Hot air balloons above fairy chimneys in Cappadocia Turkey

10 Things to Know Before You Go Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia is one of the most popular destinations in the world for hot air balloon rides. Read on for everything you need to know about the Cappadocia balloons!

Cappadocia in central Turkey is perhaps most well-known for the panoramic view of hundreds of hot air balloons gently ebbing and flowing above valleys and volcanic “fairy chimney” formations.

Cappadocia hot air balloons in Turkey
Hot air balloon in Cappadocia Turkey with text overlay Hot air balloons in Cappadocia Turkey with text overlay Hot air balloons at sunrise in Cappadocia Turkey with text overlay

Though it is but one of the many things to do in Cappadocia, hot air ballooning is one of the most popular activities in the region for a number of reasons.

Planning a trip to Cappadocia? Read on for essential travel tips for visiting Cappadocia in Turkey, where to stay, how to book a hot air balloon ride and what you need to know before your flight! But first, a few basics…

Click here for more Turkey travel tips and guides or check out this guide on travel mistakes to avoid making in Turkey!

How to get to Cappadocia

Turkish Airways view from the plane

First of all, it’s important to know that Cappadocia is a region in Turkey, not a city or town. So, where exactly is Cappadocia and how do you get there? It is pretty much bam smack in the center of Turkey, about 3 hours southeast from Ankara, the capital.

To get to Cappadocia you’ll need to fly into one of these two airports – Kayseri (Erkilet International Airport or ASR) or Nevşehir (Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport or NAV).

View from Hanzade Suites in Cappadocia Turkey

There are several domestic flights each day from Istanbul to Kayseri and Nevşehir, and flights take just over an hour with Turkish Airlines or Pegasus. If you’re deciding which airport to fly into, go with whichever has a better flight time for your Turkey itinerary – it doesn’t make a massive difference which one you choose seeing as both airports are located 30-40 minutes away by car from Göreme and Uçhisar, two of the main towns in the Cappadocia region.

Essential tips for visiting Cappadocia

💱 The currency is the Turkish Lira or TL and the exchange rate is approximately US$1: 26 TL or 1 Euro: 28 TL. When we visited in 2018 it was closer to $1:5-6 TL. There aren’t many official currency exchange places in Goreme or Uchisar, but many places especially restaurants and hotels do accept credit card.

📱 There are also very few places in town to buy a local Turkish SIM card. Instead, download the local map via wifi at your hotel for offline use. Read more on how to do that here.

Hand holding Museum Pass Turkey in front of entrance of Derinkuyu Underground City in Cappadocia Turkey

🎟️ The Museum Pass Cappadocia is a great card to purchase if you are staying in the region for a few days. The pass is valid for 3 days and accepted at many of the tourist attractions including the Goreme Open Air Museum and Dark Church, Ihlara Valley, Derinkuyu Underground City and Zelve Archaeological Site. If you are traveling to other places in Turkey including Istanbul, Ephesus, Pamukkale or Fethiye you might want to purchase the Museum Pass Turkey instead.

🌤️ The best time to visit Cappadocia: The best time to visit Cappadocia is usually considered to be from March to June or September to November when the crowds are thinner and the weather is milder. June to August is the peak season so it can get crowded, and it can get bitterly cold during the winter months from November to late February.

Standing at viewpoint in Cappadocia Turkey

👚 What to wear in Cappadocia: The temperature can fluctuate significantly over the course of just a couple of hours. Regarding the dress code in Cappadocia, most people in Turkey are Muslim, yet Cappadocia (and Turkey as a whole) is not extremely conservative.

To be respectful, I recommend that you dress on the conservative side and avoid strapless or crop tops, very form-fitting clothes, short skirts and dresses or hot pants. The temperature can be bitterly cold in the mornings, even during the summer months, so bring a light jacket or coat.

🌐 Language in Turkey: Turkish is the most spoken language in the Cappadocia region, and most people, especially those in hospitality or food & beverage, speak and understand English so you shouldn’t have any major issues with communication.

