The Most Scenic Helicopter Rides Around The World

Earth is filled with the most beautiful natural landscapes of dazzling skylines, crystal-clear water, and majestic mountaintops. These wonders can be reached several ways, but there’s something special about traveling by helicopter. Exploring the world in a helicopter gives people an amazing aerial view that can’t be seen by any other mode of transportation.

Getting the chance to do this could have you riding over waterfalls, dipping past the Grand Canyon, or seeing a private view of the iconic Hollywood sign. If you’re ready for the adventure of a lifetime, consider taking at least one of these scenic helicopter tours.

Fly High Above The Grand Canyon

a red helicopter flying inside the grand canyon
Paul Rovere/Getty Images
Paul Rovere/Getty Images

If you’re traveling around the Grand Canyon by foot or car there’s only so much you can see in one visit, not to mention having to battle the crowds to get a good spot. The carved rocks were formed billions of years ago and stretch almost 300 miles along the Colorado River and the Arizona desert.

This is why it makes for a perfect helicopter tour. Not only do riders get to see the ins and outs of the canyon, but they will also get to fly over the Vegas Strip, Hoover Dam, and the Mojave Desert. Some tours have permission to land inside the canyon where guests can take a riverboat ride or trip along the Skywalk.

Escape The Tourists While Riding Around Rio de Janeiro

a helicopter on a launch pad atop the hills of rio de janeiro
Alexander Shcherbak/TASS via Getty Images
Alexander Shcherbak/TASS via Getty Images

South America’s most-visited city is Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with almost two and a half million new visitors every year. The sights most people want to see are usually flooded with tourists, but taking a helicopter tour can give you a private view of this lively city.

Here, tourists can get an aerial view of Ipanema Beach, Copacabana, the Maracanã Soccer Stadium, Sugarloaf, and the statue of Christ the Redeemer. Christ the Redeemer is one of the world’s most photographed manmade sites and seeing it by helicopter can give riders unique vantage points.

Climb Mt. Everest Without Breaking A Sweat

the top of mt. everest during the day
Prakash Mathema/AFP via Getty Images
Prakash Mathema/AFP via Getty Images

Climbing Mt. Everest in Nepal is quite a bucket list adventure, but there are other ways of reaching the top. This 29,029-foot mountain is the tallest mountain in the world, so the trek is nothing short of a challenge. The helicopter tour of the mountain will allow people to reach the top without having to step foot on the ground.

The tour starts at Kathmandu and goes upward toward Sherpa village, Lukla, Tengboche, Dingboche, Gorakshep, and the Khumbu glacier. Riders will fly though the majestic Himalayan mountain range and land at the Everest Base Camp, which is located at 17,598-feet above sea level.

This Kauai Helicopter Tour Is Like A Scene Out Of A Movie

a helicopter pilot looking out onto the green mountains and ocean in kauai from his helicopter
Miguel Pereira/Cover/Getty Images
Miguel Pereira/Cover/Getty Images

There’s a reason why films such as Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, and Pirates of the Caribbean shot many of their scenes against the gorgeous backdrop of Kauai. This small Hawaiian island runs along the shores of the Na Pali coastline and features secluded tidal pools, grottos, and waterfalls.

There are several helicopter tours in Hawaii that will take guests through Kauai’s scenic landscape, but they don’t stop there. Most tours go to other islands where guests can see other landmarks including the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the Kohala Coast.

See The Stars While Roaming Over The Hollywood Hills

a helicopter flying in front of the hollywood sign
Kypros/Getty Images
Kypros/Getty Images

Those who want to fly over Hollywood, California are in luck because there are numerous tours that will do just that. These services offer some luxury amenities including a champagne toast with cheesecake and berries, a private sunset ride, and a recording of a 360-degree virtual reality video.

Riders will get to see several famous Los Angeles landmarks including the Hollywood sign, Universal Studios, Griffith Observatory, Dodger Stadium, The Getty Center, the Hollywood Bowl, and more. Flight times usually range from about 10 to 90 minutes and the maximum weight per person is 285 pounds.

Dive Above The Ocean Floor At The Great Barrier Reef

aerial view of the great barrier reef
Gagliardi Giovanni /REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Gagliardi Giovanni /REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia is the world’s biggest coral reef, which stretches over 1,429 miles. Many visitors go there to dive below the water, but a helicopter tour will give them an unforgettable aerial view.

