Berlin: Die Welt Hi-Flyer
Address: Corner of Wilhelmstraße and Zimmerstraße, Mitte, 10117
Nearest Station(s): U-Mohrenstraße; U-Kochstraße
Open: November – March daily 11am – 6pm; April – October 10am – 10pm
Cost: €19/€13/€3/free – adult/concession/children aged 3-6/children under 2
What better story to tell your friends and family back home than that you hovered above the city of Berlin in one of the biggest helium balloons in the world? No need to tell them that Die Welt Hi-Flyer is attached to the ground by a giant steel cable! Either way, soaking in the sights of Berlin from dizzying heights is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you have trouble passing as a child aged between 3 and 6, you will unfortunately have to fork out at least €13 for a so-called pilot to levitate the hot air balloon to an altitude of 150 metres. The 360° views of the city are admittedly unmatchable though, and among the many attractions you will spy are all the regular tourist traps: Brandenburger Tor, Checkpoint Charlie and the Sony Centre. In summer, the experience is best enjoyed late in the evening, when the moon waxes and wanes over a diamond skyline that seems to stretch on forever. So romantic, especially if you’re in to public displays of affection and/or voyeurism. The trip lasts for roughly 15 minutes, and despite its tackiness is definitely a worthwhile adventure. Just be careful to ensure that you and your fellow passengers don’t all gather on one side, as the balloon can sway rather frighteningly. When the weather is wild, the balloon is often grounded, so if you’re having doubts, best call ahead to check it’s still up and running rather than waste a euro or two getting there for no reason.