Best Hot Air Balloon Rides in the World – 2022
We had come a long way since 1783, when King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, along with 130,000 French citizens, watched as a sheep, a duck and a rooster flew over Versailles in the first hot air balloon ride. Over time, humans became so comfortable in these pockets of silk and gas that they used them to cross the oceans and, later, to go around the world.
However, when the Wright brothers began flying aeroplanes, balloons went out of style. But this seemingly outdated form of transit is worth checking out. After all, there is no more incredible thrill than feeling the wind in your hair while taking in the breathtaking 360-degree views. If taking this epic ride isn’t on your bucket list yet, it will be after reading our list of the top eight destinations for a hot air balloon ride.
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1. Cappadocia, Turkey – Best Hot Air Balloon Rides in the World – Hot Air Balloon Rides
Thanks to its Instagram-friendly landscape, Cappadocia could be the most famous hot air balloon destination in the world. You’ve likely seen photos of the vibrant multi-coloured hot air balloons floating among Cappadocia’s iconic fairy chimneys. The surreal rock formations and lush landscape of the Anatolia region of central Turkey may impress from the ground, but they look incredibly epic from 3,000 feet up.
But before you get on board, explore the area’s long history. Although natural sculptures were shaped by erosion over the years, humans have lived within them since 1800 BC. The caves and tunnels in the area have served as a refuge during disputes between Greeks and Persians and Christian persecution. To this day, entire underground cities still exist. You will want to see the monasteries, chapels, stables and warehouses up close after your trip.
If you can, stay inside one of the cave dwellings that now serve as hotels. As the summer gets incredibly sweaty and crowded, opt for a fall or spring trip.
2. Albuquerque, New Mexico – Best Hot Air Balloon Rides in the World – Hot Air Balloon Rides
Every October, spectators worldwide flock to New Mexico to attend the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta of nine days, the world’s largest hot air balloon festival. It is remarkable that photographers, painters and other visual artists also attend. Do your best to catch one of the festival’s four massive ascents when more than 500 brightly coloured balloons are flying at the same time.
It is a magical sight whether observed from heaven or earth. Also worth attending is the pre-dawn Dawn Patrol ride and the Glowedo evening session. The high elevation, dry heat, and calm winds make a smooth flight year-round. You can also learn about the culture, science and spectacle of ballooning at the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Ballooning Museum. The equipment and memorabilia on display provide plenty of historical contexts.
3. Queenstown, New Zealand – Best Hot Air Balloon Rides in the World
New Zealand is undoubtedly a destination for nature lovers and adrenaline junkies, But it’s not just about bungee jumping, skydiving, rappelling, rafting, and canyoning. Take a break from extreme sports and try something more serene.
Although it still provides a run, a hot air balloon ride offers more time to soak up the views of the lake and mountains. But these are not just lakes and mountains; they are the Southern Alps and the gigantic Lake Wakatipu. If they remind you of “The Lord of the Rings”, “The Hobbit”, “Avatar”, or “The Chronicles of Narnia”, it is because all these movies were filmed in the area.
The surrounding vineyards, golf courses, and mining towns look like dots as you go through the clouds at 6,000 feet. Each trip ends with a Champagne celebration. You can enjoy a morning cocktail, tea, coffee.
4. Atacama Desert, Chile – Best Hot Air Balloon Rides in the World
If you want to know what a balloon flight over Mars feels like, a walk through the Atacama Desert will give you a good idea. At about 41,000 square miles, the area is more significant than Iceland and South Korea. Its sheer cliffs and rugged pink dunes are out of this world. Rain is infrequent; some parts of the Atacama Desert have not had rain in 400 years. And while you can expect the oldest and driest desert in the world to be desolate, it’s just the opposite.
The Atacama is full of life, from 500 plants to small towns honour ancient traditions. You will likely see some Chilean flamingos flying in a V formation during your hot air balloon ride. There are also vast salt flats, active geysers, white-cap volcanoes, and blue lagoons to observe. A sunrise ride offers panoramic views of the high plateau as you wind through a rainbow of colours. Tip: You’ll want to layer because mornings start to cool down and heat up quickly.
5. Maasai Mara, Kenya – Best Hot Air Balloon Rides in the World
An African safari-It’s every animal lover’s dream trip, but it can be even more magical from above. A hot air balloon ride over the Masai Mara National Reserve in southwestern Kenya includes views of grassy plains, rolling hills and rushing rivers, as well as wildlife.
Even though an outdoor safari vehicle will bring you closer to the creatures, there’s nothing like dancing on the treetops and plunging into clearings as antelope, lions, cheetahs, elephants, hippos and buffalo gather and hunt. And when you’re ready, ask your driver to climb to dizzying heights for all-encompassing views of the savanna. You can even see the edges of Tanzania and the Rift Valley in the distance.
