Since it an initial took flight in 1783, the hot-air balloon has been one of the most distinct ways to see the world’s spectacular settings from above. Even if it is you’re gliding over the stupas in Bagan, marveling at the idyllic Lake district in England, or soaking up the arid see of Sedona, a balloon ride, the oldest kind of aerial transportation, is sure to be the to mark of any kind of trip. True aficionados have to visit the Albuquerque international Balloon Fiesta in October, but there room plenty of breathtaking rides to be taken about the human being throughout the year. Little romance remains in air travel these days, but take to the skies on one of thesehot-air balloon journeys come recapture the magic of flying.

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—Abbey Chase


Cappadocia, Turkey

The craggy see of Cappadocia in main Turkey was house to a bustling trade industry more than 4,000 year ago, and its “fairy chimney” rock formations have ongoing to fascinate visitors ever before since. Wind and also water erosion plus eruptions indigenous nearby energetic volcanoes have contributed to the area’s ancient appearance, i beg your pardon is finest enjoyed from above. Take it a balloon the end of the city of Goreme and watch the sunrise when floating v the region’s rough valleys.

PLAN her TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Cappadocia take trip Guide


Sedona, Arizona

Sedona’s glowing red sandstone develops the perfect background to a sunrise glide over the wide, arid expanse. The Sonoran Desert is residence to the only populace of jaguars in the unified States, and as girlfriend glide at reduced altitudes, you’ll have the ability to catch a glimpse of few of the area’s distinct wildlife. Red rock Balloons lifts off follow me Dry Creek roadway just external Sedona, placing you perfectly because that a flight over the 7 Canyons area.

PLAN your TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Sedona take trip Guide


Bagan, Myanmar

Known because that its high concentration of buddhist temples and also stupas, Bagan boasts a wide, flat landscape dotted with thousands of glittering spires. Dating earlier as far as the ninth century, many of the holy places today have actually suffered significant erosion damage, exposing the brick structural blocks and revealing a spectacular rusty red color. Balloons over Bagan provides one the the most stunning rides over the landscape, acquisition guests above the temples of Bagan and also past adjacent villages. Together there is no designated landing spot, friend never recognize where in the stunning environs her journey will end.

PLAN your TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Myanmar travel Guide


Napa Valley, California

While many of Napa’s delights are best enjoyed ~ above the ground through a glass in hand, a view from over offers another great way to endure California’s famed valley. If you collection out indigenous Yountville, you’ll be afforded see of mount St. Helena and the Mayacamas Mountains, with sweeping vineyards in the foreground; in the best weather conditions, you’ll even be able to see the mountain Francisco skyline in the distance. Many balloon suppliers offer brunch and also wine-tasting packages through their rides to lid off the aerial adventure.

PLAN her TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Napa Valley take trip Guide


Serengeti nationwide Park, Tanzania

Tanzania’s most renowned national park watch the migration of hundreds of thousands that wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles every year, the ultimate afri safari experience. When it would be difficult to check out the whole of the enormous, 5,700-square-mile park, take to the skies because that a hot-air balloon safari to watch the expansive levels of this UNESCO people Heritage website stretch out prior to you. Serengeti Balloon Safaris offers sunrise tours v a breakfast served in the shrub to follow her ride.

PLAN your TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Tanzania travel Guide


Loire Valley, France

The Edenic sink in the French heartland is best known for its collection of stunning châteaux, however the picturesque villages, sweeping greenery, and winding river define the an ar as much as that stately residences. A UNESCO world Heritage Site, the Loire sink is just two hours south that Paris, do it basic side trip from the city. The spring and summer months check out the an ar in full bloom, making it the optimal time because that a sunrise or sunset ride end the bucolic landscape.

