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12 Best Hot Air Balloon Festivals In The World

Hot Air Balloon

Who does not love a good hot air balloon ride? As the name suggests, a hot air balloon ride is nothing but a ride in the hot air balloon. To those of you who have not been in a hot air balloon, trust me, you are missing out. A hot air balloon festival is also seen being hosted around the world in different places that people would love to visit at least once in their life.

Hot Air Balloon Rides

Hot air balloon rides are something that you should do because it is a brilliant experience. It is nothing less than a fantasy. It has a very aesthetic appeal, mainly due to the brilliant scenery one can expect during the hot air balloon ride.

Seeing the entire city and the monuments, buildings, roads, shops, and even the people, so small as well as tiny from the balloon ride, makes you feel somewhat big and robust. Even though physically, it is scorching and humid, mainly due to the burner, which would be flaming hot, making it a little bit sweaty, the view itself is so spectacular that you forget everything else around you.

The feeling you get seeing the vast landscape in front of you is mind-blowing. You might be thinking that it is quite similar to like how you feel when you are on a plane. Still, I would like to tell you that it is very different because in case you forget when you are on a flight, there is a glass between you and the view, but while in a hot air balloon, nothing is staying between you and the mesmerizing view.

You feel as if you are yourself in the landscape. If the weather is good, you will be able to handle the morning air, the sun’s warmth as well as see the chirping birds flying around you. Sounds pretty cool and pleasant, right? I am sure after reading this. You are probably eagerly planning to go on a balloon ride. Well, we have got it covered. There are many hot air balloon rides in the world.

However, one needs to know the best and wonderful ones to experience a hot air balloon ride properly. Here are the top 12 hot air balloon festival in the world.

Top 12 Hot Air Balloon Festival in The World

1. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

12 Best Hot Air Balloon Festivals In The World 4
hot air balloon festival

Where: New Mexico, USA

When: October, for nine days

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is an event that occurs in October for nine days in New Mexico, USA. It was started in the year 1972 with only a handful of hot air balloons. But now they have over 500 hot air balloons that are seen flying in the air in the beautiful nine days’ time.

There are a wide variety of performances also schedules such as the photography contest,  chainsaw carving (ballet performance with a chainsaw that is very delicate and looks mesmerizing), Balloon Discovery Centre (people get to know about the science as well as the sport of ballooning also, get a sneak-peek into all the behind-the-scenes activities that go on during Balloon Fiesta), Balloon Glows, AfterGlow Fireworks, etc.

The balloons they possess are not only of different shapes and sizes, but it also ranges from different colors to other themes. The themes vary from cultures, animals, people, as well as famous historical people. Balloon Fiesta also holds a Music Fiesta where, over the years that have passed by, they have welcomed many notable musical artists to play there and have entertained their fans.

However, probably due to the current situation, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has postponed its 49th event that was supposed to take place in 2020. It has been rescheduled to 2nd to 10th October 2021.

2. Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off

Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off
hot air balloon festival

Where: Colorado

When: Labor Day

As the name suggests, this is a hot air balloon ride that you can avail only on Labor Day. This tradition of Colorado Springs has been going on for almost 44-years, and the same will take place from 5th to 6th September. The event generally comprises a lift-off of nearly 70 hot air balloons together, which both the older as well as younger generations can enjoy in style and comfort by spreading a blanket and enjoying the view by sitting on it.

However, due to COVID-19 restrictions this time, the event will most probably comprise of almost more than 35+ balloons floating in the air from 07:30 am to 08:30 am on both Saturday and Sunday. The guests are also given the option to buy food and drinks from the various stalls and enjoy having it watching the balloons floating over them.

There are also several different events planned, such as the photo contest, demonstrations of how to skydive, paddle boarding, a contest of carving chainsaw, and various eating competitions as well. There is also a balloon glow event, that is exceptionally gorgeous, and the guests can enjoy that at 07:00 in the evening.

3. The Great Reno Balloon Race

The Great Reno Balloon Race
hot air balloon festival

Where: Nevada, USA

When: September, over four days

The Great Reno Balloon Race started in the year 1982, having only 20 balloons. But now it is one of the most sought-after destinations for an incredibly amazing hot air balloon ride. It has now earned the title of being the world’s largest free hot air balloon event.

