Ballooning in Tuscany
Ballooning in Tuscany
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Hot Air ballooning in Tuscany, experience the magic of flight. Hot Air Ballooning tours over Tuscan valleys, hill-top towns, castles, and vineyards. Fly in a hot air balloon in Tuscany from Montisi near Pienza and Montepulciano or Siena and see this magical region from a unique perspective with Ballooning in Tuscany,
Montisi, Tuscany, Italy

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

5.0
513 reviews
Excellent
501
Very good
8
Average
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2
Terrible
2

Petal-to-the-Metal
Tulsa, OK13 contributions
Sep 2016 • Friends
There are some things in life you just shouldn't pass up. A hot air balloon ride over the undulating hills of Tuscany is one of those experiences!

I should start by saying that I chose the wrong flight day for my group and didn't realize my error until 11pm the night before our 6am flight was to take place. Major fail on my part. Friendly tip- double check your dates before you reserve!

When I went to the launch site at 5am the next morning, distraught, the crew calmly worked with me to ensure that our party of three was included in the flight that day, which meant leaving the site to get a bigger basket to accommodate us. "No" would have been the easier answer for them to give, but they were all very pleasant and understanding. What could have been the worst part of our trip became the most memorable.

The flight itself was like a dream, equal parts thrilling and peaceful. Soaring high over the Italian countryside, you see patterns and colors in the land that you couldn't imagine from the ground. On our particular flight we caught glimpses of deer, pheasants, & wild boar, viewed vineyards and villages, and even dipped down over a pond to see our reflections dancing in the water. My personal favorite moment was flying over the Sant'Anna in Camprena monastery, where I had visited just the day before. Seeing it from the air gave a different perspective and added to the magic I had felt while there.

Additionally- our pilot was charming and funny, the crew interesting and fun, the landing a breeze, and the champagne breakfast and toast afterward perfectly capped off the entire experience. I can't stress enough what an enjoyable time this was!
Written October 3, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

mvplevine
Toronto138 contributions
Taking a hot air balloon ride over the hills of Tuscany, south of Siena was the highlight of our honeymoon. The owner-operator of Ballooning in Tuscany, Robert Etherington, is British and has lived in Tuscany for over a dozen years. He is an expert balloonist and very informative about the area. It was great being able to communicate without the need for translation.
We took off at dawn from his old farmhouse and sailed over vineyards, olive groves, wheat fields, small historic towns, forests. It was a clear day, so we could see for miles. Tuscany is breathtaking, and it was so nice to enjoy it from the air. It was so much more relaxing than seeing the sites by car while driving windy, twisty roads. Bring lots of memory cards for your camera, as you will fill them up quickly! After landing in a field, we celebrated with champagne.
Written October 24, 2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

nabeelsheikh
London10 contributions
May 2015 • Couples
Ballooning over Tuscany is an incredible experience! Chris and Claire who run the business are Brits living out in Tuscany and following their passion of ballooning for 6 months of the year. They are lovely and very friendly, being incredibly knowledgeable about ballooning and the local region. They take safety very seriously – our initial balloon flight was cancelled because even though the weather was lovely, it was too windy. However they arranged a further flight the next day with enough time for us to catch our flight. (On this point: they will only cancel a flight is deemed unsafe, and this is to be commended; understandably this may lead to disappointment for some on rare occasions, but they with do their best to offer an alternative or offer a full refund. Monica, who runs the administration side of things, is very helpful from this perspective and will always be available to answer any queries about the trip).

The balloon flight itself was extremely gentle and far calmer than I’d imagined a hot air balloon to be, as was the landing. The flight involved a very early start, but this is rewarded by stunning views over the landscape just after sunrise when the light is incredible. The region from which Chris and Claire take-off is in the heart of classic Tuscan landscape.

