Flying High Hot Air Ballooning In Cappadocia
Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia
Every year thousands of travellers flock to Cappadocia. Many come for the culture and sights and to explore the rich history of this interesting area, whilst others come with one thought in mind – hot air ballooning.
Cappadocia is a region in central Turkey, famous for its distinctive “fairy chimneys”. These tall, conical shaped rock formations can be found throughout the area and it is over this beautiful landscape that the hot air balloons fly.
Cappadocia Hot Air Ballooning
There are a number of tour agencies operating balloon flights but please note that this activity is very weather dependant. For safety reasons the balloons simply don’t take off if there is too much wind. Our balloon flight was a victim of wind problems and we were alerted in advance that our flight would be unable to take off. Unfortunately we were unable to reschedule as we couldn’t find a slot.
However, what we did discover is that there is so much you can appreciate and enjoy from the ground!
All the photos taken here were shot over two days either from the ground at the location where the balloon flights take off, or from our hotel (Museum Hotel Cappadocia) where the balloons on occasion come so close you feel as if you could touch them, or from one of the many “panorama” view points over the valleys that you find in the region.
In any case, it’s given me an excuse to definitely come back to Cappadocia – and hopefully next time I will be able to go up in a balloon.
Fairy Chimneys, Cave Dwellings, Ancient Churches and Roman Ruins
However if you are visiting Cappadocia there is so much more to discover in the area. As well as the “fairy chimneys” you can find amazing homes which were carved into valley walls by cave dwellers, (or troglodytes as they are known), dating back to the Bronze Age. They were used as refuges by early Christians and there are also many disused churches with fabulous murals as well as ancient Roman ruins to be discovered too. In the Ihlara Canyon the rock-face churches are definitely worth exploring. We also enjoyed visiting Goreme Open Air Museum where you can see some of the most important Byzantine cave churches in the world, as well as very well preserved Byzantine cave wall paintings and frescos. These date back from the Iconoclastic period to the end of Seljuk era.
In the Ihlara Canyon
In fact the whole area is teeming with a wealth of historic treasure. If you get the chance to travel with a guide you will really get to appreciate the magnitude of what is to be seen and be stunned by the beauty of it all. Our guide Metin was amazingly knowledgeable and he conducts his tours in German.
Horse Riding at Moonlight Horse Ranch in Cappadocia
Other activities you may wish to try in Cappadocia include horse riding. We went for a one hour horse trek and the scenery was stunning and the views mesmerising. Our guide from Moonlight Horse Ranch was extremely patient and kind (I’m not very confident with horses!). The horses were extremely well cared for and we had a wonderful time. Moonlight Horse Ranch in Cappadocia comes highly recommended!
Quad Biking – ATV in Cappadocia
We didn’t try this out but I spoke to a group of people in the hotel who highly recommend Quad Biking. It is known as ATV here and there are a number of places that you can do this.
Underground Ceramics Museum Avanos
The area is also famous for its ceramics and we went for a very interesting tour of the Güray Ceramics Museum in Avanos. Afterwards we attended a workshop where we had a go at modelling our own vase out of clay (with the help of one of the professionals) and this was great fun. The museum is the only underground ceramics museum in the world and has a great collection.
Shopping and Souvenirs
There are many opportunities for shopping and souvenir hunting and there are plenty of local craftspeople selling cottons, embroideries, ceramics and jewellery in most towns.
Food In Cappadocia
The Turkish food we had in Cappadocia was simply amazing! The Museum Hotel’s Restaurant Lil’a served the most delicious breakfast every day and the two dinners we enjoyed at the hotel restaurant were absolutely wonderful. The lamb cutlets shown here were exquisite.
There were so many other great foodie highlights in the local restaurants too that the topic deserves a separate blogpost in its own right – so stay tuned! 🙂
Travel – How To Get There
The nearest airport to Cappadocia is Kayseri. We flew from Switzerland to Istanbul with Turkish Airlines, then changed from the international to the domestic terminal at the brand new airport in Istanbul, to connect to Kayseri. From Kayseri airport to the Museum Hotel it was just over an hour by car.
Where To Stay – Museum Hotel Cappadocia
We stayed at the beautiful Museum Hotel Cappadocia. With a fabulous location high above Goreme, this 5 star luxury Relais & Château “cave” hotel offers top class cuisine, an infinity pool and wonderful and unique accommodation.
The hotel has everything you need for a perfect stay and both the sunsets and the sunrises here are quite magical!
Museum Hotel – visit the Museum Hotel website here
Moonlight Horse Ranch – visit the website here.
For more information visit the Go Turkey website here
For flight information with Turkish Airlines see here.
We hope you enjoyed this brief overview of our trip to Turkey. We travelled in early October and the temperatures were mid twenties every day which was absolutely perfect for exploring the region.
This was a press trip and my stay was hosted but all views are entirely my own.
With photos by Alara Yegen
Alara is a graduate of Koc University in Turkey and holds a Master’s degree in Culinary Arts from the Business and Hotel Management School in Luzern. Having worked in the 3 Michelin star restaurant, Baumaniére, she is now working as a Gastronomy Executive in Turkey Tourism and working in the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu School Istanbul. She hopes to open her own bakery in Istanbul.
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