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Are hot air balloons still flying in Cappadocia, Turkey despite the recently enacted curfew?

As Turkey to have enacted a partial curfew nationwide, we’re getting a high volume of enquiries about whether we’re still operating or not. Brilliant news that the answer is YES!

In Cappadocia, balloon operators will continue conducting flight operations during curfew but only weekdays. So when booking your balloon ride, please keep in mind that hot air balloon tours will not be planned for weekends. 


 Also good to know that foreign tourists are exempt from the curfew, so you can freely visit all the touristic places.


The Importance of Pilots' Flying Skills on Hot Air Balloons

In the aviation industry, with the rapid development in automation technologies, certain manual tasks that pilots once performed are currently being done by flight management systems. As the use of artificial intelligence accelerates in the cockpit, pilot handling skills have become a less important quality.


However, when it comes to hot air balloons, pilots have full control of the aircraft as they’re without the assistance of any automation systems when flying, which highlights the significance of manual flying skills. Unlike other types of aircraft like aeroplanes or helicopters, hot air balloons are not equipped with cockpit automation and flight management systems reducing the workload of pilots. Therefore, pilots’ manual flying proficiency and skills are of vital importance in hot air balloons.


In the Cappadocian Ballooners Meeting held by the Association of Hot Air Balloon Operators of Turkey in 2019,  Mehmet Cicek, the chief pilot of Urgup Balloons, pointed out the positive implications of the latest decree issued by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (Turkey) for aviation safety, which increases minimum flight hour requirements for commercial hot air balloon licence. He also added that regulations enforced on hot-air-balloons in Turkey must be a role model for other countries.


How to Book the Cheapest Hot Air Balloon Flights Possible in Cappadocia

Book Early for Cheap Flights

It is a general myth that balloon operators significantly lower their prices closer to the departure date. On the contrary, waiting until the last minute can cost you a great deal of money or even you might lose your chance to fly over Cappadocia as flight tickets are likely to sell out one week in advance during peak seasons. So, to snag the cheapest air balloon ride it is better to book your flight three to four weeks ahead of time.


Avoid peak travel months and be flexible with your travel dates

In Cappadocia, the cheapest months to fly is usually: December, January (except Christmas New Year’s Eve), early March and the month of Ramadan (Ramadan 2021 begins on Tuesday, April 13 and ends on Wednesday, May 12)

The most expensive months to fly is usually: April, May, June, July, September, October.


Go for budget flight packages

Many operators offer a variety of flight packages for every budget. Flight packages with fewer passenger capacity will typically cost 20% more than other flight packages with higher capacity. For instance, Urgup Classic Flight is known to be a budget-friendly flight package which uses 28-passenger capacity balloons.


Avoid third-party intermediaries (travel agents, hotels, independent sellers) when booking your hot air balloon flight.

Third-party sellers tend to inflate hot air balloon prices using deceptive marketing strategies. Hot air balloon operators value their legitimacy in order to create a positive brand perception. They are more transparent about their pricing policy while third-party sellers adopt an informal business approach and can commit opportunistic practices by overcharging their clients. Urgup Balloons advises all tourists to be cautious of approaches from any other unauthorised third-party sellers.


Six reasons why you should book directly with a hot air balloon operator in Cappadocia

You will get the best price.

One reason to book your hot air balloon flight directly with the balloon operator is that you're usually guaranteed to get the lowest price available (Urgup Balloons guarantee that you’ll find the best price on their website) . Most third-party sellers in Cappadocia rely on commissions from hot-air-balloon ticket sales. Hot air balloon operators pay nearly %40 of their revenue as commissions to travel agents, hotels and independent sales agents. In Cappadocia, the commission percentages generally range  30 – 50% of the total price of a hot air balloon ticket. Therefore, booking directly through the ballooner website is the best way to avoid paying commissions and add-on fees and can save up to 50%.


You will be given priority in case you get waitlisted for an alternative flight.

