Have you ever ridden an air balloon? Even if you haven’t, you would know that there’s something magical, majestic, and inspiring about it.
These giant-sized balloons are a fantasy that people brought to life. Just like our imaginations, these balloons float up and up, taking you into a different realm of weightlessness.
It is of no surprise that countries in various parts of the world organize hot air balloon festivals.
These festivals show off the beauty of these balloons and mark special occasions. If you get the chance to go for a ride, you’ll have a better appreciation for the earth’s beauty.
Not just that, it evokes a sense of wonder and youthful exuberance.
So, if you are planning to experience one of these events, here is a list of the best hot air balloon festivals in the world.
1. International Hot Air Balloon Festival of chateau-d’oex
This balloon festival runs for eight to nine days in late January, and it brings together hundreds of people from over twenty countries. Celebrated in Switzerland, the spot is known for its history.
In 1999, two men, Bertrand Picard and Jones Brian decided to move around the world in a hot air balloon. The swiss alps were their starting point.
At the festival, expect to see so many exciting and new things. Watch as people compete for the best balloon pilot, take exciting pictures, and don’t forget to hop on a balloon at every chance you get.
2. Canberra Balloon Spectacular
Held in Canberra, Australia, the festival takes place on the second Monday in March.
The two-week celebration features so many beautiful activities that would keep you wanting more.
First off, the event always starts on the lawn of the old Canberra Parliament house. The house provides you with a fantastic view of a sparkling lake and a lush forest.
If you are planning to go on a ride, you must book a flight ahead. Aside from this, you need to be up early as the balloons take off into the sky just after sunrise.
Each ride lasts for up to sixty minutes. Imagine sixty minutes of viewing the world from above, the sights of the hills and the meadows.
Upon landing, you can treat yourself to a delicious breakfast prepared by a fantastic chef. If you decide to skip the ride, you can spectate from Lake Griffin.
The lake provides a splendid view of the balloons rising into the sky.
3. Taiwan International Balloon Festival
Every summer, tourists make their way to Taitung to witness the Taiwan International Hot Air Balloon Festival. It runs for a whole month, and it never gets boring.
It is known for its beautiful, unique, and cute character-like balloons. These balloons make for the perfect picture background and the best vacation ground for couples with children.
If you have plans of riding a hot air balloon, you must book your flights months ahead. The only other alternative is to book a tethered-balloon ride.
In this ride, the balloon would only ascend to an extent because it is roped to the ground. However, children below the age of ten are not allowed on this kind of ride.
Still, if you do not get an opportunity to get a ride, watching these balloons take off is also worth the travel.
4. European Balloon Festival
In Spain, the European Balloon Festival is the biggest, and it happens for the first two weeks in July.
The Spanish balloon festival features a 4-day run from Thursday to Sunday, and it attracts about 20,000 visitors every year.
While the celebration is on, expect to see many exciting things aside from breathtaking balloons in the air.
The other activities include a family workshop, a children’s show, and games, and concerts.
If you love photography, this festival is a beautiful spot to take breathtaking pictures. There is also a contest for the photographer with the best photos.
The winner is entitled to a trophy and a 500-euro sign.
Of course, there is the balloon ride which you need to book ahead. Aside from these, you can watch as pilots from several parts of the world compete for the winning spot in a flying contest.
5. Bristol International Balloon Fiesta
This Hot air balloon fiesta is a sizable family-oriented balloon event that runs for three days every August in Europe.
Here, many activities can keep you and your family entertained and even better, the entrance is free.
Get some yummy snacks from fruit outlets, get a ride on the carousel, and let your children enjoy other games.
You can hop on a hot air balloon and get a view of the fantastic cityscape below. Even more exciting are the Nightglows and fireworks, where a train of balloons takes off into the golden sky.
To make the experience even more euphoric, you get to hear a soundtrack that matches the event.
6. International Balloon Festival of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu
Held every August, this balloon festival is the biggest in Canada. There are so many exciting and fun-filled activities that you can get busy with for the nine days of the festival.
First, you can book a flight to witness the breathtaking cityscape of Quebec. At the lower ground, there are games and concerts to look forward to.
It is also the best place for families with children. There are hot air balloon games designed for younger ones in addition to inflatables and ziplines.
You also get the opportunity to learn how to fly a balloon, take part in demonstrations and programs.
Not just that, you can interest yourself in watching character-like balloons as they float up to the sky.
Don’t miss the night glows where hot air balloons look like lanterns on the ground.
7. The Great Reno Balloon Race
Nevada has never been a better place to visit in September. During this time, one of the world’s largest hot air balloon festivals takes place for free!
For four days, you enjoy the unlimited view of balloons flying up in the sky. Every year, there are more than a hundred of them launched into the atmosphere.
This event has gotten so many awards and commendations.
Family-friendly, there are a lot of programs to keep you and your loved ones occupied. These programs mainly include scavenger hunts, parties, and competitions.
If you are an addicted shopper, you can take the opportunity to shop in stores.
Do not forget to bring your camera along as there are so many beautiful scenes to capture. In addition, there are photo contests where the photographer with the best photos gets to win several gifts.
8. Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off
Another free hot air balloon festival is The Colorado Springs Labor Day Liftoff. One of the best traditions in the whole of Colorado, this event entertains the young and old alike.
You get a chance to set up your private station where you can comfortably enjoy the view.
Wake up in the morning to the sight of over seventy balloons ascending. If you want to be part of the flight, do well to wake a little earlier.
With this, you get the opportunity to catch a view of Pikes peak, the best view in Colorado.
There are also other activities to enjoy. They include skydiving, paddle boarding, and eating competitions.
9. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Held every October, the Albuquerque Fiesta event is one of the biggest balloon festivals in the world.
Dating back to 1972, it started as a small festival where only thirteen hot air balloons took off from the ground. Today, we see over five hundred multi-colored balloons each year.
For nine days, you enjoy the complete view of a variety of balloons that keep you spell-bound.
Within this unique event are other exciting events like the Flight of the Nations Ascension.
Here, pilots launch their balloons while we hear their national anthem, and they wave their flags proudly.
10. Saga International Balloon Fiesta
If you are thinking of going to Japan in early November, you should not miss the Saga International balloon fiesta.
There, by the river, thousands of people gather to watch hundreds of hot air balloons touchdown.
Since it started in 1978, it has been celebrated every year with people gathering from different parts of the world.
What makes this event unique is the “La Montgolfier nocturne,” which means “The night balloon.”
This nocturnal event features brilliant colors of hot air balloons that light up the ground and sky. There are fireworks and music that contribute to making this event memorable.
You can set up a picnic for yourself and watch the sky filled with hot air balloons during the daytime.
The event is free for spectators and gives them entrance to the Hot Air Balloon school. This is where you learn how to run a balloon and see the unique balloons at the Balloon fantasia.
These balloons festivals are utterly amazing and will give you an experience you can never forget. So, if you are considering ever taking a trip in a hot air balloon, you have a long list to pick from.