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Cheapflights.com Suggests a Bird's Eye View of Fall's Colors

Releases Top Hot Air Balloon Trips for Foliage Season

Boston, MA – October 4, 2011 – Cheapflights.com, the online leader in publishing travel deals, bids adieu to the warm temperatures of summer and welcomes the warm and vibrant colors of fall. This year, instead of hopping in the car and going for a drive, Cheapflights.com suggests taking a fall foliage tour to a soaring new level. Check out Cheapflights.com’s list of Top Hot Air Balloon Trips for Foliage Season to get a new perspective on the autumn season.

While the U.S. leads the list with four destinations, below are five spots from around the world worthy of fall foliage aerial views.

Hokkaido, Japan - A large island in the northernmost region of Japan, Hokkaido is a great place to witness the change of seasons known by the Japanese as momiji. During the foliage season, soft yellows of beech trees, bright reds from birch trees and occasional deep purples of okagami Japanese maples are the stars of the show. Once you’re back on the ground, and depending on where you stay, be sure to check out Hokkaido’s numerous national parks, including the tourist favorite of Shikotsu-Toya, which comprises of several volcanic hot springs. Finding a hot air balloon company should be no problem as there is a growing demand for viewing the beautiful Hokkaido landscape from the sky.

Prince Edward Island, Canada - Anne’s gables aren’t so green once autumn rolls around. Instead, Prince Edward Island is bursting with fall color and, because of its unique location and relatively mild temperatures, the foliage season is one of the longest compared to its neighboring provinces. Thanks to Prince Edward Island’s beautiful landscape of coastal lighthouses, sandstone cliffs, lush farm lands, and blazing red maple forests, it’s no wonder hot air ballooning is becoming so popular. Most balloon companies are out of Charlottetown and Summerside, which are great towns to spend the day or weekend exploring.

Loire Valley, France - While Loire Valley, just a few hours outside of Paris, is a popular destination for tasting, touring and learning about popular French wines, its impeccable landscape makes our list for places to be viewed from above, especially during fall foliage. Several hot air balloon companies take visitors on two-and three-hour tours above meandering vineyards, historical chateaus and the winding Loire River. Best of all, the foliage season coincides with the exciting grape harvesting season, so when you’re not floating above the tree tops, you’ll sip Vouvray while savoring rich and decadent cheeses.

Vilnius, Lithuania - Lithuania’s capital city is full of stirring history and exquisite architecture, and just outside the city limits is a stunning landscape that is perfect to gaze from above. Vilnius is actually one of the few capitals to allow hot air balloon flights directly above the city, giving a unique perspective to both the bustling metropolis center and its colorful, fall backdrop. If you’re looking for something more along the countryside, a few companies offer flights over Trakai and its medieval castle, rolling hills and gentle lakes. And for foliage sites when you’re not soaring the skies, check out Grutas Park and its Soviet-era sculpture gardens just south.

Lapland Region, Finland - Those familiar with the Finnish Lapland might assume it to be a barren, icy landscape, and be surprised to hear that there are several areas rampant with multicolored forests, accessible by hot air balloon. Not only will visitors soar above the burnt orange and fiery red of the Lapland forests, but they’ll get a bird’s eye view of the wildlife, like reindeer, bears, several kinds of bird and plenty more. Due to its arctic location, foliage occurs much earlier in the fall, so hot air balloon travelers should book early. And when you’re grounded, be sure to explore the Finnish Lapland’s culture, which is deeply rooted in its tradition.

Rounding out the list of Cheapflights.com’s top destinations to experience the brilliance of fall foliage from up above are North American delights Coconino National Forest, Arizona; Green Mountains, Vermont; Catskill Mountains, New York; North Shore Region, Minnesota; and Laurentian Mountains, Quebec.