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11 Things to Know BEFORE Your Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon

11 Things to Know BEFORE Your Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

A detailed travel guide to the Cappadocia hot air balloon experience in Turkey. Includes 11 things to know BEFORE you book your Cappadocia balloon!

It goes without saying, a Cappadocia hot air balloon ride is one of the most sought-after travel experiences you can have in Türkiye!

Imagine picture-perfect panoramic views as you float across one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes. Look down and admire ancient cave dwellings, fairy chimneys, and unique rock formations scattering the volcanic landscape. Look up, and you’ll likely spot 100 other hot air balloons painting the sky with color!

Whether you’re surprising your significant other with a once-in-a-lifetime experience, or simply trying to tick off that long-lasting bucket list item for yourself, you’ll want to read this travel guide where I cover tips, costs, how to book, and what to expect.

What You Need to Know About The Cappadocia Balloon Experience

After going hot air ballooning in Cairns, Australia, and again in Luxor, Egypt, I thought the process was pretty straightforward.

However, if you've spent a bit of time traveling through Turkey, you'll likely realize that things don't operate the same as in your home country. While things in Turkey can be a little difficult to organize, this is only compounded ten-fold by the fact that the sunrise Cappadocia balloons are the most famous and popular travel experience in the country!

That's why, after dealing with all of the hassles myself, I've outlined 11 essential things you need to know BEFORE booking your Cappadocia hot air balloon ride!

Sunrise balloon flight in cappadocia

Remember to Book Your Balloon in Advance!

Don't be one of the tourists paying up to €950 for a black market ticket because they left it too late

Book a balloon with the top hot air balloon company in Cappadocia below– securing the experience in advance & at a cheaper rate than the tour shops in Göreme or Istanbul.

1. Hot Air Balloons in Cappadocia Sell Out Every Day

By far, the most important thing you need to know is that you CAN NOT leave securing your balloon to the last minute. I'd recommend booking at least 1-2 weeks in advance, as a bare minimum.

While there are 100s of hot-air balloons lifting off from Cappadocia daily, people fly here from all over the world to have this experience. And, when flights get canceled due to bad weather, balloon tour companies scramble to reschedule their clients' flights for the following day.

As you can imagine, this issue can cascade, especially if cancellations occur over many consecutive days.

Luckily, it's possible to avoid the chaos of bartering with touts in Cappadocia or Istanbul by booking your balloon online well in advance. I highly recommend booking your balloon tour with Get Your Guide on the first morning to avoid any potential issues in the event of cancelation!

Update: This booking platform also has the best prices you'll find online.

Powered by GetYourGuide

2. Cappadocia Balloons Can be Cancelled

Yes, I've mentioned this already. However, being aware of cancellations is probably the most important thing to know when planning the unforgettable experience of a Cappadocia hot air balloon ride.

Unlike commercial airlines, hot air balloons are a very primitive form of aviation. In the event of bad weather, i.e. strong winds or a particularly warm morning, balloons will not fly. That's because even experienced pilots with years of expertise cannot control the flight path in unpredictable winds. And the hot air inside the balloons won't lift the balloon basket if the ambient temperature is warmer.

When this happens, your tour operator will likely try to squeeze you onto a flight for the next day.

I've heard of travelers losing their money after booking Cappadocia balloon tours with a dodgy travel agent, so it's a good idea to ensure you book with a reputable source like GetYourGuide who organizes the flight with Royal Balloons, Discover Balloons, and Voyager Balloons.

These tours also include hotel pickup and a light breakfast, so you'll likely be informed of cancellations well in advance.

Unfortunately, there's usually no way to tell whether balloons will fly or not until the early morning. While you can gauge wind speeds on weather forecast apps, it's this official government website that will indicate whether it is safe to fly, and the Turkish Civil Aviation Authority bases the call off this information. As you can see, there are either red flags or green flags, indicating whether or not hot air balloon pilots can launch in each area of Cappadocia.

