These are the best hot air balloon experiences around the world! The views you’ll see from these recommended tours will leave you breathless!
Best Hot Air Balloon Experiences Around The World
A hot air balloon experience is unlike anything else. Looking down and around from a hot air balloon offers unique perspectives and the silence is very soothing. Another really cool thing about hot air balloon tours is that they can be done all over the world.
With the help of fellow bloggers, we’ve put together this list of amazing hot air balloon rides. We hope you’ll consider one of them for your first or next hot air balloon experience…
Sarah of Lets Grow Cook
Cappadocia in Turkey is the world’s most popular location for hot air balloon experiences. In 2019, 50% of all the hot air balloon trips took place here – around half a million people took to the skies and drifted with the wind for a while.
Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia is stunning for a number of reasons – usually, there are at least a hundred other balloons in the sky as well as your own. That combined with the lunar type landscape of the Central Anatolia region of Turkey makes for a spectacular trip.
Centuries of volcanic eruptions and weather erosion have created some incredible landscapes, which were compounded by the creation of caves in the rock formations which date back to the 4th century AD. Hot air ballooning here is quite simply an awesome experience.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Megan of Red Around the World
Going for a hot air balloon ride in Albuquerque might not be the first thing people think of when they’re visiting, but it’s one of the best, more unique things to do there. The best time to go, of course, is during the Balloon Fiesta in October every year. Rides are offered year-round though so if you can’t make it for that, don’t worry. You can still go, weather permitting.
This was my first (and only) hot air balloon ride, which is part of what made it so memorable. It may not have as spectacular of views as other popular places to go, but it’s popular here for a reason. It was the highlight of my first big road trip and something I had wanted to do forever (literally) and I got to go with my best friend, which made it even better. It was just such a cool experience getting to see a city from a basket a few hundred feet in the air.
Jane of To Travel Too
One of the most magical experiences we have had in our travels around the world is a hot air balloon ride in Bagan in Myanmar at sunrise. Leaving our hotel just before the break of dawn we headed down to the launch site and enjoyed a cup of piping hot coffee whilst our balloon was being prepared for the launch.
As we slowly lifted off, local villagers on their way to work raised their hands in a warm greeting, cows lazily looked up and then continued grazing. School children giggled and ran to catch up as they headed off to school.
The temples below glistened in the early morning rays. The silence of the morning was broken only by the burner heating up the air inside. After what seemed like only minutes since we had taken off, we were back on the ground enjoying a champagne breakfast.
Kenny of Knycx Journeying
Fontainebleau is a small city an hour away from Paris and it’s famous for its magnificent Palace of Fontainebleau and Django Reinhardt Festival. To me, it’s a hidden gem and in Paris’s backyard. Apart from visiting the palace and the music festival, I also hopped on a hot air balloon and had an amazing flying experience through the scenic forest.
We were picked up and greeted by our pilot from Switzerland and his crew before sunrise – as it was the best time to take in the amazing view Fontainebleau has to offer.
The air smells much better up in the air. Once we boarded the balloon, the hot air balloon steadily sailed through the luscious forest and fields as we spot the sun rose from the horizon. Our pilot skillfully maneuvered the balloon and it hovered high and low for us to view the area from a different perspective. Our trip ended with an exciting landing with a delicious breakfast of hot coffee, champagne, and croissant.
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Joanna of The World In My Pocket
One of the best hot air balloon experiences that you can have in this world, is in Tanzania. Serengeti National Park is magical at sunrise, when the balloons set up for their flights. Seeing the national park from above gives you a different perspective of how big Serengeti is and how many different animals live together in this land.
From the balloon you will see the plains below coming back to life: antelopes, zebras and wildebeests grazing together, elephant herds walking together towards a water hole, lazy lionesses keeping an eye on their playful cubs.
The balloon ascents and descends all the way down to just above the treetops, which gives you amazing photographic opportunities. Even if you are on a budget safari in Tanzania, you should opt for a balloon ride when you reach Serengeti National Park.
Vang Vieng, Laos
Marie of A Life Without Borders
Vang Vieng is often referred to as the adventure capital of Laos – and for good reason. Surrounded by limestone karst mountains and the serpentine Nam Song River, Vang Vieng offers a wealth of eco-adventures and outdoor activities such as river tubing, kayaking, caving, hiking and more. But what better way to enjoy Laos’ striking landscape than hot air ballooning over Vang Vieng?
Whilst travelling from Vientiane to Luang Prabang, I spent a few days enjoying some of the most stunning landscapes in Laos. But nothing prepared me for the thrill of rising up through the morning mists for a totally unique perspective looking down upon the mountains, rivers and rice fields of Vang Vieng. Drifting silently over Vang Vieng township, wrapped around the river and witnessing the sheer scale of the mountains and valleys beyond, is something I will never forget.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Anne and Clemens of Travellers Archive
Imagine having 360° panoramic views over not only a river but also a valley in the North of South Africa. Both of those are possible during a hot air balloon ride in the Pilanesberg National Park in Gauteng, which is one of the nine provinces in South Africa. The entire area is super green and lies around 45 km North of Johannesburg’s suburbs.
