September 21, 2012
Flying in a Hot-Air Balloon over Cappadocia, Turkey
Cappadocia is one of the most unusual and atmospheric destinations in Turkey. A rural region in Central Anatolia, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site of ancient underground cities, fresco-filled cave churches and fantastical rock formations.
In addition to excellent cultural touring, Cappadocia’s dramatic landscapes and sunny climate make it one of the best places in the world to enjoy a hot-air balloon ride.
Hot-air balloon flights in Cappadocia start around dawn, when the air is cool and calm.
Depending on the time of year, you might be treated to a dusting of snow on the fairy chimneys. But even in summer, be sure to dress warmly, as you’ll be flying thousands of feet up into the fresh morning air.
At the launch site, the crew uses fans to inflate the fabric envelope with air.
Next, they ignite burners that heat the air inside the balloon, causing it to rise off the ground.
After you climb into the gondola, the balloon slowly lifts off into the quiet of the morning.
The hot-air balloon pilots study the day’s weather conditions and air currents to optimize the flight path.
During the flight, the pilot explains balloon flying technique, such as climbing or descending to catch the appropriate air currents.
A good pilot can make vertical adjustments of just a few inches.
While drifting over the beautiful countryside, the pilot also points out notable features in Cappadocia’s unique topography.
The highest altitudes in the flight provide spectacular views of vineyards, whitewashed villages and colorful rock formations.
As the balloon gradually descends, the pilot skillfully guides it through Cappadocia’s rugged valleys.
You might even get low enough to wave at guests having breakfast on the terrace of their hotel.
At the end of the flight, the balloon touches down in a field, where you can enjoy a Champagne toast and look through the many photographs you will undoubtedly have taken during your unforgettable journey.
Artisans of Leisure can easily incorporate hot-air balloon rides into any of our Turkey tours that feature Cappadocia. We can also arrange hot-air balloon flights over the temples in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma); above the wildlife-filled Serengeti in Tanzania or Maasai Mara in Kenya; and above the vineyards of the Loire Valley or Beaujolais, France.