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7 Amazing hot air balloon festivals around the world 

Is a hot air balloon ride on your bucket list? These renowned hot air balloon festivals offer stunning views and memories that will last a lifetime.   

Take in the beauty of the world from new heights as you fly with hundreds of other balloons towards the sky. Or if heights aren’t your thing, you can still experience the beauty from the ground. From below, you’ll enjoy views of colourful balloons lighting up the morning skies as they begin to soar high above you.   

Whether you want to soar above new landscapes or look on from below, here are some of the best hot air balloon festivals worldwide. 

Cappadocia Balloon Festival – Turkey

Woman Sitting On The Ground Watching Balloons Looking At The Valley. Cappadocia sunrise
cihatatceken | iStock

Every year, tourists flock to the Cappadocia region to catch a glimpse of the hot air balloons as they rise over the city. The region’s iconic cone-shaped rock formations offer a unique and whimsical backdrop for the balloons. It’s no wonder that the balloons above Cappadocia make for stunning photographs and iconic social media posts.   

If you’re looking for the best chance to see the balloons, you’ll want to visit the Cappadocia Balloon Festival. Every year, balloonists and travellers gather at the festival to witness over 160 hot air balloons soaring through the sky.   

The International Balloon Festival of Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu – Canada

kalimf | iStock

Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Quebec, is home to Canada’s largest hot air balloon festival. This festival blends a music festival with the spectacle of hot air balloons. Watch as balloons soar above you while you take in international artists. Plus, you can enjoy Quebecois and Canadian favourites and up-and-coming artists.   

Just a short road trip from Ottawa, the International Balloon Festival of Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu has been a staple of family fun in Canada. Plus, the festival features rides, an agricultural space, and decadent foods served up in Gourmet Alley, so there is something for everyone to enjoy. 

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta – USA

Balloon Flight at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Greg Meland | iStock

Held annually in October, New Mexico’s Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the world’s largest hot air balloon event. Since 1972, balloonists and enthusiasts have gathered in Balloon Fiesta Park to take in the world-renowned nine-day festival.   

Watch as over 500 balloons float high each morning above the festival grounds. You’ll enjoy chainsaw carving demonstrations, a drone show, concerts, and food vendors throughout the festival. Plus, Albuquerque in early October boasts near-perfect conditions for ballooning, thanks to the various wind streams above the city. With wind speeds and directions changing at various altitudes, the skies above the festival give balloonists better control during the festival.   

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta – UK

Hot Air Balloons from the Bristol Balloon Fiesta fly past Clifton Suspension Bridge

The iconic Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is one of Europe’s largest free ballooning festivals. Since 1979, Bristol’s International Balloon Fiesta has offered fun for the whole family. Held annually in August, the festival’s 500,000 annual visitors can witness amazing aerial displays as over 100 balloons take flight above Ashton Court.  

Canberra Balloon Spectacular – Australia

Steven Tritton | iStock

Every March, the skies above Canberra come alive with colour as hundreds of hot air balloons take off from Balloon Aloft in Canberra. The nine-day event is a part of Enlighten, an outdoor art and cultural festival. Watch as the balloons take off at 6:15 a.m. each morning from the lawns of the old Parliament House in Canberra. Enjoy a hot breakfast and live music while watching the balloons soar above the Australian capital. 

Saga International Balloon Fiesta – Japan

SAGA International Balloon Fiesta in Saga, Japan.
yukihipo | iStock

Held each November in Saga Prefecture, Japan’s largest ballooning event attracts over 80 balloonists from around the world. First held in 1978, the Saga International Balloon Fiesta welcomes more than 800,000 visitors to view the balloons along the banks of the Kase River and is the largest event of its kind in Asia.   

The Balloon Fantasia is a signature event of the Saga International Balloon Fiesta. Spectators can watch hot air balloons shaped like popular Japanese cartoon characters take to the sky. 

Château-d’Oex International Hot Air Balloon Festival – Switzerland

Alcazar fortress of segovia at sunrise with various hot air balloons in the sky, listed world Heritage centre by UNESCO
Jose Luis Alvarez Esteban | iStock

The Château-d’Oex International Hot Air Balloon Festival in Switzerland is one of Europe’s premier ballooning events. For nine days each January, over 60 hot air balloons take to the sky for a one-of-a-kind aerial display. Château-d’Oex’s festival uniquely takes place in the winter, providing jaw-dropping views of the hot air balloons against the snow-capped Swiss Alpes.    

Ready for takeoff?

Plan your hot air balloon vacation today with the help of a CAA Travel Consultant. They can even help you find the right travel insurance ensuring your high-flying adventures are well-protected. The Adventurous Air Activities Rider from CAA provides peace of mind and medical coverage when you embark on thrilling activities like parasailing, hot-air ballooning, or scenic helicopter tours. Book your appointment online today  

CAA Travel Insurance is underwritten by Orion Travel Insurance Company, a CAA Company. Certain exclusions, limitations and restrictions apply. Subject to change without notice. A Medical Questionnaire is required if you are 60 years of age and older. Quotes are valid for 30 days.  

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