Another benefit of booking directly with the hot-air-balloon operator is that if your original flight is cancelled due to bad weather and you get waitlisted for an alternative flight, balloon operators give priority to customers who booked their flight directly with them on the waiting list (Urgup Balloons usually offer an alternative flight for their customers who made their booking through Considering hot-air-flights do get cancelled occasionally due to windy weather, if you’ve booked your flight with a third-party seller, you’re most likely to end up missing the opportunity to fly with hot air balloon over the surrealistic landscape of Cappadocia.  Also bear in mind that some third-party sellers impose additional charges when rescheduling their clients’ cancelled flights even though they’re entitled to do so.


You will have access to effective customer support.

If something goes wrong with your flight or booking, you don’t have to deal with a 3rd party to get it resolved. In Cappadocia, hot air balloon flights are generally conducted in the morning. Thousands of shuttle buses drive from one hotel to another to pick up passengers which sometimes can be very problematic. In such a problematic situation, booking direct puts you in an advantageous position as you can talk directly to your operator on the spot to resolve the issue. Hot air balloon operators usually attach greater emphasis to direct bookers and offer special services exclusively compiled for them (Urgup Balloons provide 24/7 WhatsApp support for direct bookers).


You will fly with the most talented and experienced pilot of the company.

A common priority for hot air balloon operators has been to offer a different and exclusive flight service for direct bookers with the aim of building customer loyalty and maximizing word-of-mouth marketing. Unlike planes, pilot cockpits are just next to passenger compartments on hot air balloons which allows face-to-face interaction between the pilot and passengers. The pilots who are the face of the company interacting directly with customers are the ones who determine their levels of satisfaction. Therefore, the more experienced pilots are generally assigned to fly with direct bookers. For instance, Urgup Balloons always assign the pilots with more than 1500 flying hour in the team to fly with the customers who booked directly on


Based on availability, smaller balloons will always be prioritized for direct bookers.

By directly booking with a hot air balloon operator, you also increase your chances of flying with a smaller balloon. This is because operators always endeavour to allocate seats of smaller balloons to those who book directly. They also usually fly below capacity to increase the room per passenger given in the compartment. However, third-party sellers usually do not guarantee balloon-type for their clients. 


If your hot air balloon flight got cancelled due to bad weather, operators guarantee your full-refund.

Hot air ballooning is extremely weather permitting activity. If weather cancels your flight, even though you’re entitled to claim a full refund, you’re at the mercy of your travel agent as they generally have a strict refund policy. Conversely, air balloon operators provide full-refund for weather-related cancellations. They also usually have a more flexible cancellation policy as opposed to third-party intermediaries and offer more leeway to their customers. If you need to alter or cancel your booking, you can make it without taking a loss.


Is it safe to travel Cappadocia after the coronavirus outbreak?

As the Covid-19 virus pandemic continues to spread around the world, factors affecting tourists’ destination choice changes significantly. Undoubtedly, such changes in travel behaviour will have many implications for the future of the tourism industry. 


As crowded places are perceived to be high-risk zones, one expected implication after the outbreak is the emergence of a new trend and culture of travelling which favours places with low population density. The underlying idea is that people would avoid visiting highly populated touristic places to minimise the risk of infection. If this proves to be true, the world's most famous sites can see a major decline in visitor numbers while less touristy destinations attract more travellers. 


From this perspective, if growing travel anxiety results in a dramatic shift on tourists' decision-making on choosing a destination in the favour of less populated places, Cappadocia can become a more popular destination in future. But will it be really safe to travel to Cappadocia regardless of its favourable population characteristics?  


Coronavirus in Cappadocia

Before going through the details, it is better to start off by summarizing the situation in Cappadocia with numbers. So far, no case of coronavirus has been reported in Goreme, the centre of Cappadocia, although more than 100.000 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Turkey since the outbreak while 27 people were infected with COVID-19 in a small village located in the countryside of Nevşehir. However, Nevşehir County immediately took drastic measures by enforcing quarantine and lockdown on the village to stop the potential spread of novel coronavirus through Cappadocia. Consequently, these measures worked out well and no case of coronavirus has been detected since then. 


The data suggest that Istanbul and Izmir have been hit the most by Covid-19 among cities of Turkey with 12,231 and 1,105 confirmed cases respectively while Cappadocia seems to be one of the least affected regions with merely 27 confirmed cases and 0 deaths (COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey, 2020). Given these statistics, it appears that Nevşehir (Cappadocia), luckily, has escaped the coronavirus. At this point, The question then arises, "How Cappadocia, particularly the town of Goreme, remained unaffected by Covid-19 despite the high tourism intensity during the initial stages of the pandemic?” 


