The hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia is without a doubt the most famous attraction of this beautiful region right in the middle of Turkey. To fly quietly over the unbelievably shaped and colorful rock formations is an unforgettable, once in a lifetime experience. It was the first balloon flight in my life and although I was thrilled by the whole event, everything went so perfectly and smoothly. The views of the rock pillars, canyons and the village of Goreme itself were indescribable as was the first rays of the sun emerging from behind the horizon. Although a bit pricey, everyone should experience it at least one time, if I were asked to do it again, I'd definitely would with no hesitation!
The hot air balloon flight experience
Early in the morning, before 6 am, we had to wake up in our amazing cave-guest house in Goreme and proceed for breakfast. Goreme is an incredibly beautiful town full of little houses and hotels that are built inside the numerous caves carved off the cliff walls (I've described it in detail in this article).
After breakfast, the team of the hot balloon company chose the best place for take off (it changes according to the direction of the wind and weather conditions). Right before the sunset, a short briefing was presented and then all the passengers took their seats in the basket. The morning was so beautiful and quiet that we didn't feel the moment when the balloon took off the ground. The same can be said about the whole flight as well, there was not even a slightest turbulence or bump.
We were going up and down following the wind, the views were spectacular. Sometimes the pilot was descending so low that we were flying literally between the rocky pillars. The whole valley and nearby cave towns looked so unreal. It had been one of the most thrilling yet peaceful experiences in my life.
The whole flight lasted no longer than one hour and I regretted it was so short. The pilots turned out to be so skilled that they landed all the balloons not on the ground but directly on the trailers of the transport trucks! And again, we didn't feel the moment of touching the surface, it was so smooth. I'd like to add that I did it in November, and the weather was perfectly clear although quite chilly in the morning.
After the flight, all participants received special diplomas with their names and enjoyed a glass of champagne.
Is the balloon flight in cappadocia safe and worth the price?
If I were asked again to board the balloon in Cappadocia, I would without a question. Nevertheless, just like with any other extreme sport or even an ordinary flight or car ride, there is a slight risk that something may go wrong. Accidents happened everywhere, also in Cappadocia. However, there are literally hundreds of flights operated every single day and the risk is extremely low. The pilots are humans too and don't want any incidents after all. A good advice is to choose to fly with a decent, reliable company. You can find many of them online and read the reviews first before choosing. You can also book it at your hotel but then the hotel will probably sell you the company that they co-operate with.
Having said that, the biggest obstacle to prevent people from taking the balloon flight is the price. It is around 150-200 EUR (160-220 USD) per person. It is quite a lot but comparing it with different flights it's still a good value. For example, I've also had an occasion to do a balloon flight in Myanmar recently and it was almost twice as expensive and not even close as spectacular as in Cappadocia (I will write about the Myanmar balloon flight in Bagan soon).
So, treat it as once in a lifetime experience and do it! I'm sure you won't regret it!
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