Flights of Fancy: 5 Awesome Hot Air Balloon Rides

If you’ve ever fancied floating up, up and away on a hot air balloon, you could realise this dream on your next trip. Our partner Holiday Lettings suggests breathtaking places from the Serengeti to Switzerland for your flight. The sky is, literally, the limit here - so what are you waiting for?

Best adventure ride hot air balloon Turkey
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The Cappadocia region boasts enchanting scenes of fairy chimneys (surreal rock formations) and Flintstones-style cave dwellings; and there’s no better way of taking in this magical setting than drifting over it in a hot air balloon. As you do, the pink dawn lights up pretty vineyards and orchards. It’s a really popular area for hot air ballooning so you’ll also probably spot lots of other brightly hued balloons, fluttering from valley to valley.

Once you’ve landed, it’s well worth getting up close to the area’s extraordinary features. Ducking inside the tunnels of the ancient underground city at Derinkuyu is an excellent starting point. As the day goes on, how about travelling north to the Zelve Open Air Museum, an abandoned cave town in Göreme? Then climb to the top of neighbouring Uchisar Castle, a vast rock with chambers hewn into it – it’s the perfect place to see the sun go down.

Winter adventure hot air balloon Switzerland

Jagged peaks piercing a cerulean sky characterise this classic ride over the town of Château-d'Oex’s archetypal Alpine scenery. You hover over mountain villages stuffed with adorable chalets; the rugged summits form an amazingly powerful backdrop. With any luck, you’ll spy dozens of balloons taking part in the town’s International Balloon Festival. Scattered across the horizon, they add splashes of intense colour to a snow-white valley.

Carry on your heavenly journey with a trip to the Espace Ballon museum just to the south of Château-d'Oex and commemorate the adventures of other hot air ballooners. It’s not far from the museum to Wispile mountain where you can take a cable car up and absorb the fantastic views. As you stumble back down, you’ll definitely fancy luxurious white truffle tagliatelle at Restaurant Chesery, which is just a few minutes away in the town of Saanen.

Fantastic hot air balloon rides in USA
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Feel the desert morning’s crisp air on your face as you soar above the rugged high desert terrain of New Mexico. Here, the sunrise explodes over the Sandia Mountains and the Rio Grande River Valley below. If you look hard, you might glimpse coyotes and roadrunners waking up. Or 500 hot air balloons celebrating the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. It’s also well worth catching the fiesta’s display of balloons with weird and wonderful shapes.

While you’re in Albuquerque, you’ll definitely want to investigate hot air balloons’ heritage at the Anderson Abruzzo International Balloon Museum a few miles north of the city centre. Weaving your way through the historic Old Town district and admiring the quaint Spanish colonial architecture is a lovely way to spend an afternoon. Or follow the crowds east and watch the Albuquerque Isotopes baseball team play at the stadium on match night.

Breathtaking hot air ballooning in UK
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This trip starts with a masterclass on operating the balloon (yes, you can help the pilot). Or just sit back and enjoy gorgeous vistas of Bristol’s beautiful cityscape and the surrounding area’s gently undulating countryside. If you can, do also come back for the annual Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. A highlight is the ‘nightglow’, when 30 balloons blaze away up into the night sky and fireworks illuminate the city’s landmarks and the surrounding hills.

When you’re back in central Bristol, why not come aboard Brunel’s ss Great Britain? She was the first luxury liner on the ocean wave and still gives a vivid impression of a Victorian-era voyage. You could then drop by the nearby Harbourside to admire local street artist Banksy’s work The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum. And if you drive a few minutes on along the water then you’ll reach the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the city’s symbol for nearly 150 years.

Unforgettable balloon travel  in Tanzania
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Taking to the skies over the Serengeti’s vast plains is a terrific alternative to an earth-bound safari. When dawn breaks over the golden savanna, you get a unique birds-eye view as 2 million wildebeest and 500,000 gazelle come to life. As you float just over the treetops, you may see giraffes and zebras too. You’ll also glimpse a mesmerising delta of meandering rivers and beautiful acacia trees.

For a different perspective on this magical land, there’s nothing better than venturing across it on foot. Begin the day with a stroll along the Grumeti River where you might see crocodiles and zebras. Then it’s only right to travel to the Olduvai Gorge and enjoy displays of local fossils at the museum there in the afternoon. Climbing to the top of the volcanic Ngorongoro Crater to the east of the Serengeti and gazing into the gigantic crater makes the perfect end to the day.

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Exploring the world’s most beautiful places is a tough job but somebody has got to do it! I’ve loved exploring since spending childhood summers in Newport, Rhode Island and Marstrand, a little island off the west coast of Sweden.

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