Many have reported sightings of sea creatures such as sharks, turtles, and stingrays from their helicopter tours. Also, those who want to see both above and below the reef should find the tours that offer snorkel and dive stops on anchored pontoons. If you choose to take a longer trip, they stop in other areas of Australia including the Daintree Rainforest, Cairns Highlands, and the Mossman and Baron gorges.

Get Ready To View Island Paradise In Turks And Caicos

a beach in turks and caicos
S. Amantini/Getty Images
S. Amantini/Getty Images

Anyone looking for a tropical getaway will get all they want and more at the British Overseas Territory of Turks and Caicos. There are swaying palm trees, bright white sand, and clear blue water throughout the 40 islands. Most tours visit many Turks and Caicos attractions including Chalk Sound National Park, Grace Bay Beach, Iguana Island, and Pine Cay.

When guests fly over the water they are sometimes able to spot sharks, stingrays, dolphins, and whales. Something helpful about the helicopter tours in Turks and Caicos is how they are very flexible and cater to visitors’ time and budgets.

Catch A Glimpse Of The World’s Most Majestic Waterfalls In Iguazú Falls

a panoramic shot of the waterfalls at iguazu falls
Bogdan Ionescu/Getty Images
Bogdan Ionescu/Getty Images

One of the best ways to view the famous Iguazú Falls is by helicopter. It’s located on the border between Brazil and Argentina and is thought to be one of the great wonders of nature. This area has the largest and longest waterfalls in the world with over 275 drops with the deepest being 269-feet long.

When visitors fly over the falls they can get a bird’s eye view of the iconic Devils’ Throat canyon and the surrounding jungle. Some helicopter tours will stop near walkways where people can step right in front of the waterfalls.

See New York City From All Angles

an aerial view of the new york city skyline
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Getting to see all of New York City by foot can take several days. It’s the most populated city in the United States and not everyone has the energy to get through the crowds. Helicopter tours of the city allow tourists to see how large New York actually is, while getting a grand view of its iconic layout.

Most tours start at the southern tip of Manhattan and travel through several famous attractions including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, One World Trade Center, Wall Street, Yankee Stadium, Central Park, the Empire State Building, and much more.

Take To The Skies At The Amalfi Coast

view of the amalfi coast with homes on a hill near the beach
Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images
Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Italy’s Amalfi Coast is nothing short of an extraordinary view. Their seaside cliffs are a top vacation spot for about five million people every year. While some may want to spend their Italian vacation lounging at the beach or exploring the nearby fishing villages, the town actually makes for a memorable helicopter trip.

Seeing Italy by helicopter allows visitors to experience the true beauty of the area. People have the option of viewing additional cities after the Amalfi Coast such as Capri, Naples, Ischia, and Sorrento. There’s also an option to fly into Pompeii and explore it from the ground.

Zip Through The Sights Of Cape Town, South Africa

a helicopter flying near a cyclist in cape town, south africa
Rodger Bosch/AFP via Getty Images
Rodger Bosch/AFP via Getty Images

One of the most popular helicopter tour options in Cape Town, South Africa is the “Two Oceans” flight where riders can fly over both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. You’ll also get to fly behind Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles mountain range, which are some of the greatest natural wonders in Africa.

If you get a chance to ride above Muizenberg Beach, you might be able to see some great white sharks. Once you finish with the helicopter tours there are plenty of other ways to see Cape Town including safaris, gourmet picnics, and shark cage diving.

Soar Above The Skyscrapers In Hong Kong

a girl flying in a helicopter over the skyscrapers in hong kong
Thomas Yau/South China Morning Post via Getty Images
Thomas Yau/South China Morning Post via Getty Images

Something that visitors can’t miss in Hong Kong, China is their skyscraper skyline. Hong Kong has been one of the most diverse cities in Asia due to early British colonization causing it to become a unique metropolitan hub. Many flights also offer stunning views of the Victoria Harbour, as well as the surrounding beaches and bays of South Hong Kong Island.

Those who want to add a little luxury to their helicopter tours can opt for packages such as “Fly and Dine” or “Fly and Tea” where people can eat and drink delicious Chinese delicacies onboard.

