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From My Bucket List: Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

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Frommers, Travel and Leisure, CNN and many others list Cappadocia, Turkey as one of the ten best hot air balloon ride locations in the world.

Cappadocia is incredible. Flying over its landscape is even more incredible.

AND, I did it! One item from my bucket list is checked with glory.

This is really the time to say: No words can describe what you see and feel when you glide over a beautiful and a unique landscape just when the sun is rising while you are surrounded by tens of other hot air balloons. The only noise you are hearing are the birds and the hissing of the hot air balloons. If you’ve never been on a hot air balloon before, I can’t recommend it enough. I know of companies in California that offer them that might be worth looking at if a balloon ride is something that interests you.

The day of my ride, in the dark, I walk to the Butterfly Balloons company’s van right at the entrance of the MDC Cave Hotel. The only time you can take a balloon ride is very early in the morning, so you need to wake up around 4 am. Everyone in the van is sleepy, but excited. We all have jackets even it is a beautiful morning in May. The van takes us to the company headquarters where a simple breakfast is awaiting us. I eat a slice of watermelon, a muffin and a cup of Turkish tea.

Then they divide us in groups and takes us to the vans again. We follow the trucks carrying the baskets for our hot air balloons. It feels like we are chasing the time to ensure we get off before the sunrise. But, where are the balloons? We drive about 30 minutes in the wee hours of the morning. We can now distinguish some landscapes, the dawn is near. We arrive at a high plateau where tens of hot air balloons with different designs and brilliant colors are being inflated. Red hot flames look beautiful in the dawn. We feel tiny next to these giant balloons. We meet our captain and he gives us instructions. Within ten minutes, we are off.

Hot Air Balloons getting inflatedHot Air Balloons getting inflated before take off, Cappadocia

hot air balloon getting ready to take off, cappadocia

Ready to take off

I am stopping my writing here and just showing you some of the pictures of what I have seen. You need to experience it yourself to understand the magnitude of this experience.

All I can write is the ending of my 60 minutes of blissful ride:
Our van and the truck for the balloon follow us during our flight. We can see them doing the chase on the ground, like the storm chasers. We land softly and safely right next to our van. I am usually scared of heights, but somehow this is not at all scary. The feeling of the slight breeze, the captain’s confidence in handling the balloon, and the beauty of the landscape takes your mind off the “height”.

And we celebrate our landing with champagne and strawberries at 7 in the morning in a field in the middle of nowhere. And now, I need to get back to the hotel for a great Turkish breakfast before starting another beautiful sightseeing day.

Here are the pictures. ENJOY!

IMG_2764Hot air balloons ready to take off (behind us)



IMG_2792Rock formations and carved churches and pigeon holes – Rose Valley, Cappadocia



IMG_2779Rose Valley and Fairy Chimneys – Cappadocia

IMG_2814Fairy Chimneys at Cappadocia

IMG_2773Houses and churches carved into the rocks, Uchisar, Cappadocia

IMG_2826Tens of hot air balloons over fairy chimneys- Cappadocia

IMG_2844Champagne Toast after the Hot Air Balloon Ride


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