Cappadocia is home to some of the most magical sunrise spots in all of Turkey, and getting up at sunrise to watch the hot air balloons is basically a mandatory activity. No lie, we were up and out by 5:00am every day for four mornings in a row to explore all the sunrise spots in Cappadocia, and it seemed like everyone else in town was too!
Getting up early is not my favorite, but I would highly recommend taking advantage of every sunrise you have in Cappadocia. As we discovered, you can easily take a nap post hot air balloon watching and before breakfast. Plus, when will you ever see something like this again in your life?
I’ve put together a list of the best sunrise spots in Cappadocia to see hot air balloons and I have included their locations in Google Maps. Check out all of the spectacular viewpoints in this guide!
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Overview & Map: Sunrise Spots in Cappadocia
Here is your cheat sheet for a list of the best sunrise spots in Cappadocia to see hot air balloons. I’ve included a map of the best sunrise spots in Cappadocia, as well, and you can find all of the details in the post!
1. Cave Hotel
2. Love Valley (from a hot air balloon)
3. Balloon Takeoff Site
4. Pigeon Valley
5. Red Valley
Often Recommended: Lover’s Hill
Best Sunrise Spots in Cappadocia for Hot Air Balloons
1. Cave Hotel
Watching a Cappadocia sunrise from the rooftop of a cave hotel is a rite of passage. Not all cave hotel terraces are created equal, so choose wisely when selecting your hotel.
Sultan Cave Suites is the cave hotel terrace you’ll see splashed across Instagram. We didn’t stay there, but we did grab dinner there one evening, and the rooftop gives you a great view over Goreme. At sunrise, I could see the various photoshoots going down on the Sultan Cave Suites terrace (our hotel was just above Sultan) and let’s just say there were a lot of people each morning. If you’re patient and want the Sultan Cave Suites experience, absolutely go for it. From our viewpoint, it looked like most groups took turns to capture photos. The hot air balloons fly for quite a while, so there was time for everybody to snap their photos.
However, I would personally recommend Koza Cave Hotel, which is a little higher up the hill and had even more amazing views of the Cappadocia hot air balloons at sunrise. Their rooftop terrace was stunning and much less crowded than Sultan Cave Suites. The views and rooftop setup are very similar to Sultan Cave Suites, but the price tag is more affordable. Plus, the family that runs the hotel is so incredibly helpful and had great recommendations for everything in and around Goreme.
Another option is Mithra Cave Hotel. Like Koza, it has great views and a stunning sunrise setup for a reasonable budget. The hotel has multiple terraces, meaning more locations for photo ops and a lower likelihood of crowds! All three of these cave hotels are clustered in the same area of Goreme high on the hill and I would recommend this general location when choosing a cave hotel with the intention of hot air balloon viewing. They are all stunning sunrise spots in Cappadocia with great views of the hot air balloons.
2. Love Valley (from a hot air balloon)
Second on the list of top sunrise spots in Cappadocia to see the hot air balloons is Love Valley (approximate location here). My favorite views of Love Valley actually came from our hot air balloon ride. While you’re in the air, you’ll get so many great sunrise photo ops of Cappadocia, but my personal favorite was of the sunrise over Love Valley with the hot air balloons in the background.
If you’re looking for a good hot air balloon company, I would 1000% recommend Turquaz Ballooning. We used Turquaz for our hot air balloon experience (at the suggestion of our hotel), and it was an amazing experience. Turquaz tends to take off a little separately from other balloons, which gives you more of a personalized experience. Pre-flight, you’ll enjoy a light breakfast and the flight ends with a champagne toast on the ground.
Pro Tip: Book you hot air balloon experience well in advance. If you wait to book until you arrive in Cappadocia, you may get lucky. However, if there has been a streak of bad weather, you’ll have a bunch of backlogged fliers and you may not get a chance.
3. Balloon Takeoff Site
The balloon takeoff sites change each day depending on which direction the wind is blowing, so check in with a local company the day before to see if they know where they’ll launch. Our balloon launched here and we were one of just four balloons in the area.
Visiting a balloon takeoff site provides a truly unique experience and it is amazing to be able to get up close and personal with the giant balloons as they fire up and eventually take off. For this photo op, make sure to be at the takeoff site well before sunrise so you can scope out a spot with good views that will be out of the way of the balloon pilots.
4. Pigeon Valley
My next recommendation for top sunrise spots in Cappadocia to see the hot air balloons is Pigeon Valley (approximate location here). For this sunrise location, you’ll need to do a bit of hiking. I’d recommend navigating to Pigeon Valley Trailhead East and then see where the balloons may be drifting and making your way in that direction. Some mornings, the balloons drift north/east toward Red Valley and other mornings you’ll see more of a westward move toward Uchisar.
If you do choose to head to Pigeon Valley for sunrise, you’ll be starting your hike in the dark, so I’d recommend bringing a headlamp or a flashlight so you can hike safely.
5. Red Valley
Watching the sunrise from Red Valley may have been my favorite spot. We were the only people there and it was such a surreal experience. Again, the shots will be dependent upon the wind that morning, but if the balloons are flying in the direction of Red Valley, I would highly recommend this spot (location here).
