The best ways to see the world from above
Hot-air balloon heaven in Cappadocia.
Rise up over Rio
With lush mountains tumbling into the sea and a ring of white-sand beaches, Rio is one of the most beautifully located cities in the world. Accompanied by an instructor, take a hang glider trip from the Tijuca Forest National Park, passing sights such as Sugar Loaf Mountain, the Christ the Redeemer statue and the patchwork of Rio’s diverse neighbourhoods before landing on the beach.
Whizz across the Grand Canyon
The scale of Arizona’s natural wonder is best appreciated from above where you can take in the stunning red hues of the craggy rock formations. Follow the route of the Colorado River from North Rim to South Rim with views of the most famous spots in the canyon, see some of the world's largest ponderosa pines in Kaibab National Forest and head along the dramatic vista of the Dragon Corridor.
While a game drive is the traditional way to spot wildlife while on safari, you could also take a bird’s eye view of the African savannah. As the sun rises, float up above the Serengeti in a hot-air balloon where you can really appreciate the landscape and watch elephants, giraffes and rhino on the ground below.
An eye on London
The London Eye is an easy, accessible and relaxing way to see the capital from above. The observation wheel moves so slowly it is barely perceptible – until you realise you’ve taken in every vista of London from north to south and east to west. Spot all the famous landmarks including the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral and Buckingham Palace.
Swoop over New York
The vast megacity is incredible when seen from above at night with all the lights twinkling beneath you. Swoop like Batman over ‘Gotham’ in a helicopter, which will give you glorious views of the Chrysler Building, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and Brooklyn Bridge.
Fiji island skydive
If you’ve already explored the underwater worlds around a tropical island, gain a new perspective with a skydive. Not for the faint-hearted, you can experience around 70 seconds of freefall from as high as 14,000 feet with views of the stunning blue waters, white sandy beaches and coral reefs of Denarau Island.
Cappadocia’s whimsical world
With its intriguing rock formations, Cappadocia in central Turkey is a natural marvel, and the best way to appreciate the ‘fairy chimneys’ is to float above the landscape in a hot-air balloon. It’s a popular activity, and watching a host of colourful balloons float above this otherworldly terrain is a sight in itself.
Gaze down on Tokyo
Tokyo’s Sky Tree is the world’s tallest tower and has two of the world’s tallest observation decks with 360-degree views over the city and beyond to Mount Fuji on a clear day. Tembo Deck at 350 metres can be reached in a zippy 50-second elevator ride, or head higher to the second deck at 450 metres. It’s particularly lovely at sunset as the lights come on across the city.
Enjoy the Sydney skyline by climbing its iconic bridge. See the harbour sparkling beneath you, while gazing out at landmarks such as the Opera House. There are a range of climbs but the ‘Ultimate’ encompasses the entire bridge and back, taking 3.5 hours. For the romantics, the top of the bridge is a popular spot for a proposal.
Zip across Africa
Thrill-seekers could take a zipline in Victoria Falls to enjoy the terrain from above. Head up 120 metres, then soar across the Batoka Gorge at speeds of over 100km per hour while taking in awesome views of the Zambezi River below – if you dare to open your eyes...
Glide across Welsh mountains
You could climb Snowdon…or you could appreciate this majestic mountain with a motor glider flight. You can get the chance to fly the aircraft yourself, and soar over the Snowdon peak, down the coast to Cadair Idris, and enjoy views of Lake Bala.
New Zealand’s drama
With its mountain peaks, waterfalls, forest and deep blue waters, Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park is breath-taking. To absorb it all, take a scenic flight following the fiord as it meets the Tasman Sea, with the Southern Alps as your backdrop. Pick a route that passes over glaciers and the dramatic locations seen in The Lord of the Rings.
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