The Magical Hot Air Balloon Experience of Cappadocia
Cappadocia is one of the best destinations in the world for flying in a hot air balloon. Over hundred of them rise above the ancient town of Göreme each morning at sunrise, creating a fairytale scene. Watching Cappadocia’s impressive surroundings from up in the air is a real once-in-a-life-time and a bucket list experience. In this guide, we will write all the necessary informations you need to know before enjoying this incredible event.
The Hot Air Balloon Availability in Cappadocia
It is known worldwide that hot the air balloon in Cappadocia fly out everyday. In reality however, they will fly only when the weather conditions allow it. The wind cannot be too strong as the pilot has no ways of controlling the direction of the flight. And there are no breaks. Practically, the balloons take off around 260 out of 365 days per year. Here are some things you need to know before your trip to ensure you’ll get to fly:
Stay at least 3-4 days in Cappadocia. Reserve your flight in advance and book it for your first morning. Like this you are giving yourself a window, in case the flights are canceled that day. The company will simply move your flight to the next day (no extra charge).
Hot air balloons are getting filled out each day, but as soon as you get your flight to Cappadocia, try to reserve the balloon online or via your hotel.
↬ Note : We were booking a week in advance. We emailed ourselves to 3 different companies and received no response. And only after asking our hotel for help, they managed to find availability for our last night only.
At that moment, we had two options: wait until the day of our flight and hope that the wind wouldn’t be too strong. Or head to the balloon company office right after our arrival and ask for availability right there on the spot.
That’s what we did. And we were told that there are usually cancelations the day before each flights, therefore they should find a place for us for the following morning. And they did.
So do not stress yet if you are told that all the places are sold out for your dates. Try to go in person as soon as you arrive to the balloon company office and ask for the availability right there. Good luck! ?
How to Choose the Right Company
There are many hot air balloons companies in Göreme. Choosing the right one can be tricky. What we learned from the hotels we stayed at, is that there are only a small number of companies they actually recommend.
Butterfly Balloon, Royan Balloon and Anatolian Balloons.
We flew with Butterfly, had a great experience and can highly recommend them. Try getting a spot at either of this companies first, before looking anywhere else.
Hot air balloon cost
The cost of flying in hot air balloon is very high. We payed 180 EUR each for 1 h flight. The prices can change during different seasons and go up to 250 EUR per person. It’s a cost that many cannot spend. As we think it was an amazing experience, it’s really only one-in-a-life-time thing and we would not spend that much money again.
↬ IMPORTANT : You need your passport to book a balloon flight.
The price includes pick up and drop off to your hotel, breakfast in the morning before the flight (which is how the company keeps you busy while getting the permits for that day) and champagne after a safe landing.
↬ TIP : Bring cash with you. Many companies charge extra for paying with the credit card. Up to 10% more! ?
Dreaming of a private balloon flight?
The first thing that came to my mind when decided to go to Cappadocia, was that we should get a private balloon flight. But little did I know…The price for private hot air balloon is extremely high. It costs around 2000 EUR. Our whole trip cost 1\3 of this… ?
We were picked up at 5.25 AM from our hotel in Göreme. The driver was perfectly on time. We drove to the office, where we checked in (we payed the day before) and were given the name of our pilot. We also had some breakfast. There was tea and coffee, lots of fruits, cakes and savoury pastry.
At 6AM we were asked to move to vans parked outside. Each van had a name of the pilot written by the door. There were another 14 people with us, meaning 16 + 1 pilot for the whole basket (balloon).
Arriving to the Love Valley, the scene already started to look magical. The sky turned purple, leaving the deep blue of the night shade behind. We jumped out of the van, straight into the balloon’s basket. There are 5 segments dividing the basket. 1 for the pilot in the middle and 2 on both sides fitting 4 people each. We had plenty of room and were not squeezed at all (which I was worrying about before).
↬ TIP : Try to get the corner spot. It’s the best point to view the surroundings. But to get the best view, try to quickly find the side where the ropes are connected from the fire ignitor to the bottom of the basket. This will be the “front” side where the pilot we be directing from. Like this, you will not be looking backwards the whole flight ?
After learning the “emergency landing positions” (which we didn’t have to take at the end) we slowly moved up in the air. We raised to 1300m and could already see the sun peaking out from behind the mountain. We were surrounded by other hot air balloons are the scene was just magical.
During the flight we raised and descend multiple times. The balloons fly so close to everything. We could touch the fairy chimneys or pick leaves off the trees as we passed next to them. That day, the wind directed us over the valleys, not the town. The scenery was so magical anyway, that we didn’t give it a second thought.
Did you know that upon landing the pilot has to manoeuvre the balloon to place it on a trailer attached to a car? The car was driving below us as we were descending trying to get to the right spot where the balloon will land.
Remember: the balloon moves pushed only by the wind. There is no way of stirring it, but they can still rotate on an axis and dodge incoming mountains.
After successful landing, the balloon still half filled with the air was pulled to the ground by the company workers. They told us that we can go in to see it from inside! It was such a surreal experience to stand inside of the gigantic hot air balloon.
Shortly after a cute setting was made, we all received a medal and certificate of completing a balloon ride and toasted with champagne at 7AM. Could you imagine a better way to start a day? ?
How long does it take
The whole experience takes around 3-4h from the time you are picked up, to the return to your hotel. The flight itself lasts around 1h, +-10 min depending on the wind conditions. As we flew when the wind was very low and we couldn’t rise for a big part of the flight, the pilot gave us even 20 min extra of the flight.
What to wear
You should wear warm clothings as its cold during the morning. What actually surprised us is that it wasn’t as cold as we thought. I dressed in layers, as I’m always cold: a body, a dress, a jumper, a coat and a big scarf on top. Well, I removed the scarf immediately and the coat after 15 min of the flight. The fire which is making the balloon rise was heating us up like we were standing by a fireplace.
Just one thing: wear completely flat shoes (boots or sneakers). My boots have 5cm big heel and it felt uneven standing on the basket floor. I ended up taking them off and standing only in my socks ?
What to take
You don’t need pretty much anything except of the confirmation receipt just in case, a camera and a phone to take videos. You can take water in a reusable water bottle. As you will be back at your hotel by 8AM, you don’t need anything else. Just enjoy this fairytale moment ✨