Float over magical landscapes on a Cappadocia hot air balloon flight to witness some of the most impressive natural scenery anywhere in the world. Here’s all you need to know about the ultimate Turkey hot air balloon experience.
Cappadocia has a weird and eerie landscape.
Framed by three mountains, it sits in a natural basin packed with strange shapes and vibrant colours. A mix of smooth white valley walls and rippling red rocks conceal giant pinnacles and hidden caves. It’s a beautiful place.
While hiking in Cappadocia is great fun, the best way to see it is from above. At sunrise, hundreds of hot air balloons drift through the valleys and float over the fairy-tale landscapes. As the best hot air balloon ride in Turkey, it’s a magical experience and one of the best things to do in Cappadocia.
Cappadocia hot air balloon flights need to be organised well in advance. Here is all you need to know including the best operators, flight details, hot air balloon costs and important tips.
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CAPPADOCIA HOT AIR BALLOON EXPERIENCE
The experience of drifting over Cappadocia in a hot air balloon is popular and there are lots of flight operators to choose from. However, regardless of the operator you select, they all offer a very similar process, which runs as follows:
- The night before your flight you’ll receive confirmation it’s going ahead, and the pick-up time from your hotel.
- You’ll be picked up from your hotel 1 to 2 hours before dawn and driven to the launch location which varies based on conditions.
- There is a quick check-in process at the launch location and, if you booked directly via the operator, payment is taken.
- Light breakfast is provided while you wait for the balloon to be inflated. (Some operators may provide breakfast at their headquarters first.)
- Enjoy the breathtaking hot air balloon flight over Cappadocia with low valley dips and high panoramic views.
- After landing (which may be in a different location to launch) you’ll have a glass of champagne and receive a certificate while the balloon is deflated and loaded on a truck.
- After the champagne, you’ll be transferred back to your hotel.
Flights last 1 hour, but the whole process from pick up to drop off takes around 3 to 4 hours.
ARE HOT AIR BALLOONS IN CAPPADOCIA SAFE?
All hot air balloon operators in Cappadocia are industry experts with a minimum of 5 years of experience in balloon flight operations. Pilots must have both a Private Pilot’s License and a Commercial Pilot’s License.
The Turkish Civil Aviation Authority regulates the industry to ensure all necessary safety measures are in place, including stipulating the minimum flight hour requirements needed to maintain a commercial hot air balloon license.
CAPPADOCIA HOT AIR BALLOON FLIGHT OPTIONS
There are many hot air balloon operators in Cappadocia, each providing different types of flight options – Classic, Comfort, Deluxe, or Private.
While some operators provide nicer minibuses for transportation to the launch area, and a slightly more substantial breakfast, the main differentiating factor is group size. Basket sizes vary and operators offer a more premium experience by taking you up in a basket with fewer people.
Here is an approximate breakdown of the typical hot air balloon flights available in Cappadocia. Most flights last for 1 hour, however, some operators offer longer flights at a higher cost.
HOT AIR BALLOON // TYPES OF FLIGHTS AVAILABLE
28 passengers maximum | 60 minute flight | €130 to €180 per person
20 passengers maximum | 60 minute flight | €150 to €190 per person
16 passengers maximum | 60 minute flight | €200 to €230 per person
4-8 passengers maximum | 75 minute flight | €4000 to €9000
HOW TO CHOOSE A FLIGHT TYPE & OPERATOR?
Most hot air balloon operators in Cappadocia will advertise basket capacity as a selling point. However, there is not a huge correlation between basket capacity and passenger comfort. Hot air balloon baskets come in various sizes, so a smaller capacity generally means a smaller basket.
If your budget can stretch to the comfort flights with a maximum capacity of 20 people, then that’s what we’d suggest you book. However, you’ll get just the same incredible views in the classic flight, and we don’t believe your comfort will be compromised too much.