One explanation may lie in the fact that most hotels are boutique in Cappadocia which are typically small properties allowing travellers to easily maintain social distancing. Another reason might be that all museums in Cappadocia are open-air and not equipped with a ventilation system which is found to play a significant role in spreading the virus (Wikipedia, 2020). Given these points, it can be argued that there is relatively less risk of Covid-19 transmission in Cappadocia thanks to some location-specific features that make social distancing easier, though better note that no place on earth can be deemed as a fully coronavirus-free holiday destination.

Reference List: 2020. COVID-19 Pandemic In Turkey. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 May 2020].



Uncovering a widely-held but false belief: Does less basket capacity mean a more comfortable hot-air-balloon flight?

If you’re heading to Cappadocia, no doubt, hot-air ballooning is a must-do. But choosing between numerous operators can be overly challenging. Travellers have shown by their buying behaviour, they particularly search for smaller basket capacity assuming that it would be a  more comfortable balloon flight. Thus, air balloon flights have long been advertised with an almost sole emphasis on the basket capacity as an indicator of service quality.


Considering that there is no clear judging criteria about hot-air balloons on publicly available sources, travellers are likely to be misled by a general misconception that the less the basket capacity is, the more comfortable a hot-air balloon flight will be. In truth, there is no relationship between basket capacity and personal space per passenger on the balloon. Since basket sizes can be very changeable depending on its manufacturer, basket capacity cannot be used as a benchmark for measuring the room per passenger.


The space per person sometimes can shrink as the basket capacity gets bigger. From a consumer perspective, it is natural searching for a balloon operator who provides more space per passenger on the balloon. However, factors like pilot professionalism, operational efficiency and fleet age must also be taken into account when choosing who to fly with as they play a significant role in determining an operator’s service quality.


Some Frequently Asked Questions about Coronavirus and Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia

Are Hot Air Balloon Flights suspended in Cappadocia due to coronavirus?

As part of precautions taken against the novel coronavirus, the Civil Aviation Authority of Turkey has suspended all hot air balloon flights in Cappadocia from 17th March 2020 to 22nd August 2020.


What safety measures and precautions will be taken to minimize the risk of infection on the balloon?

As with most industries, the “new normal” will bring many requirements for the hot air balloon industry and it will change the way we fly for a temporary period.

The precautionary measures below will be enforced on hot air balloons to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

  • Hot Air Balloon operators will fly below capacity to provide a minimum of 0,40 m² space per person in the basket. Wearing a face mask will be mandatory for all passengers during the flight.
  • Family members, couples and friend groups will be allocated in the same compartment on the balloon.
  • Hot air balloons will be disinfected after every flight. 
  • Operators will make sure hand sanitizer is easy for passengers and staff to get to.

How is the situation in Cappadocia?

Even though no case of coronavirus has been reported in the towns of Cappadocia, twenty-seven villages residents tested COVID-19 positive in the countryside of Nevşehir. However, thanks to early strict measures, the spread has been taken under control and stopped.


History of Ballooning in Cappadocia

History of hot air ballooning in Cappadocia goes back to 1980s. The first hot air balloon was brought to Turkey by Raks (Cassette Tape Company) in 1984 for a marketing project. Raks performed many flights in the region until 1987. These flights were mostly conducted without passengers with the aim of promoting the company's newly launched Cassette Players.


In 1985-1986, the Turkish Aeronautical Association (THK) ordered the first commercial balloon and started training pilots and performing commercial flights. As the first balloon company was established legally in 1991, balloon flights started as a tourism activity. In 1988, as part of the Turkish-American Friendship Project, world-famous Forbes Magazine's owner, Malcolm Forbes, flew in Cappadocia with a Suleiman the Magnificent shaped hot air balloon which has contributed the promotion of balloon tourism in Cappadocia.


