Flying in a Hot Air Balloon in Cappadocia Should Be on Your Dream Travel List

Hot Air Balloons, Festival, Cappadocia, Turkey
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A rocky landscape of natural wonders and human aptitude, Cappadocia is Turkey's very own fairy-tale kingdom. Initially shaped by volcanic eruption and erosion, locals and religious refugees worked the already-breathtaking topography into an impressive network of underground chambers, tunnels, and cities thousands of years ago.

Now a World Heritage Site, Cappadocia's rich and diverse cultural and political history is enough to attract anyone to the region — but what brings tourists to Cappadocia these days is the chance to see it from a hot air balloon.

With fairy chimneys and pillars, river valleys and cliffs, the region is certainly a magnificent sight to behold from the air. Luckily, it's fairly easy to book a trip to the area and see it for yourself.

Scroll to learn how to plan your Cappadocia hot-air balloon excursion and take your next favorite travel photo.

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How to Choose a Hot-air Balloon Tour

Hot Air Balloons, Cappadocia, Turkey
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There are many Cappadocia hot-air balloon tours to choose from. The one you want will depend on your personal preferences in terms of length of flight, capacity of balloon, and cost.

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Types of Flights

Hot Air Balloons, Rock Landscape, Cappadocia, Turkey
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Tour companies offer a few options to meet your needs. Standard flights carry more people and don't last as long, but they are more economical. Although deluxe flights cost more, they carry fewer people and stay up in the air longer. Most companies also offer private tours for that special occasion.

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Duration of Flight

Hot Air Balloons, Sunrise, Goreme National Park, Cappadocia, Turkey
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Flights can last anywhere between 45 minutes to two hours. It depends on who you book your tour with and which flight deal you pick. For example, Kapadokya Balloons' Standard Program lasts 45 to 65 minutes, while their Deluxe Program lasts 90 minutes.

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Capacity of Balloon

Hot Air Ballon, Close-up, Nevsehir, Cappadocia, Turkey
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The capacity of the basket again depends on the company and the flight. Urgup Balloons' Classic Flight carries 28 people, while their Deluxe Flight carries 16. Butterfly Balloons' Butterfly Beyond Flight carries up to two people per compartment, which amounts to no more than eight passengers total.

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How Much Does It Cost?

Hot Air Balloons, Desert Landscape, Cappadocia, Turkey
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Private flights cost a lot more than group flights. Urgup Balloons' Classic Flight costs about $170 per person, their Comfort Flight about $185 per person, and their Deluxe Flights about $210 per person. Renting the entire basket for a private flight costs upwards of $1,400. Prices can vary slightly by date and availability.

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Prepare for Unpredictable Weather

Hot Air Balloons, Winter Cappadocia, Turkey
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Hot-air balloon flights are weather dependent and may be canceled. In that event, many companies will offer you a full refund or help you reschedule. Plan to spend a few days in Cappadocia so you can rebook if this happens to you.

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When to Go

Hot Air Balloons, Hoodoos, Cappadocia, Turkey
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You can take a hot-air balloon flight any time of year, but with Cappadocia's hot, dry summers and cold — and sometimes snowy — winters, the best time to go is during the spring (April to June) and fall (September and October).

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How High Up Do the Balloons Go?

Hot air balloons over Cappadocia, Turkey
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While balloon companies can take their passengers thousands of feet in the air, with hot-air balloon flights in Cappadocia, the real treat is seeing (and photographing) the geological details of the different rock formations, so it's not necessary to climb too high off the ground.

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When Do Flights Take Off?

Hot Air Balloons, Evening Moon, Cappadocia, Turkey
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Balloons usually take off early in the morning — about 5:00 to 5:30 a.m., depending on the season — because the wind conditions are best around sunrise. Tour companies will pick you up at your hotel, so there's no need to worry about getting to the take-off site while you're half asleep.

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Take-off Sites Vary

Hot Air Ballon, Cappadocia, Turkey
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A lot of tour companies change their take-off site on a day-to-day basis. They base the location on the day's wind direction and speed.

