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Turkey/Cappadocia: Is a Balloon Trip Worthwhile?

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

Allahu akbar - as-salatu chairu-mina-naum" ... I open my eyes in torment, the room is still pitch black. Every morning I get up not with the birds, but with the muezzin, who scares the faithful out of their beds with his call - loosely translated as "prayer is better than sleep".

the roof terrace of the Henna Hotel in Göreme
Half-asleep, I stumble onto our hotel roof terrace. It is decorated like in the Arabian Nights:

thick Persian carpets adorn the floor; cosy cushions sewn from colourful kilims invite you to sit down at the knee-deep tables set with fresh fruit and decorated teapots. Hovering above the already perfect scenery, as the icing on the cake so to speak, are hundreds of balloons that flicker orange and yellow in rhythm as soon as they are lit.

Welcome to fairyland!

If you don't voluntarily come out of your hotel rooms, which are often carved into the soft tufa stone, shortly before sunrise, you will miss out on a visual spectacle that is second to none. Not without good reason is Cappadocia an Instagram Eldorado. Dazzled-up influencers pose in shiny dresses with metre-long trains at minus 6 degrees in the morning, either on the roof terrace, directly in front of or even in a balloon. "If you want to be beautiful, you have to suffer" I think to myself and wear a woollen jumper and winter boots.

A sky full of balloons

In Cappadocia, when the weather is right, not one or two balloons go up every morning, but over one hundred of these vehicles. The sky then resembles a blanket of colourful polka dots.

Is this just a tourist hoax? Or is ballooning really something special here?

The next morning, shortly after 5 am, I squeeze into a minibus with my friends Christiane and Claudia and about 20 other tourists, and together we rumble along a poorly constructed dirt road through the darkness. Since I'm not really an early riser, I always doubt the sense of such actions at these moments. But as soon as the car has struggled up the steep road from Göreme to the plateau, we see flashing flames: the first balloons are being fired up. Excited, we slide around on our seats and can hardly wait to finally get ou

Ballooning in Cappadocia/Turkey - Snow in March
It gets really spectacular as soon as the balloon takes off: what spreads out below us looks like the film set for an extra-galactic expedition.

Bizarre rock formations as far as the eye can see. Asparagus spears, pointed caps and giant mushrooms, there is no end to the imagination here. As we approach, we discover windows and doors that give access to the dwellings in the middle of the stone. Balloon pilot Musti shows us what he can do: Sometimes he lowers the balloon so low that we are hovering just above the ground in the valleys below the rock formations, sometimes he climbs steeply like a hawk and we have a dreamlike view over the whole area up to the striking fortress mountain of Ushisar.

Claudi and Christiane are in a selfie frenzy.

Understandable, because no matter where you look: everything is so Instagram-worthy that it almost takes our breath away.

A sky full of balloons

As the sun rises, the scenery changes from pastel blue to pale pink to gold. Again and again I have to force myself to put my camera away and just enjoy the flight. It is, without exaggeration, the most beautiful I have ever made (and there have been a few). After just under an hour, Musti lands. And directly on a trailer! The man is a professional, no question about it.

No wonder, since the balloons take to the air about 200 days a year (always when the weather is right). If you plan your stay in Cappadocia too tightly, you might miss a real highlight if it rains, snows or the thermals don't cooperate on these days.

More blog posts on hiking? Coming soon!


General information and some photos and films for a first impression are available on:

WHEN: From April to May and from September to October is the best time for an active holiday with hiking, horse riding tours and hot air ballooning in Cappadocia.

Spring is beautifully green and there are many flowers, but the humidity can make it hazy.

In autumn, nature is parched and brown, but the air is clear and the weather tends to be more stable.


From the airport in Kayseri (ASR) it takes one hour by bus to Göreme, which is the best starting point for all adventures.

Maximum flexibility? Then a rental car is a good idea, these can be rented relatively cheaply directly at the airport (research for example at Caution: Many hotels are in small alleys and have no parking space. It's best to ask beforehand.


The Henna Hotel is so Influencer-worthy that we hardly dared to book there. Balloons fly over a perfectly appointed terrace with fresh fruit and silver teapots that look like Aladdin's magic lamp. A 400-year-old tea room in velvety green and with stained glass windows resembles my idea of 1001 Nights luxury.

The rooms are beautiful, the staff super helpful, the breakfast a rich blast and although the hotel was always booked up, the roof terrace was never crowded. Priceless? Not even that: double rooms with breakfast start at 45€ in low season.

At Hotel Utopia in Ürgüp you can sleep in original cave rooms. These look super great, but are not necessarily something if you don't like cramped rooms and want to sleep with an open window at night.

The hotel has a great hammam and delicious breakfast is served on the roof terrace. The only downside is that the balloons rarely pass by here.


Our absolute favourite restaurant with mega scenery and rooftop bar is Seten in Göreme

Yummy: Muhammara at Seten Restaurant Göreme Turkey/Cappadocia

We found the meze particularly delicious - especially the muhammara made of peppers, tomatoes with pomegranate and walnuts.


There are countless providers of hot air balloon rides in Cappadocia. A good address is Voyager Balloons and Butterfly Balloons.

If you are travelling in the high season, you should definitely book in advance.

The happiness of the earth is on the back of Cappadocian horses. For beginners, a two-hour ride is certainly enough. Those who are not used to it will certainly feel their butts after four hours.

We found the horses at Dalton Ranch to be healthy and lively looking.

Far away from the crowds, we relaxed and explored the picturesque valleys on super varied hikes. Love, Dove, White, Rose and Red Valleys - no matter which hike, we found them all super.

Wandern in Kappadokien/Türkei

Great views, climbing passages, cute cafés, hidden churches and an unbeatable sunset place - what more could you want?

There is still not really good map material I have saved some tours with GPS data.

If that's too wild for you, you can also book a guide.

Ali is a Turkish original with Berlin roots, or the other way around. His family comes from Cappadocia and he came back 30 years ago. Since then, he has been showing visitors his country with a lot of humour and in perfect German.

Ali Kaya +90 532 614 4132 (WhatsApp),

Bilal also speaks perfect German, can be booked for hiking and sightseeing.

Bilal Coskun +90 533 719 99 42 (WhatsApp),

If you want to feel like a real influencer, Emre Çakir is the right person for you. He knows the best spots and takes "like"-worthy photos!

Cappadocia Photographer, Emre Çakir, +90 5531586274, Instagram: emrecakirphotographer

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