Where to stay in Cappadocia

The main tourist towns in Cappadocia are Ürgüp, Göreme, Ihlara Valley, Selime, Guzelyurt, Uçhisar, Avanos and Zelve. Most tourist hotels are located in Göreme, Ürgüp and Uçhisar, but the best place to stay in Cappadocia is in Göreme (in my opinion) as the town has lots of tour companies, grocery stores, restaurants and hotels.

It is also centrally located which means you can venture out to the various Cappadocia landmarks easily, yet get around town easily on foot so you can pop out for meals.

Goreme town at night in Cappadocia Turkey

One of the most unique things to do in Cappadocia is to stay in a cave hotel – rooms carved into mountainsides or rock pillars. There are many to choose from, and people tend to always flock to the “insta-famous” ones that cost an arm and a leg. We wanted to find a hidden gem in Cappadocia where we could experience Turkey away from the crowds, so stayed for 3 nights in Cappadocia at Hanzade Suites.

Hanzade Suites is located right off the main street in Goreme and is within a 5-minute walk from the Goreme Sunset Point. Our room was spacious, well-ventilated and cozy, and the communal rooftop is a great place to hang out for tea or coffee – you can also watch the balloons fly overhead in the mornings.

Hanzade Suites cave room in Cappadocia Turkey

We especially loved that the hotel never seemed “busy” as it does not have dozens upon dozens of rooms, so we always felt comfortable and had plenty of breathing room at breakfast and during lazy afternoons on the rooftop. Click here to check current rates at Hanzade Suites or head on over here to see other highly rated hotel options in Cappadocia!

Do not show up expecting to find last-minute accommodation in Cappadocia, especially during the peak season. Make sure you book ahead!

Important information about hotel booking in Turkey: You can not book hotels in Turkey using when you are already in Turkey, as it has been blocked by the Turkish government. The government is also looking to extend the ban to other websites including AirBnB and Expedia. Instead, get organized and book hotels for your stay in Turkey before your trip, or use for any last-minute hotel bookings that you need to make when you are already in the country.

Looking for more options for where to stay in Cappadocia? Here are some other alternatives that we seriously considered during the extensive accommodation research process:

Sunset Cave: Family-owned and operated, this hotel in Cappadocia is located just up the hill from Hanzade Suites and similarly close to the sunset viewpoint. The hotel has a rooftop terrace where you can perch up to watch the hot air balloons, and previous guests almost always mention the friendly and warm service. Click here to check availability and rates at Sunset Cave Cappadocia.

Tulip Cave Suites: Also near the main road through Goreme is this boutique hotel which is highly rated for its spacious, brightly-lit rooms and rooftop terrace. If you are traveling with friends or family this is one of the few hotels that offers a family 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom option in Cappadocia. However, there are some steps to get up to the hotel so may not be appropriate if anyone has mobility issues. Click here to check availability and rates at Tulip Cave Suites.

Naif Hotel: This stunning boutique hotel in Cappadocia is an adults-only property which makes it perfect for couples. It is not a traditional cave hotel, but the rooms are modern with touches of traditional architecture. If you are claustrophobic you might want to consider this option as the windows offer a view of Goreme town. Private parking is also available if you are self-driving. Click here to check availability and rates at Naif Hotel.

10 things to know before you go on a hot air balloon in Cappadocia, Turkey

Many people make the long journey to Cappadocia just for the opportunity to feel weightless in a basket and soar high up in the air. Now that we’ve been privileged to experience it, I can see why it is described as a “once-in-a-lifetime” trip – here’s what you need to know about Cappadocia hot air ballooning in this incredible region in Turkey!

1. The first commercial balloon flight was only three decades ago

The first commercial passenger balloon in Turkey was operated by Lars-Eric Möre and Kaili Kidner in 1991. Since then, more than 25 companies and 200 hot air balloons have been registered to operate Cappadocia balloon tours.

Hot air balloons at sunrise in Cappadocia Turkey

The hot air balloon industry in Cappadocia has only truly blossomed in recent years thanks to the extremely favorable conditions in the region, the proliferation of instant media like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok and increased accessibility of travel and flights to Turkey as a whole and also this particular mountainous region.

