Adventure By Justin Gibson

A View from Above

Whether you’re hotel-hopping or lounging on a cruise, journeying to new places brings with it an undeniable element of excitement. An escape from the ordinary, a journey through foreign lands, a dive into the unknown are all good for eliciting a new perspective. But, suppose you found a new perspective on the new perspective? Maybe a birds-eye view?

Enter hot air balloons. Both calming and exhilarating, discovering grand landscapes is infinitely more majestic, more monumental, when you’re floating far above them like a cloud. Couple the goosebumps with savoring sips of Champagne and you’ll likely never find as rich of an adventure anywhere down on the surface. Whether you arrive by air, car or cruise ship, here are three destinations to explore for stunning balloon rides.

Prague, Czech Republic

Nicknamed “the City of a Hundred Spires” and the historical capital of the Bohemia, there’s a certain charm that envelopes all of Prague. Church spires peak out over the red-tile roofs of the many-hued baroque buildings, creating a sense of immaculately-preserved Renaissance. As magical as strolling the Old Town Square is, soaring high above it in the comfort of a wicker basket is immeasurably better. To see the gradual change in architecture from gothic and medieval to modern in a single scene feels like counting the tree rings of civilization. To witness it all blanketed in a sunset with church bells echoing far below is, well, angelic.

Prague, Czech Republic

Toronto, Canada 

Settled on Lake Ontario’s northwestern shore, Toronto is home to towering skyscrapers in tandem with quaint lakeshore views. But just outside this metropolis lies the views really worth discovering. Toronto’s countryside is full of twinkling lakes, lush fields and forests that appear as a firework show of colors come fall, all framed by mountain ranges on the horizon. The perfect pairing to the crisp colors and cool autumn air? A refreshing glass of bubbly, provided by most of Toronto’s hot air balloon tours.

Chasing hot air balloon
Toronto, Canada

Cappadocia, Turkey 

While the myriad of historic empires and cultural influences has created a destination wholly unique, the city of Istanbul isn’t, surprisingly, the place for the country’s greatest hot air balloon flight. That distinction is about a daytrip’s drive west, at the ancient city of Cappadocia. A semi-arid region, the alien-desert canyons are dotted with fairy chimneys, peculiar boulders and human dwellings carved into the cliff walls. This, coupled with a sky absolutely blooming with hot air balloons (any given day you’ll see hundreds in the air), makes for utterly otherworldly sights.

Hot air balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey

Cheers with champagne
Traditional Turkish breakfast

Where to Stay

While flying high is equal parts exhilarating and fulfilling, you have to come back down to earth eventually. When it comes time to conclude a day of adventure, we recommend the following hotels and cruise lines. You'll enjoy the bonus amenities available through ALTOUR SELECT Hotels & Resorts.