The climate in East Africa is almost always favourable, and wildlife can be observed year-round. Still, you’ll want to time your trip with the wildebeest, gazelle and zebra migration, which takes place between July and October over the Mara River. Several Masai Mara National Reserve lodges offer balloon flights as part of your safari package, so ask at the front desk.
6. Loire Valley, France – Best Hot Air Balloon Rides in the World
A hot air balloon ride through the valley of the Loire. It will provide you with a panoramic view of the castles, forts, palaces, castles and mansions of the region named a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the Loire Valley is located 200 kilometres southwest of Paris and is full of stone villages, rustic vineyards, beautiful sunflower fields, enchanting forests and meandering rivers.
In addition to its beauty and splendour, you’ll want to leave some time to enjoy the local cuisine (think pears, plums, goat cheese, sausages, and pike in a white butter sauce). However, his true claim to fame is Sancerre, Saumur, Muscadet and Chinon. Pro tip: better take off in the spring when flora begins to bloom, castles open to visitors, and the cold of winter has left the air.
7. Bagan, Myanmar – Best Hot Air Balloon Rides in the World
You will not be able to visit the ancient city of Bagan without seeing hot air balloons floating in the skies, but you shouldn’t leave without boarding one for yourself. The 2,300 temples, pagodas and stupas in the area are magnificent when viewed on foot or by electric bike, but you can only observe the scale of it all adrift. These monuments point to the incredible history of Myanmar (formerly Burma).
Bagan, the capital of the Pagan Kingdom from the 9th to the 13th century, was the seat of the rulers who united the regions that now make up the country. The balloons take off from the southern tip of Bagan and follow the wind over some of the most significant and most iconic monuments, such as the Ananda and Dhammayangyi temples. Don’t forget to admire palm and tamarind trees and the mist-shrouded Mount Popa volcano in the distance.
The season in Bagan lasts from mid-October to mid-March, but the winds are milder, and the air is cooler from December to February. Do your best to schedule your ride in the soft light of sunrise or sunset.
8. North Pole – Best Hot Air Balloon Rides in the World
Few people can experience 360-degree views of the North Pole. Few people experience the North Pole at all. Join the exclusive club by boarding an expedition in the Arctic and registering for a hot air balloon ride. The balloon is technically tethered, but you’ll still have that wonderful windy feeling while looking at the ice sheets below. You won’t see Santa’s workshop, but keep your eyes peeled for polar bears, ringed seals, orca whales, and arctic foxes.
And at the center of it all, Uluru, a strange red monolith that rises like a rounded mountain created by the gods.
9. Istria, Croatia – Best Hot Air Balloon Rides in the World
The Istrian peninsula is the largest in the Adriatic. Bordering Italy and Slovenia, it is part of Croatia. Its landscape consists of green mountains, valleys, vineyards, rivers, and small towns rich in historical and architectural heritage that overlook a beautiful coastline.
Among them, the city of Pula stands out, the largest in Istria and of the most significant monumental importance. From the 1st century, its Arena has been one of the best-preserved Roman theaters globally and the sixth-largest in the world.
Also, the small coastal town of Rovinj attracts a large number of tourists every year, and don’t miss the waters, combined with the green of the Premantura nature park.
The best time of year to fly in a balloon over Istria is September and October, when the heat has subsided.
10. Serengeti, Tanzania – Best Hot Air Balloon Rides in the World
The Great Migration. This is how the pilgrimage is known as more than a million wildebeest make each change of season between the plains of the Serengeti and the Masai Mara, looking for better pastures and sources of water.
They travel gazelles, elephants, giraffes, zebras, and the big cats, who lurk to catch their prey. It is a unique visual and wild spectacle. Something that you will not find anywhere else in the world. If it is impressive to contemplate it from ground level, in typical safaris, the experience from the air does not make you doubt the inclusion of the Serengeti as one of the best places in the world to ride a balloon.
11. The Outback, Australia – Best Hot Air Balloon Rides in the World
Another of the best places to ride a balloon is the central territory of Australia, known as Outback.
Miles and miles of reddish earth are dotted with green and brown bushes and traversed by some mountain ranges that look rusty. Mother Nature roams freely in such a dramatic landscape. Dingoes, kangaroos, reptiles, and other animals replace human beings.
Seeing all this at sunrise from the heights of the sky is something you will never forget.
You can organize your trip in Alice Springs, the town that acts as a shuttle for visits to Uluru.
12. Luxor, Egypt – Best Hot Air Balloon Rides in the World
In the vicinity of Luxor is the Valley of the Kings, where most of the New Kingdom pharaohs of ancient Egypt are located. This cemetery was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979, and since the end of the 1980s, it has become one of the best places to ride a balloon. In addition, it is one of the cheapest as well.