2. The hot air balloon season in Cappadocia is year-round

Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia is incredible not only because of the unique and rugged landscape, but also because the hundreds of balloons fly approximately 250 days of the year, compared to about 60 days elsewhere in Europe.

Hot air balloons above Goreme town in Cappadocia Turkey

Not only can you soar above the terrain in summer and spring, you can explore the winter wonderland covered in a blanket of glistening white snow from above – truly ethereal!

The best time of year to go hot air ballooning in Cappadocia is from April to November as the most favorable weather conditions are during these months; because of strong winds most of the flight cancellations typically take place from December to March.

3. More than 100 balloons fly every morning

Cappadocia might be the only place in the world where hundreds of balloons fly nearly every single morning, giving over 2000 people a day the experience of a lifetime.

Up to 100 balloons are allowed to take off before sunrise, and another 50 are granted permission to take off half an hour after sunrise.

Ready to book your Cappadocia trip? We enjoyed our stay at Hanzade Suites in Goreme. The unique cave hotel only had a small number of rooms so we found it to be very private and intimate. It also has a small rooftop terrace where you can watch the Cappadocia hot air balloons fly overhead. Click here to check availability at Hanzade Suites.

We also considered staying at Sunset Cave (located just up the hill from Hanzade Suites and similarly close to the sunset viewpoint), Tulip Cave Suites (a boutique hotel with a rooftop terrace and family rooms), and Naif Hotel (modern adults-only boutique hotel with private parking available). You can also head on over here to see other highly-rated hotel options in Cappadocia!

4. You need to book early

Hot air ballooning is THE single most popular thing to do in Cappadocia, so you absolutely must book as early as possible and plan ahead, because balloons fill up months in advance. Just because 100-or so balloons fly every morning absolutely does not mean that you are guaranteed a spot.

Watching hot air balloons in Cappadocia Turkey

One of my biggest tips for traveling to Cappadocia is to stay at least two to three nights to maximize your chances of getting on a hot air balloon flight, just in case your flight is cancelled due to poor weather conditions.

Cappadocia hot air balloons at sunrise in Turkey

You should also know that there are usually age and height restrictions for joining a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia: many companies stipulate that young children under the age of 6 may not be able to join, and you must also be over a certain height (approximately 4’6″ or 140 cm) in order to be able to adopt the landing position and look over the edge of the basket.

Most companies also advise against pregnant women or anyone with mobility issues from going on a hot air balloon in Cappadocia – you should be able to comfortably stand in the basket for more than an hour.

Hot air balloon above Goreme town in Cappadocia Turkey

Which is the best Cappadocia hot air balloon company? The short answer is: whichever has availability. The two dozen-or-so hot air balloon companies in Cappadocia have all been in operation for at least a decade (if not more), and unless you have personally been on a hot air balloon ride with them on the same day at the same time in the same flying conditions it would be fairly impossible to say one is definitively “better” than the other.

The fact is that they are all licensed and have extensive responsibilities when it comes to balloon maintenance, pilot training and ongoing accreditation. What may vary slightly is their flight offerings and size of baskets, their take-off locations, how responsive/helpful the staff are over phone and e-mail and so on. That being said, there are some hot air balloon companies in Cappadocia which are more well-known than others.

5. Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia is not “cheap

Depending on which company you go with and how many people are in the basket, a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia costs anywhere between 180-320 Euros (US$190-350) per person. You might even be able to book the entire balloon to yourself for the “bargain” price of 2500 Euros! These Cappadocia hot air balloon ride prices may also vary depending on what time of year you visit.

Hot air balloon pilot in Cappadocia Turkey

Prices tend to be fixed since demand is so high, so don’t expect any discounts. Think of it this way – you are paying for the incredible behind-the-scenes logistics required to make sure that your Cappadocia hot air ballooning experience goes off without a hitch, not to mention the extensive decades-long training and experience of the balloon pilots as well as insurance, continuous maintenance and licensing.

We paid slightly more than the average Cappadocia hot air balloon price to go in a smaller basket that could fit 16 people, and it was much more comfortable as there were only 4 people per compartment (there are even some balloon companies offering baskets that accommodate a maximum of 4 passengers total for an even more exclusive hot air ballooning experience).

