Want to go on a hot air balloon ride while you’re in Switzerland? Then you’re definitely in the right place because this detailed guide covers everything you need to know about hot air balloons in Switzerland!
It’s a popular attraction in the country, but there is one region where hot air balloons are more common than elsewhere. Also, know that you can choose from multiple types of rides that range from quick excursions to those that include fondue in the balloon! Keep reading to figure out when and where it’s best to go on a hot air balloon ride in Switzerland.
Chateaux d’Oex – The Swiss Capital for Hot Air Balloons
While it is possible to go on hot air balloon rides in multiple Swiss regions, Chateaux d’Oex is widely considered the capital of Switzerland for hot air balloon rides. Every year, the region hosts a festival that welcomes hot air balloons and pilots from all over the world. The festival lasts for around 9 days, and it usually takes place in January.
Visiting the area during the festival is a wonderful experience, and easily one of the best times to go on a hot air balloon ride. It’s absolutely magical to ride in one of the balloons and see dozens of others in the air next to you!
How Much is a Hot Air Balloon Ride in Switzerland?
The prices of a hot air balloon ride in Switzerland depend on quite a few things, but you will generally need at least 300-350 CHF to be able to fly in a hot air balloon. The exact price will depend on the region, length of the flight, and type of excursion. Private rides where it’s just you and a few other people are more expensive than sharing the balloon with strangers.
Longer flights are also more expensive than shorter flights, but it’s worth noting that the price differences aren’t that drastic. Also, if you want to enjoy a special kind of hot air balloon flight that includes snacks and maybe even fondue, expect to pay even more on top of the price for a standard ride.
Private rides are usually between 1,000-2,5000 CHF, depending on the size of the balloon. These tours often last longer, and they’re worth the money if you want a special experience in Switzerland.
Another thing to note is that hot air balloon rides are discounted for children. On average, kids up to 16 years of age pay 200-250 CHF for these flights, so keep that in mind if you’re planning a family excursion.
How Long is a Hot Air Balloon Flight in Switzerland?
Traditional hot air balloon flights in Switzerland are approximately two hours long. These are the most commonly booked flights, but it is worth noting that it is possible to book longer rides. They can be up to four hours long, but keep in mind that longer flights are more expensive.
When Is the Best Time for A Hot Air Balloon Ride in Switzerland?
The best time for a hot air balloon ride in Switzerland is the second half of January if you can make it to the country. That’s when the festival in Chateaux d’Oex takes place, and that’s by far the best time to experience a hot air balloon ride in the Alpine country.
It’s important to note that you can go on a hot air balloon ride any time of the year. They’re often operated by the same sports centers that operate paragliding and skydiving, and they’re available in multiple regions throughout the country.
Autumn and spring are generally considered the best seasons for hot air ballooning because the landscapes below you look the most beautiful. Everything’s either in full bloom in the spring, or you’re admiring the orange and red hues of the autumn. The weather is also the most predictable and the temperatures are generally comfortable.
What Should You Wear on a Hot Air Balloon Ride in Switzerland?
It’s best to layer up for hot air balloon rides. While it might be a bit hot below the burners when you’re first ascending, once you climb to the higher altitudes it tends to be colder than on the ground.
For flights in the summer, it’s best to wear thinner layers and pair them with hoodies or lightweight (windproof) jackets. It’s also recommended to bring a hat or a cap, as well as sunglasses. Sensible footwear is a must, so think of something with traction and non-slip soles.
Trousers are pretty much a must for hot air balloon rides. Capri pants and shorts are sometimes acceptable, but since it can be a bit colder, it’s better to wear thinner but longer pants.
Also – and this one is for the ladies – consider the fact that you will need to climb inside the hot air balloon. While your favorite skirt or dress might look amazing in the photos in the balloon, it doesn’t allow for a graceful or PG-13 entrance inside the balloon. So, stick with pants, leggings, or at the very least, skorts.
For hot air balloon rides in the winter, you should wear proper winter coats.
What to Expect on a Hot Air Balloon Ride in Switzerland
Expect to experience some of the most magical panoramic views you’ve ever seen. These rides take you on trips across multiple regions – you won’t just linger in the same spot for two hours. So, you will get to see the changing Swiss landscapes below you, including mountains, valleys, forests, lakes, and so much more.
Also, expect windy weather and prepare adequately. It’s often windy when you’re high up in the air, especially when you’re flying in a balloon. That’s why windproof clothing is recommended, even if you’re going on a ride during a particularly hot summer day.
Tips for A Fantastic Hot Air Balloon Experience in Switzerland
Pay attention to the weather forecast. Hot air balloons typically avoid flying in the rain, so make sure to check the weather forecast before you book a flight. Otherwise, you might end up disappointed if your hot air balloon ride gets delayed or canceled.
Plan for more time than allotted. While a traditional ride in a hot air balloon usually lasts two hours, plan to spend more time on the ride and don’t make any plans for a couple of hours prior or immediately after. You can never know for sure if there will be any delays or issues, plus it takes a bit of time to set up and finalize the flights.
Check out all your options before booking a flight. Hot air balloon rides are available throughout Switzerland, and it’s a good idea to select a flight based on the regions you are most interested in. Would you rather fly over southern Switzerland or western Switzerland? What are you most looking forward to seeing from the hot air balloon? Consider everything before making any arrangements.