The most popular thing to do in Cappadocia is take a Cappadocia hot air balloon. It’s not a cheap activity therefore it’s important you prepare well for your Cappadocia hot air balloon ride. Included in your package is a free pick up and drop off from any Goreme hotel.
Book in Advance
Some tourists visit Cappadocia and all the tours are full, as a result, they are very disappointed. For this reason I strongly recommend you book the tour online in advance.
Hotel Pick Up
The majority of the Cappadocia hot air balloon rides take place at sunrise. This means you should have an early night and not drink much alcohol the night before. A hangover would have a negative affect on your once in a lifetime experience. Set your alarm, be fresh and ready for the complimentary hotel pick up. Even though Turkey is a hot country, it can be chilly early morning especially winter time. Check the weather forecast and if it’s chilly take a jacket.
Light Breakfast and Tea / Coffee
When you’re picked up from your hotel, you’re then taken to a waiting room. Not only are pick ups being made to your hotel but to several hotels around Goreme. There are a few snacks in here to enjoy as well as tea and coffee. Don’t expect a huge breakfast buffet! Additionally, go easy on the tea and coffee as there are no toilet facilities in the Cappadocia hot air balloon. This is the last place you can go to the bathroom before leaving for your ride.
Arriving at the Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon
You will take a second minivan to the Cappadocia hot air balloon take off area. At this point, you will already be with the group which will be in your balloon. In fact, you’ll all be identified by a colored sticker, I was in the pink sticker group. It’s a short ride to the hot air balloon take off area, less than 10 minutes. When you arrive, the burners will be firing into the balloons and they’ll almost be ready to load you into the wicker basket. This is a good moment to take the first few photos.
How to get the best place on the Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon
You’re going to be in the wicker basket for at least an hour and you cannot move about. For this reason you must be in the best space. You’d think that being first into the wicker basket is the best option, but this is not the case. There are 4 compartments which are loaded from the 2 narrow sides of the wicker basket. This means, if you get in first you’ll be next to the burner and have only 1 viewing side. However, if you wait until last, you’ll be at the corner of the basket, as a result you can enjoy a view over 2 sides. You cannot get on first and wait by the corner for 2 reasons, firstly, there’s not enough space for others to pass you. Secondly, the guide will franticly tell you to move as he has a schedule to keep. Having a view of 2 sides is especially beneficial to photographers because you can see much more from this basket location.
Land on a Trailer in the Middle of a Field
You’ve completed your hour long flight over the beautiful landscapes of Cappadocia as well as the town of Goreme. It’s now time to land so the excitement is over right? Wrong, you still have to land onto a trailer connected to a pickup. I would image if you don’t like flying that this will be the worst part of the your journey. However, these guys do this everyday so have mastered the art of landing a Cappadocia hot air balloon onto a pickup. Once landed you will take a complimentary minivan back to your hotel.
Enjoy your Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Experience
Make sure you book online in advance to guarantee your space on a hot air balloon. Equally important, don’t drink too much the night before and don’t drink too much coffee immediately before taking the ride. Be patient when they load the wicker basket, as last on means you get the corner as well as the best views. After I took my ride, I went back to the Divan Cave House hotel and enjoyed my buffet breakfast from the rooftop terrace. In fact I was able to photograph a few Cappadocia hot air balloons which were enjoying extended flights.
Read about my experience at the deepest Cappadocia Underground City on my travel blog.