Hot Air Ballooning in Turkey

If there’s one activity you must do in Cappadocia, it’s this. 

AWESOME

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!

Ready to board

The heated air inside the balloon makes it buoyant since it’s less dense than the cooler air outside

Awaiting the rest of the passengers… we’re ready to GO.

Up, up and away!

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.

Scared of heights? Don’t look down.

Voyager Balloon taking off

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.

That’s us!

Ange, Amber & pilot Halis

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!

Cappadocia

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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  • Avatar
    October 12, 2011
    Mom

    WOW. Beautiful scenery. I want to do this now.

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    October 12, 2011

    I feel like you’re right in saying that this is a must-do activity here. It looks amazing!

    I went up in a hot air balloon for the first time this summer in Monument Valley, Utah. That experience, too, was AMAZING. Well worth the early wake-up call.

    • Avatar
      October 19, 2011

      I just did a sunrise balloon ride over Luxor, too, and WOW! Another can’t miss experience!

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    October 12, 2011

    Looks like an amazing experience! What views!

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    October 20, 2011

    I come from a town (Albuquerque) with a big hot-air balloon festival, and you have to get up EARLY. So glad you did it!

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      November 08, 2011

      I just did it in Egypt, too… I’m a bit of an addict I think!

  • Avatar
    October 20, 2011

    Beautiful pictures. Maybe I can do this in Istanbul in 1 1/2 weeks 🙂

    • Avatar
      November 08, 2011

      Let me know if you get around to it and how you like it!

  • Avatar
    October 20, 2011
    Cam

    Nice! We did this last year, around the same time. It’s such a magical landscape… and the sight of 50 other colorful balloons is something I doubt I’ll see again!

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    October 21, 2011

    I would love to do that – and that landscape is incredible!

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      November 08, 2011

      Definitely do it if you’re ever in Goreme… I must’ve taken 300 pictures in 45 minutes!~

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    October 24, 2011

    I’ve always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon- so cool! I love the fire shot, too!

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      November 08, 2011

      It was much smoother and more relaxed than I anticipated. Very gentle!

  • Avatar
    October 28, 2011
    Alex Berger

    I love that first pic, and the picture from above.

    • Avatar
      November 01, 2011

      Thanks, Alex! I must’ve taken 200 pictures in an hour… such a beautiful sight!

  • Avatar
    October 30, 2011
    Deb

    That looks amazing! We have yet to go hot air ballooning. I am definitely envious. I think that I will hold out for our first experience being in Turkey too. That looks like the best place in the world to do it! Great photographs too!

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      November 01, 2011

      You guys will LOVE it. Such a brilliant experience. I think Cappadocia is the best place to do it… however, I just did the same thing over Valley of the Kings in Luxor and that was amazing, too. Tough call!

  • Avatar
    November 10, 2011

    Ballooning is awesome. BUT, over cappadocia WOW!

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      November 11, 2011

      It was almost silly how spectacular it was!

  • Avatar
    November 11, 2011

    This is spectacular–one of the coolest things you’ve done so far on your RTW, no doubt!

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    February 10, 2013

    Hello Angie!
    We are turkish cultural magazine, next issue we would like to write about air ballooning.
    Can we use your article?
    Please, contact me by e-mail
    rivieraartpark@gmail.com

    Kind regards,
    Anastasia

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