Up!

VLIFE took to the Alentejo skies on board a hot air balloon.

Although it is hard to compete with the Algarve's sunshine, breathtaking beaches and cuisine, Portugal is a country filled with charms. For those in search of peace and quiet, the plains of the charming Alentejo are a destination not to be missed, and one of the best ways to discover them is from the sky, on board a hot air balloon. Created in 2006 by two university friends, Emotion is a Beja-based company that offers various adventure sports, “with the aim of showcasing the marvels of the Alentejo and Portugal to the tourists who visit us”, says Hugo Domingos, one of the founders of the project alongside Pedro Bento. In 2008, the two partners joined forces with a company with extensive know-how in ballooning, and by 2014, they had their own fleet – Up Alentejo was born. 

Departing from the client's location of choice or from Herdade dos Grous, the luxury country estate that belongs to the same group as VILA VITA Parc, Up's balloon rides have a capacity of two to ten people and trips take place on days with light wind, no rain and good visibility. “The hot air balloon rides should take place at dawn or at the end of the day. 

The Alentejo is one of the few regions in the world with a climate that allows balloon rides throughout the whole year,” highlights Hugo. The trips – which can be accompanied by a fleet of 4x4 vehicles or VIP transfers – usually last three hours for an hour-and-a-half flight. And here, the uncertainty is part of the adventure: “The adventure and magic of ballooning is lifting off and drifting in the wind to a previously unknown destination.”