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7 unmissable hot air balloon rides

Soar over green pastures, coast through deserts or drift across the arctic – we’ve found seven of the best locations to go up, up, up and away.

  02/07/2018 15:34

Cappadocia, Turkey

Famous for its fairy chimneys, the tall, thin spires of rock formed by lava flows, this Turkish city draws visitors from across the globe to experience nature’s wonders first-hand. On any given day, countless hot air balloons drift over Cappadocia in a kaleidoscope of colour.

While May to September is peak hot air ballooning season, rides are offered all year round – weather permitting. Take off in the early morning hours to enjoy a unique view of the region’s peaks and valleys – dotted with the iconic fairy chimneys and pigeon houses – as the sun rises before you.

Situated in the heart of Cappadocia, the Mithra Cave Hotel features both cave rooms and rooms decorded in Ottoman and Greek style.

Loire Valley, France

Home to more than 800 castles, at Loire Valley you can coast over vineyards, rivers and forests in a matter of minutes. Or soar over the grand Château Chenonceau, one of the most popular balloon ride journeys, and peek over the wicker basket at the fairytale-esque castle and grounds below.

Depending on the weather conditions, departures typically start early morning or mid-afternoon.Visit between April and October when the castles are open to the public and spring brings fantastic green views. Continue the luxury at Le Pavillon Des Lys, only a 5 minute walk from the Amboise Château.

Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada

The Canadian arctic is becoming a coveted destination for hot air balloon enthusiasts, thanks to the Arctic Kingdom Polar Ballooning – an arctic adventure company based in Iqaluit.

These awe-inspiring balloon expeditions give you a once-in-a-lifetime chance to fly between northern communities, or even across the Greenland ice cap, from Nunavut’s Baffin Island to Greenland.

As much of the territory’s ice turns to water during the summer months, ballooning takes places in the cooler months of the year. The Frobisher Inn is just a five-minute drive from the airport.

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

The Serengeti National Park is arguably the best place in Tanzania to see wildlife in their natural habitat andhot air balloon safari tour gives you a birds-eye view of the park.

Tours are available through central Serengeti all year round, but only seasonally in the Serengeti South and Western Corridor. And whatever the season, the height of the balloon will change depending on the weather conditions, which means that no two rides are the same.

Asanja Africa offers tented accommodation in the South-Central region of the park. Each of the tents represents a special Maasai Ceremony and is decorated in a complementary style.

Bagan, Myanmar

Home to thousands of historic monuments, stupas, and pagodas, Bagan is one of the country’s most visited cities and the best way to see the sheer scale of the iconic architecture is from the basket of a hot air balloon.

Ballooning is also a great way escape the hustle and bustle of the city, but you’re never alone in the sky – the horizon will be dotted with other balloons, making for an incredible photo opportunity.

The ballooning season in Bagan runs from October to mid-March, when the winds are calm and the air is cool, but the most favourable conditions are between December and February.

If you want to see the city’s sights from the ground, Bagan Thande Hotel is top rated for travellers interested in monuments, history and architecture.

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

During the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (from October 1st - 9th) more than 500 colourful hot air balloons take to the sky.

This family friendly fiesta also has its very own laser light show, a balloon flying competition and fireworks display. Be sure to book a balloon ride in advance to take full advantage of the picturesque scenery from a bird’s-eye position.

If you fancy something a little more exclusive, book a private hot air ride for views of New Mexico’s stunning landscape – some tours even include an in-flight champagne toast.

When you’re back on the ground, stay the Nativo Lodge - Heritage Hotels and Resorts.

Muelle, San Carlos, Costa Rica

Drift above rainforests and – if you’re lucky – catch a glimpse of monkeys racing through canopies. Located in the north of Costa Rica, Muelle offers an incredible array of sights from 1,000 feet, including the National Park and active Arenal volcano.

Take control of your hot air balloon experience by learning how to prepare the balloon for flight and choosing where to land (all under the supervision of a pilot). Afterwards relax at the Labertino Lodge where you can enjoy nature from gravity’s perspective.

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