The Cappadocia balloon ride upgrade was worth every penny, because we were able to move around the basket instead of being packed in like sardines. We also didn’t have to jostle for a prime viewing spot – everyone had plenty of room!

Cappadocia hot air ballooning experience in Turkey

The flight time was slightly longer too at 75 minutes instead of 60 minutes, so I wholeheartedly recommend splurging for a “deluxe” or “comfort” flight for a more intimate and exclusive hot air balloon flight experience in Cappadocia.

You should also know that the majority of hot air balloon companies in Cappadocia will not issue a refund if you cancel within 48 hours of your booked flight.

Need some help planning your 2 week Turkey itinerary? Head on over here for an easy Turkey itinerary for first time visitors or check out even more Turkey travel tips and guides here!

6. Pilots for Cappadocia hot air balloons undergo tons of flight training

Balloons, like airplanes, are registered with the aviation authority and subject to regular safety checks to ensure airworthiness. Pilots for hot air balloons in Cappadocia must also undergo examinations, have a prescribed number of flight hours under his or her belt, pass flight tests as well as ace their medical checks.

Landing celebation after hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia Turkey

Many hot air balloon pilots in Cappadocia have been flying for decades – ours with Voyager Balloons had more than 20 years’ flight experience! That being said, there has been a number of accidents in the past, some resulting in casualties and injuries; just like stepping into a 747 airplane, accidents can still happen even with the best pilots and ground crews, and the safest conditions.

According to this research report published in early 2019, “there were 12 accidents which occurred during the flight hours examined [81,112 flight hours undertaken between August 2013 and July 2017] (a rate of 14.8 accidents per 100,000 h). There were 33 individuals seriously injured, 3 fatally in all passengers (3.7 fatalities per 100,000 h in these flights). The majority of accidents that produced serious and fatal injuries occurred during the last year of the study. The most common cause of accidents was a hard landing (58.3%).

So, is hot air ballooning safe in Cappadocia? Though there are a myriad of measures in place to ensure your safety, hot air ballooning in Cappadocia still involves some level of risk. Make sure you choose an experienced balloon company with seasoned pilots for Cappadocia hot air balloons that values passenger safety above all else.

7. You might land on your back

If you, like me, have never hopped in a hot air balloon before, you’ll be surprised to see that this is a fairly common landing position, especially if the basket bounces or tips at an angle in strong winds. It is important to follow the pilot’s instructions to a T as fatal accidents have happened during landing, sadly the latest accident took place as recently as October 2022.

Hot air balloon above fairy chimneys in Cappadocia Turkey

Because hot air balloons go with the wind and the flight trajectory is almost entirely dependent on wind speed and direction, landings take place on any large, flat(ish) area including parks, empty fields, school grounds or roads.

Hot air balloon chase crew in Cappadocia Turkey

“Chase crews” follow the balloon via radio contact with the pilot so that they can meet you at the landing site with the balloon trailer.

Not to worry though, experienced pilots can often land the hot air balloon right onto the trailer – no bracing necessary.

Prefer to keep your feet firmly grounded? You can also watch the Cappadocia balloons soaring overhead – it is an experience in and of itself. I recommend booking yourself into a hotel that has a rooftop or terrace area in Goreme – we loved our time at Hanzade Suites and can highly recommend it for anyone looking for a boutique hotel in Cappadocia. Click here to check current rates at Hanzade Suites.

We also considered staying at Sunset Cave (located just up the hill from Hanzade Suites and similarly close to the sunset viewpoint), Tulip Cave Suites (a boutique hotel with a rooftop terrace and family rooms), and Naif Hotel (modern adults-only boutique hotel with private parking available). You can also head on over here to see other highly-rated hotel options in Cappadocia!

8. The Cappadocia hot air balloons can reach 3,000 feet above ground

If you are scared of heights, you need to know that the balloons can fly anywhere from about tree level to 3,000 feet above ground – on our hot air balloon flight in Cappadocia, we reached 800 metres!

