The International Hot Air Balloon Festival is celebrating its 40th edition this year in Château-d’Oex, Switzerland. The event will see hundreds of hot air balloons of every design and colour imaginable take to the air. Read on to find out what to expect at this wonderful event.
What should you expect?
Balloons, paragliders and more
Over the course of the festival, you’ll see dozens of balloons floating lazily through the sky. But that’s not all as you’ll be treated to aerobatic flight crews, parachute shows and paragliders, all showing off their skills and making you dizzy in the process. This one day of the week, Wednesday, January 31, is a day for children.
A flight in a balloon
Take to the sky above Château-d’Oex and marvel at the mountains all around you. Know that you have to pay and booking in advance is advised.
Price: CHF 390 per adult and CHF 195 per child under 15.
The Night Glow
Topping off the event is the must-see Night Glow (held on Friday, February 2). Some of the most beautiful, and quirky, balloons light up in the dark of night to the sound of music. The wonderful display is topped with fireworks.
Things to do while you’re there
The Balloon Museum
Why not visit the Château-d’Oex Balloon Museum and learn all about the history of ballooning in the balloon capital of the world? You’ll discover all about the history of these fascinating inventions and be taken on a tour of some the greater balloon adventures that have been undertaken, such as Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones’ circumnavigation of the world. See here for more details.
Espace Ballon, Chemin des Ballons 2, 1660 Château-d’Oex, +41 78 723 78 33
Discover the art of cheese-making and escape the cold all at once at Le Chalet. Every day these maestros of cheese crank out around 20 kilos of cheese and after learning about this age-old art, you can try it out in Le Chalet Organic, their in-house restaurant.
Route de la Gare 2. 1660 Château-d’Oex, +41 26 924 66 77
Ski or snowboard
Slopes are never too far away in Switzerland. Château-d’Oex has over 20 km of pistes that are easily reached from the town centre, so you can escape the balloon show at your leisure and practice your skills.
How to get there
Château-d’Oex can easily be reached by train. From Geneva, it is a couple of hours away, or you can take the scenic GoldenPass line train from Montreux. If you are travelling from Zurich, you can reach Château-d’Oex in around three hours via Bern.