As Cappadocia becomes a popular destination, many new balloon firms founded in the following years (Urgup Balloons is the 4th). Thanks to its historical texture, geographical beauties, Cappadocia has become a worldwide known hub for balloon tourism. Balloon flights are also carried out in Ihlara Valley in Aksaray, which is also accepted as part of the Cappadocia region. Except for the Cappadocia region of Turkey, numerous attempts have been made to introduce balloon tourism in other parts of Turkey but ended up in failure.



Industry-first Features of

At Urgup Balloons, we attach utmost importance to our digitalization progress and believe that since providing a better customer experience is our top priority, we continuously invest in adapting technology to our business practices. After five months of hard work and dedication, we're excited to announce our new website that uses the most advanced technology among ballooners in Cappadocia.


While developing our new website, we strive to design pages as much user-friendly as possible to allow our customers to effortlessly book their balloon flight in Cappadocia. Our main objective with this new website is to provide detailed information about our flight packages and to offer easier booking process for our customers.


As part of our commitment to transparency, the new website gives better access to the inclusions and features of the flight packages. On the page of Flights, customers can check how much square meter is given per passenger in the basket and the balloon capacity which differs depending on the flight package. We know some of our customers want to get to know who their pilot will be before booking a hot air balloon flight. To address their concern, our new website has a Team page that provides detailed information about the professional background of our pilots. 

 Briefly, one-click ballooning is now possible with Urgup! 

Industry-first features of

  • With one click, customers can now pre-book the 360 panoramic film of their balloon flight and the pre-flight photography session.
  • With one click, customers can now pinpoint their exact pick-up location using Google Maps to ensure a hassle-free shuttle arrangement.
  • With one click, customers can now easily use promotion codes to take advantage of our very special offers.
  • With one click, customers can now pick an alternative date for a replacement flight on the booking page in case their original balloon flight is cancelled due to bad weather.
  • On the detail pages of flight packages, high-resolution flight trailers allow customers to visualise what they will experience when they fly with Urgup Balloons.



Four Commonly Asked Quesitons about Hot Air Balloning in Cappadocia - Updated 2022

How many balloons do fly in Cappadocia?

The number of balloons that fly in Cappadocia varies depending on the season. During peak seasons, about 200 balloons (including educational balloons) launch through the skies at the same time while in off-seasons only 50-60 balloons operate. 


Do balloon operators operate every day in Cappadocia? 

Most balloon companies plan flights for every day though some firms only operate during peak seasons. In Cappadocia, the season starts at the beginning of March and terminates by the mid of November. 


When is the best time of the year to go for hot air ballooning in Cappadocia? 

For us, there is no certain period of the year particularly advised as the best time to go for hot air ballooning in Cappadocia. Some of our pilots say the best time to fly is in winter as the bird view of Cappadocia when dressed in the snow is a must-see. Further, since the winter is off-season in Cappadocia, you will take advantage of the benefits like cheap balloon flight tickets, flying with less person, easily available and cheap accommodation. 


Do balloons fly during winter in Cappadocia? 

Yes, we do. Although there is a higher risk of cancellation of flights due to weather, we plan flights for every day. Unless you have 3 days or more stay in Cappadocia, there is nothing to worry. Balloon flight usually do not get cancelled three days consecutively. 


4 Things to Consider Before Booking a Hot Air Balloon Flight in Cappadocia

Are you about to finalise your balloon booking? No need to rush. It is important to take the points below into account before booking your balloon ride in Cappadocia. 


Do not arrange your balloon flight through your hotel

As most hotels impose commissions on balloon bookings you might get outpriced. Also, to maximize their commission, your hotel will make your booking with a balloon company who gives them the cheapest retail price. This means that you will fly with a poorly performing balloon operator. To get the best price from the best operator, it is highly advised to travellers to book directly with the balloon operator itself. 


Particularly look for experienced pilots 

Some perks and benefits may sound appealing, but remember that pilot flying skills holds greater importance when it comes to ballooning. Read this article to learn why pilot handling skills are crucial on hot air balloons. 


Make sure that your balloon will launch from the Centre of Cappadocia, Goreme. 

The magic of flying in Cappadocia is to rise with almost 200 balloons at the same time. Some balloon companies operating in Ihlara Valley (West part of Cappadocia Region) advertise their flights as if they launch from the centre of Cappadocia where most ballooners' launch bases are located. To avoid potential frustration, ask for confirmation of the launch site before you book a hot air balloon flight. 


