Your Guide to Planning a Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Trip in Turkey

Enjoy an *elevated* romantic getaway.
Your Guide to Planning a Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Trip
Photo: kotangens / Getty Images
J.Q. Louise
by J.Q. Louise
Updated Jan 08, 2024
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If you haven't added a Cappadocia hot air balloon ride in Turkey to the bucket list yet, you will after you read this guide. Cappadocia, a beautiful region filled with caves, mountains and valleys, is known for having pristine skies that are regularly swarmed by peacefully floating hot air balloons. With endless things to do in the destination and an abundance of ways to immerse yourself in traditional Turkish culture, a Cappadocia hot air balloon ride is one of the most unforgettable experiences for couples.

To make your adventure planning as easy as possible, we're sharing some top tips, advice and recommendations below.

Hot Air Balloon Tours in Cappadocia, Turkey

Hot Air Balloon Tours in Cappadocia, Turkey
Photo: Anna Shvets / Getty Images

While there are many things to enjoy in Cappadocia, there really is nothing quite like experiencing the region from great heights and becoming part of the mesmerizing landscape people travel far and wide to experience. With so many options for balloon operators, it's worth doing some research before you go. Even better, ask your hotel to assist with booking as they will likely have their own trusted provider and be able to assist with timing, transfers and answering any questions.

Flight Routes

While there are no direct flight routes from the US to Cappadocia (pretty much all international flights need to take a connecting leg from Istanbul), there are plenty of airlines to choose from. Turkish Airlines and Air France, for example, fly from Boston twice daily and New York City has a whopping 401 direct flights to Istanbul per week from Turkish Airlines, Pegasus, Lufthansa, Play and Wizz Air.

Cappadocia is often the perfect destination to enjoy along with Turkey's largest city, as most flight paths naturally pass through Istanbul. The pairing invites you to enjoy the very best of bustling city life with just a short domestic flight between the charming streets of Istanbul and the quiet escapism of Cappadocia. A must-add to your itinerary, expect to be wowed by Istanbul's enviable fashion district, art scene, historic boat rides and incredible culture. We recommend one of the city's newer luxury hotels, Vakko Hotel and Residence, which can be found in the heart of Istanbul's chic shopping district, or the Sumahan on the Water for a more boutique seaside experience.

How Much a Cappadoccia Hot Air Balloon Ride Costs

The cost of a hot air balloon ride can vary greatly depending on the provider, the time of year and the capacity of the basket. But to give you an idea, group flights can be anything from $160 to $300 per person, with up to 16 people inside the basket. Private tours come in at a much higher starting price of around $4,900, but they're obviously much more intimate and an incredible way to make a grand gesture for that special someone.

Flight Schedules

While Cappadocia enjoys contrasting seasons, the change in temperature and landscape thankfully doesn't affect the hot air balloon industry, with balloon rides scheduled every day all year, weather permitting.

Best Times to Fly

Most balloon providers work around two key times of day: sunrise and sunset—perfect for capturing glorious snaps of the valleys while floating through the air amongst other balloons.

The time of year and weather might affect this slightly, with balloon rides throughout the summer months (April to October) starting slightly earlier than those in the winter (November to March), in line with differing sunrise times.

How Long the Experience Lasts

Balloon ride experiences last anywhere from one to three hours—a mix of taking off, reaching the optimum height and gracefully floating back to the ground.

How to Get to Cappadocia

After flying into Istanbul, travelers have the choice of taking a connecting flight to one of two airports—either Kayseri Airport or Nevsehir Kapadokya Airport, both of which are around 30 to 60 minutes from Cappadocia. Alternatively, there are public transportation options from Istanbul or Kayseri (the two main connecting locations when flying from the US), including a bus, a dolmus (shared taxi) or a car.