Cappadocia balloon ride, turkey

3. You'll Want to Stay at Least a Few Days in Cappadocia

Look, my goal isn't to stress you out or change your travel itinerary.

But, I want to be honest. It's a good idea to spend at least a few days in Cappadocia. This is not just so that you can ensure you'll get a clear weather window for a hot air balloon ride, but also because there is so much to see and do in this beautiful region.

Also, be prepared for a change of plans. The last thing you want is a rigid itinerary since you'll only find out about cancelations in the early morning of your flight.

I would recommend that everybody spends at least 2-3 days in Cappadocia. This will result in enough time for a hot air balloon experience, see the balloons from the ground (more info below), and explore other highlights like the Göreme Open Air Museum, Uçhisar Castle, and the Derinkuyu Underground City.

Hot air balloons from the ground
Viewing the Balloons from the Valley

4. The Cost of Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia Changes All the Time

Unfortunately, Turkey is undergoing an urgent inflation crisis. This means the Turkish Lira is losing value against foreign currencies like US Dollars and Euros– and fast!

The result is that the prices for hot air balloon rides change almost every week. The most reputable balloon companies have now started offering their flights in USD and EURO for stability.

Furthermore, prices also change based on the season. This year, I was told that the price would change from $175 USD to $250 USD during the week I was in Cappadocia due to us entering a busier season.

Luckily, the Turkish Government has started cracking down on balloon tour operators in Cappadocia to avoid any serious price fixing. They've also made it nearly impossible to register for a new balloon license in the region, ensuring that all hot air balloon companies have years of experience.

Blue balloon in cappadocia

5. There is a "Black Market" For Hot Air Balloon Tickets

The combination of ticket scarcity and thousands of tourists leaving their booking to the last minute has resulted in a huge black market for balloon tickets.

While the tourism industry is trying to combat this, the sad truth is that many people buy up tickets, knowing they will sell out, and try to flip onto tourists 2-5 times as much as they paid for them.

Of course, since this is such a unique and once-in-a-lifetime experience, a large percentage of travelers are willing to fork out close to $1000 for a last-minute ticket.

I recommend avoiding this like the plague, as scams are rampant, especially on online forums like Facebook.

Hot air balloon launch site in cappadocia

6. Balloon Flight Times Are at Least One Hour in Duration

Another thing to note is that this incredible experience lasts for an entire hour– at a minimum! Not all tour companies plan the same flight path. Most of the cheaper basic hot air balloon tours usually float up to the highest point of around 3,000 feet (915 meters), then descend over one of the many Cappadocia valleys.

However, if you're looking to extend the flight time and get a unique experience, it's also possible to book a Royal King Flight with Royal Balloon. This is a longer-duration flight of around 75 minutes and also includes a luxury shuttle transfer and an all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast.

Sunrise balloon flight in cappadocia

7. Flight Paths Change Depending on Wind Direction

Next, it's good to know that flight paths are also heavily dependent on wind direction and speed. While this isn't something you really need to worry about as a balloon basket passenger, you should be aware of the launch site if you want to head there to take photos.

The main flight paths in Cappadocia are over its beautiful valleys, including Rose Valley, Red Valley, and Love Valley. This is great as you'll get a very unique view of the Cappadocia fairy chimneys, volcanic rock formations, and cave dwellings.

Balloons also fly over Göreme town and Uçhisar– the two most popular tourist towns in Cappadocia.

8. Over 100 Balloons Fly in Cappadocia Every Morning

If you even google the term "hot air balloon", the majority of articles and images that pop up will be from Cappadocia. That's because this region is the world's most famous ballooning destination and host of the annual Hot Air Balloon Festival.

As you can expect, the main roads and dirt streets are chaotic in the early mornings with wedding photographers, ground crew, and tourists all trying to get out to the launch sites, where over 100 hot air balloons depart every day.

