Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia
Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia Turkey
Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia Turkey: It’s not only the experience of floating above other-worldly landscapes, but the magical experience of being in the midst of dozens of other balloons greeting the morning light with you….And away we go!
It was an early morning waking up at 4:30am but the anticipation of the day’s events made it easy to jump out of bed and into warm clothing. Like so many, I had seen countless pictures of the magical hot air ballooning experience in Cappadocia, and today was my day to experience it myself. We flew in just the night before under the cover of darkness and so I had seen only shadows of the unique landscape of Cappadocia. But also glad for it so my first view of this part of Turkey would be from the air.
The hot air balloon companies provide hotel pickup in vans collecting small groups from the area. The vans for most companies meet at a central building where tea and coffee is served and some pastries. Everyone pays up and there is a “resorting” into balloon pods and off you go again in the vans to your balloon. On the return, you are brought back directly to your hotel. Easy and organized!
We climbed into the basket and stood in nervous anticipation waiting for the balloons to rise as we saw and heard the flames being jettisoned into the balloons all around us.
What a sight as the fires were stoked and the balloons rose above the rock formations.
We were up in the air when we spotted this pod of balloons waiting for takeoff.
There is a limit of 100 balloons in the air in Cappadocia, but it seemed like all 100 are up every morning
There are 2 flights each morning with some lasting 60 minutes and some 90 minutes. The first launch is at sunrise and the second launch is an hour later.
The Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon companies claim their spots in the first or second cycle but they all take off from the same general area and fly/float where the wind streams flow through the valleys.
The end effect – LOTS of balloons in the sky.
Thousands of years ago, three volcanoes on the edges of the region erupted and laid down layers of ash, lava and basalt.
As the rock below the top layer of basalt is extremely soft, it can be easily carved. Communities took advantage of this to make their home in the rock pillars and under the ground. Later in the day we were able to tour many of these places which have been homes to the regions residents for thousands of years. But for now, we were flying above it all and through the valley that earthquakes and ongoing effects of erosion have carved out from the volcanic deposits to form the valleys.
Our balloon was in the first third of balloons to rise into the air so we had great views of the other balloons taking off from the ground. I think I shot at least 300+ pictures as the landscape was just awe-inspiring and scenery that I had never seen before.
Beyond the unique landscape of valleys and unusual rock formations, Cappadocia has become known for these balloon flights through the rock formations called “fairy chimneys”.
The images of fairy chimneys never cease to amaze me. They are formed when lava covering the tuff (consolidated volcanic ash) gives away by rain and wind to become isolated pinnacles up to forty meters high.
Towards the end of the one-hour balloon ride through Cappadocia we came to Love Valley, where there are dozens of fairy chimneys in this small valley.
This was the most photogenic part of the tour as all the balloons were starting to congregate and wait for their landing crews. It felt like all 100 balloons were now dancing around us. The pilot seemed to be able to move the balloon around in a circle ever so slowly so you had a new view every few seconds without the movement being overwhelming.
Our driver masterfully maneuvered the balloon down into the valley and I was amazed at how close we came to the fairy chimneys. You can almost touch them.
So many colors in Cappadocia’s landscape, especially at sunrise.
The scale of this landscape…
See the two people standing on the cliff. The scale of it all is magnificent.
Cheers to a successful landing!
This was my second hot air balloon ride. The first one in France had a crazy skid landing in a field. A bit scary!
On this flight in Cappadocia, the master hot air balloon pilot landed our hot air balloon on his trailer (the basket is a rectangle also… so that’s some precision). His crew also took down the entire balloon whilst were were in the basket. Impressive to say the least.
To sum it up…
Go hot air ballooning in Cappadocia. An experience of a lifetime and even better when shared with someone special.
Traveler Notes and Tips
We flew with: Hot Air Balloon Cappadocia
We were lucky that our flight went off as scheduled. The balloon companies will cancel if there is too much wind for safety precautions, so allow yourself a few days for weather related cancellations in order to reschedule your balloon ride.
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