What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when someone mentions a trip to Cappadocia? Your mind will likely instantly conjure the image of hundreds of bright-hued hot air balloons hovering above the picturesque fairy chimneys, hills, and valleys.
This is because, in recent years, Cappadocia has become almost synonymous with hot air ballooning. Favourable wind currents combined with an outstanding landscape make this region one of the best places in the world for enjoying a hot air balloon ride.
Every year, millions of spirited and adventurous tourists visit the region to hop onto a hot air balloon and cherish a bird-eye view of the surrounding landscape. But this also means you need to plan your trip and make reservations well in advance to ensure an enjoyable and hassle-free trip to Cappadocia.
In this blog, we’ve compiled a concise yet informative guide to provide you with all the information you need to know before visiting Cappadocia. Let’s take a look.
How to Reach Cappadocia?
Situated in central Turkey, Cappadocia is well-connected by road to the nearest airports in Kayseri and Nevsehir. The best way to reach Cappadocia is to first take a flight to Nevsehir or Kayseri from Istanbul or Ankara (depending on which part of Turkey you’re visiting).
While a flight from Istanbul is only an hour-long, the journey from Ankara takes more than three hours. The choice between Kayseri and Nevsehir is up to you because it’ll take you less than an hour to reach Cappadocia from either airport. You can either rent a car or avail yourself of shuttle bus options from the airport.
When Should You Visit Cappadocia?
Unlike other hot air ballooning sites in the world, Cappadocia experiences favourable wind speed and currents for most of the year. This means hot air balloon flights are operational for nearly 250 days every year.
That being said, the best time to visit Cappadocia for a hot air balloon ride is between April and November, with the months of June, July, and August being the peak season. This is because the temperature isn’t freezing cold and there are fewer chances of flight cancellations due to rain or snow.
While the rides are still operational between December and March, they’re more likely to be cancelled due to adverse weather. Also, the mornings are going to be exceptionally cold. This is, however, a good time to avoid the crowds and get an aerial glimpse of snow-clad fairy chimneys in Goreme.
Make sure you check the weather forecast before planning your trip. You can use a hyperlocal weather intelligence platform, such as ClimaCell, to get an idea of the weather in Cappadocia during your trip. The website even lets you get weather updates in the German language or any other language of your choice.
It’s important to remember that flight cancellations can happen throughout the year. Even if you’re visiting in May or June, the slightest chance of rain could ruin your plans. That’s why it is wiser to visit Cappadocia for at least two or three days to make sure you get to enjoy a ride despite any last-minute cancellations.
Is Hot Air Ballooning Safe?
Yes. There have been a few reports of hot air balloon accidents in Cappadocia. But very few of them have caused serious or fatal injuries to passengers. The pilots are adequately trained and certified before they can even start flying. Most pilots you’ll meet in Cappadocia will have decades of flying experience.
Also, there’s a regulatory body that continuously monitors the balloons and equipment to ensure that they’re well-maintained. It’s this body that takes the final call on whether the flights will be operational on a particular day. Thus, if you’re worried about your safety on a hot air balloon, you can rest assured that you won’t witness or experience an accident.
How to Book a Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia?
Irrespective of where you’re staying in Cappadocia, you’ll find plenty of tour operators and agents who can book your tickets for the hot air balloon ride. The easiest way of getting your reservations done is to get in touch with your hotel/AirBnB staff and ask them to connect you with a reliable tour company.
Is Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia Expensive?
Yes. Enjoying a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia involves a hefty pocket pinch of $150 to $200. But anyone who’s experienced the flight would agree that the price is justified considering the panoramic views you get to witness.
Can you even attach a price tag to the heartwarming feeling of soaring 3000 ft. in the sky, overlooking the Rose Valley and Love Valley? While the average flight duration is 1 hour, you can pay extra for a 90-minute deluxe ride.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that you’ll be surrounded by other tourists on the ride. Depending on the size of the basket, it can be shared between 16 or 20 tourists. The booking cost includes your pickup from the hotel, a simple breakfast, certificate and medal, as well as drop at the hotel. Most operators also treat you to a glass of champagne or mimosa and some snacks after the ride.
Do you have any other tips for travellers planning their first trip to Cappadocia? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.