There really is a best way to experience Cappadocia - and that’s by hot-air balloon. If you’ve made the journey to this otherworldly region of Turkey, we urge you to consider floating above the fairy chimneys and troglodyte villages of this surreal landscape. You’ll witness thousands of years of natural erosion and sculpting and get a bird’s-eye view of the cave-like dwelling and rock churches dating as far back as the 4th century. 

Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your hot-air balloon ride in Cappadocia: 

What Is the Best Time of Year for a Cappadocia Hot-Air Balloon Ride? 

For the optimum conditions for a Cappadocia hot-air balloon excursion, visit from March to June or September to November. The crowds are not as heavy at these times and the weather is comfortable. The peak season (read: crowded) is from June to August. Avoid November to late February, when it can get quite cold. 

What Is the Hot-Air Balloon Season in Cappadocia? 

Despite the mention of the best time to visit (above), you can go hot-air ballooning year-round in Cappadocia. Elsewhere in Europe, this type of excursion is available for about 60 days a year, whereas in Cappadocia, balloons fly about 250 days a year. That means that if you’re willing to brave the cold temperatures, you can float above a snow-covered winter wonderland - an incredible sight. 

The very best time of year for hot-air ballooning in Cappadocia is April to November. If you are going between December and March, be flexible as many flights can be cancelled due to strong winds. 

How Far Ahead Should I Book My Hot-Air Balloon Trip in Cappadocia? 

As far ahead as possible. The balloon baskets fill up months in advance, so book as soon as you know you are visiting Turkey. Although 100-plus balloons lift off most mornings, these are coveted spots. If you can, stay two to three nights in the area so that if your flight is cancelled due to weather, you’ll have a second chance. 

How Much Does Hot-Air Ballooning in Cappadocia Cost? 

There are countless hot-air balloon operators in Cappadocia, so the price may vary and is dependent on the number of people in the basket, but generally, you can expect USD$145-200 per person. Consider splurging a bit so you have a bit more viewing room. Some operators make it even more of a memorable experience with a champagne breakfast on the ground after your flight. 

Is Hot-Air Ballooning Safe in Cappadocia? 

Just like airplanes, hot-air balloons are registered with the aviation authority. They undergo regular safety checks. The pilots themselves study rigorously and take examinations, must have a certain number of flight hours and must pass flight tests and medical checks. Most of the pilots that fly in Cappadocia have decades of experience. 

How High Do the Hot-Air Balloons Go in Cappadocia? 

If you’re scared of heights, this might be a just-cool-enough experience to embolden you. If you do better knowing the specifics, a hot-air balloon will fly anywhere from tree level to 3,000 feet high. Your pilot may even be able to glide between upwards of 2,500 feet, then sink down to get a better view of the fairy chimneys or Goreme. The balloons travel at speeds from 1.25 to 13.5 miles per hour, depending on the wind. 

A couple things to point out if heights aren’t your friend - the take-off and landing are really quite smooth, with no rocking or swaying of the basket. Plus, the incredible views will distract you! 

Do Hot-Air Balloon Rides in Cappadocia Get Cancelled? 

They can and do. The time of year will determine how often this happens, but keep in mind that all flight for all balloons in the area will be cancelled for rain, strong wind, fog, snow or thunderstorms. If your ride gets cancelled, you will likely get a refund from your chosen operator, but that doesn’t guarantee you’ll get in the next balloon going up. Your best bet is to try rescheduling first with the company you booked with, then contacting as many of the other hot-air balloon companies as possible. Be sure to ask about spots on any of their flights, including sunset, post-sunrise and deluxe flights. 

Ready to take to the skies above Cappadocia? Let’s chat about this incredible vantage point on the region’s open-air museums and archaeological wonders.