Cappadocia became a really popular travel destination in the recent years.
Why people love it, and have it on their bucket list? The answer is easy, because it is really like a miracle place, and once you arrive there, you would have the feeling that you are in a fairytale.
Obviously the hot air balloons are already making the place wonderful, but not only those. The rock formations, the beautiful valleys the cave houses, and also the atmosphere itself, all these together really make you feel like dreaming. I had the feeling that this combination was unrealistically perfect and I just felt that I was in a different world. :)
The easiest and cheapest way to go to Cappadocia is flying to Istanbul first, and then
changing to a domestic flight to Kayseri. When booking your accommodation, make sure that you discuss the airport pickup with them, because that is the best way to get to Göreme, to the heart of Cappadocia, from the airport. They normally send microbuses, and they wait for you at the airport. They fill the buses with tourists from different hotels, and they drop off everybody at their hotels one after the other. The pickup is very well organized. The bus ride from the airport to Göreme takes a bit more than an hour. And in some cases your flight arrives after midnight, so you can get to the accommodation at around 3-4 am.
If you only have a few days in Cappadocia, it doesn’t matter at what time you go to bed, just make sure that you get up very early in the morning and go to the viewpoint in Göreme at around 6 am.
Not kidding, if you have traveled so far to this dream destination, then you don’t want to miss any of the beautiful sunrises with hundreds of flying hot air balloons. And you never know on which days the magic is actually happening, because it can easily happen that the air navigation authority prohibits the hot air balloon take-offs overnight if the weather becomes windy or rainy.
You need to book the balloon flights, the latest 3-4 days before but rather more than a week in advance. The sooner the better, so in general I would recommend booking a few months in advance. But of course in this case you have no idea about the weather forecast. So both ways have pros and cons.
It is advisable to make the booking for your first morning in Cappadocia because you never know how the weather conditions are gonna be. You really have to be lucky with the weather - so that hot air balloon flights are allowed on your day, plus the clouds are not blocking the sunrise...
If you are not lucky on the day of your reservation (which happened to us, unfortunately), then it depends on the company if they can give you a spot the next days. If not, you can still try to find a spot with other companies, but if you are trying to book a balloon tour for the next day, the spots are most probably gonna be sold out, OR the prices will be extremely high.
The prices in general are quite expensive.
You have different offers and types of tours:
Standard hot air balloon flight: Where about 20-24 people are squeezed together in a balloon, which means that maybe not everybody will have a nice view from the side of the basket, and you won’t have any private sphere for sure. But if you are fine with it for an hour, then definitely this is the easiest way to have this unique experience. The prices for these standard flights normally start at around 100 Euros, if you are lucky, and you book for the low season quite in advance, then you can also get a spot for 70 Euro as well.
Comfort hot air balloon flight: Here you have a bit fewer people, around 15-20 (differs from company to company). Here hopefully everybody can stand at the handrail, so you can enjoy the stunning view, but you still won’t have much private space. The prices start at around 150 Euros for a Comfort flight, but of course, if you don’t book a lot in advance, just a couple of days then they can easily go up to 250 Euros.
Deluxe hot air balloon flight: Fewer people, longer flight time (Again, really depends on the company.) - But the prices for a Deluxe flight would be around 400 Euros/ person.
Private hot air balloon flight: The prices for a private flight are insane. If you are “super lucky” then you might get an offer starting at 2500 Euros/ balloon, but the limit is really the sky. So you can also pay 3-5 thousand euros for a private flight.
Obviously it is once in a lifetime experience, some people would pay for it. But if you think about it, you realize that from this money you can make a 2-3 week road trip anywhere.
So anyhow you decide in the end, and regardless of how lucky you are with the weather on the big day, make sure that you bring the most out of your Cappadocia holiday, and wake up very early each morning you are staying there. You won’t regret it.
Going to the viewpoints and admiring the hot air balloon show from there in the sunrise is a priceless experience, and the good news is that it is for free!
There are 2 viewpoints from where you have the best views over the landscape and the hot air balloons. The air navigation authority decides based on weather and wind conditions, where the hot air balloons can take off in the morning (if the flights are not canceled).
The first viewpoint the „Sunset Viewpoint”:
It is on the small hill above Göreme, here you can easily walk up in a few minutes (depending on the location of your hotel - but if you stay at one of the cave hotels in Göreme, it is really only a few minutes).
The other very nice spot is the Love Valley.
To get there, it is recommended to rent a car (which will be needed anyway if you want to do day trips from Göreme). At the car rental, they say that you can’t go to the very bumpy dirt road of Love Valley, but you can park the car on the side of the road at the intersection, before turning to the road of Love Valley.
Other optional places for the sunrise are Rose Valley, and Red Valley!
Make sure that you arrive a little bit before 6 am to any of the above viewpoints, so you can see the take-off part before the sunrise when the fires from the hot air balloons are lightning up the sky.
An average balloon flight takes 1-1,5 hours, but not all the balloons are taking off at the same time, so the whole morning “ceremony” lasts between 6 am and 9 am. But the best part is definitely the early-hours. Make sure to have enough storage space on your camera for the hundreds, maybe thousands of spectacular photos (per day… :) )!
The view from both of the spots are really breathtaking!
I recommend you take a blanket with you, and sit on the edge of one of the cliffs, and admire for a bit the whole scenery. It is really an unforgettable experience.
I wish you will also have the chance to visit this magical place. But until then enjoy reading my blog posts.
My posts about the day trips from Göreme & about the Turkish Riviera are coming soon, so stay tuned!
Have a nice day!