During the ride you’ll be able to gaze over the Magaliesberg range or the Magalies River Valley in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. Even better, enjoy the absolute silence during a sunrise ride when you can hear the faint morning call of birds and other animals while hovering gently above the treetops.
Erika of Erika Travels
In the quiet hours of dawn, dozens of hot air balloons take to the skies above the Valley of the Kings in Luxor Egypt.
The Valley of the Kings is an expansive archaeological complex that contains numerous temples and tombs. It lies at the edge of a barren rocky expanse, where arid desert meets the fertile Nile Valley. The ancient Egyptian temples and tombs that adorn the Valley of the Kings lie amidst massifs of barren rock, as if camouflaged into their surroundings.
Taking a hot air balloon ride above Luxor provides an opportunity to see aerial views of both the sprawling archaeological site and the lush verdant fields that flank the Nile River. With tours costing as low as $60 per person, the Valley of the Kings boasts some of the most inexpensive hot air balloon outings in the world.
Ashley of My Wanderlusty Life
Taking a hot air balloon ride in Arizona is one of the must-do activities when visiting the Scottsdale/Phoenix area. This region has some of the best hot air ballooning weather conditions in the country making it possible to take flight year-round, something most other places can’t say. Here, rides are best taken at sunrise and the experience does not disappoint.
Taking a hot air balloon ride in this part of the country will reward you with incredible desert views. You’ll spend your morning flying over the protected and absolutely enormous Saguaro cacti, through the valleys and over the mountains, with views of downtown Phoenix not that far off.
From in the air surrounding these cities you’ll get to see the desert’s early risers: jackrabbits a-plenty, coyotes on the hunt, roadrunners, and plenty more. Plus, those long sunrise cactus shadows seen from the sky are truly unforgettable.
Pro Tip: After your balloon ride, check out these Scottsdale wineries!
Château d’Oex, Switzerland
Wendy of The Nomadic Vegan
For several years in a row, my husband and I had attended the annual hot air balloon festival in Château-d’Oex. We were living in Geneva at the time, and Château-d’Oex was not far away, just on the opposite end of the lake from Geneva. We always had lots of fun watching the balloons take off from the snow-covered field outside the small town, but I never imagined that I would get to ride in one. In a country where just about everything is outrageously expensive, this seemed well beyond our budget.
But for my 40th birthday, which happened to fall just a few days before the festival, my husband surprised me with a hot air balloon ride! Swiss winter scenery has always enchanted me, but when seen from above it was almost too beautiful to be real.
Gallup, New Mexico
Charles of McCool Travel
In 2019, my wife and I experienced two extraordinary and different activities during a weekend hot air balloon festival in Gallup New Mexico. The second morning was a traditional and typical hot air balloon experience—hired crew did setup and we happily climbed into the basket and thoroughly enjoyed the ride. We sailed in the famous New Mexico tourism balloon with the Dia de los Muertos livery with captain Bill Lee.
The first morning, we helped a couple set up their 2-person balloon, then took turns riding with the husband/captain—who happened to finish #2 in a worldwide balloon technical skills competition. No doubt soaring over the red rocks was exhilarating but being part of the chase vehicle crew on the ground was oodles more fun than imagined. Should you ever be invited to help with balloon setup or ride in a chase vehicle, DO IT! Especially in Gallup.
Sara of Our Kind of Crazy
Flying in a hot air balloon over Cairns, Australia is something you’ll always remember. Sailing across the peaceful sky while watching wallabies and kangaroos run beneath you is definitely an experience of a lifetime. We did an air balloon ride as a wrap up to our amazing Australia getaway and it was the perfect cherry on top.
Being in a hot air balloon is a lot more peaceful than we would have expected, and it gives you the most beautiful views. Be sure to look out for all the wildlife below and viewing the beautiful scenery from up high. Cairns is a great place to take a ride, so be sure to add it to your itinerary!
Maasai Mara, Kenya
Amanda of A Dangerous Business Travel Blog
When most people think of going on safari in Africa, they think of doing so in a truck or other 4-wheel-drive vehicle. But there are other unique ways to view African wildlife – including from a hot air balloon!
Last summer, my sister and I went on a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Maasai Mara in Kenya. We climbed into the balloon before the sun rose, and watched the savannah come awake from high up in the air. From the balloon, we could see how far the Maasai Mara National Reserve stretched in all directions, and saw everything from giraffes to hyenas to herds of zebras and wildebeest from above.
After an hour-long flight in the early morning sunshine, we landed and enjoyed a champagne breakfast in the middle of the savanna. It was an incredible morning, and a safari experience I definitely won’t soon forget.
