Ballooning in Cappadocia
Updated: May 31
What do the tourist brochures not tell you? Tips to get the best out of your balloon flight in Cappadocia, Turkey.
So what are traps to avoid when taking that bucket list balloon flight in Cappadocia? Firstly, it's Instagrammer's heaven; secondly, it's Instagrammer's heaven, so don't expect the reality to live up to the hype. So here is what we learned from our experience.
This is overtourism working at its finest, with just over 160 balloons flying each day with an average capacity of 20 people, that's 3,000+ people per day.
So our tips to make the most out of your ballooning experience in Cappadocia.
Flexibility is key, be prepared that balloon flights are subject to the weather, so out of our two-week stay in Cappadocia, there were only three days where ballooning could occur.
The cheapest will be the worst; it's a simple factor; a balloon holding 20+ people will mean you won't be standing in a spot in the balloon that is not behind another person.
It's a sunk cost just getting to Cappadocia, so don't skimp on the balloon; anything over an eight-person balloon will mean you run the risk of experiencing a balloon flight looking at the back of someone's head.
We got talked out of an eight-person flight and got a twelve-person flight. This means three people in a one square metre area. Unfortunately, we had an overweight man who took up half of that space, so I got to chat to the pilot (with no view) for the flight while having a heavily overweight man's body pressed against me.
Safety is highly lacking, be prepared for the world's shortest safety briefing, which means that most people were not in the correct landing position. One gust of wind would have been some broken bones for several people.
People walk around the balloons, guide ropes, and vans rushing around to ferry guests to drop points, while people walk around without understanding the risks involved.
We even had one 'influencer' ask the pilot to set the balloon down to take some photos during mid-flight. Yes, we are serious, whilst we were flying at 1,000 feet!
Now don't get me wrong. Ballooning in Cappadocia is a bucket list activity; go in with your eyes open; anything over eight people in a balloon, and you'll be disappointed; spend the extra euros and get a truly magical experience (we paid €120 each). Even better, take the personal balloon that hosts two people. You will be guaranteed the flight you were hoping for.
The smaller balloons can go right down into the canyon, allowing you to touch the rock formations, put your camera away for a while and be in the moment, enjoy the sensory overload and wonder of mother nature. It truly is a magnificent landscape.
The post-flight balloon experience is a non-event. Be very careful to find out what it means. The one parent company owns most balloon companies based on the certificates handed out, and the champagne breakfast is a cheap bottle of non-alcoholic grape juice.
Kudos to our pilot from Anatolian Balloons; he was incredible and provided the best experience possible; he was very experienced and could even land the balloon on the trailer.
To the couple that selected the balloon flight for two, Sally and I envy you; next time, that will be our choice!
You will create new travel memories with the above tips, and Cappadocia will be a highlight. It is the most magical town.
Be sure to rise early at sunrise to capture the essence of ballooning over Cappadocia. This was indeed an experience watching 100 balloons floating through the town. We stayed at Sato Cave Hotel, which has a wonderful rooftop terrace to enjoy the views.
Date - 22 Nov 2021