Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride over Cappadocia


Added by Christian Murillo

Take in all of the incredible landscape of Cappadocia at once from up to thousands of feet above the ground. Hot air balloons have become extremely popular in Cappadocia, and you will not want to miss out.

Hot air balloon rides are super cool pretty much anywhere, but Cappadocia's lunar landscape provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to see bizarre rock formations from a truly unique angle. If you ever find yourself in Turkey, definitely make it a priority to take a hot air balloon ride in one of the top three hot air ballooning spots in the world.

Most of the ballooning companies will pick you up from your accommodation very early in the morning and take you to have a small breakfast and tea. Then you will be driven to the take-off location as the crew starts filling the massive balloon with scorching hot air. Once you are loaded up into the basket, you will take off from the ground slowly but surely. Before long you will be way up above the chimney top rock formations, steep valleys, and ancient cave dwellings. The sun will come up over the horizon just behind Anatolia's tallest mountain, Mt. Erciyes. That is when the real show begins.

Dozens of other brightly colored balloons glow beautifully in the early-morning light with the jagged yellow tinted landscape as their backdrop. It is very hard to exaggerate the peaceful feeling as you slowly float over the dry plateau. You will be able to make out where ancient rivers once carved this landscape into the appearance it has today.

If you are lucky, your pilot will give your passengers a choice to go as high as 3,000 feet to get an expansive view of the landscape, or to drop back down to get a more intimate view of Cappadocia's many valleys and unique rock formations. There are benefits to both viewpoints, but if you plan on doing some hiking as well, then maybe you would prefer a much different vantage point higher up. With that said, I am certain that you can't go wrong with any viewpoint in this incredible place.

After about an hour or so, you will make your descent back down to earth, where a champagne (or sparkling grape juice) toast awaits you. This is a joyous and rather silly celebration that leaves you feeling excited to take on the rest of the day. Time to help pack up the balloon and be dropped back off at your accommodation just in time for a second breakfast.

If you are interested in a hot air balloon ride, there is no shortage of companies willing to sell their services.  Most of the ballooning companies are based out of Göreme and have sales offices along the main road. Depending on the size of the basket, you can find hot air balloon rides from as cheap as $90 to as expensive as $1,200 for a private tour. One tip to make sure you get the most value for the money is to talk to hotel/hostel employees who are not in the hot air balloon business themselves. These locals generally have a good idea about which companies have the most experienced pilots for the best prices. Just keep in mind that more expensive does not necessarily mean better and less expensive does not necessarily mean you will have a good experience. Generally, the less expensive options have less glamorous breakfasts and champagne toasts afterwards. If you do some research before you go and don't simply settle for the first salesman who approaches you, you should be more than fine.  

Also, most baskets carry 20-24 people, so it is normal to feel a little crammed. However, when I went it was absolutely frigid so I actually welcomed the close quarters that helped me stay warm. With that said, Cappadocia is a pretty cold region and when you get thousands of feet up in the sky it gets much colder. Make sure to bring layers, even in the summer.  

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