A word of caution: the road to this spot is a bit bumpy (read: not paved) but it was definitely worth having the place to ourselves until the balloons started landing around us. The balloon landings made for some really cool photos since the balloons were low.
Bonus: Lover’s Hill
I decided to include Lover’s Hill (location here) as a bonus because it always makes it into the lists of top sunrise spots in Cappadocia to see hot air balloons. Full disclosure: we were planning to go here for one of our Cappadocia sunrises, but I changed my mind after driving past it one morning. I’ll give you all the details and my general pro/con list on the location.
There are plenty of good reasons to watch a sunrise here. If you don’t have a car, you can easily walk from Goreme to Lover’s Hill, though the path is steep. It is by far the most convenient sunrise spot in Cappadocia. Plus, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the balloons over the fairy chimneys.
However, when we drove by one morning, it looked pretty busy, and there were cars parked down the hill. They also now charge an entrance fee, whether you arrive by car or by foot. There are locals that will try to charge you to take your photo, which detracts from the experience. Overall, it seems a lot more touristy than other options, so I would only go to Lover’s Hill if you do not rent a car and do not have good views from the rooftop of your hotel. For me, the magic of the hot air balloons comes with being able to peacefully watch them with my husband without crowds or noise to distract us.
I don’t want to dissuade you if it is on your list, I only want to provide my take on the location and why we opted to skip it in favor of some other sunrise locations in Cappadocia. There are plenty of folks with absolutely rave reviews about Lover’s Hill, so take my advice with a grain of salt!
What Time is Sunrise in Cappadocia?
To snag the best photos, make sure you check what time your sunrise in Cappadocia will be. I used this site and checked the evening before.
One word of wisdom – the balloons actually take off before sunrise and if you get up a bit earlier, you can see hundreds of balloons all firing up in the early morning light. It is really cool, and I’d recommend that you be in your sunrise spot at least 20 minutes before sunrise is actually set to occur.
Where to Stay in Cappadocia
I am a crazy person that prioritizes sunrise photos over everything, so my first two recommendations are based on the views of the hot air balloons at sunrise. If you’re not much of a sunrise person, I’ll add in an additional recommendation, as well. No matter your style, you absolutely must stay in a cave hotel if it fits within your budget; it absolutely makes it a unique experience and I cannot recommend it enough.
Koza Cave Hotel: We opted to stay at Koza Cave Hotel for its views of the hot air balloons at sunrise, and it was absolutely the right decision. There are only a handful of rooms at Koza, meaning that the rooftop terrace never feels crowded, even if the hotel is fully booked! Plus, Koza serves an amazingly delicious Turkish breakfast each morning, and the family that owns it is so incredibly warm and helpful.
Mithra Cave Hotel: We could see the Mithra rooftop from Koza, and it was another option with an Instagram-worthy terrace setup. Like Koza, it was never packed like some of the other rooftops. It was also up at the top of the hill in Goreme, meaning it got some of the best views of the hot air balloons at sunrise.
Local Cave House Hotel: If you don’t absolutely have to have a hotel with a rooftop terrace at the top of the hill in Goreme, I’d recommend checking out the Local Cave House Hotel. I heard the hotel was cool, so obviously stopped by for a peek and a cold beverage, and can absolutely confirm it is magical. This is one of the only cave hotels with a pool in Goreme. The temps in Cappadocia can get pretty steamy in the afternoon, so it would have been nice to be able to jump in and cool off.
Getting Around Cappadocia
You have a few options when choosing to explore Cappadocia. You can rent a car, set up transportation with a guide, or join group tours.
1. Renting a car will give you the most flexibility of the options, and it is often the most budget-friendly when traveling with a group. To find your best deal on rentals in Cappadocia, check out Expedia. The site will filter through all the larger rental companies in the area so you can get your best deal. One thing to note here – there are certainly some cheaper deals, but oftentimes, they are with less reputable companies. I’d recommend either sticking with a global company you know (e.g. Alamo, Budget, Hertz, etc.) or thoroughly reading the reviews of the smaller companies. This option will give you the best chances of visiting all of the best sunrise spots in Cappadocia.
2. If you don’t want to drive but still want to make your own itinerary, I’d recommend doing a full-day car + guide package. This package gives you the freedom to design your own itinerary. Plus, the price is per group and can accommodate up to 15 people, so it is a cost-friendly alternative to tours if you are traveling with a group of family or friends.
3. If you don’t want to drive or are traveling solo, joining tours is a great option to see the sights in and around Cappadocia. You won’t have much flexibility in your itinerary, but you also won’t have to worry about creating an itinerary – you’ll be along for the ride! You’ll typically be choosing from the Red Tour (North), Green Tour (South), and Blue Tour (most off the beaten path), or a combination of the three, depending on how many days you have in Cappadocia.
I hope this guide to the best sunrise spots in Cappadocia to see hot air balloons has been helpful! If you have any favorite sunrise spots in Cappadocia, feel free to drop them in the comments!