I saw the photo from Cappadocia on Instagram. What the f… I’ve never seen it before. I never heard about this. How can that be? How amazing does this look like. I wanted to do it? One more added to the bucket list.
That is how it started. How I’ve got the inspiration to go to the middle of Turkey to fly in a hot air balloon. I’ve actually wanted to fly hot air balloon for many years but besides Australia I’ve never really found the perfect site. Cappadocia seemed like that perfect site – and it was.
Flying in from Istanbul just little over an hour to Nevşehir at a cost of around 30 Euro with Turkish Airlines – that seems very reasonable – Cappadocia is easy to reach.
We were booked into one of the more expensive cave hotels – Kelebek Cave Suites – in the town of Göreme so we were picked up in the airport by the hotel shuttle.
Getting into Göreme takes 30 minutes and when landing in town you already get amazed about the sculptured scenery suddenly rising up from the flat landscape leading up to the Cappadocia area. You feel like landing in a Flintstones episode.
When landed we were ready to go exploring and went for the ATV (quard) bikes. That was a bummer and quite boring. You have to drive in a long tail after each other and with no speed and no sights that we didn’t see again in the next couple of days this is not a recommendation worthy.
Hot air ballooning
Next day we went hot air ballooning. My travel partner had booked the ballooning from Butterfly Balloons in advance which showed to be a good idea. Everything was sold out this day.
We got picked up just before dawn and driven to the lift off area. To see the big balloons laying on the ground and slowly getting more and more air in getting bigger and bigger has a wauw effect to it.
Lift off was amazing and the balloon slowly went up in the air. To see the Cappadocia area from the air is stunning and all that I imagined and more to it. The sun rises when you are in the air and all in all 140 balloons goes up in the morning at the same time.
Our captain was a local. Halil is his name and he got a degree in journalism from the university in Istanbul and a master in tourism from the university in Ankara but when he was finish he returned to Cappadocia to become a balloon captain and to fly one of the balloons he had been watching all his childhood. He smiled the whole trip. What a guy.
We were one hour and fifteen minutes in the air and that was a very suitable amount of time. The landing was easy and the captain even landed on the trailer ready to drive the basket home. The trip ended with a small celebration and a glass of local bubbles.
My expectations were huge before I arrived and they were fully fulfilled. Big recommendation.
Things to do in Cappadocia
The next couple of days we went to The Göreme Open-Air Museum, which everybody talk about as a must see but I don’t see what the fuss is all about especially if you’ve been to the Kaymakli underground city. Kaymakli is an amazing sight. The five floors underground city was used by the Christians during the Arab–Byzantine wars (780-1180) for protection from Muslim Arabs. It is a one of the kind experience and besides the hot air balloons really a must see sight in Cappadocia.
A Tour around the area including farmers breakfast were booked. Our super guide, Sahan, turned out to be very qualified and a splendid guide. He actually changed my mind of getting a guide. I probably do that more in the future.
After three days in Göreme we moved to Unishar and checked in at the Milestones Caves. Milestones is a fine hotel but Unishar and the area is kind of boring, not much to see and I would prefer to stay in Göreme.