Private Hot Air Balloon Packages

Hot Air Balloon Packages in Turkey for Couples
Photo: Anton Petrus / Getty Images

Nothing screams marriage proposal, anniversary trip or honeymoon experience more than soaring across the sky with the one you love. Aside from creating the most dreamy photos, it's an experience you'll remember forever. For this kind of "wow" factor, private hot air balloon packages are the way to go. Each provider will have different inclusions in their offer, but Hot Air Balloon Cappadocia, for example, offers hotel pick up and drop off, an alcohol-free drink on landing and the option of arranging additional services, including proposal banners, music, a romantic breakfast on landing and photography from the flight.

The Best View of Hot Air Balloons From the Ground

While it's hard to miss the daily hot air ballooning spectacle from any spot on the ground, there are certain places that promise a particularly special viewing space to enjoy the peaceful gliding of balloons come day and night. Try the hill above Göreme for breathtaking views and the perfect photo shoot location. Love Valley is also beautiful—and often quieter—and Pigeon Valley has deep forest valleys and incredible scenery.

What to Expect on a Hot Air Balloon Ride

Hot air balloon rides for couples in Turkey
Photo: inigoarza / Getty Images

Once you've received word (usually the afternoon before) that the weather is OK, your hot air balloon agency will pick you up from your hotel the morning or evening of your experience. You'll then be greeted and transported to the take-off spot, likely picking up fellow hot air balloon companions along the way. Once at the spot, you'll watch the hot air balloon being filled up while enjoying a complimentary cup of coffee and a snack.

When it's time to climb into the basket, you'll see it's divided into sections with holes to put your feet, ensuring everyone has space and a good viewing spot. Then, you'll take off!

What to Wear and Bring on Your Flight

Layers, layers, layers. Not only do temperatures outside vary during the day, but you'll also be standing near the burners, which give off some impressive heat. Don't wear anything bulky and avoid flowy dresses or skirts. Other than that, pack light. The baskets are quite tight so go for the bare essentials: water, sunscreen, a snack and your camera is pretty much all you will need.

Hot Air Balloon Take Off and Landing

Taking off and landing in a hot air balloon is not as dramatic as you might think. Take off is something you will barely notice—before you know it, you will be gently floating far from the ground. For landing, your basket will slowly skid across the ground before coming to a stop. Listen to the tour operators for all necessary safety advice and instructions.

How High the Balloons Fly

Balloons flying over Cappadocia, Turkey
Photo: Anton Petrus / Getty Images

Balloons fly to an altitude of around 6,000 feet—this is a Turkish Civil Aviation limit for balloons in Cappadocia.

Turbulence

Turbulence? What turbulence! One of the best things about flying in a hot air balloon is that the balloon travels with the wind—not through it—so it's an incredibly peaceful experience.

Planning Your Trip to Cappadocia, Turkey

Planning Your Trip to Cappadocia, Turkey
Photo: SW Photography / Getty Images

When you're not in the air, make the most of your time in Cappadocia by sampling lots of delicious food, exploring the area and getting a good night's sleep.

Cappadocia Hotels

After an exhilarating morning or evening of hot air ballooning, making sure you have a great accommodation to rest your head is key. Cappadocia is a bustling little area with a range of hotels, Airbnb rentals (with pretty views of the balloons), and price ranges to choose from. Those looking for value could try Traveller's Cave Hotel in Göreme or Wish Cappadocia in Uchisar. Both offer beautiful rooms, stunning views and close proximity to local attractions.

Those looking to splurge should stay at Argos in Cappadocia. One of only a few luxury hotels in the region, Argos is a huge restoration project of an ancient monastery, caves, underground tunnels and historical houses. Every room is unique, highly styled and features incredible views.

Cappadocia Restaurants

Argos in Cappadocia opened Nahita restaurant last year and with it, they brought a new destination dining concept to the region as Cappadocia's first farm-to-table establishment. Its menu features locally sourced produce (from within a 60 kilometer radius of the hotel) paired with traditional cooking techniques to create delicious Anatolian cuisine.

Then, there's the beautiful Sakli Konak Restaurant serving up more traditional Turkish food, including lamb stew, lentils and Turkish ravioli. It's absolutely worth booking a table at Zeferan Cappadocia, the perfect place for special occasions and celebrations. With outstanding food and charming surprises along the way, this is one not to be missed.

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