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Hot air balloon rides in Cappadocia: Cappadocia is known worldwide for its hot air balloons. On Instagram, you may have already seen those unreal shots with more than a hundred of air balloons flying at the same time. However, this is real! Indeed, Cappadocia is the world capital of hot air ballooning.
Goreme: the capital of hot air balloons rides in Cappadocia
Located in central Turkey, Cappadocia is an unbelievable region. Hot air ballooning is its main feature, but we will see at the end of the article that there is much more than this. But first, let’s see how to get to Cappadocia. Indeed, this secluded area is not the easiest to access. After that, we will see how to book your hot air balloon tour.
Getting to Cappadocia
What transports you should take
Cappadocia is in central Turkey, which is not the best-served region in the world. You have three choices: bus, plane, or car. They all have their advantages and their drawbacks. The plane is the fastest but the most expensive, whereas the bus is the slowest but the most affordable. Choosing to rent a car could be the best option. However, you will have to plan this in advance. Check here how to rent a car in Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport.
Where to land?
Direct flights to Cappadocia do not exist. The best is to fly to the major Turkish airports, and then fly to Cappadocia. Once again, this is the most expensive option. However, if you are willing to pay for it, here is what you can do. You can fly to two airports: Kayseri Erkilet Airport (ASR), one hour from Cappadocia, and Nevsehir Kapadokya Airport (NAV), in Nevsehir Province. There are two direct flights from Istanbul to Nevsehir. They are operated by Turkish Airlines.
Book your balloon rides in Cappadocia
There are many providers offering Cappadocia hot air balloon flights. They offer many tours with different features and prices according to the seasons, inclusions, and discount campaigns. Therefore, you should compare them using a specialized search engine, such as TourScanner.
You can book hot air balloon rides with local agencies, at your hotel in Cappadocia and offline, but remember that the number of flights allowed per day is limited by law. Therefore, if you do not book in advance, it is very likely that you will not have the chance to ride a hot air balloon in Cappadocia. The price depends on the availability as well (booking earlier = cheaper). Therefore, we don’t recommend to wait the last minute to try to book a ride, cause you will end up paying a lot of money or missing the opportunity.
How much does Cappadocia hot air balloon cost?
Let’s face it, such experiences cost a lot. But keep in mind that you must pay for the gas and for the guide. This is why it is so expensive. A ride costs between $140 and $250 (€125 – €220) per person. This is for an average of 2 memorable hours in the air.
If you are willing to spend a bit more, to make the experience even more memorable, you can buy all-included services, with a balloon ride, and also others activities, such as experiencing the traditional Turkish food, walking through the vineyards and pistachio trees, hiking around Love Valley, and way more.
You can also do these activities without booking a balloon ride. Indeed, if those prices are too high for you, there are still tons of ways to enjoy Cappadocia.
Other things to do apart from the balloon rides in Cappadocia
Open Air Museums
An open-air museum is a museum that exhibits collections of buildings and artifacts out-of-doors. In Cappadocia, some buildings were dug right inside the rocks. That’s the case in the Göreme Open Air Museum. To see cave houses and see an incredible landscape, you should visit it. The same for Zelve Open Air Museum.
As we said before, Cappadocia is not served very well in public transports. To visit this vast region, you could consider renting quads. Indeed, this would able you to have a useful and pleasurable day at the same time.
Derinkuyu Underground City
There used to be an underground city in Cappadocia. It is called Derinkuyu. The latter is an ancient multi-level underground city in the Derinkuyu district in Nevşehir Province. 60 meters-deep, this city is large enough to have sheltered as many as 20,000 people together with their livestock and food stores. This is not something to do if you have claustrophobia.
Sleeping in cave hotels is also something to do. As you understood, Cappadocia is full of cave houses, which are the results of the local history. Some hotels decided to propose rooms. If you have never slept inside a rock (and it’s probably the case), it’s now or never!
Uniqueness of Cappadocia
Cappadocia is quite simply an astonishing region, unique in its kind. It presents landscapes that are both superb and unusual, the result of intense erosion that has cut and dug the plateau to make room for these cones, which rise at the bottom of the valleys, or these needles, which can reach 30 meters. These “fairy chimneys” are sometimes surmounted by a block of hard rock, slowing the phenomenon of erosion until the day when mined by rainwater, they become unable to support their natural marquee. This is what you can see in Love Valley. They are sometimes isolated, hung on the sides of a hill, or pressed against each other at the bottom of the valleys.
Geology in Cappadocia
Beyond the attraction of nature itself, men have created here works of primary importance, underground cities, cave dwellings, superb frescoes, churches, and monasteries of striking proportions. The first Christians developed their worship there, protecting themselves from persecutions in the sinuous valleys and, beyond the centuries, the religious places, for the most part, abandoned, preserve a true mystical charge. At the heart of Cappadocia, Göreme, bristling with “fairy chimneys”, all hollowed out with cavities, is the most famous village. Due to its central location, in the triangle formed by Nevşehir (12 km), Avanos (8 km), and Ürgüp (also 8 km), the village is a very good base for exploring the region. A superb open-air museum brings together several rock-hewn churches, whose originality is as much due to their construction as to those of their frescoes. The Boucle church houses the best preserved.
Arts and crafts in Cappadocia
Capital of pottery, Avanos is home to many workshops where artisans continue to maneuver the tower with their feet, technique unchanged for centuries.
You will appreciate the old Avanos with semi-troglodytic houses decorated with beautifully carved pediments, its warm and welcoming population, and the pleasant promenade on the banks of the river. Go for a walk also in the heights of the old center. built above a maze of corridors and dwellings dug into the rock. Uçhisar stands out from afar, with its tuff peak, whose walls are riddled with hundreds of cavities. Symbol of the region, this natural citadel, planted in the middle of a lunar landscape, appears like a huge castle straight out of the imagination of a surrealist architect. Inside, it is a succession of chapels, monasteries, cells, and dwellings linked together by corridors. The ravages of time have made the whole thing even more grandiose because, as it crumbles, the rock has revealed the entrails of this real troglodyte city.
Cappadocia has many underground cities, more or less vast labyrinths of rooms and corridors dug underground, in the rock. Among those who visit, Derinkuyu, which could house up to 10,000 people, would have counted more than 10 floors (85 m deep!). Kaymaklı, the largest underground city in Cappadocia, was dug between the 6th and 10th centuries. The people of Kaymaklı village still use some of their excavations as a cellar or stable.
A bit of local culture with the whirling dervishes
The Sarıhan caravanserai, 6 km from Avanos, is one of the rare places in Turkey where one can still attend a spectacle of whirling dervishes, with Sufi music, in a beautiful hall, and in good acoustic conditions. Fascinating and bewitching. At the end of the ceremony, you are offered Şerbet, sweet water scented with cinnamon and cloves.
A video to wrap up the balloon rides in Cappadocia
To end the article, I will let you watch this little video. It sums up everything I told you during the article. I hope you now want to travel here.
See you somewhere in the world!