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Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey

If going on a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, Turkey is not on the top of your bucket list, I promise you, you’re going to want to add it.

When people think of Turkey, they often think about Cappadocia. It is a beautiful region located in central Turkey, famous for the out-of-this-world landscape, rock formations, and hot air balloon rides that take you over the landscape.

When I visited Turkey back in spring 2023, this was a place high on my list. The nerve-wracking part was that the hot air balloon rides are very weather-dependent. You don’t want to be up in the air in a balloon during a windy or stormy day, but this means that there is a chance that you can travel all the way to this region and not get up in the air on a balloon. 😟 To avoid this happening, make sure you have more than one day in the region so that if your flight gets canceled one day, you have another day to fall back on.

Is the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia worth it?

Now before I get into the details of my morning spent in the air in Cappadocia, the biggest question you’re probably going to have (because I had it too) is if the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia is actually worth it.

The short answer is, yes.

This may sound cheesy but it truly feels like an out-of-this-world, fairytale experience. One of those moments you have while traveling that you cannot believe how lucky you are and how beautiful this world truly is. Even if you end up in this region of Turkey for other reasons, you should without a doubt consider doing a hot air balloon excursion. I wouldn’t paid three times the price if I had to. It was that good.


The reason that may make you hesitate to book this experience is the price tag. It is not cheap to go on a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia. There are several tour operators to choose from but the only ones that you may find a deal at are the ones that take off at off hours (outside of sunrise) or in entirely different areas of Cappadocia (this isn’t recommended as I’ve heard a lot about these not being as worth it).

The cost of this experience can be anywhere from 160 – 300 USD per person. This will differ based on the time of year you are there (whether high or low season), and how big the baskets are of the balloon ride. For example, if you want a private balloon ride, or one with fewer people, that’ll cost considerably more.

The rule of thumb probably is, that if it seems too cheap, it’s likely too good to be true. This guide gives some good information about what you should ask your balloon company. Make sure to book in advance, especially if you are traveling during high season (April-October).

The Experience

The day started early, and when I say early, I mean 3:30 am 😴 as our tour company picked us up from our hotel in Göreme at 4 am. Sunrise is the most popular time to go on a hot air balloon ride as a balloon flies better in cooler weather, that’s why you’ll usually find hot air balloon rides around the world taking off just after dawn or before dusk.

We took a bus ride to where we would be taking off. It was funny, at this time in the morning, the only people on the road were other shuttle buses all heading to the same place for take-off. When you arrive, you’ll get out and can watch the balloons get ready for flight. This can be quite the site because over 100 balloons take off at sunrise in this region every day. I loved seeing the process of getting the balloon off the ground and floating above the basket.

Then it’ll be your time to get on board. It’s important to note that baskets don’t have doors so you do need to climb over the tall edges to get in. This can be challenging if you have mobility issues. Being in the basket, you are quite restricted to your area as there are a number of people in there with you and there isn’t room to just move and walk around. So choose your spot wisely.

Once we were all on board, our pilot gave us a quick tip regarding safety, which primarily was just a certain position that we would have to go in for landing if he instructed us to. Before we knew it, we were hovering above the ground and flying as high up as 3,000 fet into the sky.

What I found so surprising was how relaxing the flight was. It was quiet up in the sky, and as you floated up and down through the valleys, you saw the unique landscapes of Cappadocia where the sun rises. The trip is usually around 1.5 hours and truly goes by in a blink.

While you are up in the sky, you’ll see below you on the roads, several trucks with trailers zooming around and communicating with your pilots to get in position for your landing. I had anticipated the landing to be rough, but it was so smooth we landed right on the back of the truck’s trailer. It was amazing that they could land so accurately.

We landed, disembarked, and enjoyed a celebratory toast with our crew. Even though by this point, it’s only about 7 am, you are on such a crazy high of adrenaline from an unforgettable experience.

This is one of those bucket list items that truly lived up to the hype, and I would do it again if I found myself in Turkey again.

FAQ & Expert Tips:

What is the best time of year to do a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia? The best time of year is April to November when conditions are just right, and it’s not too cold. However, flights happen 250 days a year, and it’s still possible to do a hot air balloon ride in the off-season.

Are hot air balloons in Cappadocia safe? Yes. The pilots are very well trained, and the hot air balloon rides are regulated. They aren’t allowed to fly if the weather isn’t just right. Before a pilot can even take passengers, they have to have a certain amount of flight hours and pass exams, health checks, etc.

What to wear: I went into the air in May, and it was cold in the morning. I wore pants, a sweater, and a jacket. I was still chilly. Dress appropriately, even in the summer months, mornings can be cool.

Planning Tip: Plan your flight for the first day you are in Cappadocia, you’ll want wiggle room in case your balloon can’t fly that day and you need to push it to the second day instead.

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