Hot Air Balloon Flight Over Cappadocia
Going on a hot air balloon flight is definitely one of the reasons for visiting Cappadocia. The landscape from above is simply breathtaking and with all the balloons in the air, it was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.
We flew with the company called Butterfly Ballons. They are among the best hot air balloon companies in Turkey, so it wasn’t hard to decide to book a flight with them. Butterfly Balloons is a small company which has incredibly experienced pilots who are extremely knowledgeable about the countryside. You can learn about the history, landscape, culture, and traditions while gliding in the air and to do this well, a pilot must be knowledgeable and he must speak your language fluently.
The company is number one on numerous travel forums, it is recommended by many guide books like Lonely Planet and it is the first choice of Rick Steves in the USA.
We spend a few days in Cappadocia and we stayed at the Kelebek Cave Hotel. The company Butterfly Balloons is partly owned by longtime Göreme hotelier Ali Yavuz of the Kelebek Hotel and the name Kelebek means in Turkish butterfly, so it all makes sense.
The Butterfly Balloon crew was hand-picked for their knowledge of the area, their experience with the balloons, their driving skills and their huge sense of humor! The pilots at Butterfly Balloons hold British, French and American commercial pilot’s licenses validated by the Turkish Civil Aviation Authority. The company holds an approved Air Operators Certificate and carries international-standard full passenger insurance for public transport. Most of the pilots have been with the company from the start. We had the pleasure to enjoy the flight operated by Mustafa Bozlak. Mustafa is the newest but one of the most experienced members of Butterfly family with more than 2300 hours of flight time. He has been involved in the ballooning business since 2000, first as a ground team and then received his piloting license in 2005.
We were picked up at 4.45am from Kelebek Cave Hotel in Goreme and driven all of a few hundred meters down the hill to the offices of Butterfly Balloons. There we were pleasantly greeted and offered light breakfast. In the meantime, our pilots checked the weather conditions and decided on the best launch site and the preferred flight path. After a few minutes, our journey began. We were driven to the launch site. A ballon already waited for us, so we jumped to the basket with a help of the crew and off we went high above the clouds.
Butterfly Balloons usually avoids filling the balloon basket completely in order to give passengers more room and greater comfort. Their baskets are Double-T, which means divided into 5 compartments. The central one is for the pilot and the tanks whilst the four corner compartments are for passengers. There were four people in our part of the basket, so we had plenty of room moving around. The whole basket can be filled up with 16 or more people. Duration of the flight is minimum one hour, but usually, it will be an hour an a half. So, from the pick-up at the hotel through to drop-off, time equals approximately three hours.
The balloon flight was magnificent. We saw amazing Cappadocian landscape with all its natural beauty. At times we were just a few meters off the ground as we passed rock caves and pigeon houses. Incredible! When it was time to land our pilot found a perfect landing spot with a great viewpoint over the valley. Once we landed we jumped out of the basket and a few minutes later we were offered a champagne to celebrate the experience we have just been a part of. Champagne Celebration is very serious in ballooning actually it is the most important detail of completing a balloon flight for pilots. The tradition goes way back when the Montgolfier brothers made the first flight in 1873 and celebrated a successful landing with champagne. With the champagne also comes a flight certificate for every passenger. It is a lovely gesture and a memorable gift to take home with.
The price for this whole unforgettable experience is 175 Euro per person (with 10 Euro discount on cash payment) and if you wish to enjoy Butterfly BEYOND Flight it will cost you 250 Euro per person (with 20 Euro cash discount). The difference between both flights is that you will get longer time in the air, there will be maximum of three people in your compartment and you will see twice as much then on the regular balloon flight.
The flight with Butterfly Balloons was definitely one of the highlights of our Cappadocian adventure. It is a must-do activity while you are in this part of the world. The company is one of the best in the region and all the pilots are professional and really friendly. The flight takes off before sunrise and the views are incredible. You will see the amazing landscape with lots and lots of balloons everywhere. And one of the nice things about these early morning flights is that you’ve had the thrill of the day, and then you still have a full day of fun ahead of you. What we can do is warmly recommend the Butterfly Balloons to everyone. You will have a flight of a lifetime!
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OurWorldTravelSelfies would like to thank Butterfly Balloons for welcoming this review. The opinion is as always, our own. Photos are courtesy of Our World Travel Selfies.