Balloon tours resume at Ihlara Valley
The hot air balloon trips in the Ihlara Valley in the Central Anatolian province of Aksaray, which is the starting point of the iconic touristic attraction Cappadocia, have resumed after they had to be halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 14-kilometer-long valley lures visitors, who can go all the way down the valley with 394 step stairs, with its ancient churches and landscape.
Some eight companies have received permission to fly balloons after the services were halted during the pandemic, adding that the trips would be held on a more regular basis next year, Hamza Aydoğdu, governor of the province, told reporters.
“We came here after the morning call to prayer, took off from the valley, and are going to the Selime Cathedral. The difference between this trip and other tour areas is that you are traveling in the largest canyon in the world by balloon. It is incredibly enjoyable, and we would like everyone to see this difference,” he explained.
Underlining the beauty of the view during the trip, balloon pilot Süleyman Kara said that the tour continues towards Selime Cathedral on a route of about 3 to 4 kilometers, adding as the wind takes the balloon to the cathedral, it makes the trip longer and more attractive.
Tourists, both from Türkiye and foreign countries, who are enthralled by rock-carved places, churches and vegetation in the Ihlara Valley, prefer a balloon trip starting with sunrise.