Ballooning is popular in France’s Loire Valley and in Egypt’s Luxor on the Nile, but it’s even more popular in Cappadocia, in central Turkey.
In Central Anatolia region, there is a place of captivating landscapes unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. It is called Cappadocia and it is voted one of the best places to fly a hot air balloon in the world.
It’s an extraordinarily popular tourist activity, and in the high season there can be up to hundreds balloons in the sky each morning. So we had to try it.
Few days before arriving to Cappadocia, we contacted our hotel, Badrock Cave Hotel, and ask if they can help us with some advice and with the booking for the Balloons company. And they were very nice and sent us a list with all the details necessary to be able to make our choice.
With some companies to choose from, it’s really important to do your research. That means, the range of service and safety will get varies widely. So, it’s important to research who to fly with before you go, since safety is in the hands of the operators. Because of the huge demand, many pilots are inexperienced and the companies unlicensed .
We had to choose from 10 recommended companies. And we choose Sultan Balloon with a cost of 90 euros/pers and everything went smoothly.
One things that you can’t control is the weather. Although they fly all year round it is better to book for your Cappadocia adventure at least 2 days in advance. Besides, Cappadocia is awesome and deserves at least 3 full days.
When it’s windy or there are uncertain conditions, most of balloons won’t fly and they will postpone you for the next day. So, we booked a flight for the first morning, this way, in case of bed weather we could have two more day to try flying.
Flying day arrived. it was also my birthday. Just the perfect way to spend it, don’t you think?!
The morning started with a 5am pickup from our hotel, greeted in the bus by our fellow balloon riders already collected. Soon after we arrived on a field where there were lots of balloons ready to take off. We were offered coffee and tea while we waited for the wind to drop to a safe level and balloons to be inflated. Further away, in the field, few more balloons were laying like sleeping giants, or flickering with a sky-show of fierce flames.
Then we were helped to climb in our basket compartments. After that, the balloon quickly inflated to its full, round shape, and then before we realized it, we had taken off.
Excited and scared in the same time, because there is no way to control speed or direction once in flight.
As the sun rose from the horizon, it spread its in rays of morning light over Cappadocia. Slowly it glided over the valleys, bringing this lava-sculpted landscape back to life.
Floating on a gentle breeze high above the fairy chimneys. It was so quiet, with the only sound of the burner in our basket. The beauty of Central Turkey was even more beautiful when seen from a flying hot air balloon in Cappadocia along with other balloons that filled the morning sky with colors. The experience had left us speechless.
After an hour, our basket was lowered back to earth gently and strategically landed onto the back of a trailer that was pulled by a 4×4. A table with congratulatory medals and champagne glasses was laid before us.. Drinking sparkling wine at 7.30am is okay when it’s tradition.
We flew with Sultan Balloon as recommended by our hotel in Goreme, and found them to be wonderful. We chose the ‘standard’ flight. We were 12 in the basket that day. However for higher prices, you can opt for deluxe flights with smaller groups, longer air time or even a private balloon ride.