PLAN her TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Loire Valley travel Guide


Queenstown, new Zealand

Nestled along the shores of Queenstown Bay, Queenstown walk not absence in dramatic scenery, through stunning see of The Remarkables mountain range rising in the distance over the cerulean waters of Lake Wakatipu. The area, perhaps best known as the filming ar of The Hobbit, opens up spectacularly before you when you rise aboard a hot-air balloon. Sunrise Balloon Adventures bring away you v the valleys between Queenstown and also Arrowtown, where you’ll view some of brand-new Zealand’s most breathtaking organic landscapesas well together its world-famous golf courses.

PLAN her TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Queenstown take trip Guide


Gstaad, Switzerland

If you deserve to pry yourself away from the world-famous slopes in Gstaad, you’ll uncover that the mountains are equally exceptional from the air. Flights out of Gstaad market 360-degree see of surrounding Berner Oberland, as well as a bird’s-eye check out of the hill towns dotted across the hillsides. Alpine Ballooning provides rides during both winter and also summer seasons, and visitors in search of the can be fried ballooning experience must head come Gstaad throughout the Festival worldwide de Ballons, Chateau-d’Oex in January to watch the spectacle.

PLAN her TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Gstaad travel Guide


Yangshuo, China

The limestone karst formations close to Yangshuo and also Guilin attract visitors from almost everywhere the world, supplying an otherworldly landscape follow me the Li flow that has been immortalized in whatever from traditional Chinese paintings to Star Wars. Most pick to suffer the region by boat, however consider a hot air balloon ride together a an excellent alternative for staying clear of the crowds. Non-constrained conditions flights soar to together high as 4,900 feet and also take you v the karst peaks and surrounding farmland, if tethered flights, obtaining an altitude that only about 300 feet, market an equally appealing choice for those looking to continue to be closer to the ground.

PLAN your TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Yangshuo take trip Guide


Magalies flow Valley, southern Africa

Located between Pretoria and also Johannesburg, the Magalies flow Valley is a popular location for boating, golf, and also other outdoor activities in the verdant an ar surrounding the Hartbeespoort Dam. Bill Harrop’s original Balloon Safaris is just one of the premier operator in the region, acquisition off in Gauteng, one area well-known as the Cradle that Humankind. Designated a UNESCO world Heritage website in 1999, the area is house to some of the oldest fossils ever before discovered, dating ago 3.3 million years.

PLAN your TRIP: Visit Fodor’s southern Africa take trip Guide


Teotihuacan, Mexico

The ancient city the Teotihuacan, recognized as the City the the Gods, dates back as far as 300 B.C. And also was in ~ one allude the biggest city in the pre-Columbian Americas. The city is finest known for its substantial pyramids, which incorporate temples come the moon, sun, and Quetzalcoatl, a Mesoamerican divine being with the human body of a snake, that have been excellently maintained over thousands of years. When the complicated is conveniently explored ~ above foot, a bird’s-eye check out affords a stunning perspective of the huge structures. Rides lift off near Mexico City, 30 miles southwest of Teotihuacan.

PLAN your TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Teotihuacan travel Guide


Monument Valley, Utah

Nothing fairly embodies the quintessential American Wild West as lot as the distinguishable sandstone buttes the Monument Valley, many thanks to their appearances in top Western films starring john Wayne and Clint Eastwood, as well as in Thelma & Louise, Forrest Gump, and Windtalkers. Located along the Arizona–Utah border near the four Corners, the area is crammed with stunning natural wonders, consisting of deep gorges, sculpted rock formations, and also windswept mesas. Glide over the renowned landscape with Monument Valley hot Air Balloon Rides, which includes an overnight stay in the area close to the start point.

PLAN your TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Monument Valley take trip Guide


Letchworth State Park, new York

The Genesee River forms the centerpiece that this park in upstate brand-new York, cutting a gorge through the landscape the produces Letchworth’s three main waterfalls. Known as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” Letchworth is finest viewed indigenous a balloon, as you drift v the gorge and also over the park’s stomach-dropping waterfalls. The park hosts a balloon rally yearly in might to celebrate the gorgeous scenery and also the ballooning craft.

