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Hot air balloons and holiday fun

After an action packed trip it’s always a treat to end a holiday with something serene, be it a few days at a Yoga retreat, a weekend on a deserted island, or a couple of hours floating high above the earth in a hot air balloon.

There are dozens of picturesque places to try this activity, but these four hot spots should definitely be on your radar:

Cappadocia, Turkey: enjoy surreal views of orchards and vineyards between exquisite shades of red, orange, green and black rocks; limestone chimneys and subterranean churches. The best flying weather is between April and October, when the skies are clear and there is only a light wind at dawn.

Chateau-d’Oex, Switzerland: summer days looking up at snow capped mountains under a deep blue sky can only be topped by seeing the jagged peaks and pretty Swiss chalets from a hot air balloon. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll be tempted to come back in winter to witness their annual International Balloon Festival. It’s held in the last week of January each year, and dozens of brightly coloured balloons in all shapes and sizes fill the alpine sky.

Albuquerque, New Mexico: with hot summer temperatures and clear Midwest air for 80% of the year, this is the ultimate place to soar in the sky without having to wear too many layers. They also have a balloon festival each October – the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta – which is home to the largest gathering of hot air balloons and ballooning enthusiasts in the world. Visitors can enjoy hour-long rides during the festival as well.

Serengeti, Tanzania:the Serengeti stretches from Tanzania into the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, and is hands down one of the most incredible places to watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon. Migrations take place from March to May and from October to December. In addition to two million plus wildebeest, gazelle and zebra that pass through the region during the Great Migration, there are lions, hippos, giraffes, elephants and other big game animals that you can spot from the skies. Look out for an operator that uses low-noise burners, which allow the balloons to float over wildlife undetected.

Where ever you decide to go, it’s likely to be an experience of a lifetime… just remember to book in advance if it’s high season; pack a camera and a picnic, and then you’re all set to soak up the magic around you.

Author: Emma Donovan

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