All hot air balloon operators in Cappadocia are regulated by the Turkish Civil Aviation Authority and are governed by the same safety measures. Some operators will advertise customer numbers below basket capacity, otherwise, it’s just customer service, ease of booking and cost that you should consider when choosing a hot air balloon operator. We have recommended some below.
CAPPADOCIA HOT AIR BALLOON OPERATORS
The competitive nature of the industry, and a reliance on TripAdvisor ratings, means that the standards of service and professionalism from the Cappadocia hot air balloon operators is generally high.
Here’s a list of well-respected operators.
Urgup Balloons have been flying over Cappadocia since 2008. They currently have a fleet of 14 balloons with a daily capacity of 152 passengers served by 60 employees. With a perfect safety record, they have an Excellence Certificate from TripAdvisor.
Website – urgupballoons.com
Voyager Balloons was established by 2 Cappadocian locals in 2008 and have clocked up over 300,000 passengers. They pride themselves on their customer service from a multi-lingual team of pilots. Voyager currently has a fleet of 15 balloons.
Website – voyagerballoons.com
Anatolian Balloons have a highly qualified crew who have been operating in Cappadocia since 2008. As another large provider, they carry over 200 passengers per day on balloons supplied by the world’s most prestigious manufacturer.
Website – anatolianballoons.com
Royal Balloons have been operating in Cappadocia since 2010 and operate luxury and high-quality balloon flights with a maximum passenger number of 20. They serve a full buffet breakfast in their headquarters. Fleet size is 14.
Website – royalballoon.com
Turkiye Balloons is one of the newest providers in Cappadocia, commencing operations in 2013. In addition to being experts in the area, the multi-lingual team have a minimum of 2,500 hours flight experience and they also work as instructor pilots.
Website – turkiyeballoons.com
BOOK YOUR CAPPADOCIA HOT AIR BALLOON FLIGHT
You can book your Turkey hot air balloon experience directly with the operators or via your hotel. However, if you book with the links below, we’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps us keep the website running. Thanks so much for your support.
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BEST TIME OF YEAR FOR A HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE IN CAPPADOCIA
Hot air balloon flights take place every day in Cappadocia. Many pilots believe winter is the best time to take a flight, when the remarkable landscapes are covered in a dusting of snow, the prices are reduced, and accommodation is more affordable.
However, the best time to visit Cappadocia – in our opinion – is over the shoulder seasons from April to June and from September to October. The days are a little longer, the landscape a little greener and the hiking in Cappadocia is sublime.
Rainfall is higher in Spring (March to June) which could result in more flight cancellations.
PREPARE FOR CANCELLATIONS
Hot air balloon flights in Cappadocia only launch in good weather, therefore cancellations are always a possibility. All operators will move you to another day in the event of a cancellation or provide a full refund if you are not able to fly at all.
We highly recommend booking your hot air balloon flight for the morning after you arrive in Cappadocia to allow time to rebook in case your flight gets cancelled.
WHAT TO WEAR & TAKE WITH YOU?
Hot air balloons only fly in good weather, so you’ll generally not be in any adverse conditions that you need to be prepared for.
The early morning starts in Cappadocia can be cold, so it’s a good idea to rug up, especially while you are waiting for the balloon to be inflated.
As you’ll only be flying in clear weather, you’ll probably want sunglasses and a hat.
Only flat shoes are permitted in the baskets.
The less stuff you have with you, the more enjoyment you’ll get out of the experience. You don’t want a large backpack taking up valuable basket space and all you really need is your camera. A selfie stick is also helpful for getting of you and your group in the basket.
WHEN DO FLIGHTS TAKE OFF?
The exact pick-up time will be confirmed the day before your flight but expect to be leaving well before sunrise.
To reduce air traffic over Cappadocia, there are 2 departure times in the morning 30 to 40 minutes apart, known as the early and late morning flights.
In winter, there is one additional flight in the afternoon.
