Hot air balloons in Turkey: here’s how to experience them

How to experience hot air balloons in Turkey

Wearing: 2 Way Drawnstring Bag – Hunting World

There’s nothing as peaceful in the world as a hot air balloon flight, said the woman sitting next to me at dinner, the night before we were due to go out and see them ourselves. The dining room was, like the rest of our hotel, dug out right into the rocks, generations ago. In fact, all the little townships in this area of Cappadocia, Turkey, resembled human sized ant hills, that you’d imagine anthropomorphized forest animals living in, in children’s cartoons.

“They fly right over my terrace some days,” Continued the woman, who, by her own account, had woken up at dawn every morning to see them, in the 15 years she’d lived here. “the pilots are used to seeing me. They would call out to me as they passed – Good morning, Annie!”.

When I asked her why they fly hot air balloons in Cappadocia, her answer was simply ‘why not!’.

As flippant as that sounded, it turned out to sum the story up quite nicely. Ballooning started in Cappadocia in the 90’s. With its flat landscape and stable weather conditions most of the year, it’s considered an ideal area for hot air ballooning. 20 years on, the balloons number in the hundreds, and on a favourably forecasted day, they hang thick in the sky like Christmas tree ornaments. They dangle there, or rather are suspended, surreally, over Cappadocia’s vast rainbow striped rocky valley.  

That morning, we were picked up by our taxi driver in pitch darkness, as the hot air balloons fly at the break of dawn. As we drove out, the black indiscernible mass of sky and earth was interrupted here and there by specs of golden light, between the silhouette of the hills. It was not until we neared the launch site that we realised they were the balloons themselves. As they were being filled with air, they grew and took their shape, and the fires heading up the air in their bellies lit them up like giant light bulbs. The low roar of the engines echoed in the valley.

Then, all at once, silence. The first balloon lifted off the ground gently and slowly. Then another, and another, until, in several minutes, the sky was being filled with them. I remembered thinking Annie was right. I had never seen anything so calming and beautiful.

How to get to Cappadocia

We flew into Istanbul, and from there took a domestic flight to Cappadocia (Edit: Nevsehir or Kayseri airport). You can book airport transfers with your hotel from either of the airports.

Where to stay

The town of Goreme is closest to the hot air balloon launch sites, but any of the towns nearby are a great base.

How to see and ride hot air balloons

Your hotel will be able to give you information about seeing the balloons, and make the booking for you. You will need to wake up at about 4am as they fly early in the morning. Occasionally, the flight can be cancelled for poor weather, so staying 3-4 days would be the safest way to ensure that you don’t miss out.

Created in collaboration with Hunting World

Location: Cappadocia, Turkey | Photography: Louis Villers

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  • Reply
    bloggers boyfriend
    18 November 2017 at 10:36 pm

    wow this is so good. cant wait to go soon.

  • Reply
    Ewa Macherowska
    18 November 2017 at 11:01 pm

    Absolutely amazing! x

  • Reply
    20 November 2017 at 7:52 pm

    Wow!! I’ve seen these shots on Instagram with the hot air balloons but had no idea how to actually experience this! Thank you so much for sharing!


  • Reply
    21 November 2017 at 3:16 pm

    It just looks so so dreamy. I have to make it there one day!!
    xx Jenelle

  • Reply
    28 November 2017 at 5:38 pm

    Your photos are beautiful, but the title ‘here’s how to experience them’ is a bit misleading . . . there isn’t even an airport in Cappadocia – you have to fly into Nevsehir (where there are no domestic flights) or Kayseri which is 74km from Cappadocia. As someone trying to research a trip to Cappadocia I found this post pretty useless. Article should be titled ‘photos of me in Cappadocia’.

    • Reply
      Jiawa Liu
      29 November 2017 at 6:44 am

      Thanks Ali, thanks for your feedback! You are right, the two airports are called Kayseri and Nevsehir, but I guess I simply wrote ‘Cappadocia’ because this is how I searched and booked my flight, and I would recommend it. You would simply choose the option ‘Cappadocia – all airports’ when searching for the flight, as any of the two airports are acceptable to travel into Goreme. I am not a meticulous planner for my own travel and really just jump right in with a skeleton plan, so I guess the way I write my travel diaries reflect that. Of course, we each have our own way to travel, that’s what makes it so much fun 🙂

  • Reply
    29 November 2017 at 5:21 am

    Such a wonderful post,
    It’s always have been on our bucket list but even more now thanks to you !

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