Cappadocia hot air balloons above fairy chimneys in Turkey

Experienced pilots can even take you right down into valleys full of “fairy chimney” rock formations and Goreme town. The balloons can also travel very fast depending on the wind, reaching speeds of anywhere from 2-22 KM per hour.

I am petrified of heights, but found that the take off and landing was smooth enough that it didn’t feel too terrifying. The balloon doesn’t rock or sway either, so you don’t really feel that you’re leaving the ground so to speak. Plus, the views are a great way to distract yourself from the fact that you’re floating hundreds of metres off the ground!

Cappadocia hot air balloons in Turkey

This is another reason why I recommend booking one of the deluxe flights with fewer people – you don’t want to add claustrophobia to the mix, especially if you already have an aversion to heights.

9. Flights do get cancelled occasionally

Yes, the hot air ballooning in Cappadocia runs all year long, but flights do get cancelled if the weather fails to cooperate. On average, flights take place on approximately 250 days of the year, but the Civil Aviation Authority can cancel flights for all balloons if there is rain, strong wind, fog, snow or thunderstorms.

As I mentioned earlier, the wind and adverse weather in the winter months means that hot air balloon flights in Cappadocia are more likely to get cancelled between December to March. That being said, we were in Cappadocia in September and our first hot air balloon flight was cancelled – so there are no guarantees.

While there are often predictions made a day in advance this is by no means a final call as weather conditions can change without warning – more often than not, you will only find out whether your Cappadocia ballooning flight is cancelled at the very last minute.

Butterfly Balloons morning coffee in Cappadocia Turkey

In fact, our first scheduled flight in Cappadocia was cancelled due to high winds. We had even woken up at 4:30 AM, paid the balance and had a light breakfast at the hot air balloon company’s office, driven to the take-off site and watched the balloons fill up with hot air.

There were no indications that the flight was going to be cancelled and there was not the slightest gust of wind where we were standing…but that didn’t mean that there was no wind 800 metres off the ground!

Cappadocia hot air balloon getting ready to take off in Turkey

As we watched the Cappadocia balloons slowly fill up with hot air, the excitement really kicked in…until all of the gigantic fans started to switch off, one by one. “Today’s flights are cancelled,” said our hot air balloon pilot. We thought (or hoped?) he was kidding, even though there was no hint of a smile on his face. As we looked around, every single other balloon around us was also being deflated and packed up.

We were all driven back to the office, given a refund and dropped off at our hotels. The fact that we were not going to get to go on a hot air balloon ride hadn’t sunk in even by the time we got back to our hotel room.

The Cappadocia hot air balloon company that we had originally booked with was unable to book us on another flight because all the flights for the following day were fully booked, so we ended up having to clamour for a spot with another hot air balloon company in Cappadocia. Luckily, one got back to us and had space for the two of us so we secured that ASAP!

Some of our fellow passengers weren’t so lucky as they only planned to stay 1 night in Cappadocia, which meant that their one and only opportunity to go on a hot air balloon ride was shot.

Hot air balloons at sunrise in Cappadocia Turkey

What happens if your hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia is cancelled? The very first thing you must do is try rescheduling with the same company you booked with. However, 99.9% of the time (especially during the peak season) they are already fully booked for the next day’s flights.

E-mail and call EVERY SINGLE hot air balloon company in Cappadocia! Ask about spaces on their deluxe or “comfort” flights (more expensive) and post-sunrise flights. These days, they may even offer an alternative balloon flight location over the nearby Soğanlı Valley.

Long story short, don’t rely solely on your hotel to book a flight for you, because they might only contact one or two balloon companies that they have a relationship or agreement with and are not likely to approach them all.

Here is a list of e-mails you can copy and paste into the BCC field: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected];

Once you have e-mailed them, make sure you keep a close eye on your email inbox as most places will only hold your spot for an hour before releasing it to the next person on the waitlist. As soon as you receive a response make sure you jump on the opportunity and claim the spot!

You can also try your luck to see if there are spaces for a Cappadocia hot air ballooning experience available on Klook. This tour in particular appears to be operated by Atmosfer Cappadocia Balloons.