Book your balloon flight at least one month in advance. 

In Cappadocia, balloon tickets are likely to sell out three weeks in advance. So we'd highly recommend travellers to book as early as possible in order to secure their seat.  


Is flying with low passenger capacity hot air balloons better for keeping social distance onboard?

For those looking for a quick answer: NO, they are simply not related. It is today's number one rule: To mitigate the risk of virus transmission, avoid crowded places and keep your social distance even if prevailing conditions make it barely possible. Shortly, more space and room matters! 


One question that bothers adventurers dreaming of soaring through beautiful skies of Cappadocia on a hot air balloon during these uncertain times is whether they should opt for smaller balloons and less passenger capacity baskets to fly with. But the fact is that there is no difference between a higher passenger capacity balloon and a lower passenger capacity balloon in terms of the space allocated for per passenger within their compartment.

We know travellers tend to believe that the less the carrying capacity of a balloon the more room each passenger will have onboard though there is no correlation between these two. Travellers are incorrectly advised to book balloon flights that use lower passenger-carrying capacity hot air balloons although there is no logical rationale behind it. Since each passenger will have the same level of personal room onboard, what makes smaller balloons safer than bigger ones in terms of protecting yourself from Coronavirus? 


In a nutshell, flying with a higher capacity balloon will help no better your social distancing onboard than flying with lower passenger-carrying capacity balloons. So when booking your balloon flight in Cappadocia, consider that lower passenger capacity does not necessarily mean more space per passenger on a hot air balloon. 


Six main factors affecting the price of your balloon ride in Cappadocia

We know that balloon flight is the most expensive part of your Cappadocia trip. So it is good to know the factors that influence balloon ticket prices in Cappadocia. 


1) Basket Capacity & Cappadocia Hot Air Balloons Slot System

In Cappadocia, a balloon operator can only operate as many balloons as the number of its slots allotted by the Civil Aviation Authority of Turkey. To reduce air traffic, the Civil Aviation Authority of Turkey permits up to 150 balloons to fly at the same time in Cappadocia zone. But at this point, a question arises: how does the Cappadocia slot allocation system affect balloon ticket prices? Here is the answer: When a balloon company in Cappadocia uses its limited slots to operate its smaller capacity balloons, it actually reduces its passenger-carrying capacity. For instance, private balloon flights are extremely expensive in Cappadocia, though operating a balloon with a lower passenger capacity is fairly cheap for the ballooner. 


2) Timing of Flight

In Cappadocia, balloon ticket prices vary greatly depending on the season. To not pay over €250 per person for a balloon ride, it would be clever to plan your Cappadocia trip for wintertime. Due to low demand, balloon companies usually offer great discounts up to 50% off during slow times while during the peak season, you might find yourself trying to arrange your balloon ride on the black market. 

Pro tip: If your agenda does not allow you to travel Cappadocia during winter but at the same time you don't want to get overcharged for a balloon flight, Book as EARLY as possible directly with the operator and DON'T leave it to last minute. 


3) Insurance Prices

According to the Civil Aviation Act of Turkey, to operate a hot air balloon, it must have all-inclusive insurance covering passengers. Changes and fluctuation in reinsurance rates directly influence balloon ticket prices. In 2018, balloon flight prices have dramatically increased in Cappadocia proportionately with the rising cost of hot air balloon insurance. 


4) Competition

Hot air balloon sector in Cappadocia is characterised by stiff competition which can cause the balloon flight prices to fall. Some balloon operators tend to drop prices even when they face an unexpected decline in demand for a temporary period, which eventually forces other operators to lower their prices.


5) Direct & Indirect Balloon Booking

In Cappadocia, there are numerous travel agents, third-party sellers and hotels who advertise and sell balloon flight tickets on various online platforms. Remember that they take commissions from your booking and usually overcharge their clients. In Cappadocia, booking your balloon flight through the balloon operator itself can save up to %50 off. Further, most ballooners offer best-price guarantee for direct bookers and attach greatest to importance them. Direct bookers are usually accommodated on sunrise flights and receive more personalised attention while those who booked their balloon flight through a travel agent are usually allocated for late-morning flights and experience poor customer service. 


