With the sun peaking over the horizon, the sound of the open flame firing into the balloon, and a cool crisp early morning breeze, we gracefully floated through the sky in complete awe of our surroundings.
One of the best moments of my travel career, the mystical balloon ride over Cappadocia is a must for any bucket list.
I crawled out of bed at 4:30am and forced myself out the door towards the honking horn of the van waiting for me outside.
I can’t recall which company I booked with, (whatever one partnered with Rock Valley Pension Hostel) but none the less we arrived to the headquarters with a huge breakfast laid out for the hundred or so people arriving from surrounding hotels in the Goreme area.
The conditions were perfect. No delays, we were ready to go
In short, Cappadocia or “The Land of Beautiful Horses” lies in the remote Nevsehir Provence in central Turkey and famous for its unique valleys of rock formed from the ash, lava, and basalt deposit left behind after three massive volcanic eruptions millions of years ago.
Over a million tourists flock to Cappadocia each year to discover this mysterious place and take part in one major attraction: a hot air balloon ride.
I had been on a hot air balloon years ago as a kid, but nothing as epic as I was about to experience now.
It took nearly an hour for the balloons to fill up with air enough to take shape and tip over onto their baskets, it was a really cool process to see.
Once our balloon was ready to go, I packed into the 4 compartment basket with 20 or so strangers all just as excited as me and playfully fighting for a little extra elbow room.
With a few fire blasts from the pilot, we gently lifted off the ground and began our 1,000 meter ascent. It was still dark but with the sun peaking out from behind the mountains of fairy chimneys, it was the best setting imaginable.
It’s hard to put in words how incredible this experience really was. With a hundred other balloons in the sky, the rugged Goreme National Park below, and the clearest sky that we could have asked for, the hour ride was an adventure of a lifetime.
After snapping every photo in sight, I forced myself to put my phone away and just bask in the moment and let my eyes wander.
I couldn’t have felt more safe and secure during the hour ride.
Yes, there have been a couple fatal accidents over the years, but with thousands of flights each month the margin for accident is extremely, extremely low. This article has some pretty good stats to help ease your concerns.
After the ride we enjoyed some champagne and even received a medal in honor of our completed journey. The $130 ride isn’t cheap for any traveler, especially a budget backpacker, but I can’t urge you enough to put aside the funds for this amazing experience, you won’t regret it!
Hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia