Cappadocia is an area in central Turkey. I have seen so many photographs of the area, but none of them did justice to the otherworldly beauty. I fell in love with it instantly and I had to go ballooning in Cappadocia.

 

Getting there

 

My trip did not start well. I was flying from Rome to Istanbul and then taking a domestic flight to Nevşehir airport. This is the closest airport to Goreme, the main tourist town. Arriving in Istanbul I found that my flight, due to leave at lunch time, was cancelled.  I was puzzled as I looked at the boarding pass in my hand.

About an hour later I managed to get onto a flight leaving at around 4.00 pm. This flight was also delayed. You cannot begin to imagine my frustration. Eventually boarding was called and nothing happened. At about 8.00 pm we were told that we could board, but not to Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport , but Kayseri which was about an hour away from Goreme. I arrived after midnight exceptionally irritated. It was dark and cold and I could see nothing except ghostly shapes rising out of the earth.

There is a moral to this tale. Cappadocia is not an easy destination to get to, but it is worth the effort. The most important reason is that ballooning is weather dependent. The balloons had not flown for 3 days prior to my arrival. I was told that it was unseasonal and unusual weather, but I would have been very unhappy if I had not been able to take to the skies.

My advice is arrange a hot air balloon flight as soon as you get there or the weather might not play its part in your plans.

 

Sleepy town on Goreme at dawn
Sleepy town on Goreme at dawn

 

 

Ballooning in Cappadocia

When to fly

 

The best weather for the ballooning in Cappadocia is between April and October. The thermals are ideal at this time of year. The skies are clear and the winds are light. Some companies fly in winter as well, but I imagine it must be ice-cold with snow on the ground. I was there in May and it was still cold! The worst time of the year is January and February and there is a good chance of your flight being cancelled.

 

 

Fairy chimneys and balloons in Cappadocia
Fairy chimneys and balloons

 

 

Is a hot air balloon safe?

 

Of course it is, but like most things there is a risk attached to it. The balloon pilots are highly skilled and have to be licensed. Our pilot was incredible and managed to land the balloon on a trailer with a bit of assistance from the ground crew. I did ask about accidents and I was told that in the last 3 years there has only been 1 accident. With about half a million people flying every year that is a good safety record in my book.

 

 

Sunrise in Cappadocia
Sunrise in Cappadocia

 

 

What to expect

 

There is a very early start as the best time for flying is at sunrise. I was collected from my hotel at 4.45 am and taken to the Air Kapadokya’s offices. They had hot drinks and biscuits available while the formalities were completed. We were then transferred in minibuses to the take-off site. The pilot introduced himself and went through a safety briefing.

The balloons were being inflated when we arrived. Everyone was helped into the basket which holds 16-20 people. A few minutes later we took off. We floated up and up and we were soon the highest balloon. I think that the pilots have a bit of fun with this trying to see who gets the height record for the day, but that’s just my opinion.

 

 

Hot air balloon being inflated in Cappadocia
Hot air balloon being inflated

 

 

The flight

 

The flight was a surreal experience. We flew over sleepy villages and beautiful rock formations. The fairy chimneys reached skyward like a fantasy world. As the sun rose the colours changed. It is a dream to photograph and such a wonderful experience. The flight was about an hour, but this will vary as it is dependent on weather conditions. We landed with hardly a bump and celebrated with a glass of  non alcoholic bubbly. There was also presentation of commemorative certificates for the flight.

TIP : Try and stand in the corner near the pilot. You will get the best shots with nobody in front of you.

 

 

Balloons over Cappadocia Turkey
Balloons over Cappadocia

 

 

Cost

 

The cost of the Standard Program is 175 Euros per passenger. A cash discount of 10 Euros per passenger is offered.

 

 

Hot air balloon deflating Cappadocia
Hot air balloon deflating

 

 

Ballooning in Cappadocia was one of the items on my bucket list. This was not my first flight, but it was totally different to any of the others. The day of my flight there were in excess of 70 balloons flying. Magic was in the air. Add to that the hauntingly beautiful scenery and you cannot help but feel that you were part of something special.

 

HERE ‘S A REMINDER TO SAVE TO PINTEREST FOR LATER

 

 

Ballooning in Cappadocia
Hot air balloon Cappadocia

 

Ballooning in Cappadocia
What to expect on a balloon flight

 

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Janine, that’s such an amazing post! Riding a hot air balloon seems so much fun. I wasn’t aware that the pilots have to be licensed! But didn’t you feel giddy, wasn’t the ride a bit scary too? I am a bit scared of heights, so I thought I should ask.

    • No, there is no giddy feeling at all. You hardly notice that you are rising up into the air. It is gentle and an great experience. I think if you don’t look down and keep your eyes on the horizon you won’t even notice the height and will be able to enjoy the flight.

    • You only live once so I guess we have to make the most of it! 🙂 You might surprise yourself. It really isn’t scary at all.

  2. You know I’ve done two sky dives to date, loads of adventure sports around the world but I am yet to have a hot air balloon ride, I need to change that haha. Reading through this post the views look incredible, I bet it was breathtaking as the sun rose and the colors changed for you. Very jealous right now haha 😀

    • Sounds like you would like this, but it might be far too tranquil for you! 🙂 It was a very special experience.

  3. Even I have seen many photographs of Cappadocia. And I am very much tempted to visit here and take the hot air balloon ride. And yours is going to be my guide when I plan my trip. Thanks for all the details that you have compiled here.

  4. What a lovely sight to witness. We do have a Hot Air Balloon festival here in the Philippines but I’ve only seen it in pictures. It has always been a dream of mine to see something like this in person and take good photos of it, much more ride on a Hot Air Balloon. Thanks for this visual feast.

    • Wow, the festival in the Philippines must be an awesome sight to see. I am glad that you enjoyed the pics.

  5. We have the same balloon ride in the Philippines but haven’t tried! Kapadokya balloon ride is also one of my bucket lists, a bit expensive isn’t it? Indeed, totally worth it. The view itself will leave you in awe! Plus it’s safe so no to worries!

  6. Wow, that was so much hassle, but glad that you finally reached the place. I have heard so much about Cappadocia especially from couples who are on their honeymoon. I want to go there but I have fear of heights so I’m not sure if I’d want to ride the hot air balloon. Heck, I was scared shitless when I rode a Ferris wheel lol.

    • That made me smile! You really should try. The movement is so gentle you do’t realise how high you are unless you look down……..

  7. This. Is. Insane! Bangalore, where I stay, in India also has Hot Air Balloon and other such adventure sports stuff happening but we mostly see forests that look like rows of cauliflower from the sky! This looks breath taking!

    • It is! I am sure that ballooning in Bangalore is also fun and as you say the view is totally different.

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