Château-d’Oex, the Swiss alpine capital for hot air ballooning, attracts balloonists and tourists from all over the world. Experienced pilots enjoy flying in this valley with its exceptional micro-climate, which offers superb views over the Alps and Lake Geneva area. The world-famous ‘Balloon Week’ has been held in Chatueau-d’Oex each year since 1979 in the last week of January, starting with only eight balloons this major world event has now over 100 balloons participating from 19 countries
Over the years the Chateau-d’Oex Balloon Festival has hosted many world celebrities from show business, finance, the arts, industry, and politics. David Niven, Roger Moore, Peter Ustinov, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, Hans Erni, Adolf Ogi, Per Lindstand, Richard Branson, Buzz Aldrin, Bertrand Piccard, Brian Jones, Steve Fosset.
Chateu-d’Oex is the former home of British actor David Niven, after whom one of the balloon races is still named. The town is also the location from where the famous Breitling Orbiter 3 took off for its record-breaking around-the-world flight. The Breitling Orbiter 3 was the first balloon to fly non-stop around the world. Pilots Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones took off from Château d’Oex at 8.05am on 1 March 1999 on their historic flight. They landed 19 days, 21 hours and 55 minutes later in Egypt on 21 March.
This week-long celebration is an absolute must for those who love hot air balloons, the Alps and majesty in flight.