Cappadocia is a “land of wonderful horses”, a historic region in Turkey that has become famous for its unearthly landscapes and picturesque sunrise ballooning.
Every morning more than 200 hot air balloons almost simultaneously rise into the sky. Just imagine how it is magical to greet the sunrise on the air balloon among such incredibly beautiful landscapes!
In our article we will briefly tell the history of the region and share with you some practical tips for choosing an accommodation and ballooning.
Now Cappadocia is a Turkish province of Nevsehir with extremely interesting landscapes of volcanic origin, large cave monasteries, and underground cities that date back to early Christians. But where did they come from here? Some researchers consider the native inhabitants of Cappadocia to be related to Armenians and Greeks. Byzantium’s policy on Armenians played a key role in the history of Cappadocia. As early as 1813, Armenians made up 60 percent of the population of the modern city of Kayseri, and as of 1913 Cappadocia was home to 200,000 Turks, 80,000 Greeks, and 40,000 Armenians. When the Greek-Turkish population exchange took place in 1923, these lands were abandoned by the Greeks and the Turks remained. There were also persecutions against the Armenians. It is these historical events that explain the early Christian drawings in the caves. Be sure to visit the Goreme Open Air Museum to touch on those historic times, as the cave paintings are beautifully preserved. The caves are located in mountains of unusual shape, reminiscent of sand castles.
Cappadocia has a unique geology. With its incredible landscapes it is due to the effects of the volcanic eruption when the region was covered by tuffs and the erosion period that changed it. This is how famous stone pillars were created in the form of stone mushrooms. Above – the basalt rocks, and the bottom – tuffs. If you have some free time in the afternoon, we recommend taking a stroll through the valleys. The guide is not needed; you can take a walk and enjoy the beauty of the mountains on your own. There is also a sweet surprise in these valleys during summer period – taste the big mulberries, the taste of childhood. You will certainly be amazed by this place; you will feel the diversity of Turkey.
All these picturesque landscapes are best viewed from an aerial view, namely from a balloon. The Valley of Love and the Valley of the Pigeons look amazing. It is noteworthy that this is not a balloon festival, and approximately 200 hot air balloons fly off in good weather every day, even in winter. The cost of such pleasure is approximately 165-200 euros, and the final price depends on the company that organizes the balloon-flights. We booked our dream flight through the hotel. Operator Company http://www.butterflyballoons.com/ . The cost of the flight also includes an early breakfast and transfer from your hotel to the take-off point and back to the hotel, a glass of festive after-flight champagne and a flight certificate. We advise you to book your flight in advance, preferably 6 months. The main thing in this matter is good weather conditions, since the layers fly off at almost the same time – only at dawn, in the absence of wind gusts and good visibility. Every morning all companies receive a permit or a ban on flying depending on the weather. On the official webpage, you can check if the permission is granted http://shm.kapadokya.edu.tr/?Lang=2 . Plan your flight on the first morning of your trip. In case of bad weather, your flight can be rescheduled for the next morning or refunded. When the weather is not suitable for flight for several days in a row, tourists from the previous days gather and the flight may be doubtful. Choose a great company by yourself or get the hotel services. This is the case when the hotel price is even lower.
Flying on a balloon gives you incredible feelings! It all starts with the moment you reach the place for a balloon take-off. It’s dawning, it’s still dark enough, you hear unusual noise and you see flashes of light. The miracles begin. Like mushrooms, balloons grow from the ground. The team of professionals is already preparing for launch, installing baskets, filling the balloons with warm air – an exciting sight! Use large fans and propane burners to let hot air inside the ball. We were surprised to see the pilot entered into the ball inside checking the details when it was still lying on the ground and not fully inflated. Before take-off, the pilot briefs and informs tourists the safety rules. Do not forget to take warm clothes, because in the early morning it is quite cool even in summer.
Every day the take-off location may vary depending on the wind direction. As you know balloons do not have engines for independent horizontal movement in the air. The pilot can adjust the height: if too high is gained, the pilot pulls on a special cord that opens the drain valve (special hole) in the shell of the ball – so that some of the hot air goes out and the balloon lowers. The basket of air itself is divided into 5 locations. Four in the corners – for passengers (an average of 16-20 passengers), and one in the middle – for the pilot. So, if you plan to make a marriage proposal to your future bride during the flight, then not only the pilot, but also 14-16 tourists will be looking you.
The balloon rises up, and the basket gently detaches from the ground. Suppressed breath, and lots of emotions! Impressions are incredible. A wonderful unique local relief opens up. From a bird’s-eye view Cappadocia’s landscape looks even more alien. For some reason it seems that Martian landscapes look exactly like this! You admire the mountains and valleys and the nearby balloons. Yes, an incredibly large number of multicolored air balloons fly together. Take a seat in the corner of your basket, and be sure to be able to take a photo with other balloons in the background. During the flight your air balloon may make a “kiss” with a nearby air balloon, but do not worry in advance. In fact, you may not even feel this “collision”, since the balloons themselves only touch their widest parts slightly, the baskets are at a safe distance from each other. Moreover, the balloon is operated by an experienced pilot. Each balloon pilot must have three-year experience before commencing the carriage of passengers. Therefore, such “kiss” is quite safe and even entertains tourists.
We are sure that ballooning will surprise you! But besides this flight, there is another local morning entertainment. Yes, you will definitely need to wake up again around four o’clock in the morning the next day. But believe us, it’s worth it! Make an appointment with a local taxi driver in advance to get you to Cappadocia sights early in the morning. You will enjoy the view of hot air balloons and amazing landscape on sunrise. This is one of the most beautiful dawns of our life! The red and orange colors of the sky, incredible rocky scenery and colorful air balloons fly at arm’s length! Firestorm of emotions!
Where to stay / Accommodation
In such a charming place you should choose a cave hotel, there are so many in this region. We stayed at the Cave Hotel KELEBEL HOTEL http://www.kelebekhotel.com/en . What sets this hotel apart from others? It is the perfect blend of historic ascetic style and modern comfort. Agree, not every day you live in a real cave. The rooms are spacious, decorated in traditional Turkish style. In a hot summer it is cool in the cave room, even the air conditioning is not needed. Friendly hotel service. Guests also have a restaurant serving with a variety of Turkish dishes and dozens of balloons in the sky for dessert.
We recommend you to book your ideal Instagram breakfast at MUSEUM HOTEL https://www.museumhotel.com.tr/ which costs from 300 USD. A personalized breakfast is prepared for you to savor traditional dishes and sweets and take many pictures to remember.
If you stay at the KELEBEK HOTEL, mentioned above, you can take advantage of a specialty breakfast from the neighboring hotel SULTAN CAVE SUITES and take your dream photos for free. But the breakfast here is served exclusively for photos and for all guests of these two hotels https://www.sultancavesuites.com/en . Thus, be ready for a small queue to make photos.
Where to eat / Dining
For lunch we recommend visiting one of the local restaurants, such as OLD CAPPADOCIA CAFÉ AND RESTAURANT, to try testi kebap – this is meat (lamb mainly) cooked in a sealed vegetable pot. The waiter serves a dish with a burning fire pot, and break the pot with a small hammer and a special knife. This dish is a Must try in Cappadocia. For dessert, we recommend delicious baklava or Pişmaniye! Very tasty!
In the evening we offer you a cup of Turkish coffee at the colorful HENNA HOTEL.
To conclude, this region is different Turkey. Friendly and kind people, colorful nature, picturesque landscapes and hundreds of balloons every morning. This is an incredible fairy tale, so if you have the opportunity, don’t delay and plan your dream flight.