Beautiful sight of the sky in Cappadocia filled with Hot Air Balloons as far as the eye can see

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Waking up in Cappadocia

You lift your head from your pillow and start to drift into consciousness. Where am I? Ahhh, that’s right. I slept in an ancient cave last night. You sleepily walk towards the window. Light is starting to fill the sky. Its a bird… it’s a plane… no, no, it’s a Hot Air Balloon! Seemingly hundreds of them! Literally. Littered across the sky. One of them feels so close that if you simply extend your arm, you swear you can touch it.

Cappadocia.

Truly unlike any other place you’ll ever visit. And when you do visit, you’ll likely absolutely want to ride a Hot Air Balloon. There are many destinations ’round the globe where you can fly in a Hot Air Balloon. But, it’s almost like the entire activity has become synonymous with Cappadocia. So when you do go to cross a Hot Air Balloon ride in Cappadocia off your bucket list, here is everything you need to know!

Picture of me in a very flowy, blue dress that sprawls out while standing on the rooftop deck of the Charming Cave Hotel in Cappadocia, Turkey. The sky is bright blue and filled with hot air balloons.
Admiring the sky filled with Hot Air Balloons from the rooftop of the Charming Cave Hotel in Cappadocia, Turkey

Don’t Save It For Last

This is a case where the “save the best for last” adage does not apply. Why? Because going on your Hot Air Balloon excursion is entirely weather contingent. So, let’s say you book your Hot Air Balloon ride for your last day in town and the weather is not approved for flying… welp. There goes your bucket list expedition.

Everyday, the Turkish Civil Aviation Authority determines if the weather conditions are suitable to take flight the following day. If it rains? Flights are canceled. High winds… did you guess flights are canceled? This is a good thing, though. When you do go on your Hot Air Balloon ride in Cappadocia, you will feel extra reassured that the conditions were deemed optimal for flight.

We experienced this firsthand. Our Hot Air Balloon ride in Cappadocia was scheduled for the morning the day after our arrival in town. Guess what?

Canceled.

Luckily, our Innkeeper at the Charming Cave Hotel & Suites was superb. He scrambled around to ensure that we were able to book with a different company for the following morning. Weather conditions permitting, we were still in the game.

Picture of a giant, colorful Hot Air Balloon in flight. Picture taken from the Hot Air Balloon I was flying in, in Cappadocia, Turkey
Hot Air Balloon in flight – Cappadocia, Turkey. Photo taken from the Hot Air Balloon I was in.

Why is Cappadocia Ideal for a Hot Air Balloon Ride?


Hot Air Balloon rides are offered in many different regions of the world. So why are they so popular in Cappadocia? According to locals and those very experienced with the Hot Air Balloon industry in Cappadocia, there are a few reasons:

  1. The weather conditions are mostly favorable
  2. Cappadocia has unique terrain that you can’t see elsewhere
  3. The region has many extremely experienced Balloon Pilots due to the volume of flights
  4. There is a considerable amount of flatland areas suitable for safe landings
  5. Due to the lack of wildlife, the balloon can descend pretty low during flight
  6. Countless Balloons take flight daily, making for a magical scene

What to expect on your Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

Not an early bird? Too bad, so sad, my friend. This is most definitely an early morning activity. Apparently, in order for the Hot Air Balloons to rise with ease, the temperature must be at its lowest level.

The minutiae of your experience will likely vary slightly depending on which company you decide to book with. We ended up booking with Deluxe Balloons. For us, we were picked up from our hotel at 5:00am. This made for a stark 4:00am wakeup call.

We piled into a packed, comfy, luxury tour bus. We drive through town in the dark for some time and then pull over in a vast, expansive flat area. At this time, a bunch of people got called off the bus to pile into other buses. We remained where we were.

We drove for some time more and then parked in another vast, expansive, flat area. All of us that remained on the bus got handed cute little boxes that housed our breakfast, provided by Deluxe Balloons. Don’t expect a fancy breakfast, expect some bites to satiate your hunger so you can fully enjoy your experience. From there, we waited for some time. Eventually, the fun began… the Hot Air Balloons began getting fired up for take off!

