Dozens of hot air balloons gather near Barcelona for the European Balloon Festival  

European Balloon Festival

Between July 6 and 9, 2023, weather permitting, dozens of hot air balloons will be soaring daily over the Catalan city of Igualada, some 40 miles northwest of Barcelona. 

The 27th European Balloon Festival provides an opportunity to see what is one of the largest gatherings of this type of flying vehicle in Europe. 

This event, which has been taking place every year in early July since 1997, has attracted some 40 hot air balloons from all over the world. The 2023 edition counts participants not just from Spain, but also from the US, India, Tunisia, the UAE, Turkey, Austria, the UK, Luxembourg and Monaco. 

Joan Sole

The choice of location is not random, as Igualada is something of a hub for the ballooning industry. Balloon manufacturer Ultramagic are based locally, as are several balloon tour operators which are among the festival organizers. 

Joan Sole

One of the novelties presented this year is a ‘romantic basket’, which is designed to sit a couple side by side in a basket with lower than usual side bars, making for better views of the landscape, plus a setup that facilitates the eating of meals together while in flight. There are already four-seater high visibility baskets in the market, but upon receiving feedback from customers who wished to fly as a couple unaccompanied, Ultramagic has created this new two-seater version. 

Joan Sole

The event’s closing act will be on the evening of July 8, when a swarm of 100 drones will perform aerial choreography evoking different aspects of hot air ballooning. 

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