Flying in a hot air balloon over Cappadocia

by Ale Werner

I think I speak for everyone by saying that on our wish list travelers were traveling by balloon. It was undoubtedly one of the best traveling experiences we have had, and our first time was in Cappadocia. That photo with rock formations reminiscent of a Star Wars scenario … Could it be because the film was filmed here and they say that George Lucas was inspired?

If it is done with a good company, flying in a balloon is not dangerous. Think of the pilots of airplanes or paragliders, here the difference is that they use hot air and an incredible knowledge of the air currents to drive through the sky. The basket practically does not move while you are in the air, you feel that you float calmly.

No hot air balloon ride is the same as the previous one, they depend entirely on the wind. When hot air is applied, the balloon rises, and when it decreases, the balloon lowers. That’s all science … it seems difficult, right? Well, it is.

Why fly in a hot air balloon in Cappadocia?

Cappadocia in Turkey has been consecrated as one of the main destinations for ballooning. Just look at the pictures of the sunrise to see hundreds crossing the air. It looks like photoshop, but it’s not like that.

Due to its impressive geography (which from the height is seen better still) and its meteorological conditions, Cappadocia is one of the ideal places to fly in a hot air balloon.

Choosing the right company

This situation has led to the installation of many (perhaps too many) companies in the city offering morning rides. That increases competition, which by market law always lowers prices. Unlike other places in the world, here a balloon flight can cost only 150 euros per person … what you believe, is quite low.

It is difficult to distinguish a good from a bad company because in general, they all charge the same. We hired in a tour we didn’t know at all on the Internet and we did not have any problem, But the truth is that if you hire a company without certified or safe pilots then you’re still risking too much.

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So … how do I choose which company to hire the balloon ride through Cappadocia?

Ask the right questions:

  • Of how many people are the flight baskets.
  • What happens if the weather conditions do not stop
  • If the pilots have licenses per day
  • If they include insurance for passengers or you should have your own. (Be careful, travel insurance and travel assistance do not include this type of activity in general (find out before taking a risk).
  • How many years ago are you flying as a company
  • Read reviews on TripAdvisor. Read the negative opinions, not the positive ones. There you will know if the balloons are old, they are in poor condition, someone was afraid, etc.

If you want to go safe, the agency Kapadokya Balloons has been flying since 1991 in the area. They are the pioneers and therefore those who have more experience. This is a blind recommendation and only based on the company’s seniority because we do not fly with them.

Balloon flight options for Cappadocia and prices.

The price of the tours goes from 150 euros (negotiated and bought in the same place, because the internet costs 175 euros, up to 600 euros per person.

  • 150-175 euros per person: includes transfer from your accommodation, balloon flight from 45 minutes to 1 hour, basket for 16-32 people (the largest depending on the number of tourists that hire the trip that day), simple breakfast, certified of flight (something like a diploma) and a glass of champagne or sparkling wine (which is a tradition after ballooning).
  • 230-250 euros per person: includes the same as the previous one, but in a basket for 12 people and for 90 minutes (approximately) in the air.
  • 600 euros per person: includes the same as the previous one, but in a private tour format (minimum 2 people) for 90 minutes.

There are more options, with baskets of 4 or 8 people. For more or less time, etc. But in general, the best sellers are the first two that we tell you.

Does it still seem expensive?

Well, we’ve heard from travelers who have done it for up to 100 euros per person … but remember, cheap is expensive. We do not tell you that the balloon is going to fall necessarily, but you may get more people than expected, that fly less time, that you happen to pick up late at the hotel … so many things can happen!

Why are hot air balloon flights at dawn?

This is not only in Cappadocia but anywhere in the world. Dawn is the calmest time of the day in terms of wind, the sun still does not warm the air and it is easier and safer to fly.

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Time on the air

Do not believe when they promise you an exact flight time; in general, they should give you a range. Because the speed of the balloon depends on the wind and the specific conditions of that day, it is impossible to know how long it will take to get from point A to point B. In general, it does not land in the same place that it takes off, that depends on the company.

The experience

You have to live it to understand it. Those nerves that invade you when you take off from the ground knowing that only a balloon elevates you is indescribable. Before taking off, the pilot will assign the groups and pairs in their respective baskets balancing the weight (and always trying not to separate you from your group). Then, there is an explanation of the positions you must put in to for taking off and landing. Each pilot does it to his form, so I could not tell you for sure how it will be.

Being in the air is awesome. Not only because of the landscapes but also just look up and see this huge balloon floating, surrounded by hundreds of others.

Final recommendations for your hot air balloon flight.

  • Charge your camera’s batteries very well and empty your memory card. From here you come out with hundreds of photographs and videos!
  • Children under 4 years of age are not recommended. The space of the basket is small and they will not be able to see well; Taking them in your arms is dangerous, to say the least.
  • Wear light clothing and not many objects such as bags or backpacks. Remember that space is small and you will have to share it.
  • Stay in one of the corners of the basket to have the best views. In general, he is not in the mood to “rotate so that everyone can see”, although of course, it would be ideal.
  • Worry about your travel insurance covering this type of activity, and if you can not get one with the same company you fly with. Some include it in the price and others do not.

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