Lora of Explore With Lora
Taking a hot air balloon ride in Jaipur, India was an experience I’ll never forget. While the views of Jaipur from above were incredible, it was the landing that made the ride so memorable.
The winds were quite difficult that day, and every time our pilot attempted to land the balloon it would get picked up by the wind again. Due to this, the ride went on for double the time that it was meant too.
The pilot eventually landed the hot air balloon, right into a tree. We were all safe and had a good laugh about it. It was in rural India, and the entire community came out to greet us. While we waited for the crew to come and get us, the friendly locals stood around asking for photos and offering us chai tea. It was a classic India experience that I’ll never forget.
Yasmin of Generation Avocado
When people hear you plan to go to Morocco, recommendations flood in on sunrise hot air balloon rides over the Marrakech desert. I was skeptical just how magical it could be, but since doing it I’ve joined the ranks begging you to go discover the pure joy.
There was something so peaceful about the sunrise, full of the day’s promise and so peaceful where only a handful of people join you in the balloon; the sunrise is all the more exquisite seen from the sky.
The desert expanse was breathtaking, and as the sun slowly crept over the vast sandy landscape you’ll see shades of warmth never imagined before or after. I’ll never look at a desert the same way and it was a perspective I will never forget and will continue chasing on further trips.
Teotihuacan Pyramids, Mexico
Rose of Where Goes Rose
Riding a hot air balloon above Teotihuacan Pyramids is a must for your Mexico bucket list. This ancient pyramid site was once the sixth largest city in the world made up of several impressive temples including the Pyramid of the Sun, Pyramid of the Moon and Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent.
The best way to see this important Mexican site is from the skies. The pyramids get very busy with tourists on foot so you totally escape this by travelling by balloon. You’ll enjoy an alternative perspective of the pyramids, while also having an incredible hot air balloon experience. Before you leave, you can also explore the pyramids by walking and climbing to the top.
Pro Tip: If you enjoy Central American ruins, we also recommend visiting the temples in Copan Ruinas, Honduras.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Alexx of Finding Alexx
Dubai’s glitzy shopping malls and ultra-modern skyscrapers are what the city’s famous for, but I recommend making the most of a Dubai stopover by getting sky high over sand dunes in the desert!
You’ll need to set an early alarm for a 5am pick up, then it’s a quick drive in the dark out to the sandy plains to watch the hot air balloons inflate. Each balloon fits about 15-20 people inside plus a captain and a falcon trainer. During the ride you can take in a stunning desert sunrise, watch the trained falcon do tricks around the balloon or keep an eye out for desert animals running across the dunes.
After the balloon ride it’s time for another unique form of transportation, vintage convertible Land Rovers that take you out to a desert camp for a fancy buffet breakfast. And that’s all before 9am!
Sonoma County, California
Constance of The Adventures of Panda Bear
Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic is one of the best hot air balloon experiences in the world. Attending a hot air balloon festival provides a different view than taking flight in one yourself, especially at a smaller festival like the Hot Air Balloon Classic in Sonoma County, California. Even though the festival has been growing larger over the years, it is more popular amongst locals and residents of Northern California. The intimacy of this hot air balloon festival is unique in it’s own way.
Be sure to wake up early, you’ll get to watch crews set up hot air balloons and get them ready to take flight. Once the first test balloon is released, the remaining balloons take flight and it is a truly beautiful sight! The festival occurs annually, typically during the summer months, you’ll want to experience it when you’re in wine country.
Anne of Pretraveller
Flying over the gorgeous Yarra Valley vineyards in a hot air balloon is an awesome experience. The quiet views over the rolling green countryside of the vast Yarra Valley were amazing, combined with the thrill of flying in a hot air balloon. After we landed, we enjoyed relaxing over a buffet champagne breakfast and reminiscing about our flight.
The Yarra Valley is located 60km east from Melbourne Australia, and is well known as a popular tourist destination for both locals and international visitors. If you want to enjoy the Australian countryside whilst indulging in wine tasting and many great foodie experiences then the Yarra Valley should definitely be on your plan for a place to visit.
When you think of Orlando, you automatically think of theme parks. However, one of the top things to do in Central Florida is to ride a hot air balloon! A few years ago we were able to experience our own hot air balloon tour just outside of Orlando and it was amazing!
Our day started early; we were there before sunrise. But it was worth it once we were up in the air and saw the sun rising over the horizon. We saw some landmarks off in the distance too, but Central Florida is also very forested so we were able to see so many beautiful trees.
After a bumpy, but fun, landing we celebrated any birthdays or anniversaries that were on board with some champagne and orange juice. It was the perfect way to end our balloon ride in Central Florida.
Final Thoughts On Hot Air Balloon Experiences
As you can see, all of these hot air balloon experiences are special and unique. We really encourage you to consider taking a balloon ride one day so you can see for yourself how magical it is.