a fascinating network of underground tunnels, chambers and cities thousands and thousands of years ago. While Cappadocia’s captivating terrains are enough to attract visitors to the region, what really draws the tourists is the chance to soar across the sceneries in a hot air balloon. Filled with ancient caves, river valleys and crumbling cliffs, the sprawling region is certainly a spectacular sight to see, especially from sky-high heights. But how do you book a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, and what can you expect from the experience? We’re here to walk you through the process.

How to book a hot air balloon ride

Fortunately, it’s easy to book your hot air balloon experience. Simply navigate to one of the many balloon tour websites to book online, or your hotel may be able to arrange a ride for you on your arrival.

There are many options when it comes to flight length, comfort, balloon capacity and cost.

For example, standard flights hold more people and often last around an hour. Deluxe flights carry fewer people, may stay up in the air longer and are usually more expensive.

Most companies also offer private tours for those who want more space and privacy. Flights can last anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours, depending on who you book with.

Some highly rated and recognised balloon tour companies include Butterfly Balloons, Turkiye Balloons, and Turquaz Balloons.

What to expect

You can take a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia year-round, but the spring and autumn months are often an excellent time to go. The summers in Cappadocia are typically hot and dry, while the winters can be very cold, which isn’t an ideal time to fly through the crisp air at the crack of dawn.

More than 100 balloons rise in Cappadocia every morning, filling the skies with a rainbow of colour. To ensure you get to experience this wonder, it’s a good idea to book your hot air balloon ride well ahead of your trip.

Most flights depart from the historical town of Göreme and tour operators typically include a transfer to and from your hotel in air-conditioned transport in the cost.

Be aware that hot air balloon flights are weather-dependent and may be cancelled. Many companies will help you reschedule or offer you a full refund if this happens. If you can, it’s a good idea to book a few days in Cappadocia in case this happens.

How high you’ll soar depends on the balloon company. Some balloons may reach up to 3,000 feet, while others can rise to 8,000 feet.

Balloons typically take off in the morning from around 5:00 to 7:00 am, depending on the season. This is because the wind conditions are best around sunrise.

It’s cooler in the air than on the ground so be sure to wear layers and bring a light jacket, even in summer. You’ll be on your feet for a while, so wear comfortable shoes.

Once you’re up in the air, marvel at panoramic views of the Mars-like landscape below, featuring centuries-old troglodyte caves and the pink-hued rocks of Göreme National Park.

No matter which tour you decide to book, enjoy the tradition of a champagne toast when you land again. Most companies also hand out certificates or medallions after the journey to commemorate the event.

Other activities in Cappadocia

Hot air ballooning isn’t all there is to do in Cappadocia.

There’s lots to experience, from crawling through underground cave cities, hiking through striking, stony landscapes and zooming around on an ATV.

If you enjoy hiking, exploring Cappadocia’s various valleys is a must. Rose Valley is vast and rocky, stretching out into the far distance. As you hike around, you’ll come across rock-carved churches and tracks leading to small villages. If you happen on a juice maker on your adventure, be sure to grab a fresh, zingy pomegranate juice to quench your thirst.

Other valleys to roam include Love, Pigeon, and Red Valleys, where you can take in more otherworldly terrains.

Where to stay

Cappadocia is a region filled with smaller towns. The most popular areas to stay in are Göreme, Ürgüp, and Uçhisar.

Most visitors stay in the enchanting Göreme because it’s beautiful, easily accessible, and buzzing with restaurants and shops. You could easily spend a day in the town, sampling delicious Turkish cuisine and exploring the rug and knick-knack stores.

Ürgüp is another excellent option, especially if you love wine, as this area is the capital of the local wine-producing region.

Alternatively, you can stay at Uçhisar, a popular settlement for tourists. From Uçhisar, you can admire glorious views of the region and Mount Erciyes.

Staying in one of the region’s famous cave hotels is a must, and you’ll be spoilt for choice. Popular options include Mithra Cave Hotel, Azure Cave Suites and Aza Cave Hotel.

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