It takes place for four days in September and gains over 120,000 spectators to witness the flying off over a hundred hot air balloons. The event is known to have earned many awards, including the “Best Special Event in Reno” as well as “Best Event in Northern Nevada.”

This event, too, has many entertainment-related kinds of stuff planned out every year, including both shopping and eating at the Balloon Boulevard, pajama parties, and even the most exciting scavenger hunts.  One of the signature parts of the event goes out to be The Dawn Patrol.

I was following that; you will be completely mesmerized by the “mass ascension from Rancho San Rafael Park.” There is also a photo contest that is held which you can win by capturing the best moments that have happened during the event. So, always have a camera at your disposal!

4. International Balloon Festival of Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu

4. International Balloon Festival of Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu
hot air balloon festival

Where: Quebec, Canada

When: August, over nine days

The International Balloon Festival of Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu is known to be the largest gathering of hot air balloons in Canada. This event takes place in August and occurs over nine days. The event is known to look after all types of the crowd that is both the younger and the older generations through a myriad of activities.

Some of the activities for the children include hot air balloon and boat games, inflatables, and zip lines, while some of the activities that the adults can be eager to watch are the concerts that host both local as well as international artists. You can witness almost a hundred balloons up in the sky flying above you, and some of the balloons are even known to be character themed.

You are most definitely not recommended to miss out on the NIGHT GLOWS, which is a significant part of the event and a lovely one. This hot air balloon ride is a fantastic one because of being able to witness the fantastic cityscape of Quebec.

5. Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

Bristol International Balloon FiestaBristol International Balloon Fiesta

Where: Bristol, England

When: August, over three days

If you want to go to the largest ballooning event in England, which is also family-friendly (because, of course, no one wants to witness a ballooning event without their family), then this is the event for you. This event takes place in August for three days in the historical place- Ashton Court Estate.

The event is known to showcase over 130 balloons from around the world, which the visitors can thoroughly enjoy. There are also many other fun-filled activities such as riding the carousel, the ball-pit for the little ones, stalls, and stores containing hot foods, etc. so that your family remains full-on entertained.

These are just additional benefits along with the hot air balloon rides during both morning and afternoon, which allows you to view Bristol’s tremendously beautiful cityscape. The most anticipated part of the fiesta is nothing but the Firework Finale and The Nightglows, where a bunch of balloons flies up in the sky. On seeing this, you might just feel the euphoria as well as the contentedness of it set in.

6. European Balloon Festival

European Balloon Festival
hot air balloon festival

Where: Igualada, Spain

When: First fortnight of July, for four days

European Balloon Festival is the largest hot air balloon festival in all of Spain. It takes place for four days (Thursday to Sunday) during the first fortnight of July. It is known to gain visitations from over 25,000 people a year who come over to witness the glorious view of 50 hot air balloons flying high and the balloon pilots who are known to come from around the globe to fight for the top spot.

There are many activities as well that you can take part in, such as making a balloon keyring, concerts for the adults as well as photo contests. It is advisable to start taking pictures the moment you enter the arena cause the winner of the photography contest gets a big trophy as well as $500. Along with this exciting piece of news, you can also expect to see night-time balloon glows as well as fireworks.

7. International Hot Air Balloon Festival

International Hot Air Balloon Festival
hot air balloon festival

Where: Chateau-d’Oex, Switzerland

When: January, for nine days.

This place of hot air balloon rides is a must-visit because it is set against the backdrop of the incredibly stunning Swiss Alps. It is known to play host to over more than 100 hot air balloons and their pilots from across more than 20 different countries.

If you visit this hot air balloon festival, you will also be able to see the hot air balloon museum that is situated there due to the historical context of the place. While visiting the site, you should make sure that you have a camera at hand with you because of the awe filling and gorgeous background, which needs to be captured as a perfect moment.