From the sky, sharing the golden hour with 99 other hot air balloons as you float over the Mars-like landscape of Cappadocia is a truly magical experience and a reason why this region is so popular with tourists from all over the world.

9. Hot Air Balloon Tours Fly in Summer & Winter

Cappadocia balloons fly year-round, from its hot and dry summer months to the icy, snowy winter months.

The best time to visit Cappadocia for a hot air balloon flight is generally between March and June or September and November. This is considered the shoulder season and usually results in calm weather with few balloon cancellations.

The peak season for travel in Turkey is June to August. During this time, crowds are very common, and getting a ticket can be tricky if you don't book in advance.

During the winter months (November to February), the weather in Cappadocia is bitterly cold. However, this could be one of the most beautiful times to fly balloons since the landscape is often covered in a blanket of snow! Additionally, fewer tourists visit during these months, so getting on a balloon is easier and likely cheaper.

10. Flying in a Hot Air Balloon is Very Safe in Turkey

If this is the first time you're considering a hot air balloon ride, let me convince you that it is absolutely not as scary as it seems.

Unlike commercial airline flights, helicopters, or scenic flights, hot air balloons are very calming. I know that sounds weird considering you'll be hovering three thousand feet above the ground. However, since balloons float with the atmosphere, they are not propelled against any forces, resulting in a strangle calm feeling of anti-gravity.

Furthermore, flying in a balloon basket is actually the safest form of aviation. The Turkish Civil Aviation Authority also keeps a close eye on balloon activity to ensure safety.

To put it frankly, you're actually much more likely to be injured in the shuttle bus to the launch site than in a Cappadocia balloon ride!

Hot air balloons in turkey

11. There Are Many Hot Air Balloon Viewpoints From The Ground

Want to witness the amazing scene of a hundred floating balloons over Cappadocia's valleys? I highly recommend heading over to one of the many viewpoints around Göreme and Uçhisar to see the balloons from the ground as well.

I spent every morning in Cappadocia visiting different balloon vantage points. My favorites are:

  • Love Valley - a magical landscape with 100-feet tall phallic rock formations
  • Pigeon Valley - one of the most beautiful valleys in Cappadocia famous for its pigeon houses
  • Top of Uçhisar Castle - the highest point in the region and a great spot to view the sunrise balloons
  • Lover's Hill - an awesome sunset and sunrise viewpoint at the top of Göreme town

I recommend asking your hotel, hot air balloon company, or a local where they think the flight path will be before heading to any particular viewpoint as this will change day to day.

Where to Stay in Cappadocia

Cappadocia is a large region with plenty of accommodation options spread across the area. However, the best area to stay is around the town of Göreme. This village is close to the sunrise balloons and the majority of attractions.

If you're up for a unique and one-of-a-kind experience, I highly recommend staying in one of these incredible Cappadocia cave hotels. Below are the top three hotel picks for various budgets.

Kayakapi premium caves indoor pool

1. Kayakapi Premium Caves Cappadocia Luxury

Easily one of the top-rated cave hotels in Cappadocia– especially if you want an amazing hot air balloon view. Features beautiful cave rooms (some with a private pool). There's an onsite spa, a large outdoor swimming pool, and a free shuttle bus to the city daily.

Artemis cave suites outdoor night view

2. Artemis Cave Suites & Spa Mid-Range

Conveniently located in Göreme and close to all the main attractions, this cave hotel and spa offers beautiful terrace views over the city and sunrise balloons. The Open Air Museum is just 1 km from the hotel and there are Turkish Bath services at the onsite spa.

Divan cave house morning view with hot air balloons

3. Divan Cave House Budget

A more budget-friendly cave hotel run by a local family. Magnificent terrace views and a small Turkish restaurant on site. Additionally, guests get access to the hot tub and bike hire to explore the city and surrounding area.

My Experience Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia

Now that you know exactly what you need to know before flying in a Cappadocia balloon, let me break down what it'll actually be like based on my experience!