WHERE TO GET PHOTOS FROM THE GROUND
The best place to get photos of the balloons from the ground is Sunset Point (also called Lover’s Hill or Aşiklar Tepesi), just a few hundred metres from the centre of Göreme.
With the unusual shapes of the valley illuminated by soft light, it’s the perfect position to watch the profusion of colourful balloons lift gracefully into the air.
At sunset, there’s a small café serving beer and tables scattered around to watch the sun go down.
HOW TO GET TO CAPPADOCIA
Fly // The quickest and easiest way to get from Istanbul to Cappadocia is to fly. There are several flights daily from Istanbul to Nevşehir Airport (40 minutes’ drive to Göreme) and Kayseri Airport (60 minutes’ drive to Göreme)
Bus // There is also a bus which runs from Istanbul to Cappadocia that takes between 10 to 12 hours. The bus runs overnight and costs around ₺90 so it’s a very cost-effective option.
WHERE TO STAY IN CAPPADOCIA
We suggest staying in the main town in Cappadocia, Göreme. It’s a unique place with buildings carved into the rock and rooftop terraces overlooking the fairy chimneys and surrounding valleys. All the facilities you need for your stay are in Göreme including shops, restaurants and the balloon operators.
You can find all our accommodation recommendations on our 4 day in Cappadocia itinerary.
WHAT ELSE TO DO IN CAPPADOCIA
Although Cappadocia is known for hot air balloon rides, there are a host of other fantastic things to do in the area. In particular, the unique landscapes make it one of the best destinations for hiking in Turkey.
We’ve covered all our favourite activities on a separate guide covering the best things to do in Cappadocia in addition to a hot air balloon ride.
CAPPADOCIA HOT AIR BALLOON FAQS
HOW MUCH DOES A HOT AIR BALLOON COST?
For a classic flight in winter (up to 26 people per basket) expect to pay between €130 and €150; for a comfort flight (up to 20 people), the price will be around €150 to €190 per person.
In summer, a classic flight will be around €180 to €230, and a comfort flight will range from €190 to €250.
Private tours can cost anywhere from €4,000 to €13,500 for the group.
WHEN SHOULD I BOOK MY HOT AIR BALLOON?
Places are often sold out 3 weeks in advance, especially during the peak summer periods, therefore it’s a good idea to book at least 1 month before your trip. Book for your first morning in Cappadocia so you have time to reschedule in the event of cancellations.
HOW MANY BALLOONS FLY IN CAPPADOCIA?
During peak season there are around 200 balloons in the air over Cappadocia every day. During off-peak season, there are around 60 balloons per day.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
Most flights last 1 hour, but the whole process from pick up to drop off takes around 3 to 4 hours.
DO HOT AIR BALLOONS OPERATE IN WINTER IN CAPPADOCIA?
Yes. Although the total number of balloons is reduced over winter. There are 3 launches each day in winter, two in the morning and one in the afternoon.
HOW OLD DO YOU NEED TO BE TO RIDE A HOT AIR BALLOON?
Passengers must be at least 6 years old to take a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia. Anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
ARE THERE ANY PHYSICAL LIMITATIONS?
Yes, you need to be able-bodied and at least 4’6” tall.
HOW HIGH DO THE BALLOONS FLY?
Hot air balloons float on air currents at different levels. So, you could be drifting just above a tree or soaring up to 3000 ft. The maximum altitude determined by the Turkish Civil Aviation Authority is 6000 ft during the week and 8000ft on weekends.
DOES THE BASKET SWAY?
No. Hot air balloons move with the air currents, so you don’t feel any movement or swaying in the basket. A hot air balloon is fine for people who usually get motion sickness.
IS IT COLD?
Although the balloons climb high and the temperature drops the higher you get, with the heat from the burner, you’ll probably not be too cold once you’re in the air. Additionally, hot air balloons float on air currents, so you don’t feel the wind. Nevertheless, come rugged up, especially in winter.
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