If there’s one activity you must do in Cappadocia, it’s this.
There are lots of great activities that you can do while you’re travelling through the Mediterranean, from hiking in Sicily, but when you’re visiting Turkey, there’s only one thing you should make time for – hot air ballooning.
Yes, millions of tourists pour into this region every year and head straight for the hot air balloons, but being smushed into a basket with 30 other people doesn’t make the experience any less spectacular. As my trusted tour guide everywhere we go, Amber was gunning for a balloon trip even though I was skeptical. I didn’t know until I was in the air how spectacular the birds eye view would be.
If we’d skipped this, I would’ve missed out on my favorite part of the whole trip to Göreme.
Voyager provides light breakfast before the flight, including apple tea, of course!
There are dozens of balloon companies to choose from, and most cost $150-$200 USD per flight. After some research, we chose Voyager Balloons. Call time is a painful 4:50 a.m. (made even more painful by the fact that I was staying up all hours of the night reading The Hunger Games series), but Voyager picked us up at the door of Kookaburra Pension in Göreme so we didn’t have to do much early morning thinking.
Why so early? The winds are lighter in the morning and the temperatures are cooler, meaning the pilot doesn’t have to heat the balloon air up as much as he would midday, when outside air temps are higher. And you can’t beat the light in the valley at sunrise!
Floating above the fairy chimneys and valleys, it’s easy to understand how the early Christians escaped Roman persecution here. There are so many places to hide – caves, chimneys, valleys – you could imagine ducking into one of these nooks to get away. Actually, the day before, Amber & I were wandering around the valleys when we got hopelessly lost. From the balloon, we were able to map our route and figure out where we went off track.
Can you tell it’s my favorite day in Turkey?
I guess the other harrowing rides I’ve been on this year have made me a bit apprehensive, because I was surprised at how gentle, smooth and peaceful the hot air balloon was. There were no bumps, no turbulence, no loud engines… just floating on the breeze with the hiss of the flame and the chatter of the other excited passengers in my ears. Our pilot Halis patiently answered questions while guiding the balloon up and down the valleys, almost close enough to touch some of the fairy chimneys at times. The ride lasts about an hour.
I’m convinced Halis could’ve landed the balloon on a dime, because he expertly guided the craft from the air onto a tiny trailer in a field. After we were safely on the ground, we had a fun ceremony where everyone got brunchy snacks and certificates of participation. I’m a total sucker for those post-activity ceremonies!
While the balloon ride is definitely a splurge outside many a backpacker’s budget, it’s so worth it. When you go, check out Voyager Balloons – between the super friendly service, round trip transportation, breakfast, Champagne celebration upon landing and of course, the gorgeous, safe ride, I can’t recommend them highly enough.
Tell Halis Angie Away sent you!
Cappadocia Voyager Balloons
Kagniyolu Mevkii 50180 Göreme / Nevsehir / Turkey
Tel: + 90 384 271 3030 Fax: + 90 384 271 3031 Reservation: + 90 532 717 5050
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