The oldest form of aerial transportation is back in style so forget about your bucket list, here’s the ultimate “Basket List” to give you a new perspective on some of the most spectacular landscapes and ancient sights in the world!
1. Albuquerque, NM: The International Balloon Fiesta is the largest and most photographed hot-air balloon event in the world. Watch over 500 balloons of all shapes and sizes climb during a sunrise mass ascension. Balloon pilots can even perform synchronized “splash & dashes” when they skim the water and then rise in the air again. Additional activities include evening balloon glow, fireworks, concerts and more. If you cannot attend the week-long fiesta in early October, Rainbow Ryders operates tours along the Rio Grande almost 300 days a year.
2. Cappadocia, Turkey: Located in the central Anatolian region of Turkey, this otherworldly terrain of caves, pinnacles and “fairy chimney” rock formations look like you’ve traveled to another world.
3. Bagan, Myanmar: Balloon is the best way to see the over 2,000 surviving pagodas, especially at sunrise or sunset, when the temple silhouettes glow in the mist of this once capital of the first Myanmar Empire.
4. Loire Valley, France: Two hours south of Paris, ascend in a balloon over 800 castles and manor houses that dot Loire Valley.
5. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania: Go on a safari above it all in Serengeti National Park to view “the largest mammal migration in the world.” Quietly float over wildebeest, hippos, lions, giraffes, zebras and more.
6. Napa Valley, CA: Get a bird’s-eye view of the rolling hills and vineyards. On a clear day you might even be able to see the San Francisco skyline in the distance.
7. Letchworth State Park, New York: Soar to incredible heights above the middle and upper falls of the Letchworth Gorge, between dramatic slate cliffs.
8. Melbourne, Australia: See Australia’s second largest city from an aerial view to see the skyline, Melbourne Park and the Rod Laver Arena, site of the Australian Open.
9. Muelle, Costa Rica: Balloons dip low to skim the jungle’s treetops and sometimes fly so high you can see the smoking Arenal Volcano.
10. Gstaad, Switzerland: The International Balloon Festival in Chateau d’Oex takes off every January above the Swiss Alps.
11. Queenstown, New Zealand: Lift off to get the best panoramic views of Queenstown, known as the incredible backdrop for the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit.
12. Luxor, Egypt: Travel 3,000 years back in time as you float over the world’s greatest open-air museum. Fly over the Nile, the Luxor temple, the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, the Temples of Ramses II and III and more.
13. Reno, NV: Reno’s reputation for gambling takes flight every year in early September for the Great Reno Balloon Race, which includes quirky contests such as steering balloons over giant playing cards and tossing a beanbag from the basket to try to hit “21.”
14. Yangshuo, China: Colorful balloons meander through limestone karst peaks during this unforgettable ride along the Li River.
15. Lake Tahoe: Just after sunrise board the Tahoe Flyer, the world’s only US coast guard certified balloon launch and recovery vessel for the ultimate view of the “jewel of the Sierra.”
16. Teotihuacan, Mexico: Rise above the City of the Gods, built in 300 B.C., once the greatest city in North America. Lift off near Mexico City to appreciate the massive pyramids and ancient ruins of this holy city.
17. Angkor Wat, Cambodia: Climb aboard a hot-air balloon to see Angkor Wat, Cambodia’s top tourist attraction, unfold beneath you. Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world, dating back to the early 12th century.
18. Wadi Rum, Jordan: Take in unbeatable views of the majestic desert, dotted with rock formations like the famous “Seven Pillars of Wisdom.”