Overall, although expensive, this is a highly recommended activity to do in the region!
Written May 24, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Richard818
Delray Beach, FL2 contributions
May 2012 • Couples
This review is not based on the tour, rather than our terrible experience dealing with this company. After booking the balloon ride 5 months in advance we were told via email the day before that the ride was cancelled due to "unsafe winds"....quite disturbing considering there were no significant winds the day of the cancellation or the next day when the ride was supposed to take place. Upon discussing this with our tour director that day, she said that this company is known for cancelling rides due to "unsafe winds" when there are not enough bookings to make going up profitable for them. Getting the refund was a nightmare and still unresolved almost 2 months later. Because the original payment was made through paypal more than 60 days before the cancellation a simple credit of my paypal account could not be made. The refund they sent was less than what was paid and they blamed the bank for making a currency conversion error. I provided them a copy of the bank statement and it clearly shows that 500 euro, not the 525 euro that was paid was refunded. All told between the lack of a complete refund and the bank fees it has cost me almost $50.00 and untold aggravation for a tour I did not take. My advice is if you do book this tour do it within 60 days of your scheduled date and dont incur additional expenses such as transportation, hotel etc. as you can be cancelled, whether legitimately or not, with the excuse of excessive winds at the tour operator's discretion.
Written July 6, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you for your review. We are sorry to hear you were dissatisfied with the service you received. We pride ourselves on offering a high level of service and, as you will see from the many other reviews on this site, it is extremely rare for a customer to be unsatisfied. Ballooning is a weather dependent activity and, although the majority of days are flyable in Tuscany during the summer, we explain this to customers from the outset. We are governed by strict guidelines on when we can fly and always put safety first. Unfortunately a considerable part of May was unsuitable for ballooning this year. Judging weather for ballooning is a complex matter which requires a considerable amount of knowledge and can therefore only be done by an experienced balloon pilot. This is based on specialist ballooning forecasts which look at wind speeds at different altitudes, not just at ground level. Our pilot is very good at anticipating the weather and we do everything possible to advise people the evening before, as in your case, rather than on the launch field. In terms of the economic aspect: the overhead expenses of ballooning are high and having no flight on any given day is a loss to us. Not only financially, but in the form of customer satisfaction and positive word-of-mouth marketing on which we rely. As for the refund, this was done as quickly as the international bank transfer system would allow and it is of course regretful that this took so long. The further issue was actually a 20 euro fee charged by your bank. We are not responsible for charges made by customers’ banks but, as a one off gesture, we have agreed to cover this. The delay in paying this is once again due to a delay with the banking systems and not any inefficiency on our part. We did everything possible to speed this along. As a result of this issue, we have now improved our systems so we can process payments and refunds with credit cards directly, as well as via PayPal. In response to your reference to any costs incurred relative to hotel stays or transport in case of a cancellation: due to the weather aspect, we advise that you allow yourself a little “window of opportunity” for a possible roll-over of your booking. Montisi and the surrounding area are beautiful and offer many attractions to enjoy in the unusual event of a flight being cancelled. Finally, I do hope you will get the chance to actually experience the balloon ride itself one day. We would be happy to welcome you back and extend special treatment to compensate for the disappointment of this lost flight.
Written August 14, 2012
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

TylerDurden2611
Massachusetts24 contributions
I had planned a trip to Tuscany for 3 months with the balloon ride as the focal point of the trip for a special anniversery with my significant other. I had written back and forth with Robert Etherington, the organizer, multiple times. My SO and I took a a 2 leg 5 hour bus ride out to the nearby town of Montisi, and I called the organizer the night before as instructed. He did not answer either time I called. Our hotel manager also tried to call without any luck.

In the morning we arrived at 630 as instructed and were invited into his house. After 30 minutes of chit chat, he informed us the weather was not amenable to ballooning (it was cloudy). I asked about going the next day, and he said he did not think it would work out. He offers that maybe we could go in a week! I then find out he has a museum exhibit he has been wanting to see, and he has been planning to do that for the day. It was probably just coincidence but it did bother me.

I think what bothered me the most was after multiple emails and calls to him when planning, I never received any warning that he did not anticipate we would be able to fly. He had my email, my italian cell phone number, and knew where we were staying in Montisi. It would have been nice if he had at least given us a warning that he did not expect the flight would take place. After all we had planned the trip around this event and had been looking forward to it for months. It would have allowed us to make other arrangements for the day, avoid getting up at 5:30am, and reservining a hotel room for 2 nights.

The day of the flight we were basically left stranded. We had no car and had not made any plans for the day because we had anticipated ballooning. (There is not much to do in the nearby town by foot,) After bailing on our second night in our hotel and calling him to ensure we still could not fly (because by that point in the day the weather was absolutely beautiful), he offered to have his wife give us a ride to the train station because there is no other way out of the town on weekends. She shows up to pick us up, and tells us she has arranged for us to take share a taxi with one of her friends in an hour. Not only did we have to waste more time but then we had to share the cab fare.

