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The 10 Best Hot Air Balloon Rides in the World

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Hot air balloon flights can literally elevate your vacation from a good holiday to a great one – providing you have a head for heights, of course. There’s nothing quite like soaring into the wild blue yonder for breathtaking views of the landscape below.

Hot air balloon rides can be anything you want them to be. Peaceful, romantic, thrilling, and everything in between. It’s a truly magical experience for inclusion into the scrapbook of life, and they can be particularly memorable if you’re flying over a popular tourist attraction.

Hot air balloons flying in Cappadocia, Turkey
Kotangens / Adobe Stock

Attending a hot air balloon festival is extra special as you witness hundreds of colorful balloons rising into the sky. Hot air balloon enthusiasts come from all over the world to experience these stunning events, and they’re equally enjoyable from the ground and the air.

And while you can take a balloon trip wherever conditions allow and weather permitting, there are some locations that are simply on a higher plain. Here are some of the best places to hot air balloon in the world. You won’t need to get your head out of the clouds – because there won’t be any.

Best Hot Air Balloon Rides Around the World

1) Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia, Turkey Hot Air Balloon
Stuart Jameson / ViaTravelers

Cappadocia, Turkey, is arguably the world’s premier hot air balloon destination. Here, a unique natural landscape combines with year-round sunny weather and perfect flying conditions to make it a thrilling bucket-list experience.

As you soar into a cloudless sky, you’ll have a bird’s-eye-view of the famous fairy chimneys, cave houses, and stunning natural beauty this ancient region is famous for. Enjoy a champagne breakfast on a sunrise flight, or take a romantic sunset trip on the trip of a lifetime.

Most companies charge around €100-€200 per person for a flight, but there are deals and discounts ot be had. This price includes transport to and from the launch site and a light snacks before takeoff. One of the most popular is this sunrise balloon tour which departs from Goreme.

For the chance to fly over a UNESCO World Heritage Site in a hot air balloon, a visit to Cappadocia should be high on your to-do list. And don’t miss our guide to the best hotels in Cappadocia, for some memorable places to stay.

2. Bagan, Myanmar

 Bagan Hot Air Balloon

Bagan, Myanmar, is home to one of the world’s most beautiful and well-known hot air balloon scenes. Thousands of ancient temples dot the countryside, making an unforgettable backdrop as you drift through the sky.

You’ll float gently over pagodas from the 11th century, blown by winds rarely exceeding 15 miles per hour. Flights leave at sunrise and sunset for magnificent views of the Ayeyarwaddy River, the lush green valleys guarded by the distant Rakhine Yoma mountains, and the rooftops of more than 2000 ancient temples and pagodas.

Bagan has a balloon season which runs from October to March. This is when the weather is at its best, and the temperature ranges from 77°F to 86°F (25°C to 30°C). It’s surely one of the most romantic destinations in the world, an ideal honeymoon vacation, and the perfect experience to share with a loved one.

The price for hot air balloon rides at Bagan will vary depending on the type of balloon ride, the location, and the travel time. Try this Balloons Over Bagan tour which includes hotel pick up and drop off.

3. Luxor, Egypt

Egypt Hot Air Balloon

Luxor, located in Upper Egypt, sits on the east bank of the Nile River. It is one of the country’s largest cities and is famous for its ancient temples and tombs. Hot air ballooning rides tour this iconic destination from the skies, giving you a unique perspective on its stunning architecture.

On sunrise balloon rides you can watch the first rays of light touch the dark waters of the Nile. Greet the morning from above the temples at Luxor, as you float like the falcon of Horus. Avoid the crowds and see Egypt’s most famous landmarks — the Temple of Karnak, Hatshepsut’s Temple, the Colossi of Memnon, the Valley of the Queens, and the Temple of Ramses — all from a tranquil and brilliant blue Egyptian sky.

A word of caution, however, as there have been several well-publicized ballooning accidents here since 2009. Like any ballooning destination, make sure to book with an accredited company that takes the proper safety precautions. This hot air balloon tour is a good place to start.

4. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque Balloon Festival

Albuquerque, New Mexico, is great for a hot air balloon ride. The city is in the middle of a beautiful desert landscape, and the weather is perfect for ballooning most of the year.

Clear skies, gentle winds, and mild temperatures make Albuquerque a Mecca for US hot air ballooning. Each year for nine days in October, Albuquerque hosts the International Balloon Fiesta — a great time to visit for watching the skies fill with hundreds of colorful hot air balloons.

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is one of the best festivals in the world, and the largest of its kind. You’ll find plenty of ballooning companies offering rides. World Balloon is one of the most popular, and you can check out their prices here.

Of course, you don’t have to attend during the annual international balloon festival, and you can take a hot air balloon tour of Albuquerque’s high desert landscape at any time of year. Prices for hot air balloon tours in Albuquerque and the Rio Grande Valley start at around $200 per person.

5. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

The Serengeti National Park is Tanzania’s most popular tourist destination, and for a good reason. Home to thousands of wild animals, including Africa’s “big five” (lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, and buffalo), the Serengeti offers some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in the world.

If you want a different perspective on the Serengeti, consider taking a hot air balloon safari. These typically occur in the early morning as the sun rises and when the animals are at their most active. You’ll float above the African plains of the Serengeti, without disturbing any of the beasts below.

While enjoying stunning views of this UNESCO World Heritage Site you will likely see more animals than you would during a full day on the ground. And if you go there between May and July, you’ll be able to watch the amazing annual migration of the wildebeest herds from Serengeti to Maasai Mara in Kenya.

Sunrise flights over the Serengeti can cost anywhere from $300 to $600 per person. Try this balloon safari which includes a traditional bush breakfast, a glass of bubbly, and return transfers.

6. Napa Valley, California

Napa Valley Hot Air Balloon

Napa Valley is one of the most popular wine-producing regions in the United States. Wine tasting tours and vineyard visits are some of the best things to do in California, but if you’re looking for a unique way to experience the growing of grapes, consider taking a hot air balloon flight.

The weather in Napa Valley is perfect for hot air balloons. Flights typically take off with the rising sun, when the conditions are at their peak. You’ll float over a landscape of picturesque vineyards, golden and green hills, and Mount Saint Helena in the Mayacamas Mountains.

With favorable winds, you’ll ascend to a height of around 3000 feet, and on a clear day you might catch a glimpse of San Francisco in the distance. Everything seems so much more peaceful from up here, and you can spare a thought for anyone stuck in the big city.

A hot air balloon ride in Napa Valley costs between $200-$400 per person. Try this Napa Valley balloon adventure which takes off from the rural village of Yountville, famous for its vineyards and restaurants. It’s also one of the best places to stay in the Napa Valley, and you can check out that link for more.

7. Wadi Rum, Jordan

Wadi Rum
courtesy of wikimedia commons

You might never be able to fly to the moon — but you can experience a similar lunar landscape in the Wadi Rum desert. And rather than donning a pair of moon boots and space suit, the best way to see it is floating over the sands in a hot air balloon.

Often called the “Valley of the Moon,” this Jordan destination is characterized by its uniquely weathered terrain, strange rock formations, and alien configurations of irrigated desert farms. The copper sand desert might look like it’s from another word – because it is. This is a filming location of the sci-fi movie DUNE.

From hot air balloons, viewing Wadi Rum’s stark landscape becomes a spiritual experience. From your vantage point high above the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, you’ll be in almost near silence, making it one of the most peaceful and serene balloon rides in the world.

A hot air balloon ride in Wadi Rum typically costs around $200 per person. Sure, desert camel treks are nice, but you should make it extra special by seeing this beautiful landscape from the air. Go here to book one of the best hot air balloon rides in the region.

8. Monument Valley, Arizona/Utah

Monument Valley Sunset View

Witnessing the stunning red rock formations of Monument Valley are surely on everyone’s bucket list, but you can only appreciate the sheer size and scale of this vast landscape from the eye of the eagle. Since we don’t have wings, Monument Valley hot air balloon rides are a close second.