10. Hot air ballooning is only one of the many things to do in Cappadocia

Look, if by some horrid stroke of misfortune your flight is cancelled and you’re not able to get on another hot air balloon during your stay, please don’t fret.

Hot air balloon view point in Cappadocia Turkey

Cappadocia has way more to offer than hot air ballooning – it’s (very) disappointing but not the end of the world if you don’t get to go on one. If your heart is dead set on hot air ballooning in Turkey you might also want to try booking a balloon ride over the travertines of Pamukkale.

Make sure you read this if you’re visiting Cappadocia: 10 Mind-Blowing Things to Do in Cappadocia, Turkey (Because There’s More to the Region Than Hot Air Balloons!)

Watching the balloons in Cappadocia from one of the viewpoints is also a magical experience, and don’t overlook what the region has to offer beyond ballooning: it is also home to sprawling underground cities, a plethora of viewpoints, open air museums and archaeological sites.

Goreme Panorama Viewpoint in Cappadocia Turkey

Ready to plan your trip to Cappadocia? I recommend staying at Hanzade Suites in Goreme (it’s within walking distance of one of the best sunset viewpoints in Cappadocia as well as tons of fantastic restaurants) or head on over here to see other highly-rated hotel options in Cappadocia!

We also considered staying at Sunset Cave (located just up the hill from Hanzade Suites and similarly close to the sunset viewpoint), Tulip Cave Suites (a boutique hotel with a rooftop terrace and family rooms), and Naif Hotel (modern adults-only boutique hotel with private parking available).

Hot air balloon above Goreme town in Cappadocia Turkey

Know all you need to know about going on a hot air balloon tour in Cappadocia but still need some help planning your Turkey itinerary? You might also find these articles helpful:

I hope you found this guide to hot air balloon rides in Cappadocia helpful. If you enjoyed reading this, please share it with friends and family planning a trip to Turkey!

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  1. Thank you, would generally agree with your article, but would suggest Uschisar as being a preferable (in my opinion) location to Goreme, as it is the most elevated town in the region with the most stunning views, the “Eyes of Cappadocia” being a perfect hotel as a base, giving both spectacular views and easy access to the valley walks, the town also enjoys far less of the noise (especially the 4:00am flurry of balloon ride vehicles) and bustle of Goreme, also add Anatolia Balloons to your list of balloon rides, they are excellent. Another great activity is simply walking through the gorge’s, absolutely stunning.

  2. I am planning to take some high school students, Would you recommend a well experienced Pilots/ balloon service.

    is July a good time there?

    1. Hi Mohamed, the best time of year to go hot air ballooning in Cappadocia is from April to November as the most favorable weather conditions are during these months. However, July is also peak season so if I were you I would book ASAP. We went with Voyager and had a great experience. Hope that helps!

  3. hi there,
    I love your article and the images is gorgeous. Would you recommend to visit Turkey and Cappadocia in Winter or not al all?
    Also would you recommend a person rather opt for a smaller group when go for hot air ballooning in Cappadocia?

    1. Hi Mimmie, thank you for the kind words and I’m happy to hear that you found this article helpful. Turkey will look and feel very different in the winter, and personally I wouldn’t enjoy places like Fethiye on the Turquoise Coast when the temperature plunges below 10 degrees. However, Cappadocia is a lot quieter and the balloon rides are still operational, so it’s a personal decision that you will need to make. You can check out my friend Darlene’s post on hot air ballooning in Cappadocia during the winter to get a sense of what it looks like:

      Happy travels.

  4. Hi! Thanks for all the info, incredibly helpful! I’m headed to Cappadocia (and also Fethiye) in mid-September for an epic birthday trip and am finishing up my trip planning. I’d love to know what hot air balloon company you ended up using that was the much smaller group/luxury, if you don’t mind sharing? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Jessica, of course I wouldn’t mind! We ended up going with Voyager Balloons. Price: 180 Euro per person with a 10 Euro discount for cash payments. The “Comfort Flight” uses 20-person balloons but carries 16 people. Hope that helps!

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