March 22, 2021

Hot Air Balloon Capital of the World: Cappadocia

Cappadocia, Turkey

In Cappadocia, which is about 420 miles away from Istanbul, we had some cool experiences. Did you know that Cappadocia is the hot air balloon capital of the world? Well, it is, and it’s incredible! In my previous post, I mentioned that Cappadocia is known for two things, the famous rock formations scattered throughout the land and the hot air balloons. Soaring through the sky in a hot air balloon is both astonishing and mystical. The only downside to this adventure is you have to get up at 5:30 in the morning because the balloons are weather-dependent. So, there is no guarantee you’ll be able to fly. However, the early start was so worth it!

I do owe a special shout-out to Murat and Travel Atelier because they planned our Turkish adventures for us in Cappadocia. They planned our stay at the Argos in Cappadocia, which was amazing. The most exciting adventure they planned for us was the balloon excursion. Murat made our stay in Cappadocia truly unforgettable!

Hot Air Balloons

The first balloon ride in Turkey was operated in 1991. Since then, the hot air balloon industry in Cappadocia has blossomed becoming the most popular attraction in the region. They have more hot air balloons that go up every single day than anywhere else in the world. While we were there, we saw 90 balloons in the air in a single day. The next day, there were 105. Before the pandemic, they averaged 150 to 200 balloons in the air per day. We went flying in our balloon with our pilot, Shanice, for an hour and twenty minutes. She made sure we understood that “flying” in a hot air balloon isn’t like flying in an airplane, because you can’t control where you go or land. You’re just flying where the wind takes you, which is pretty exciting.

We got up to 2000 feet in the air, but these balloons can go as high as 3000 feet, depending on the weather. It was beautiful to be able to watch hundreds of other balloons surrounding us and watching them take off and land. There were so many floating along in the air beside and below us. It’s really hard to put into words what the feeling is like, I’ve never done anything like it. It was so amazing that even my fear of heights wasn’t an issue.

Special Surprise

Murat and his team had arranged a big banner that read “Big Guy, Big World” for our balloon, which was so special. Murat went above and beyond to make sure we were taken care of. I was very impressed with his dedication to making sure we had an unforgettable time. And, let me tell you, we did!

Balloon Operations

A lot of people don’t know what goes into getting these balloons from the ground to the sky. One interesting fact regarding the ground operations is that as these hundreds of balloons are floating around every day, each balloon has 2 or 3 cars with crews of 4-8 people, driving on the ground below them, to keep track of each balloon in the air. This allows them to track their locations and guide the landings. After we landed, the balloon was loaded onto a trailer, and we were given certificates for completing time in the air. We were then transported back to where we took off. Flying in a hot air balloon in Cappadocia is an incredible experience.

Cappadocia has got to be my favorite part of Turkey so far. As a country, Turkey is probably one of the most underrated places to go. There are a lot of cool things here and awesome people, like Murat and his team. This hot air balloon experience was incredible, and I would highly recommend taking this flight through the sky. Also, the panoramic view of hundreds of hot air balloons floating above the valleys and rock formations was breathtaking. The memories from this excursion will forever be treasured. Thanks for reading along. If you have any questions or would just like to send me a message, you can reach out here

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Big Guy Big World is a travel blog, following Mark Jacoby’s journey as a big guy on a bigger journey, exploring the world during a global pandemic. Follow along as we experience some of the world’s most beautiful and exotic places.

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