It’s hard to beat the heart-racing rush of helicopter tours. The intensity of whirring blades, the adrenaline-spiked sensation of takeoff, and the feeling of total freedom once you’re slicing through the skies make for an unforgettable adventure. But it’s the one-of-a-kind perspectives and seemingly endless panoramas that make chopper tours such an epic sightseeing experience.
Whether you’re hovering over some world-famous attraction or zigzagging your way through the far-flung corners of the globe, helicopter tours provide a totally unique way to soak in all the sights. They also confirm that some landscapes just demand to be appreciated from way up above. Here, we explore some of the top helicopter tours on the planet that are perfectly suited for curious travelers, avid photographers, and thrill-seekers alike.
1. Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska
Adventure travelers flock to Alaska in search of heart-racing outdoor experiences and the region’s raw, untamed beauty. Denali reigns as the highest peak in North America and is easily one of the Last Frontier’s most sought-after destinations. See it for yourself during the Denali Glacier Landing tour operated by TEMSCO Helicopters. The quest kicks off from a private heliport before embarking on an airborne excursion through the inconceivable vastness of Denali National Park & Preserve. Keep an eye on the frozen tundra below to spot caribou, moose, bears, and Dall sheep in their natural habitat. After reaching Yanert Glacier, you’ll deboard and have the thrilling experience of stretching your legs while exploring the ancient glacier.
2. Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland
The Reykjanes Peninsula boasts all the natural marvels Iceland is known for—including expansive lava fields, gargantuan glaciers, striking black sand beaches, and views of the iconic Blue Lagoon. Guests of the Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland can witness it all, plus the beauty of Mount Fagradalsfjall, during an hour-long private helicopter tour. This active volcano has been erupting since March 2021 and offers a bucket list chance to safely snag a front row seat to the show. Along the way, passengers can also expect to see spewing geysers, sparkling lakes, endless craters, and plenty more otherworldly wonders.
[From $2,500, 1-6 passengers; bluelagoon.com]
3. Northern Territory, Australia
When traveling Down Under, it’s worth going up and above. The Top End of Australia’s Northern Territory is a land of spectacular contrasts, home to abundant wildlife and incredible Indigenous culture. Famous for its rugged outback, one of the most entertaining ways to explore this remote region is on a Heli Pub Crawl. Yep, you read that right. Sit back and relax as Airborne Solutions Darwin Helicopter Tours chauffeurs you and your buddies in a luxury chopper to five of the Top End’s most celebrated pubs. But this tour isn’t just about the drinking. Keep your eyes peeled as you cruise along the pristine coast, flying over boundless wetlands and an impressive harbor.
[$From $795; northernterritory.com]
4. AlUla, Saudi Arabia
Nestled in the Medina Region of northwestern Saudi Arabia, the city of AlUla has attracted travelers for millennia. Located along the area’s age-old caravan trading routes, AlUla served as the capital of the ancient kingdoms of Dadan and Lihyan. Today, its ancient landscapes showcase three distinct geological periods, tracing back millions of years. For the first time, visitors can now explore this dazzling desert oasis by helicopter. The recently launched half-hour flight covers seven vital areas of civil development, including Hegra (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the modern-day marvel of Maraya (the world’s largest mirrored building). So if you consider yourself a trendsetter, you’ll want to hop onboard before this tour really takes off.
[From $200; experiencelula.com]
5. Las Vegas
Looking for a new way to experience Sin City aside from the casinos and nightclubs? Get a bird’s eye view during the Savory Bites & Neon Lights tour. Operated by Maverick Helicopters, this five-hour, culinary-themed expedition visits four of the top restaurants in Las Vegas. Enjoy signature dishes at each eatery while getting the full VIP treatment. In between stops, you’ll get the inside scoop about the city’s most iconic sites from an expert guide. For dessert, passengers can feast their eyes on the shimmering vistas of the Las Vegas Strip. From the comfort of an ECO-Star helicopter, this unforgettable nighttime flight hits all the hot spots and legendary landmarks, like the Bellagio, Caesars Palace, MGM Grand, the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas, and historic downtown.
[From $299; maverickhelicopter.com]
6. Niagara Falls
It’s hard to fully grasp the scale of Niagara Falls until you’ve seen it from above. These majestic waterfalls are best appreciated during a memorable helicopter outing with Rainbow Air. The tour is unique because it brings sightseers to both the American and Canadian sides of the falls and accesses the lowest and closest vantage points possible. Some of the stops along the way include famed attractions like the Rainbow Bridge, Bridal Veil Falls, Goat Island, Cave of the Winds, Queen Victoria Park, and the Observation Tower. The photo ops are endless, and tours start at just $130 per passenger, so you won’t break the bank.
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