Man always wanted to fly; even before the airplanes were invented. In the contemporary world where air travel seems to be a part of our usual lives, there is still a charm about flying in a hot air balloon, trying to navigate using the wind flow and getting a 360 degree view. It is one of those activities which simultaneously give an adrenaline rush as well as a feeling of tranquility at the same time. There is something divine about floating in a hot air balloon enjoying the vistas of nature. Everything beneath you seems so small and beautiful. You feel like a bird breaking away the shackles of everyday life. Now, that your interest might have peaked, let me take you through some of the most amazing places to do this ride.
1. Yarra Valley, Australia
Yarra Valley is just an hour’s drive from Melbourne and offers a very panoramic destination for a hot air balloon ride. It is an amalgamation of a lot of beautiful views ranging from world class vineries, stretches of mountains, beautiful orchards with the mountain peak of Great Divide acting as a perfect backdrop. You sure will fall in love with the place while you float in the air.
From lush green fields and pristine lakes to snow clad mountains, Switzerland is like a painter’s perfect creation. And what better way to appreciate it from high up in a hot air balloon where you can get a 360 degree view of one of the most beautiful place on this earth. . Festival in Château-d’Oex attracts the regulars from all around the world.
3. Orlando, Florida, USA
It is the theme park capital of the world. It offers quite a sight to behold as you gradually rise up in the balloon. Instead of the usual valleys and mountains, you get this urbane and unique view of the city and its theme parks. You can opt for either the sunrise or the sunset for your ride.
4. Queenstown, New Zealand
The only thing that can go wrong here is of you forget to carry your camera along with you on the ride. It offers an overdose of natural beauty and serenity which can only be truly witnessed if you are high up in a balloon. If you happen to be a Lord of the rings fan, you might just be able to recognize few of the movie scenes shot here.
5. Bristol, UK
You might wonder and question my choice of this hip city in England. However, it hosts an international annual balloon festival which attracts the enthusiasts from all over the world to witness the colorful and creative balloon fiesta.
6. Mount Bromo, Java, Indonesia
This is an upcoming destination for hot air ballooning with the growing popularity of this as a sport. It provides people with the opportunity to see the unearthly landscape of Mount Bromo and the surroundings are breathtaking to say the least.
7. South Africa
Ballooning in South Africa, especially in a game reserve comes with a plethora of additional benefits. Apart from the gorgeous landscapes and majestic views, you get to spot the BIG 5 of Africa out in its natural habitat and appreciate the wilderness. It is the most unique and fun way to spot the animals in the game reserve. To add to it you are welcomed with a glass of champagne and a delicious breakfast to celebrate your ride.
8. Napa Valley, California
A ride over the Napa Valley lets you have a picturesque view of the large vineyards as well as the wineries and homes in the surrounding area. It is a perspective you can have only when you are up above in the air.
9. Tuscany, Italy
Tuscany defines the beauty, Italy is all about. The green valleys, villas, amazing landscape and the vast vineyards appear even more majestic and marvelous when seen from above while in a hot air balloon. Late spring to early autumn is the time when people flock in large numbers to enjoy the ride coupled with some champagne and breakfast.
10. Cappadocia, Turkey
The unique landscape of Cappadocia covered with sandy brown desert and breathtaking limestone Rock Mountains with green olive groves, chimneys and cave churches scattered around makes it look like a page from a fairy tale book. Now add to it an aerial view of all this coupled with a close up view of the rocky limestone structures and what you get is once in a lifetime experience.
11. Bagan, Myanmar
The main tourist destination in the country is the ancient city. The view of the 2000 historic monuments, stupas and pagodas is nothing short of fascinating. The balloon companies are very professional and friendly and they will even pick you up from your hotel. The best time to visit is from October to April.
12. New Mexico, USA
New Mexico is an amalgamation of mountains, prairies and deserts. It makes the landscape very versatile and attracts millions of visitors during the balloon festivals which take place annually. It is an experience in itself to admire one of the biggest balloon rallies in the world. The festivals take place from September to January.
13. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
It is one of the greatest and most exciting national parks in the world which invites to have a hot air ballooning experience. The trip also includes “Out of Africa” breakfast and champagne served outdoors under the trees. If you do not want to see just the mountains and valleys and are looking for something more alive this is the place to be.
14. Ballooning in the Arctic
Some of us have already seen quite a lot of wildlife, rugged landscape, fairy tale images and volcanoes. For those who want to see something different and something more exotic, head over to the Arctic. While you float in the air you get to see captivating icy landscapes, polar bears, whales and migrating caribou. The very remoteness of this place adds an extra element of adventure in the ride.