Covering a mind-bending 30,000 acres, this Navajo Tribal Park straddles the border of Arizona and Utah. The most famous and photographed section, the Mitten and Merrick buttes (pictured) is found on the Arizona side. But nobody cares about borders when you’re flying.

Hot air balloon rides over Monument Valley are available from May until October, when the weather is at its best. For more outdoor adventures, this Monument Valley jeep tour is a great way to explore these iconic red rocks up close. The town of Page will likely be your jumping off point, and you can check out this article for more of the best things to do in Page, Arizona.

9. Loire Valley, France

Loire Valley, France Hot Air Balloon
Amboise Montgolfière Balloon Revolution / GetYourGuide

One of the most beautiful regions in France, the Loire Valley is a special vacation destination. Famous for its rolling hills, historic chateaux, and lush vineyards, this is surely one of the most romantic places to take a balloon flight.

The best time to visit for perfect balloon weather is from May to September, but there’s something particularly magical about France in the early fall. The winding River Loire snakes its way through the valley, and a balloon flight allows you to see it in all its glory.

Sunrise and sunset tours are available over this UNESCO-listed region, and you can toast your flight with a glass of bubbly or sparkling grape juice. Regardless of when you go up, when the light hits the majestic Chateau of Chenonceau, you’ll know you’re experiencing something special.

This balloon ride departs from either Amboise or Chenonceau, and includes hotel pick up and transfers. Once you’ve seen it from the air, make sure to visit the Chateau from the ground with a Loire Valley tour to round off your romantic adventure in France.

10. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Cambodia  Hot Air Balloon
Passion Indochina Travel Co.,Ltd. / GetYourGuide

As the planet’s largest religious monument, Angkor Wat is a bucket-list destination for many travelers, tourists, and history buff. Millions head to this ancient city every year, keen to explore its sprawling complex.

Having visited in 2016, I found it to be an unforgettable experience, but one that requires several days to do properly. The best way to view the sheer size of one of the world’s most iconic landmarks is from a hot air balloon basket. It’s simply too enormous to truly appreciate it from the ground.

You can take a full balloon tour over this ancient site, but there is also a tethered balloon ride available. This is a shorter experience, but it is much cheaper than a longer flight, and you can still get a wonderful view from 120 meters up.

One of the world’s best tourist destinations, Angkor Wat has to be seen to be believed – especially from the air. This is a jaw-dropping experience you won’t forget in a hurry, and a beautiful sight all year round. For more information, see our article that unravels the mysteries of Angkor Wat.

FAQs

Colorful Hot Air Balloons
Stuart Jameson / ViaTravelers

Where is the safest place to hot air balloon?

It’s safe to go hot air ballooning anywhere – providing you’re booking with a legitimate, accredited company. Use any of the links in this article to book if you’re concerned, and you can always take a tethered balloon ride if you or any members of your group are feeling unsure.

Where are the best hot air balloon rides in the world?

The best hot air balloon ride destinations are typically around and over popular tourist attractions and iconic landmarks. They can also be found anywhere hot air balloon festivals are taking place. Here’s a top tip – if you want to see a particular landmark from the air, simply search for hot air balloon rides in the area.

How much does a hot air balloon ride cost?

The cost of a hot air balloon ride can vary depending on location, duration, and the number of passengers. On average, a hot air balloon ride can cost anywhere from $150 to $400 per person for a one-hour flight.

What happens if you need the toilet in a hot air balloon?

You’ll need to hold it in! Flights typically last around an hour, so you need to make sure you go before you go! Peeing over the side is not an option.

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  1. Mahesh says:

    Superb places… I am planning to go Tanzania.

  2. Cayce says:

    These all look beautiful but if i have to choose one I’d go with Cappadocia. That place just looks so surreal – I have to see it with my own eyes.

  3. Laura says:

    Wow they all look incredible! Really fancy the Tanzania trip! X

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