1. Loire Valley, FranceRelive your fairytale fantasies in Loire Valley, home to over 800 castles and manor houses. Stretching over 170 miles, Loire Valley is located approximately 200 miles away from Paris and offers stunning views of stone villages, rivers, sunflower fields, vineyards, and of course, chateaus that would seem to come straight out of a story book.
2. The Outback, AustraliaRight in the heart of Australia lies Alice Springs, the gateway for exploring Red Centre, home to the greatest Australian flora and fauna, including the red kangaroos. There is nothing quite like a hot air balloon ride over the central Australian desert. Since the ride begins before dawn, what awaits you is a sky filled with stars. This is also the best seat to catch the sunrise!
3. Gstaad, SwitzerlandHave you ever wondered how the Alps look like from above? Imagine floating past the breathtaking snow covered Swiss mountains and valleys. Going on a hot air balloon ride in the winter may sound like a crazy idea, but you will definitely forget about the cold the moment you catch the sight of these majestic mountain landscapes against a cerulean sky.
4. Napa Valley, California, USAExperience this award-winning flight over vast swaths of vineyards that appear like a quilt from a bird’s eye view. There are daily scheduled morning rides that carry you over rows of grape vines and between the mountains of one of the most beautiful valleys in the world. San Francisco, or The City according to the locals, can be sighted as well.
5. Queenstown, New ZealandFans of Lord Of The Rings wouldn’t want to miss going hot air ballooning here! From rivers to mountains, Queenstown offers a variety of views, including several filming locations of iconic film trilogy. These include Dimrill Dale, The Ford Of Bruinen, The Pillars Of The Kings, The Gates Of Argonath, as well as Mount Earnslaw, one of the great mountains seen in Isengard, the fictional universe of Middle-Earth created by J. R. R. Tolkien. Not a fan of the series? Worry not, as Queenstown still offers other magnificent views such Mount Tutoko in Fiord National Park, Coronet Peak and The Remarkable ski areas, Lake Wakatipu and Kawarau rivers to name a few.
6. Istria, CroatiaIstria is said to be the best place in Europe to go on a hot air balloon ride. This doesn’t seem to be untrue, since Istria is also dubbed as “The Croatian Tuscany”. What await you are the amazing sights of oak forests, rolling hills, wheatfields and lush vineyards, as well as hilltop towns like Motuvun, and its 13th century Romanesque-Gothic bell tower.
7. Serengeti National Park, TanzaniaImagine watching the majestic lions, magnificent giraffes and beautiful flamingos feeling like one of the birds in sky. Now, you can float over the wildlife of Africa with the help of hot air balloons. The balloons take off from three different sites: Central Serengeti where there is permanent water at the Seronera River Valley which attracts all kinds of animals all year round; Western Serengeti where the Grumeti River is, the scene of the Great Migration of thousands of gnu throughout June and July; and Southern Serengeti, home to wildebeests from December onwards. So, make sure you know when is the best time to visit before you choose your takeoff location.
8. Bagan, MyanmarIf you think hot air balloon flights are non-existent in South East Asia, think again. For many years, Balloons Over Bagan have established themselves as the pioneer company that offers hot air balloon rides in the country, but a new competitor who joined the scene in 2013 has also started to make a name for themselves.
9. Cappadocia, TurkeyWhat’s a list of places to go hot air ballooning around the world without even a mention of Cappadocia? Arguably the most popular place for hot air balloon rides, Cappadocia offers spectacular landscapes as the balloon drifts over valleys with grand rock formations, orchards and vineyards, and beautifully rippled ravines. The balloons typically travel from 4 to 20 km, depending on the weather conditions.
10. North PoleApparently, seeing the Arctic from above is not impossible anymore! For over two decades, Quark Expedition has become the world leader in polar adventures, and now the company makes the opportunity to fly across the North Pole possible and claims to be the only company that offers this unique hot air balloon ride chance.
11. Albuquerque, New MexicoCalm winds and mild temperatures in Albuquerque allow year-round hot air ballooning in the state. It’s the perfect place to go on a balloon ride and experience Albuquerque from a whole new perspective (and altitude!). There’s even a saying that missing a balloon flight in Albuquerque is like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. Since hot air balloon is such a common activity here, there are more than 300 companies here that operate balloon rides, from standard to private flights.
12. Luxor, EgyptWhat could be better than admiring the land of Pharaohs? The answer is, doing just that from the heavens (or more accurately, from a hot air balloon, the closest we can get to that). Hot air balloon rides are incredibly popular in Luxor, especially since they offer a spectacular view of the Valley of the Kings, including the Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut beneath the cliffs of Deir el Bahari, as well as the iconic Nile River. Here’s the chance to watch the sun rise over Egypt’s famous ancient monuments, giving a golden look upon the ruins. Flight duration is about 45 minutes to one hour daily. Some flights do get cancelled though depending on the weather conditions. [caption id="attachment_13129" align="alignnone" width="950"]