Riding Hot Air Balloon Over Cappadocia, Is It Worth the Money?

Cappadocia was one of the main reasons I came to Turkey. I wanted to see its fairy chimneys, weirdly shaped rocks, and multi colored cliffs that look like something out of a Tim Burton’s movie. Going on a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia is one of the best ways to do that.

A hot air balloon ride is like the thing to do in Cappadocia. It’s what most people in Cappadocia came to do, but it’s not cheap and I wondered it was going to be worth it.

Arriving in Goreme on a night bus from Pamukkale, I could see tiny dots in the sky – those are the hot air balloons that rise every morning over Goreme. Despite my lack of sleep (Oh how I miss Peru’s Cruz del Sur night bus) I started to get really excited about finally seeing the place that’s been on my bucket list for a long time. I knew then that if I didn’t go on a hot air balloon I was going to regret it.

Goreme, the main town in Cappadocia, itself is not much to see. Having been overtaken by budget accommodations and tour agencies, (and stray cats) it nevertheless makes for a convenient base to see the region and to book your tours, including the hot air balloon tour.

The next day, a van from Voyager Ballons picked me up at 5 am from the hostel and drove me to the launching area where the balloons were getting primed. Even while still on the ground, it was quite a sight. The balloons were humongous.

Prepping the hot air balloon
Prepping the hot air balloon

Soon enough our hot air balloon lifted off and immediately I was BLOWN AWAY by the sight. Dozens of colorful hot air balloons rising to the sky with Cappadocia’s canyons and valleys below.

so many balloons
So many balloons!

Is Hot air balloon in Cappadocia worth it?

View of Cappadocia from a hot air balloon

The basket gently rotates as we float over the landscape I’ve dreamed of seeing for so long. It feels so surreal.

The best way to see Cappadocia is truly from the air. Despite my earlier reservations I have to say that going on a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia is worth the hype.

It’s stunning. I can’t imagine a landscape more perfect to be viewed from a hot air balloon like Cappadocia.

Some tips on choosing your hot air balloon provider:

When choosing your hot air balloon provider, it’s truly the case that you get what you pay for. I went with Voyager Balloons and was really happy with it. The owner, Halis Aydogan, happened to be the pilot of my balloon so we chatted for a bit. He told me that these are the qualities that you seek from your hot air balloon provider.
Longer air time. More expensive hot air balloon provider means longer time in the air.
Experienced pilots. Different air layers move in different directions. A hot air balloon pilot needs to skillfully adjust the height of the ballon to take advantage of these air layers (that’s how they control the left and right direction), having an experienced pilot means more control of where the balloon goes.
More launch areas. High quality hot air balloon providers rent more launching areas surrounding Goreme so that regardless of where the wind blows they guarantee that the balloon will fly over the best parts of Cappadocia. Unlike that one group that saw nothing but pumpkin fields on their trip.
Find out the name of your hot air balloon company and research them. Many backpackers end up booking their hot air balloon tours from their hostels, often without knowing the name of the providers. I thought this was surprising. Maybe I’m anal but I like to research company that I put my life into beforehand. Even though hot air balloons are very safe, accidents do happen. The last one happened in May 2013.

Would you go on a hot air balloon in Cappadocia?

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29 Replies to “Riding Hot Air Balloon Over Cappadocia, Is It Worth the Money?”

  1. good article..
    I was wondering if you can tell me the bus company you ttraveling to Goreme on a night bus from Pamukkale

    1. I’m sorry but I don’t remember. I’d recommend checking with the bus drivers/ticket counters as soon as you arrive in Pamukkale.

  2. We were actually just in Goreme last week and rode in a hot air balloon – like you, we knew if we didn't we'd regret it (price tag aside). Our experience was completely jaw dropping, from the air is the BEST way to see Capadocia. Your photos are wonderful, looks like you had a great day! Can't wait to read all about your time in Pamukkale as we are headed there in about a week!
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  3. What a stunning, colorful and unique sight! Cappadocia is one of my most favorite places in the word. I've seen pictures before and I always dreamed of experiencing it.

  4. Hi Jill, Cappadocia is one of my most favorite places in the word. I was there about 14 years ago. Back then there were no hot air balloon yet. I'm dying to go back and to see the fairy chimneys from the hot air balloon. Your photos are stunning and inspiring me to go back soon. Thanks for the tips about the hot air balloon provider.
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  5. May I ask a few questions? Opps there was one already…

    What was the name of the hostel you stayed in and would you recommend it? Were those photos taken with your iphone (they are amazing)? I was going to ask about cost but saw some listed in the comments.

    I am new to your blog and love your posts. Like to hear the details, helps with budgeting planning for my travels.

    Thank you! Can't wait to read about the hiking trip.

    1. Hi Stephanie,I stayed in Dorm Caves by Travellers – it was… ok. For me it was acceptable but everybody's standard is different, yes? There are so many hostels/pensions in Goreme though that you can easily shop around and compare. Let me tell you one thing though, staying in a cave is overrated 🙂 I so much prefer a room with lots of windows and natural light, hehe… Some of those photos are taken from my iphone 4s. For a phone, the iphone does a pretty good job.Yes, cost of the hot air balloon vary. I'd recommend searching for reputable ones (like I mentioned I went with Voyager and was very happy with it). You can try going through travel agencies when you get there (so many of them, but if you want to sort it out beforehand from home, try New Goreme Tour. Although usually you can get a better deal face to face). These agencies might be able to work out some sort of a package for you (balloon + tours, etc), if you've done your research beforehand on hot air balloon companies and their prices, you can get a better idea if the package actually saves you money or not. I had a really good time in Turkey. Hope you will too. If you have other questions, you contact me through email as well. Cheers!

  6. Even though I never took a hot air balloon ride in Turkey, I did love watching the balloons in the morning as they came up over the valley. Gorgeous. Glad you enjoyed it!
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  7. This looks SO AMAZING! Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime, out-of-this-world experience! I'd really love to do this when we reach Turkey, but I was looking at prices and saw that it can cost as much as 250euros per person which is SO expensive. I guess we'll have to wait and see how our travel fund is doing when we arrive and make the decision then; I agree that seeing Cappadocia by air would probably be the best, but being on the land getting to look up at all those hot air balloons probably isn't too shabby either!
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    1. The 250 euros if you go super dance. Most are in 110 – 150 euros range and you can get as low as 85 if you look hard.Still pricey but I justified it by thinking that realistically ill never go back to Turkey again so since this was what I came to Turkey for I should do it. Having said that, on the same day after hot air ballooning I went hiking and it was pretty awesome as well (next weeks post).

    2. From these pictures, i think the scenes are most appealing BECAUSE of the air balloons. If i decide to go it will be for the experience of being up in the air balloon itself. I don't see anything in these pictures that justify that cost though, especially after that accident last year.

      The post below says the scenery was enjoyable even from the ground, so i guess it might not be worth it after all.

  8. Such a beautiful sight! The hubby and I were married in a hot air balloon, well the basket anyway. We got grounded for bad weather on our wedding day. That was 11 years ago and can you believe we still haven’t had a hot air balloon ride together?

  9. I'm so glad that the hot air balloon ride lived up to the hype. As I started reading this post, I was getting kind of worried that you didn't have an enjoyable experience. It's very surprising that people don't research their hot air balloon providers – crazy, actually. We didn't take a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia mainly because of the cost, but also because I'm a bit of a chicken.
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