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. After all, does looking at photos like the one above ever really get old? They sure don’t, and there is even more coming up!
I’m not what you would call a “morning person.” There’s something deep inside me that causes intense repulsion at the idea of waking up before 9 a.m. Left to my own natural tendencies I go to bed around 3 a.m. and rise sometime between 10 to 11 a.m. If you’re a fellow night owl, you know how it feels: society has beaten us down over the years, unfairly labeling our morning-hatred as lazy and counterproductive. I’ve tried, with varying degrees of success, to change my habits. But lately I’ve started accepting my sleep preferences, and as long as I’m out of bed before 10 a.m. I consider it a win.
But what does this have to do with hot air balloon rides in Cappadocia?
They always start before sunrise, and as I just established, I loathe waking up early. Even if I’m about to do something totally kickass like flying through the sky in a flame-driven death vehicle, it’s still hard for me to get moving.
If you’re similarly averse to anything early, I get you. But, this is one of those few instances where it’s so, so worth it. And in today’s article we’ll see why you should do some hot air ballooning in Cappadocia!
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. If that’s our baseline, I’ve seen the sunrise plenty of times… though I’m not typically fully coherent at that point.
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?
Cappadocia hot air ballooning practicalities
Most of the companies 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 110 – 160 euros for a standard balloon flight with a quality provider. I used Air Kapadokya. They were fabulous and I can highly recommend them!
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!
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.
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, right?