6) Capacity Restrictions (Post-COVID Factor)

According to the guidelines for safe ballooning issued by The Civil Aviation Authority of Turkey, hot air balloons must be set to fly low capacity. Decreased passenger-carrying capacity on balloons drives ticket prices higher.


4 Things to Consider Before Booking A Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

Ballooning through the beautiful valleys of Cappadocia is a great way to discover the surrealistic rock formations that makes up the land. Cappadocia offers its visitors a balloon festival that takes place every early morning. Going on a balloon ride in Cappadocia is one of the most unique flying experiences because there is no other place on the earth where 150 balloons ascend together from the same launch site. Thanks to the lunarlike landscape of Cappadocia, when flying with a hot air balloon, passengers usually get a feeling that they are flying on a different planet. It also gives a bird's eye view of hidden churches an fairy chimneys that are not accessible by roads, such as the Pancarlık Church and Kızıl Valley.


The idea of flying over the other-worldly landscape of Cappadocia sounds so appealing that you wouldn't need to delve into details, yet there are important things to consider before booking your balloon flight. Therefore to prevent your dream balloon flight from turning into a disappointment, it is important that you book your balloon ticket smartly in Cappadocia. 

Here are four awesome tips on how to book your balloon ride in Cappadocia:


Book directly with the operator.

The first thing to know that ballooning is an expensive activity. There are a lot of fake cheap balloon ride deals online. To protect yourself against scams, always try to book your balloon flight directly with the ballooner itself, avoid third-party sellers who tend to give false or misleading information to travellers. You can also have a look at this blog for further reasons to book your balloon flight directly with the balloon company.


Make sure the operator's flight crew consists of professionals

Hot air balloon operations can sometimes ve highly problematic due to its dependency on ever-changing weather conditions. Providing a smooth and hassle-free flying experience for passengers requires an agile flight crew on the spot. Therefore, the operator's flight crew and ground operations staff must be highly experienced in delivering excellent hot air balloon flight service. Click here to learn more about Urgup Balloons Team.


Book at least one month in advance

During the peak time of the season (April, May, June, September, October), all balloon tickets tend to get sold out three weeks in advance. So in order to secure your place in the skies of Cappadocia, we'd recommend travellers to book their balloon flight as early as possible. You can also take advantage of early booking benefits like discounted prices. 

Pro tip: Additionally, keep in mind most balloon companies in Cappadocia offer special group rates (ask for group discount).


Make sure the address of your accommodation eligible for complimentary pick-up & drop-off service. 

Bear in mind that during your stay in Cappadocia, the address of your accommodation must be in the towns of Cappadocia (Urgup, Goreme, Avanos, Uchisar, Ortahisar, Mustafapasa, Nevsehir, Nar). If you're staying out of the previously mentioned towns, you may be charged an additional pick-up & drop-off service fee.


List of Balloon Companies in Cappadocia

When it comes to ballooning, it would be fair to say balloon companies operating in Cappadocia are industry experts. All operators have a minimum of 5 years of experience in ballooning and accumulated knowledge of hot air balloon flight operations. Because hot air balloon operators plan and conduct flight nearly every day in Cappadocia, they are well-experienced professionals at ballooning. The Civil Aviation Authority of Turkey also adopts a proactive approach in regulating the hot air balloon industry in order to ensure balloon companies take necessary measures when conducting their flight operations. A few operators have even started internationalizing their ballooning activities to some other countries like Dubai, Myanmar, and Morocco. 


There are nearly 26 balloon companies in Cappadocia. The list of these companies are as follows:

1. Urgup Balloons
2. Voyager Balloons
3. Goreme Balloons
4. Royal Balloons
5. Turkiye Balloons
6. Anatolian Balloons 
7. Kapadokya Balloons
8. Butterfly Balloons 
9. Turquaz Balloons 
10. Flower Balloons
11. Güvercin Balloons
12. Universal Balloons
13. Istanbul Balloons
14. Asiana Balloons 
15. Kaya Balloons 
16. Sultan Balloons 
17. Deluxe Balloons
18. Ez-air Balloons
19. Air Kapadokya Balloons
20. Discovery Balloons
21. Balon Turca Balloons 
22. THK Balloons
23. Atlas Balloons