I know, I know – there are millions of posts on the travel blogosphere about sunrise hot air balloon rides in Cappadocia, Turkey.
But, bear with me as I help you answer the burning question: should you REALLY do hot air ballooning in Cappadocia?
The answer is easy: definitely, yes, do it! Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia is as amazing as everybody else tries to convince you it is.
And even if you’re not an adrenaline seeker, you should still visit this region for the amazing experience of seeing all those hot air balloons fill up the sky.
It’s breathtaking and even though photos help you create a solid impression, nothing beats the actual sensation you get from being there. So even if you don’t ride a balloon, it’s still worth it!
After all, does looking at photos like the ones above or below ever really gets old? It sure doesn’t, and there is even more coming up!
But until then, make sure to check out this tour and book your hot air balloon flight ASAP.
Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia: Early in the Morning
First of all, the most important thing about these hot air balloon rides is that they usually happen early in the morning, almost always starting before sunrise.
While this is marketed as the right time to enjoy the amazing sunrise (which IS amazing, not doubt about it!), the truth is that the winds are most favorable during the morning.
After all, you’re flying through the sky in a flame-driven death vehicle (or at least that’s the way I like to put it), so you must ensure safety: and crazy winds are a big no-no in this case.
If you’re not really a morning person, this could sound like a big con. But trust me – it’s really worth it. It’s one of the few things that you should definitely wake up very early for. Let’s see why!
The hot air balloon ride of magnificence in Cappadocia
I’d like to talk about, in flowery and descriptive language, the majesty of ascending into the atmosphere in a mammoth-like hot air balloon, propelled only with dreams, expectations of splendor, and whooshing flames.
There’s something ethereal about floating around in a small, cozy basket with several of your fellow awe-struck tourists as the sun stretches itself to illuminate the remaining crevasses of the night.
After all, witnessing daybreak is damn near magical. Especially if, like me, you tend to only witness it at the end of an unintentional all-nighter. You can thank Turkish women for that, but that’s for another article…
But anyway, I’m not that great of a writer, and pictures do this particular scenario far more justice than my lackluster words ever could.
Feast your eyes upon this cornucopia of beauty and splendor which can only happen in Cappadocia, Turkey:
Worth waking up early for, right?
If still not convinced, I have a few more photos in this article – so make sure to read it all. If already convinced and you want to book a similar experience, check out this tour – I highly recommend it.
Cappadocia hot air ballooning practicalities
Most of the companies providing these flights will pickup from your accommodation, which will happen when it’s still dark out.
This gives you time to get sorted at their offices, where you’ll typically pay and sign a waiver. There’s usually coffee/tea and snacks, too. I assume this helps achieve mental clarity typically only found by ingesting caffeine and carbs.
Expect to pay anywhere from 150 – 300 euros for a standard balloon flight with a quality provider. I used Discovery Balloons. They were fabulous and I can highly recommend them! (Again, you can check them out here).
Make sure your tour offers at least 1 hour of air-time! Some of the companies with dirt cheap prices will shaft you on air time. And safety. Speaking of which…
Safety first! ALWAYS do your research before booking
There are loads of companies offering hot air balloon rides, each with varying degrees of quality. Be wary of operators that have shockingly low prices. There’s a reason for that.
Read reviews and research things like how big their insurance policy is, how many people get to mingle in the basket, and which fancy schmancy hot air balloon accreditation thingys they’re accredited by.
If you trust your hotel manger, they’re a great resource about your options. I stayed at Guven Cave Hotel and the owner, Mustafa, was an encyclopedia of fantastic information.
He’s actually a balloon operator himself, but he suggested we go with a different option with less people in the basket. Points for honesty!
Speaking of which, make sure to check out my previous reviews of great hotels in Turkey:
Dress to impress (or at least to stay warm)
Mornings are usually sort of chilly, so dress accordingly. Comfort is key, because you don’t want anything getting in the way of this splendid experience.
Long pants, long sleeves, maybe several layers if you’re a wimp like me. Helps if you anticipate hot weather following this beautiful experience.
Plan for bad weather and postponed balloon journeys
I’ve heard anecdotes about different times of the year having better views than others. For example, winter can be foggy and windy, which probably isn’t quite as magical.
Sometimes, these things get cancelled if it’s too gnarly outside. Because no one wants to die.
I went in July, and there were clear skies every morning. Probably the best times in Turkey are between May to Mid October.
But pairing the things I said above with common sense, make sure to be prepared for potential disruptions due to bad weather. If it’s too windy, the ride won’t happen.
After all, everybody wants to keep everybody else safe, as is the case of Istanbul being safe for female travelers or Turkey as a whole.
Conclusion: hot air balloon rides in Cappadocia are touristy, but worth it
It’s not often that a super popular, insanely touristy activity gets me pumped up, but this sunrise hot air balloon ride certainly did, and seeing the wild geography of Cappadocia FROM THE AIR totally got the party started.
Definitely something worth doing, and I strongly recommend anyone getting to Turkey to experience this.
And if you want to make sure you’re staying in an amazing place – although not very close to Cappadocia itself – make sure to check out my article sharing the best family hotels in Lara, Antalya.