Croatia Hot Air Balloon Rally 2019
Time Out says
Croatia's spectacular annual hot air balloon rally returns to light up the skies with colour
One of the country's most spectacular annual events, the Croatia Hot Air Balloon Rally transforms the beautiful and blissful Zagorje countryside for five days. This year, a minimum of 15 teams will take part in the event, each having a balloon each, although visiting balloons from neighbouring countries are expected to attend for part of the proceedings. Current entrants include teams from Croatia, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Latvia, Austria and Slovenia, with many of the sport's leading female pilots this year taking part.
Zagorje is known as the green heart of Croatia. This specific location within Zagorje, located just 30 km from the capital city at an airstrip which is the home of organisers the Zagreb Balloon Club has, over the last three years, become the event's permanent home after a total of 15 annual occurrences.
Croatia's best ballooning destination by far, the area holds wonderful countryside and friendly neighbours, offering multiple landing sites which can be used whichever way the wind blows.
The advantage of the event now having a permanent home is that these welcoming neighbours can now build a strong friendship with the event, the rally now feeling much like a community project. Many spectators - local, national and international – attend and apart from admiring the balloons and nature, they will be treated to Zagorje food from local producers and restaurants. A large, flightless balloon will be inflated on the ground, allowing visitors to walk within, as representatives of the event present a guided, explanatory tour of a balloon's inner workings.
Proceedings begin on Wednesday with the afternoon flight being a precision landing contest between teams. Later, an evening nightglow flight lights up the sky with co-ordinated visual theatrics, while an opening party takes place on the ground. On Thursday and Friday there will be both early morning and afternoon flights, occurring at 6.30am and 5.30pm respectively. On Saturday and Sunday, there will be early morning, afternoon and nightglow flights and audiences will be entertained on the ground by live music and a party atmosphere, all set before this spectacular backdrop. Limited places for balloon rides are available to the public by pre-booking.