Kapadokya is one of the most beautiful places in this world and for many years it was on my travel bucket list. My first impression of Kapadokya was that it literally looks like a different planet. The region is famous for its peculiar rock formations, valleys filled with fairy chimneys and pigeon houses, towns filled with cave hotels and of course a sunrise sky filled with hot air balloons.
When is the best time for a balloon ride in Kapadokya?
Hot air balloons run all year round, and the best time to do it depends entirely on you. I visited Kapadokya on the summer season and the balloon ride was a marvelous experience. However, during winter time the landscape looks more magical as the whole town and its valleys are covered with snow. It is important to acknowledge that hot air balloons are weather dependent and you might face a cancelation due to poor weather conditions. Therefore, is important to spend there a few nights just in case you get a cancelation.
Which is the best hot air balloon company?
Currently there are 30 balloon company’s running in Kapadokya with a variety of services and prices. I recommend booking your flight when you get there rather than online because you can get an impression of the quality of the service and a good discount if you pay in cash. Prices for the flight vary from company to company and are subject to how many people they fit in the basket and the quality of the service. Our hotel recommended the company “Butterfly Balloons” and the whole experience was incredible. The cost of the hot air balloon flight was of EUR 160 per person. The basket was for 16 people but for us to have more space they only filled it with 12.
How the hot air balloon experience started?
Trust me, when I told you before to spend a few days in Kapadokya, I was not lying. I booked my flight for my first morning in Kapadokya since I was afraid of cancelations. Well, that morning I was feeling very sick and I had to cancel my flight as I wanted to be on my best for this experience.
On the second morning I was picked up from my hotel at 4am but after a long wait all flights were cancelled due to heavy winds. You need to know that the Government is the one that regulates hot air balloon flights in Kapadokya, and if they say no one flies today then no one flies. At that point I was feeling super sad and preoccupied… what if I could not fly on the next 2 days? My thoughts at that time were that I wasted a perfectly good day just because I was feeling sick and that probably I will miss my opportunity to be on a balloon in the most magical place in this world.
On the third morning, I was picked up again at 4 am from my hotel along with other people. We arrived to the Butterfly Balloons office where we had our breakfast while waiting for the yes or no announcement. Finally, they told us that it was a good day for flying and I was the happier woman in this world! We were separated by groups and we were taken to the taking off location along with our pilot.
The hot air balloon flying experience
Watching the crew blow up the balloon was so intense, that’s when I felt that the whole thing was real! Once it was fully up, we climbed into the basket and took off. We were taken up to watch the the first lights of the morning as the sun started to rise making it a surreal experience. We flew for about one and a half hours across the different valleys going very high to get a beautiful panoramic view and also very low that it felt that we were touching the ground.
Then our pilot announced that it was time for landing and to my surprise we never landed on the floor as the area were we landed was very rocky to un-inflate the balloon. Instead we landed on top of a tow and we were towed to a cleaner area. Once the balloon was down the crew asked us to just jump all over the balloon to help un-inflate it. Then we celebrated with a glass of champagne and we got our flight diplomas!
Well the best word I have for this experience is that it was magical since the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. I know that photos rarely do justice to an experience of this kind but I hope you can enjoy as well the magnificent and unique views of the valleys and the Goreme town.