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Hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia: A Photo Essay


If you want to do a hot air balloon ride somewhere in Turkey, it has to be Cappadocia. Hot air balloon rides are a beautiful experience but if the landscape – think rugged rocky formations, chimneys jutting out of vast plains and pastel hued natural structures – is as unique as it is in Cappadocia, the aerial view of the hot air balloon ride adds to the thrilling experience. 

“Flying is for the birds, the sugar gliders and the dreamers.
Running is for the emus, the ostriches and the optimists.
Walking is for the snails, the lame and the cautious explorer.
All that is left are those who are afraid of the night, afraid of commitment,
afraid of success and afraid of taking a chance in life.
Luckily, I love to soar above the clouds, through the heavens,
and journey to far distant galaxies and universes.”

― Anthony T. Hincks

This Photo Log would convince you why a ballon ride is worth waking up at a brutal hour in the morning and worth the money you would splurge on the experience. This certainly was one of the highlights of our Turkey itinerary for 10 days. 

A magical morning floating in the sky.

Wake-up call

Your experience would depend a whole lot not just on the pilot and the company you choose for the hot air balloon ride, but also on the season and wind factors. Whether it is a go or no-go for all flights gets decided daily by Turkish authorities basis local weather conditions. And yet, my husband and I got lucky with near-perfect flying conditions on consecutive mornings. We were travelling with our 15-month baby and had to do the hot air balloon adventure separately.

Some humour is needed to get to the start point at that early hour!

Dont think ‘get, set, go’ when you reach the start point of your ride! Let me state that this is not a rushed experience from the start to the end. Your wake up alarm would seem like it’s the middle of the night and the reality of the cold air would hit you when you get in the vehicle (arranged by your hotel or more likely, the balloon company with whom you have signed up).

Then you reach the starting point in near darkness and see this gigantic synthetic shiny material lying on the flat ground. Trust me, your first experience of the gas filling this synthetic material, which slowly but steadily starts taking the shape of a massive oval, would be a thrill.

The gas filling process of the hot air balloon itself is an adventure!

While the pre-flight preparations were on, the flight captain gave all guests a briefing about the weather conditions of the day, how to get in and out of the basket, what to expect during the ride, what to do in case of turbulence and so on. Once the balloon was filled with gas, it seemingly took on a life of its own and had to be reined in for people to climb aboard.

Magical morning

Some may gloat about being up in the air earlier than the others 🙂

But once the umbilical cord was cut off and the balloon rose up in the air, it felt ethereal. As the hot air balloon rose gently higher and higher, panoramic vistas opened up.

The beautiful landscape was made even more special with colourful balloons filling the sky.
It was a different experience to see the sun rise over the horizon from high up in the air.
The rocky terrain of Cappadocia glowed in the morning light.

Soaring high

Once I had admired the sky shaded with pink-orange-blue hues and filled with numerous other colorful balloons, I got interested in the valleys, vivid rock formations and the interesting landscape beneath me. The flight captain pointed to the Deverent, Rose, Red and other valleys beneath.

The flight paths for each balloon ride would vary depending on the specific wind conditions and the flight duration chosen.

The picturesque Rose Valley.
A close-up of the interesting rock formations.
Another panoramic valley.
You can see over vast plains.

Unusual is an understatement for this landscape

I am not sure when some of us are visiting Mars, but there are a few other-worldly destinations here on Planet Earth. Cappadocia surely has to count as other-worldly.

What a distinct landscape!
The rock formations in this unusual landscape are a delight to see from high up.
And some close-ups are also possible.
You get the play of light and shadows later in the morning.
The balloons themselves look like a part of this rugged landscape.
You also fly over villages and houses, some of which look a bit barren.

After an hour of gently floating in the air, the captain made a smooth landing. There are flight options available for longer duration which cover more valleys and plains, but I felt the 1 hour flight suited me fine. An hour’s flight gives you more than enough time to enjoy and take photographs of the amazing landscape.

A welcome spread to cheer the smooth flight.

We climbed out of the basket and the refreshments set up on a picnic table nearby were a delightful sight. I had left my cave hotel room very early in the morning and welcomed the light snacks, fruits and juices served.

Hiking or driving around the Cappadocia terrain is certainly recommended and you can check this guide on what to do in Cappadocia. I hope my personal account has covinced you to add a hot air balloon ride to your Turkey experiences.

Are you ready to soar high?

Both my husband and I booked separate hot air balloon flights with Butterfly Balloons and were very satisfied with their overall services.

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Have you ever tried a hot air ballon ride? Share with us in the comments below.

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