Close up image of a giant, colorful, Hot Air Balloon in Cappadocia. The Balloon is being fired up and prepared for flight take off.
A Hot Air Balloon getting fired up and prepared for flight in Cappadocia, Turkey

What Hot Air Balloon Company Should I use?

There are quite a few Hot Air Balloon companies to choose from in Cappadocia. Over 25 companies, in fact, and more than 220 registered balloons. To save you time, I’ve done extensive research based on reviews on various platforms and advice from trusted locals and our Innkeeper.

Here are 3 top companies:

Deluxe Balloons

Turquaz Balloons

Butterfly Balloons

Now depending on your budget and the funds you’re willing to part with, there are some other decisions involved. Such as:

  • If you want to go on a private or group charter
  • How many people do you want in your basket
  • Do you want to share a quadrant or have your own?

If you’re interested in a private charter, be prepared to throw down some cash. Upwards to over €1000+. Now, you may be willing to pay to play, but due to the high demand for Hot Air Balloon rides in Cappadocia, you may not even be able to secure a private experience. When flights get canceled, hotels and balloon companies do their best to rebook displaced passengers for the following day.


Snapped a pre-flight group photo of our new friends from Uruguay that we shared a quadrant with

Basket in the Sky

We originally booked with Butterfly Balloons. This is a good option if you are seeking a longer flight or smaller basket. They offer 60 – 90 minute long rides, “Bright Flights” where you fly in the full morning light and 8 – 16 passenger baskets. We booked a quadrant for the two of us (as the basket is divided into 4 spaces, two Guests per space. But, unfortunately, this reservation was canceled due to weather.

Our Innkeeper scrambled around and got us rebooked for the following day with Deluxe Balloons. Our actual flight took place in a 20 person basket, 5 Guests per quadrant. We linked up while we were waiting with this lovely trio of travelers from Uruguay to share a quadrant. I recommend figuring that out while you’re waiting for the balloon to get fired up, so you don’t get separated from your traveling companions when you’re boarding.

Boarding, by the way, is climbing a small ladder and slinging yourself over the basket. The basket is taller than it looks, so just be prepared for that aspect (because you exit the same way!) It was actually more comfortable riding a camel across the Sahara Desert, than getting in and out of this basket.

Picture from our Hot Air Balloon flight in Cappadocia. Early morning dawn is turning to full morning light. Yellow, Blue, White and brightly colored Balloons fill the sky.
View from mid flight in Cappadocia – full morning light is emerging

A Priceless Experience

No matter what company or basket size you choose, I do not consider this an inexpensive activity. In fact, as far as excursions go around the world, this one is definitely on the pricier side. Cost varies seasonally, but will average anywhere from €150 – €300+ per person. Most all rides are at least 60 minutes, unless the pilot deems there to be a deterioration in weather.

He tells us straight away that he can only direct the balloon up or down, everything else is decided by the wind.”

Deluxe Balloon Pilot

Is it worth it? While that is more of a personal determination, I think so. It’s a unique, thrilling and magical experience. I have historically not been fond of heights and I still enjoyed it very much. Seeing Cappadocia from up in the clouds, with countless other Hot Air Balloons filling the sky is a really memorable moment.

Aerial shot taken with a GoPRO and a stick extender overhead of our entire group and Hot Air Balloon basket. You can see the earth and Cappadocia, Turkey, below.
High, high in the sky – during our Hot Air Balloon Flight in Cappadocia, Turkey

Landings May Vary!

Hot Air Balloon Pilots will warn that the landing might be a bit bumpy. Now, I’ve read and heard mixed reviews from folks about how their landing was. Many people didn’t feel a thing when they landed. Us?

Holy Moly. An otherwise flawless take off and flight, with a, erhm, rocky landing. The Pilot had us all crouch down at the bottom of the basket during the landing. This was rather cozy with all five of us kneeling. We definitely felt the impact of the touchdown, and that’s an understatement.

Then, shortly after exiting the basket, we were doused in champagne. Thankfully, we were offered some to drink as well. We toasted to the good life while we celebrated a successful flight.

I can’t think of a better conclusion to an otherwise unforgettable experience.

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