8. Taiwan International Balloon Festival

Taiwan International Balloon Festival
hot air balloon festival

Where: Taitung City, Taiwan

When: Whole month of June

The Taiwan International Balloon Festival in Taitung is held for almost a month, and this is the reason due to which it has become an attractive tourist destination. Another reason why it is a unique spot of hot air balloon rides because it comprises of character-themed hot air balloons that makes it a perfect place for clicking pictures.

It also makes it a perfect place for families with kids. You will also be able to see night glow concerts of various themes. The important part to note of this festival is that in case you want to ride a hot air balloon, you will have to book it months in advance.

But you can also book a balloon ride where the balloon remains roped to the ground. However, just going to this hot air balloon festival to look at the marvelous view of different hot air balloons flying in the sky is most definitely worth the trip.

9. Saga International Balloon Fiesta

Saga International Balloon Fieasta
hot air balloon festival

Where: Saga, Japan

When: Early November

This particular festival is known to have started in the year 1978 in Kyushu. However, at the present moment, it is celebrated on the Kase Riverside in Saga every Autumn. It is such a famous ballooning spot that every year, it attracts almost 800,000 visitors to witness the floating of over 100 balloons in the air.

One of the major attractions of this hot air balloon festival is the Hot Air Balloon School, where the visitors are taught the details of ballooning and are given a chance to touch the balloons. Other two events that are quite famous of this festival are- The Balloon Fantasia (shapes such as animals and popular cartoon characters are featured for fun) and the nocturnal event La Montgolfier Nocturne which means “the night balloon” (hot air balloons of multiple colors brighten up both the sky as well as the ground).

While the former is going to be the place where all the kids gather, the latter can be quite a romantic spot for the adults. Visitors can expect a little of both fireworks and music along with these engaging activities.

10. Ferrara Balloons Festival

Ferrara Balloon Festival
hot air balloon festival

Where: Ferrara, Italy

When: 6th to 15th September

Ferrara Balloons Festival is a hot air balloon festival that is one of the most important ones in Italy. Due to its popularity as well as prominence, it is known to attract almost more than 100,000 visitors a year. This can be said to be a unique hot air balloon festival because it provides not only free rides to its spectators but also enables them to see a spectacular view of the Renaissance city center.

It also provides you with an option to land on any of the places you see and like while you are up in the sky. It is known to feature several animated balloons, food stalls as well as restaurants and bars, and even ice-cream parlors.

11. Canberra Balloon Spectacular

Canberra Balloon Spectacular
hot air balloon festival

Where: Canberra, Australia

When: March, for two weeks

Canberra Balloon Spectacular is a hot air balloon festival that takes place in March for just two weeks. This hot air balloon festival is a must-visit the site because if you do visit this place, you will be fortunate enough to witness the subtle beauty of Mother Nature at its best.

The balloon ride itself takes almost 45-60 minutes, but the passage does not seem boring because of the scenic beauty that surrounded Canberra. One of the attractions of this hot air balloon festival is the food by an outstanding caterer each year. Another one might be the presence of Lake Burley Griffin, where you will be given a chance to kayak. Kayaking provides with the most astounding view of the balloons lifting off together.

12. Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival

Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival
hot air balloon festival

Where: Foley, Alabama

When: August, for three days

This hot air balloon festival takes place in August for just three days. It has many different kinds of events planned. The fun-filled activities planned by the organizers are also critical to notice. In this hot air balloon festival too, you will be able to have food from the food stalls.

Other sorts of entertainments such as balloon flights and balloon glow and even tethered rides if the weather permitted. This is another hot air balloon festival that you can choose to visit.

There are many other hot air balloon festivals around the globe that you can select to visit. Many of the hot air balloon festivals that I have mentioned above have tethered balloons instead of the regular balloon flights in case you are scared of heights. Other such places might also have this option. However, you should not be afraid and leave all your fears back because riding a hot air balloon in a hot air balloon festival is a dream come true for many.

If you want to know more about hot air balloon rides, visit this site: https://www.shermanstravel.com/advice/8-things-you-need-to-know-about-hot-air-balloon-rides/

Oindri Kundu

Written by Oindri Kundu

An artist with hidden talents.
A girl with a love for books.

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