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Hot Air Ballooning Around The World

Updated: Mar 12, 2023

Did you know you can enjoy a birds-eye view from a hot air balloon in many locations around the world? Not sure if it's for you? What about a tethered balloon ride? Discover where you can enjoy this amazing experience, as well as the many hot air balloon festivals around the world.

Red Virgin Hot Air Balloon
Virgin Balloon Flights ©MDHarding

Hot Air Ballooning Around The world

Inspired by the fictional character Phileas Fogg and his adventures around the world in 80 days based on the.real round-the-world travels of the American writer and adventurer William Perry Fogg. Over the years I have enjoyed visiting festivals and taking to the skies over Scone in rural Perthshire, Scotland. Wow! What an experience.

The red-letter day was taken as part of accrued award points, with American Express credit card. How cool is that?

Turned out to be with Virgin Hot air balloon experiences. It was really easy to book. In fact, we had already booked and travelled to York. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't in our favour and we had to re-schedule. There are flights available throughout the UK, in the end, we opted to give it another go closer to home. I had no idea the balloon was going to be that big and hold so many people! On arrival, it was just a matter of climbing into the basket. With my little legs, it was a bit of a challenge. There were twelve of us soring high over Scotland.

It was very peaceful and a little surreal on a lovely summer's day. I thought it might be cold up there, taking a fleece just in case. Actually, it was warm with continuous heat from the gas flame.

The flight went by quite quickly and before we knew it, we were descending into a farmers' field. Holding on to one of the ropes inside the basket, preparing for a bumpy landing, all was fine. We all had the option to assist with the folding up of the balloon and re-load onto the trailer, afterwards enjoying a glass of champagne.

Not long after the experience, we received a DVD, certificate and photograph (taken during the flight).

Aerial View over Perth, Scotland
Aerial view over Perth, Scotland ©MDHarding

Strathaven, Scotland

Scotland's only hot air balloon festival takes place annually in the historic town of Strathaven. The royal burgh is located on the west coast, in the region of South Lanarkshire. Strathaven Hot Air Balloon Festival started back in 1999 as an idea to help boost the local economy. Today it welcomes over 30,000 visitors over the festival weekend and is said to be one of the top three hot air balloon festivals in the UK. Sadly, the festival has been cancelled for 2020 so here's to 2021.

We managed to visit a couple of years back to see the array of colourful balloons of all shapes and sizes. There are even tethered balloons to give you an idea of what the full experience might be like. Ideal for those that would like to give it a try, without committing to the full experience. Don't miss the evening glow event, it's full of fun and entertainment. Will a visit to Strathaven Hot Air Balloon Festival be on your travel list for next year?

Bristol, UK

Bristol International Balloon Festival is Europe's largest meeting of balloons. Sadly, this annual event has also been modified for this year but the dates for 2021 have been released! They are Thursday 12th - Sunday 15th August 2021.

Cappadocia, Turkey

One still on my travel list is the ancient UNESCO World Heritage Site - Cappadocia. Located in Anatolia on the rugged plateau north of the Tauras mountains. The area is famous for its distinctive fairy chimneys as well as the hot air balloon filled skyline.

Have you visited? I would love to hear all about it.

Albuquerque, USA

The largest hot air balloon festival in the world - Albuquerque Balloon Festa is held annually in October. Said to be the ballooning capital of the world with more than 500 hot air balloons filling the sky for nine days! This year's 49th event is now rescheduled till 2nd - 10th October 2021.

With over 80,000 visitors and said to be the most photographed event in the world, this is one to plan ahead for. It has been recommended to get an early start and aim to be at the park for between 4-4.30am and for the evening events at 4pm. Wow! Is Albuquerque on your travel list? For more information Visit Albuquerque has a really informative website.

While visiting don't miss the Albuquerque Balloon Museum.

Sonoma County, USA

You may have heard of the wine in California but did you know you can take a hot air ballooning adventure above them? Just 45 minutes from San Francisco in Sonoma County you could enjoy the Sip, Cycle and Soar tour with Getaway Adventures which offers unparalleled views of regions spectacular vineyards, which begins before sunrise when guests set off for a 60-minute airborne adventure in a hot air balloon. After the flight, there is brunch and sparkling wine provided at Healdsburg SHED.

Are you a fan of wine? Read more in The World's Wine blog.

Vineyards In Summer, Sonoma County
Vineyards In Summer, Sonoma County ©

Arctic, Sweden

The Northern Light's is a magical experience but what about seeing them from a hot air balloon. Ascend up to 40 metres into the air where you will hover to hunt for the Northern Lights, anchored to the arctic ice below. Aurora in the Sky is available for up to six people. There are also daytime expedition flights available that run from their home base in Gunnarsbyn, Råneå River Valley, over the spectacular Arctic wilderness. For more information visit Off The Map Travel.

Evening Aurora and Stargazing Ballooning
Evening Aurora and Stargazing Ballooning

I hope you have enjoyed reading and inspired to take one of these amazing hot air balloon adventures.

Until next time, stay safe and well x

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