Looking to dazzle your children and give them an unforgettable experience? Zell am See is the best place to be this February for the mesmerising Balloonalps 2017. This spectacular event is any toddler’s dream – 30 colourful hot air balloons sailing through the Austrian skies in a race across the Alps – and it is sure to take your breath away too!
Taking place between the 11th and 18th of February in Zell am See-Kaprun in Salzburg, this wonderful occasion is a great experience for a young family. In addition to colourful balloons contrasting against the fresh blue of the sky and white of the stunning snow-capped Alps, Balloonalps is also jam-packed full of fun activities. There will never be a dull moment!
Read up on this beautiful Austrian town with this insightful guide.
What is Balloonalps?
So, what exactly happens and what is balloonalps? I hear you cry. Now in its third year, Balloonalps sees competitors take to the skies in beautiful hot air balloons where they must exercise great skill, tactics and courage to complete certain competitions. The main challenge is to cross the Alps, where competitors soar at heights of up to 6000m all the way to the gates of Venice. Other fun competitions include:
- Declared Goals – Participants must drop a small marker bag as close to a predetermined goal as possible.
- Maximum/minimum Distance Flights – Pilots must fly as far as possible within a defined period of time, or fly minimum distance flights within a scoring area and defined period of time.
- Hare & Hounds – One balloon (the hare) drops a target cross at a landing site of their choice, which the other balloons (hounds) must drop their markers as close as possible to.
This makes for highly entertaining viewing all within truly epic natural surroundings. The little ones are sure to be dazzled by the incredible natural beauty, the playful balloons and the fun atmosphere that swirls around this picturesque region for the entire week.
Not just this, but you and the kids can also touch the clouds thanks to the thrilling rides in the balloons that are offered to the general public each day (weather permitting). Ascending high above the scenic Alps and getting panoramic views of this breathtaking part of the world will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you and the family will always cherish. For toddlers, there is a tethered balloon option which will provide them with the experience of flying in a hot air balloon.
It is understandable that parents may have concerns about their own children flying in hot air balloons, but it is, in fact, incredibly safe. The term flying is what makes it sound unsafe, but it would be more accurate to define it as “driving” (this is what it is called in Germany).
It is not possible to drive a balloon, but using the wind enables pilots to control direction and speed. The pilot can use the burner to cause the balloon to rise or fall, and different air layers have different wind directions and speeds – therefore, the pilot has complete control over taking off, driving through the air and landing.
The Night of the Balloons
A highlight of Balloonalps is Night of the Balloons, on the 13th of February in Kaprun and on the 15th in Zell am See. This is a majestic show where illuminated hot-air balloons rise high above the mountain tops to turn the starry night sky into an ocean of colourful twinkling lights. In addition to the magical display and incredible atmosphere, The Night of Balloons also offers a full program of entertaining side events – this could prove to be the highlight of the trip, so don’t miss out!
How to Get to Zell am See
Flying with little ones can be a stressful process, but fortunately, it will not take you too long to reach Zell am See. The easiest and most common route is to fly from London Gatwick into Salzburg airport, which takes approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. This flight is made 18 times a week and with a handful of budget carriers offering affordable prices.
Salzburg airport to Zell am See takes roughly 1 hour and 20 minutes by road. For a stress-free and comfortable journey, consider booking a private or shared transfer with Shuttle Direct. If you let them know at the time of booking, they can collect you in a vehicle already equipped with car seats for the little ones. You can then sit back and enjoy the scenic trip through Austria’s lovely countryside to your accommodation in the town.
Where to Stay:
Ebenberghof – This affordable accommodation is an attractive and fully equipped 3 room apartment in a stunning part of Zell am See. It is ideal for a family as it provides you with plenty of privacy and peace and quiet, plus it also comes with a Swedish stove, cable television and kitchen. The fenced grounds have a patio and terrace with furniture and a BBQ, as well as great views of the surrounding area. You are also just a short stroll from all the services and facilities you will need during your stay.
Appartement Haus Sonnenheim – These apartments are perfectly situated just a 7-minute walk to the city centre and 5 minutes from the City Express Cable Car. They are like a home from home with a fully equipped kitchen, private bathrooms, cable TV and lovely lake views from the balcony. In addition to being able to settle in the apartments, parents will also be happy to hear that the kids can have fun and meet other kids in the shared garden. Previous guests have spoken very highly of the location and views from this accommodation.
Appartments Haus Sonnenschein – Self-catered apartments that are brilliantly located 2 minutes from the beach and only 100 yards from the local shops and restaurants. Each apartment comes with a fully-equipped kitchen, en-suite bathrooms, balcony or terrace and a lounge area complete with a TV and ps3 (perfect for kids). These apartments have been rated the best value in Zell am See, so they could be a great option for those on a budget.
About Shuttle Direct:
Shuttle Direct is an excellent choice for holidaymakers seeking convenient and reliable airport transfers throughout Europe. They can arrange affordable and safe passage between airports, hotels, cruise ports and train stations all around the continent for a fixed price.
Book a private or shared transfer today with their easy to navigate system and their expert team will handle the rest.