Winter Alpine Balloon Festival – Château d’Oex, Vaud, Switzerland
A Bird’s Eye View of Mountain Majesty
Hot-air balloon festivals are no longer a conversation-stopping novelty, but ballooning through the Alps in the middle of winter? At the annual Winter Alpine Balloon Festival, as many as sixty-five balloons from more than fifteen countries ascend gracefully as a carnival ambience takes over the popular resort town below, with organized dinners held each evening. If you miss the festival, alternative weeks offer wintertime flying that is no less awesome, among majestic peaks and through snow-covered alpine valleys.
Elegant in-flight luncheons are served while passengers drift serenely over Christmas-card settings.
Summertime ballooning in Switzerland takes place in the softer rolling hills of the Emmental valley, in the otherwise dramatic Bernese Oberland.
The precise geometric patterns of Swiss farmland and picture-perfect, flower-decked rural wooden chalets create the perfect “aerial nature walk,” according to Buddy Bombard, who leads one of the world’s most reliable ballooning outfitters.