Seeing any place from a hot air balloon is a magical experience, but some locations are especially unforgettable when seen from the sky. What’s even more special about hot air ballooning is that it gives you a front-row view of some of the world’s most iconic destinations with no crowds! If you can imagine seeing national parks, natural wonders, and famous landmarks from a new perspective, here are some of the 10 best spots to check out.
Las Vegas, Nevada
An unforgettable thrill awaits when you go hot air ballooning Las Vegas. After launching, you’ll get to see some of the most renowned landmarks in the world. This includes the bustling Las Vegas Strip, the Bellagio Resort, which has a magnificent fountain display, and the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Hotel. Beyond the city’s borders, you can take in the stunning views of the surrounding landscape, which includes the Red Rock Canyon and Lake Mead. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
Perhaps after experiencing the joy of Las Vegas hot air balloons you decide that you want to see the world by hot air balloon! Fortunately, there are many great sites across the globe where you can go ballooning. One highly recommended destination is Cappadocia in Turkey. This beautiful area features some of the most unique natural wonders in the world with unusual rock formations, limestone peaks, vineyards, and magnificent wildflowers. A sunrise or sunset flight, which adds dramatic lighting to the mix, makes the experience even more surreal.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Not too far from Las Vegas, another great place to fly over in a hot air balloon is Albuquerque, New Mexico. From afar, you’ll get to admire the lights and activity of the city below and get a sweeping panoramic view of the surrounding desert landscape. Scheduling an evening flight is highly recommended if you want the added bonus of catching a legendary Southwestern sunset. To make the most of your hot air ballooning adventure, schedule a visit during the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival. This famous festival, which takes place once a year during the fall, features balloon competitions, rides, and an endless assortment of fun activities on the ground.
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
National parks are beautiful places to visit on the ground, but they are just as impressive when seen from the air! At the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, you can look for wildlife like lions, hippos, and rare black rhinos from a distance. Once a year, wildebeest and zebras migrate from the Serengeti to Kenya, which is an especially neat experience to see from the air. In the sky, keep an eye out for black eagles flying above the Serengeti too. Flying over the park, you’ll gain an appreciation for the West African landscape and be one of the few to see a truly wild place that has been spared from human interference.
A hot air balloon flight over Gstaad is especially magical in winter, when the peaks and roofs of the chalets are all covered in snow. This is another popular destination for balloon enthusiasts, as the city holds a nine-day balloon festival every year in January. There is competitive flying at the balloon festival along with daily activities, children’s events, and a breathtaking balloon release. Watching a total of about 100 balloons is a rare and magical sight, and the balloons look especially stunning against the backdrop of the vivid blue sky.
Alberta, a province in Western Canada, is known for its rugged and dramatic landscape. The Rocky Mountains, which traverse Alberta, are one of the most memorable sites you’ll see from a hot air balloon. Keep an eye out below for wildlife, and if you look closely you’ll be able to see several national parks with networks of hiking trails. A morning flight is a great time to quietly admire the contrasting colors of Alberta’s thick evergreen forests and shimmering blue lakes.
Queenstown, New Zealand
If you’re visiting New Zealand for a vacation, chances are good that you won’t be able to see everything you want to by car. But you can still “visit” some of the country’s top attractions flying in a hot air balloon. If you want to get a bird’s eye view of the country’s most stunning natural scenery, schedule a balloon ride that takes you over Queenstown. Lakes, mountains, fertile valleys, and winding rivers are part of the natural landscape in Queenstown, which is also one of New Zealand’s top eco-travel destinations. Perhaps you’ll even scope out a national park that you want to visit afterwards, which gives you an opportunity to see some magnificent flora and fauna!
New Zealand’s neighbor, Australia, is another great place to check out from a hot air balloon. Australia is similar in the sense that it has incredible natural beauty and dramatic landscapes. From the sea to the dry desert interior, there’s certainly no shortage of spectacular scenery to see thousands of feet above the ground. Flying over Cairns and Port Douglas, you will get to see some of Australia’s most impressive natural landmarks, including the Daintree Rainforest, the Atherton Tablelands, and the Great Barrier Reef. Like New Zealand, there’s a good chance you won’t get to see everything in Australia by car, but you can see it all in a hot air balloon!
Nile River, Egypt
The Nile River is one of the most respected natural wonders of the world. For years, the Nile has been credited with enabling the growth of human civilizations through its rich and fertile soils. Not to mention, the Nile River is steeped in history, and it’s one of the most important places in Egypt. A magical experience is in store if you go for a hot air balloon ride above the Nile River. From this distance, you can escape the sight-seeing crowds and get to see some of the most famous temples in Luxor without interference. A dawn flight is an especially great time to go for a ride, as you’ll get to see Egyptian life at a slower, more relaxed pace than it is known for.
Masai Mara, Kenya
If you are a naturalist, you may be familiar with the Great Migration, which is an annual journey that over two million wildebeest and other animals make from the Serengeti to Masai Mara. This once-in-a-lifetime experience is nothing less than spectacular when seen from the height of a hot air balloon. Along with watching the wildebeest on their long trek, you’ll be able to get a nice view of Kenya’s magical landscape. Be sure to bring your camera and your binoculars, as you’ll want to have lasting memories!
From national parks to famous cities and historic landmarks, there are many great places to observe around the world in a hot air balloon. Right in the United States, you can see the sites of the Southwest by flying over Las Vegas and Albuquerque. If you plan your visit to Albuquerque at the right time, you can even check out its world-famous balloon festival! Canada also has some spectacular sight-seeing opportunities if you go by hot air balloon. Venturing overseas, you can catch the unforgettable Great Migration of animals in Tanzania or Kenya. Turkey, Australia, and New Zealand are all great options if you want to get a bird’s eye view of some of the world’s most unique and intriguing terrain. Wherever you go, whether it’s to one place on the list or all ten, be sure to bring your camera, as you’re guaranteed to have a lasting memory that you’ll want to keep for years to come.