You’ll find that many of the world’s most scenic spots are best enjoyed while high … up in a hot-air balloon. Many regions are tailor-made for balloon rides, with amazing natural landscapes (and in rare cases, even a cityscape).
Not only do hot-air-balloon rides enable you to see some of the world’s most beautiful spots from above, many of them also end with the traditional postflight champagne toast.
Here are some of the best places to take to the skies (in no particular order):
1. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
A high vantage point is definitely best suited to experiencing a place whose name translates into “Land that runs on forever.” The Serengeti is world famous for its wildlife, and taking a balloon ride is the best way to experience it in all its glory; you can see lions, elephants, buffalo, and rhino in areas you’d never get close to on a land-based safari.Serengeti Balloon Safaris has been taking people above this natural wonderland since 1989.
2. Napa Valley, California
If you’re a wine lover, a pilgrimage to Napa Valley isn’t enough. You need to take to the skies to enjoy the lush scenery and the vineyards of grapey goodness below. And on clear days you can see all the way to San Francisco. Balloons Above the Valley not only follows its rides with a champagne brunch, it includes a pre-flight cafe and pastry service.
3. Cappadocia, Turkey
This region southeast of Ankara is one of the most sought-after ballooning sites in the world. Millions of visitors flock to this UNESCO World Heritage site each year, and many of them take to the skies to gaze upon its otherworldly, volcano-formed terrain. More than two dozen ballooning companies operate here.