PLAN your TRIP: Visit Fodor’s new York travel Guide


Yarra Valley, Australia

Perfect growing problems make this area just outside Melbourne a wine and farming hub, its see teeming through vineyards, orchards, and farmland. Together the sunlight rises, you’ll endure serenely floating over the expansive greenery through rolling hills expanding in every direction. Global Ballooning Australia provides flights v a take-off allude conveniently situated at Rochford Winery. If you’re in adjacent Melbourne, 35 mile southwest that Yarra Valley, worldwide Ballooning also offers rides over the city, a distinct experience the gliding end a major metropolitan area.

PLAN her TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Yarra Valley travel Guide


Angkor Wat, Cambodia

A UNESCO world Heritage Site due to the fact that 1992, Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world and also Cambodia’s most famed landmark. The temple facility was created in the beforehand twelfth century, acting as the capital of the Khmer Empire, and also the monument has been fantastically maintained for modern viewing. The whole site covers more than 500 acres, do a balloon pilgrimage well worth it for the stunning see of the landscape. Angkor warm Air Balloon supplies flights throughout sunrise and also sunset, with views that Angkor Wat and also Siem Reap.

PLAN your TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Siem enjoy Travel Guide


Lake Tahoe, California

The biggest lake in the U.S. Behind the great Lakes, Lake Tahoe is the epicenter the year-round outdoor activity in the Sierra Nevada. For optimal views of the bordering area, Lake Tahoe Balloons launches turn off the deck of the Tahoe Flyer, a U.S.C.G.-certified boat, making for a distinct liftoff. On your ride, you’ll watch Emerald Bay, Fallen sheet Lake, Cascade Lake, and the Desolation Wilderness in the Eldorado nationwide Forest, with views the Yosemite’s peaks clearly shows on particularly clear days.

PLAN her TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Lake Tahoe travel Guide


Luxor, Egypt

Luxor and the adjacent Valley of the monarchs are two of the most historically rich regions in the world as the website of the ancient city of Thebes and also famous temples and tombs along the West financial institution Necropolis of the Nile. The Luxor Temple is just one of the area’s most spectacular monuments, built more than 3,000 years earlier and dedicated to the cult of imperial Ka. A balloon ride end the West financial institution will take it you previous the Mortuary holy place of Queen Hatshepsut, carved into the cliffs at Deir el Bahari in honor of the an initial known woman Pharaoh, as well as the temples of Ramses II and III.

PLAN your TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Luxor take trip Guide


Lake District, England

Inspiration to the likes of william Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and also Thomas Gray, England’s Lake District is among the country’s most picturesque spots. The Lake District national Park is house to England’s tallest peak, Scafell Pike, also pastoral mountain scenery and also native English flora and also fauna. Virgin Balloon Flights takes the end of Newby Bridge along Lake Windermere, giving rides with panoramic see of the lush hillsides, idyllic towns, and puffing steam trains below.

PLAN your TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Lake District travel Guide


Wadi Rum, Jordan

The substantially barren Wadi Rum has been inhabited because prehistoric times and is still home to the Zalabia Bedouin people, that lead miscellaneous outdoor expeditions through the desolate landscape. The copper sanded expanse is dotted through jutting rock formations, consisting of the famous “Seven Pillars the Wisdom” named after T.E. Lawrence’s autobiography. Together you float end 280 square miles of desert, you’ll be able to take in every the sandstone and granite mountains and narrow canyons that organize millennia-old absent drawings.

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PLAN her TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Jordan take trip Guide


Colorado Springs, Colorado

A full view of Pikes Peak and a breath the fresh mountain air will certainly greet you together you require to the skies end Colorado Springs, one hour-long drive south of the Mile High City. Adventures the end West will certainly take friend high enough to view 100 mile in any kind of direction and low enough to check out ranch land, and deer, coyotes, jackrabbits, and also pronghorn antelopes. The firm also uses rides in southern Park, a convenient journey from plenty of of the front Range’s popular mountain towns.

PLAN her TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Colorado Springs take trip Guide

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