Hot Air Balloon over Caceres – Extremadura, Spain

As European destinations re-evaluate how best to promote and further engage visitors, particularly to their otherwise lesser-visited rural destinations with historical ‘off-road’ towns and countryside locations, we too are enjoying exploring different ways in which we can maximise on our own clients’ visitor experience.

So, if you are looking for a different start to your day, I highly recommend taking a dawn hot air balloon ride across Extremadura’s UNESCO World Heritage Site of Caceres.

I found it thrilling.

Without the crowds, this mesmeric bird’s-eye flight, from quiet desertscape lift-off, through to wild savannah landing is an absolute delight. Silently passing high above the early morning farm holdings, with local sunrise views across Tagus Lake. The gentle morning unfolds as you drift towards the Old Town of Caceres, set in the rangy hills of Sierra de la Mosca.

It soon becomes apparent that this capital city of Caceres Province, founded by the Romans in 25BC, offers an extraordinary mix of historic and modern landmarks. Easy-to-see historical sights – such as one of Spain’s oldest bullrings (Coso del la Era do los Martires – Bullring from the Age of Martyrs), and ancient churches – stand proud amidst the walled Old Town, contrasting dramatically with the urban developer’s dreams – a patchwork of neat modern housing, symmetrical football pitches and precise toy-town roundabouts – which dominate the surrounding countryside.

Permitting views that none of the pre-Roman, Gothic or Renaissance visitors would have been able to access, this special balloon ride allows for an opportunity to embrace an hour’s silent contemplation, above the early morning stillness. Especially exhilarating when one reflects on the city’s history of Moorish and Christian battles. As well as Roman, Islamic, Gothic and Italian Renaissance architecture, which, when on high, are in such stark contrast to modern improvements.

In one bird’s-eye swoop, you enjoy kaleidoscopic views across Caceres city, in a magical, early morning experience, culminating in an olive grove flypast and hold-tight-crashlanding.

Breakfast on the open savannah, with ground level views back to the Old City ramparts, will never have tasted so good.

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