Infographic for cappadocia balloons

The Balloon Launch Site

Prepare for an early start! Your driver will pick you up from your hotel well before sunrise and take you to the launch site. Here, you'll likely be treated to a light breakfast while the ground crew prepares your balloon.

Photographers will likely skip breakfast and take the opportunity to photograph the firing up of hundreds of balloons across the landscape instead. In my opinion, this is one of the most beautiful sights and very unique to Cappadocia due to the sheer volume of balloons.

Cappadocia balloons launch site in turkey
Cappadocia balloons launch site in turkey


Almost as soon as the balloon lifted off the ground, we boarded the basket along with the 10-20 other tourists sharing the ride. Yes, it can get a little tight inside the balloon basket, but you'll likely forget about all of that as soon as you float off the ground.

On standard flights, your balloon pilot usually likes to head straight up to the highest point, especially if you've booked a 1-hour hot air balloon ride.

This is a great opportunity to take some magical photos of the balloons inflating at ground level.

Sunrise hot air balloon flight in turkey
Balloon at its highest point, cappadocia, turkey

Floating over the valleys of Cappadocia

Floating over Cappadocia in a hot air balloon is by far one of the best ways to witness this amazing landscape.

Whichever path your pilot takes on the day, you'll witness towering stone pillars called fairy chimneys, unique cave dwellings, and magical volcanic patterns painted by mother nature through years of erosion.

Below are some photos that I captured of the landscapes during sunrise.

Cappadocia balloons, turkey
Hot air balloon ride in cappadocia, turkey
Hot air balloons, turkey

Landing and a Champagne Toast

Landing in a hot air balloon is usually very calm. However, your pilot and ground staff will teach you how to assume the landing position in the event of a small bump.

Usually, a touchdown is just as relaxing as taking off, but on some rare occasions, you can have hard landings.

Either way, after this magical experience you'll be glad that you've ticked off one of the world's most frequent bucket-list items. To celebrate, your balloon company will treat you with a glass of champagne and a commemorative flight certificate.

Cappadocia hot air balloon tour, turkey
Cappadocia balloon
Cappadocia hot air balloons


What is the best time of year to go on a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia?

The best time to experience a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia is between April and November when the weather is most favorable. However, balloons fly year-round, weather permitting, offering unique experiences in every season.

How far in advance should I book my hot air balloon ride?

It's recommended to book your ride at least 2-4 weeks in advance, especially during peak season (April to November), to secure a spot and avoid higher prices or sell-outs.

What happens if my balloon ride is canceled due to bad weather?

If your ride is canceled due to weather conditions, most operators will offer to reschedule for the next available slot or provide a full refund. It's important to book with reputable companies for the best customer service in these situations.

How long does the hot air balloon ride last?

The typical hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia lasts about 1 hour in the air. Including preparation and post-flight celebrations, the entire experience takes about 3 hours.

Is there an age or weight limit?

Most balloon companies have a minimum age requirement of 6 years and may have weight limits for safety reasons. It's essential to check with your specific operator for their policies.

What should I wear for the hot air balloon ride?

Dress in comfortable, layered clothing. In my experience, the early mornings can be cool, but it definitely gets warmer as the sun rises and the fire warms you up! Closed shoes, a hat, and sunglasses are also recommended.

How high do the balloons fly?

Balloons can fly at varying altitudes, usually between 500 and 1000 meters (approximately 1600-3300 feet) above the ground, depending on wind conditions and the pilot's discretion.

Are hot air balloon rides in Cappadocia safe?

Yes, hot air ballooning is considered a safe activity, with strict regulations and experienced pilots to ensure passenger safety. Cappadocia is renowned for its ballooning safety record but as with any experience, it's still a good idea to get travel insurance.

I sincerely hope that my advice and photographs have inspired you to book a Cappadocia hot air balloon tour for yourself– I guarantee that you will not regret it!

Check out the list of articles below for more Turkey and Cappadocia travel experiences after your balloon ride!

Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.