They generally stay a few degrees lower than north, but you might be lucky. As of 2018, only one travel company. It offers this rugged adventure and is incredibly weather dependent. You will need to plan your trip between June and September when the North Pole is warmest and receives constant sunlight. And by warmer, we still mean freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit). That may sound not good, but it sure beats the -40 degree winter temperatures.
You will find the best place in the world to ride a balloon in winter in the Swiss Alps, specifically in the highlands of Bern (Berner Oberland).
Here, near the city of Gstaad, the last week of January takes place the International Hot Air Balloon Festival at Chateau d’Oex.
Ideally, get up at 4 am and leave on the first sunrise flight. The temperature in this arid region is still pleasant at that time. On a clear day, you can enjoy the view of the Luxor, Karnak, and Hatseput temples.
13. Gstaad, Switzerland – Best Hot Air Balloon Rides in the World
It is a show where you cannot stop looking at both the sky and the earth. The valleys and snowy peaks offer a magical picture, but the atmosphere is no less so, turned into a multicolored mosaic by the fabric of the balloons.
Where is it best to go on a hot air balloon?
Sedona, Arizona – Arizona’s out-of-this-world beautiful red-rock country around Sedona is another of the world’s best places to visit to take a hot air balloon ride. The larger-than-life scenery is best appreciated in full from above as the sun rises and makes the rocks glow crimson in a pink- and purple-tinged sky.
How much does a hot air balloon cost in India?
The prices for hot air balloon rides in India typically range from INR 8,500 – INR 12,000 per adult, per flight. While hot air balloon rides aren’t cheap, the thrill and excitement associated with them make them worth every penny you spend!
What is the best time of year to go hot air ballooning?
When is the best time to fly? Hot air ballooning is a year-round sport. Weather conditions for ballooning are best just after sunrise and 2-3 hours before sunset. Light, ideal winds (4-6 mph) often occur during these times.
Where is the biggest hot air balloon festival in the world?
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico, USA. An event that takes place every October, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is said to be the biggest hot air balloon festival in the world.
Unique balloon flight. Why is the balloon ride unique at each time of the year?
Each balloon flight is unique. Many clients ask us what the best time to come to fly in a balloon is. And the truth is that there is no better or worse time. Each time makes the balloon flight a unique experience.
Why does each time of the year make the balloon flight unique?
Each time of year, each season, has characteristics that make ballooning unique. We all know what the climates are like in each season. Well, this makes the balloon flight unique.
Flights in Glob or winter
We know that winter is cold. We are having very mild winters lately, which allow us to enjoy a lot of outdoor activities, like flying in a hot air balloon. But there is more. In winter, it dawns later. The day that dawns later in the whole year is December 23, at 8:40 a.m. Keep in mind that we will meet a little before sunrise to make the balloon flights. This means that we will not have to get up very early to enjoy this great activity. On many winter days, we will have other characteristics: blue skies and a more ‘blue’ light that allows us to ‘see further. From the balloon flight, we will be able to see things that are far away with more clarity and sharpness.
The balloon flights are carried out in areas with mountainous systems in the background, such as the Sierra del Guadarrama. In the flight in Madrid, we will see its south face, the Maliciosa, and in the balloon flights in Segovia, we will see its north face, like the Woman Dead. Well, in the balloon flights in winter, with the snow-covered Sierra del Guadarrama background, it is the perfect postcard to live a unique experience and a unique balloon flight.
If you want to know more about visibility and daylight in winter, you can consult this exciting article by Antoni Rubio.
One of the fears of flying in a balloon is the cold these days. Well, above our heads, we have the balloon burner, which keeps us in the air and gives us a lot of heat. It’s the perfect heating! It is a unique balloon flight!
Hot air balloon flights in summer
Summer is the preferred time for outdoor activities and also for ballooning. We will have to get up a little bit earlier, since it dawns earlier, which allows us to enjoy a long day in which we have not been able to start in a better way than enjoying an activity such as balloon flight. We can fly in short sleeves and enjoy the harvested vast fields. The days have a more orange light, and we can enjoy incredible sunrises from our basket. In summer, we do a unique balloon flight.
Flying in a balloon in autumn or spring
Autumns and springs are also perfect to come and fly in a balloon. These are times when we still do not have to get up as early as in summer, the temperatures are milder, and each of these times, nature offers us colors that cannot be enjoyed from a better balcony than a balloon flight. The yellows, browns, and other of autumn, the blooms, the different greens of the cultivated fields, whether cereals or other products, are admired from the balloon flight with a unique perspective. The characteristics of autumn or spring make a special balloon flight.
Not every time anymore. Every day is unique! Each balloon flight is memorable!
Every day, it has a different light, clouds, or sky. And this makes each balloon flight we do each day unique. On some flights we will enjoy open and clear skies, others some clouds can give the perfect contrast …
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Last update on 2022-02-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API