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Balloons in Cappadocia. Shutterstock
Incredible places to fly over in a hot-air balloon
Travel

Incredible places to fly over in a hot-air balloon

Through the sky. ·

Travelling by hot-air balloon is one of the most amazing ways of looking at the world. Flying over the lunar landscapes of Cappadocia or the ancient cities of Europe or Asia is an unequaled experience

Marta Aguilera

Cappadocia

Friday, 23 February 2024

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With the sun's first rays, a hot-air balloon soundlessly rises, revealing unique landscapes, impossible to look at from any other viewpoint. For a few hours, it gently sways to the rhythm of the wind, drifting with no particular destination in mind, so that its passengers can enjoy the privilege of observing the wonders of the world from a bird's eye view.

Flying by balloon has become one of the favourite activities of those who do not conform to seeing the world with their feet on the ground. They have the courage to take flight in order to soar through the skies of such incredible places as those of Bagan in Myanmar, Kenya, or Cappadocia in Turkey. Whether it's floating above picturesque landscapes or gliding past historical monuments, each destination offers a different, but equally fascinating experience.

This way of travelling, which combines the refinement of the ancient, with the emotion of the modern, does not only offer panoramic views, but is also an opportunity to admire the world from a different perspective, to feel freedom from the open sky, to discover the magic of floating in the air, and to enjoy the silence.

But not all destinations are adequate for this exciting experience. Weather conditions, the direction and strength of the wind, land topography, temperature fluctuations, or visibility, play a very essential role in determining whether or not it is possible to fly over a place by hot-air balloon. Fortunately, the planet's diversity offers an endless number of idyllic destinations where you can turn the dream of flying like a bird into reality.

1. Myanmar

Bagan

Bagan.
Bagan. Shutterstock

In Myanmar you can find the archeological complex of Bagan, composed of over 2,000 pagodas of infinitely different sizes and shapes. This impressive World Heritage Site is one of the world's most famous destinations to fly over by balloon.

Seeing the pagodas and the stupas of Bagan at dawn, among green forests and crop fields, is one of the best-loved activities of the thousands of visitors who land in Myanmar each year. A feast for the eyes which promises to remain etched in their memory for a lifetime.

Flying over this ancient city, one does not only marvel at the work of art that is Bagan, but also feels part of something much bigger: a legacy that has survived over generations.

2. Turkey

Cappadocia

Cappadocia.
Cappadocia. Shutterstock

The skies above the Turkish region of Cappadocia are full of colourful hot-air balloons 365 days a year, for people to observe the famous "fairy chimneys" from above. These rock formations lead this charming and incredible place to resemble the moon, and are the reason for it being one of the most popular places in the world to fly by hot-air balloon.

Vineyards, ancient cave churches and houses carved directly into the stone, along with a constellation of balloons sharing the sky, end up painting an even more magical picture, if that is even possible.

From the air, visitors can observe how modern life is interwoven with the ancient landscape, offering a unique perspective of the continuity of humanity's presence in this specific part of Anatolia.

3. Kenya

Maasai Mara

Kenya.
Kenya. Shutterstock

Flying over the plains of the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya offers an unmatched perspective of the famous African savannah. A unique way to witness the awakening of its wildlife; a spectacle in which you observe how herds of elephants, lions or giraffes begin their daily activities.

Although soaring through the skies of this wildlife conservation area is fascinating at any time of year, if it coincides with the Great Migration, its beauty multiplies. The possibility of seeing, from up in the air, how millions of gazelle, wildebeest, zebras, and other animals trek in search for greener, mineral rich pastures and water, is unforgettable.

As well as the fauna, flying by balloon over Maasai Mara also allows you to appreciate the immensity and beauty of the African landscape. Its winding rivers or endless plains that extend as far as the eye can see, provide a striking backdrop for African animal life. It is a very peaceful experience, only interrupted by the noise generated by the balloon's engine.

4. Spain

Segovia

Segovia.
Segovia. Shutterstock

In short, gliding over Segovia provides an unparalleled view of the meeting of nature with architectural heritage. Moreover, it offers the opportunity to admire the city's development, as it has managed to balance its growth while respecting the beauty and historic legacy of its surroundings.

5. New Mexico

Albuquerque

Albuquerque.
Albuquerque. Shutterstock

Albuquerque is the site of the largest hot-air balloon festival in the world, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. For nine days, the skies above this city in New Mexico are full of balloons of different colours, shapes and sizes, creating a unique and extraordinary spectacle.

The fact that a festival of this calibre takes place in Albuquerque is a compelling reason to consider it another one of the best places in the world to enjoy a hot-air balloon ride.

From their baskets, hundreds of metres above the ground, passengers, who have had the courage to undertake this journey, witness the amazing views of New Mexico's most populated city, from the Sandia Mountains to the picturesque Rio Grande Valley.

6. France

The Loire Valley

The Loire Valley.
The Loire Valley. Shutterstock

From the sky you can see how the Loire snakes through the French countryside, flanked by beautiful towns and vast gardens. Moreover, the panorama of castles, like Chambord and Chenonceau, among other, lesser-known ones, round off one of the most exquisite hot-air balloon experiences in Europe.

Floating peacefully above this valley, which was designated a World Heritage Site by Unesco, allows passengers to appreciate its renaissance architecture and the landscapes that have inspired artists and writers for centuries. Without a doubt, it is an enriching experience that combines the nature, history, and tangible grandeur that France holds.

Regardless of any particular destination, when passengers have completed their hot-air balloon ride and their feet touch the firm ground once again, they do not only bring back with them photographs of spectacular valleys or incredible monuments, captured from above. Most of all, they carry home with them lasting memories from a journey during which time came to a halt, and when their perspective of the world was transformed to reveal its beauty from over 200 metres above the ground.

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