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How to Dress

Hot Air Balloons, Festival, Cappadocia, Turkey
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It's cooler up in the air than on the ground, so if you go during the warmer months, consider wearing layers and a light jacket. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes since you'll be on your feet for a long time.

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A Turbulent-free Ride

Hot Air Balloons, Over Cappadocia, Turkey
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If you typically get sick on airplanes, rest assured: Balloon flights are so smooth you can enjoy the flight without the discomfort of airsickness.

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A Bubbly Tradition

Hot Air Balloons, Dawn, Cappadocia, Turkey
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No matter which tour you decide to book, in line with balloon tradition, expect a Champagne toast (and maybe a slice of cake) upon landing.

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An Occasion to Remember

Hot Air Balloons, Cappadocian Badlands, Turkey
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At the end of the trip, tour companies generally hand out certificates or medallions to commemorate the event.

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Flying Into Cappadocia

Hot Air Ballon, Aerial, Cappadocia, Turkey
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The airports that serve Cappadocia are Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport (NAV) and Kayseri Erkilet Airport (ASR). Ask your Cappadocia hotel if they offer airport transfers. If not, you can reserve a shuttle through Argeus Travel and Events or Turkish Heritage Travel, or take a taxi to your accommodations.

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Alternative Route Into Cappadocia

Hot Air Balloon, Nevsehir, Central Anatolia, Cappadocia, Turkey
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You can also take a bus from Istanbul or Ankara to Nevşehir on the outskirts of Cappadocia. From Istanbul, it's a 10-hour bus ride, but for about $25 one-way, it is the cheapest option. Book your tickets through Metro Turizm.

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Where to Stay

Hot Air Balloons, Above Desert Landscape, Cappadocia, Turkey
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Cappadocia is a region composed of multiple cities and villages. The most popular destinations for tourists are Göreme, Ürgüp, and Uçhisar.

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Göreme

Hot Air Balloons, Dusk, Cappadocia, Turkey
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Most tourists go to Göreme because it's easily accessible and it's within walking distance of the Göreme Open-Air Museum. Decorated with colorful frescoes in the Byzantine style, this collection of rock-cut churches is worthy of its spot on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.

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Ürgüp

Hot Air Balloons, Hoodoos, Cappadocia, Turkey
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Similar to Göreme, many travelers also flock to Ürgüp. If you love wine, consider staying here since it's the capital of wine production in the Cappadocia region.

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Uçhisar

Hot Air Balloons, Rock Formations, Nevsehir, Cappadocia, Turkey
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At the highest point in Cappadocia, Uçhisar is another popular town for visitors. Home to Uçhisar Castle, this rock citadel offers a beautiful panoramic view of the region and Mount Erciyes.

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Stay the Night in a Cave

Hot Air Balloons, Goreme Valley, Cappadocia, Turkey
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Get the full troglodyte experience at one of Cappadocia's famous cave hotels. Consider these options: Göreme Suites, Eren Bey Cave Hotel, Aydinli Cave Hotel, Kayakapi Premium Caves, and MDC Hotel.

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Where to Take the Best Photo From the Ground

Woman, Backpacking, Goreme, Turkey, Cappadocia, Turkey
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If you're wanting to re-experience your time in the air (or hoping to get a sneak preview), head to Göreme's Sunset Point early in the morning to watch the balloons rise with the sun.

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What to Eat

Hot Air Ballons, Early Morning, Cappadocia, Turkey
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Try börek, gözleme, and böregi at Nazar Börek Cafe or mezze at Topdeck Cave Restaurant. Order pottery kebab at Old Cappadocia Cafe and Restaurant for true Anatolian fare.

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The "Land of Beautiful Horses"

Hot Air Balloons, Goreme National Park, Cappadocia, Turkey
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Cappadocia is the "Land of Beautiful Horses," so you should explore the landscape by horse as well as by hot air balloon. Outfitters offering tours by horseback include The Dalton Brothers and Cemal Ranch.

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It's Just As Beautiful Underground

Hot Air Balloons, Goreme Valley, Cappadocia Turkey
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Cappadocia is made up of underground cities, so make time to discover its unique history. Take a tour of either Derinkuyu or Kaymakli to see perfect examples of what it was like for previous residents to live underground.

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