All around it was a miserable experience and not one I would recommend unless you happen to be in the area for something else. If you do not get to fly, you are out 2-3 days of travel time, hotel and transportation costs.
Written July 6, 2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
How things change in retrospect! While I have every sympathy for people's annoyance when well-laid plans go awry there are other factors that need to be taken into account. April is a wicked month and this year the weather was even more unpredictable than usual. The decision to fly needs to be made at the moment of the flight, and depends very much on local conditions : the penalties of a bad decision by the pilot are injury to passengers and damage to equipment - or at the very least the boredom of a flight in reduced visibility. Cloud cover is an indicator of instability in the atmosphere, and sometimes it increases and sometimes it disappears as the sun comes up. In this case the low cloud base did not lift as I hoped it might, hence the "chit chat" to while away the time. At a certain time I need to decide whether the flight is going ahead or not, and if not, to cancel the flight plan with Florence Airport etc. By the time the cloud disappeared we were already into the thermic activity of the middle part of the day, quite unsuitable for ballooning. Indeed by nightfall the weather had changed again and the whole of the next week was foul weather. My instruction to telephone and leave a message the night before is to reassure myself that the passengers know where they have to be and when. It is only if I need to change the plans that I return the call. My advice to those travelling by public transport is always to come by rail to Sinalunga and get picked up by our favourite local taxi. Taking a long busride was their own choice. Thinking that they might like advice on what else to do in this area I remember coming up with several proposals - it was not the case that I wanted to dump the clients in favour of my own activities. And they were certainly not left "stranded in Montisi". They decided that they would like to get to a train station. Anticipating that we would be flying in the morning my wife had previously arranged a taxi to take her Danish friend to Sinalunga station : the realisation that this couple and our friend would get the same train led to a logical solution - share the taxi. They seemed very relaxed about this, and sat around in the pretty little square for 15 minutes while waiting for the taxi to arrive, chatting amongst themselves. I sincerely hope that the unfortunate events refered to in the above posting are not taken as the norm for visitors to Montisi. Ballooning is about enjoyment and fulfilment, but primarily about safety. Nothing should compromise this. Robert Etherington for Ballooning in Tuscany
Written August 26, 2009
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

tlafferty48
Bangkok, Thailand29 contributions
Sep 2014 • Couples
This was a great thing to do, it was like floating in air. The pilot was very professional, and put us at ease right away. To see Tuscany from floating in the sky is incredible . This company is the one to go with. If you can book it before you get to Italy, they are usually booked up, and affected by weather. We paid for it before leaving Canada. The hosts are from England, wonderful people. We had a great breakfast upon landing, and they even had an anniversary cake for our friends that were with us. Book with this company, you certainly will love the trip
Written November 9, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

John T
1 contribution
May 2014 • Couples
Lovely trip to beautiful Tuscany....sadly balloon flight cancelled because of bad weather. Surprised as not a cloud in the sky and not too windy! Unable to rearrange so totally gutted, appreciate not an exact science but left deflated by the lack of support. Didn't answer any questions just that pilots decision final. Expected better of a company fronting Virgin
Written May 21, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
The ballooning weather is generally very good in Tuscany so is unfortunate that your flight with us had to be cancelled. The pilot has to take his decision based on forecasts the day before the flight and all our weather reports said 'breezy' and unstable when he took the decision to cancel. It is also regrettable that you were unable to take us up on our offer to fly you the next day when the weather was more suitable.
Written May 22, 2014
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Jennifer J
Chicago, IL7 contributions
Jun 2019 • Couples
My husband and I did the tour that was followed with a brunch and wine tasting at Avignonesi. This was worth every penny. It is an early start to the day but it is the best way to see the Tuscan landscape. It is all truly breathtaking. Nick and team are really great as well. The brunch at Avignonesi happens before the winery is open to the public, and they set you on the patio with the most amazing view. Don't think twice, just do it.
Written June 15, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Stopthecar
Naperville, IL14 contributions
Oct 2016 • Couples
This flight (our first) was just unbelievable. My husband was quite apprehensive but Nic, our pilot, quickly put him at ease. What a phenomenal experience! Quiet, gorgeous -- the highlight of our Italian trip. The Prosecco breakfast capped off the softest landing I could imagine. A marvelous operation, do not hesitate to book a flight with Ballooning in Tuscany!
Written October 15, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Despoina K
10 contributions
Aug 2016 • Couples
we had our ride on our honey moon, as a present from my husband, since it was ,my dream to fly with a balloon. I have to say that it was more than great! It was like a fairy tale! My husband was afraid of hights but at the and... when the balloon takes off... you don't feel any fear! Actually the whole flight was so smooth and sweet and so was the landind! Our pilot, Nick, was great, and very friendly. He gave us lots of information about the area and its history and answered all of our questions about the balloons. We met at the land field at 5:30a.m. but it worth it. After the landing the rest of the team came to find us, and while we helped to pack the balloon, which by the way was very funny and nice experience, they served us breakfast with local products and Champagne. Then we took some pictures and our certificates! It was a great experience and the whole crew made it even better! I totally recomend flights with hot air balloons and of cource Balloning in Tuscany!
Written September 1, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Ballooning in Tuscany (Montisi) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go