Everything you need to know about preparing and riding the hot air balloon in Cappadocia, Turkey.
At the beginning of 2022, I had one bucket list item: to ride the hot air balloon.
Years ago, my family and I went to Kenya. At the hotel we were staying at, there were promotional posters featuring hot air balloon rides overlooking majestic safaris. I was hooked, since then, I hadn’t stopped thinking about it.
Last year, when the team and I planned a trip to Turkey, I remembered that my mother had been to Cappadocia a few years prior and fell absolutely enthralled with the experience. As a person afraid of heights, I was inundated with internal fears and doubts despite gripping eagerness. She told me, “Wendy, you haven’t been to Turkey if you haven’t ridden the hot air balloon there.” I quickly reminded her that my first trip to Turkey was 15 years old when she took our family to Istanbul where I stepped inside a mosque for the very first time. “Mom, I’ve been to Turkey. But I get it, okay, I’ll book the ride now.” I told her, though she didn’t really need to twist my arm.
I ended up heading to Cappadocia alone but somehow caught the flu on this leg of the trip. Not to mention, the hot balloon was cancelled on the day of my reservation. By the time I found myself finally up in the air, my throat remained scratchy and my voice completely nasally. But I did it, I checked it off my bucket list and had the ride of my life! Here are some hot tips that I learned from this beautiful cave town of fairy chimneys, I hope you find them helpful and keep in mind: the sky truly is the limit!
How much does it cost to ride hot air balloon in Cappadocia?
Allegedly, the hot air balloon industry in the city is somewhat tainted with black market, as it was explained to me by locals. Despite the plethora of options you can book online through various websites, the best way to go about it is booking through your hotel ahead of time, in case of cancellations due to weather conditions which can occur often, then you’re not left with losing money. Booking through your hotel leaves room for flexibility as well as better credibility.
The highest season is between September and October, prices tend to be the highest between €190-240 per person. Between April and August, it should be around €170-200 per person. The low season months are in March with weather conditions the most inconsistent, the cost is typically €140-190 per person.
Is hot air balloon worth it?
Anytime one has a chance to hop on a hot air balloon, definitely go for it. But to do it in Cappadocia is truly special because of the spectacular views of the fairy chimneys from above, there’s nothing like it anywhere else in the world.
How long is hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia?
The standard ride lasts for an hour, but you can request a deluxe flight which will stay in the air for 90 minutes.
Do plan a few hours in the morning since the tour picks up clients at various hotels, starting from 4 a.m., meaning that you’ll need to wake up around 3 a.m. / 3:30 a.m. Once the mini bus finishes its round of hotel pickups, it drops off clients at the hot air balloon company’s headquarter facility for payment at around 5 a.m. This is where the company also provides coffee, snacks and a small breakfast buffet. At around 6 a.m., the mini buses take off again with clients, heading towards the hot air balloon site in the middle of open fields.
Once the ride is over, the mini buses will also drop off every client at different hotels. Just in time for breakfast around 9 a.m. / 10 a.m.
How to get cheaper hot air balloon rides in Cappadocia?
During high season, be sure to reserve at least one month in advance. If you feel like your hotel doesn’t offer the best price, then you should shop around online. But the earlier you book, the better the price can be.
Is two days in Cappadocia enough?
Since hot air balloon cancellations are likely to happen, be sure to reserve at least 3 nights in Cappadocia. One night / two days simply isn’t enough. There are also several routes designed for travelers: Red, Green, or Blue that trek through various sites throughout the city. I personally liked having a relaxing day simply enjoying the cave hotel’s amenities, including the Turkish thermal spa and the pool.
What month is the best for hot air balloon?
Normally, August and September are lovely months to visit since the weather is mild enough early in the morning. Global warming, however, has shifted the predictability of weather changes. So the best way to ensure you can safely ride hot air balloon while visiting Cappadocia is to book more nights and follow the weather app before making reservations.
Who should NOT ride hot air balloons?
Children under the age of 8-years-old, pregnant women, those who are suffering from injury or chronic pain, those who cannot stand. Patients who have recently undergone major surgery should not ride hot air balloons. Due to high elevation, travelers who have just conducted deep scuba diving days prior to hot air ballooning should not ride it either.
What are the risks of hot air balloons?
Weather conditions are the biggest risks, hence high probability of cancellations. Unideal weather risks can cause injury from landing through high winds as pilots can lose control due to sudden gusts of wind. Fog can also cause loss of visibility.
How should you dress for hot air balloon in Cappadocia?
Comfortable shoes – preferably sneakers – and long pants since you’ll be walking in the middle of open fields before and after the ride. Wear a jacket since the rides are early in the morning, and bring a scarf if you’re someone who gets cold.
The normal lapse rate in temperature decreases by 3 degrees for every 1,000 feet in altitude, so it doesn’t necessarily get much colder due to higher altitude up in the air. But keep in mind that when the weather is hot, the lapse rate isn’t as consistent.
Can you sit down in a hot air balloon?
You’ll be up on your feet throughout the entire duration of the ride. The pilot will ask everyone to squat during landing, but other than that, there’ll most likely be 10+ passengers in one basket. Hence, it’s important to wear comfortable shoes. In case you were wondering, there aren’t any seat belts either.
What kind of hotels are offered?
In Cappadocia, there are mostly cave hotels that provide authentic lodging experiences in the valley. Their existence derived from the 7th-10th centuries when the Arab arrived in the region, due to instability, massive underground structure of man-made caves were constructed for refuge. Today, these tunneled complexes are transformed into boutique hotels that boast gorgeous pools, marbled spas and charming terraces displaying breathtaking views of the rustic valley. The rooms inside these cave hotels are typically dark with limited windows.