Plunge Into The Magical Victoria Falls

aerial view of victoria falls with a rainbow
V. Giannella/De Agostini via Getty Images
V. Giannella/De Agostini via Getty Images

Victoria Falls, otherwise known as “The Smoke That Thunders,” is one of the most famous waterfalls in the world. It can be found on the Zambezi River on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe and has a width of over 5,604 feet.

While seeing Victoria Falls from the ground is still a great experience, seeing it from a helicopter makes it even more special. From the sky people can view the rainbow shining through the waterfall’s mist. Some tours get to ride above the Batoka Gorges and Zambezi National Park where people can spot giraffes, crocodiles, hippos, and elephants.

Witness The Great Heights Of Juneau, Alaska

a helicopter flying over a glacier in juneau, alaska
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Anyone who loves the great outdoors will feel very satisfied after visiting Juneau, Alaska. There are over three million lakes, 16,000 miles of glaciers, and 34,000 miles of shoreline. This southeastern Alaskan city is the second largest city in the United States by area and is the ideal place to take a helicopter tour.

Riders can soar over the Mendenhall Glacier and remote ice fields. Some are even lucky enough to spot the dogsled camps for those practicing for the Iditarad Trail Sled Dog Race. One specific tour called the “Icefield Excursion” takes riders on a trip around Alaska’s wilderness and ends on a glacier for people do a walkabout.

Look Out For Wild Animals At Serengeti National Park

a herd of zebras in serengeti national park in tanzania
Tim Graham/Getty Images
Tim Graham/Getty Images

Safaris may be the perfect way to get an up-close view of wild animals, but a helicopter ride can allow you to take them all in at once. One of the places visitors are bound to see thousands of wild animals is the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.

Anyone planning a trip to do this should try and go between July and October to catch the Great Migration. It’s the largest animal migration in the world where millions of zebras, wildebeest, and other antelope species make the journey from Tanzania to Kenya. They have to face many threats such as crocodile-infested waters and terrestrial predators (lions, leopards, etc.).

Fly Around Glaciers And Mountains In New Zealand

aerial view of fox glacier during the day in south island, new zealand
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Both the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers in South Island, New Zealand are some of the most visited glaciers in the world due to their easy accessibility. Riding high above the glaciers is a thrill unlike no other because people will get to gander at some of nature’s most picturesque landscapes.

Not only do helicopter tours show aerial views of the snow-covered mountains, but they also fly over the nearby rainforests. Some of the tours will allow riders to land right on the glaciers themselves, so there’s plenty of time to explore.

Find Some Of The Clearest Blue Water In Fiji

a view of a  beach with palm trees in fiji
De Agostini via Getty Images
De Agostini via Getty Images

Anyone with the chance to vacation in Fiji should consider themselves lucky. There are several luxury resorts that offer private villas, plunge pools, in-room spa treatments, five-star dining, and other grandiose amenities. Many of these resorts can only be reached by helicopter.

While flying through the air in Fiji, chances are you’ll pass the deep gorges, rolling green hills, and crystal blue waters. The pilots are also said to be extremely friendly and will often give commentary about the island and what people should do during their stay.

View Niagara Falls Without Getting Wet

aerial view of niagara falls and a walkway
Matthew Bailey/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Matthew Bailey/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

When people visit Niagara Falls they may choose to ride the Maid of the Mist boat tour, but that usually leads to them getting soaked. For a drier view you may want to try out a helicopter tour. It takes off along Victoria Avenue and glides down the Niagara River.

Riders often spot Whirlpool Rapids, Rainbow Bridge, and Queen Victoria Park along the way. If you’re wondering why Niagara Falls has a greenish tint, it’s because of the dissolved salts and rock flour that pours over the edge at a rate of about four million cubic feet per minute.

Experience Some Historical Architecture In Chicago

aerial view of wrigley field in chicago, illinois
Interim Archives/Getty Images
Interim Archives/Getty Images

Some may think of Chicago as a city full of deep-dish pizza and home of a couple of the country’s most popular baseball teams, but it’s actually full of rich history. They have some of the most diverse architecture in the entire country, which is demonstrated through their unique skyline and streetscape.

The city has plenty of helicopter tours for guests who want to get a bird’s eye view of attractions such as the Willis Tower, Lake Michigan, Millennium Park, Grant Park, Soldier Field, the John Hancock Building, Wrigley Field, and more.

Go Deep Into The Jungle At Virunga National Park

a baby mountain gorilla in the jungle at virunga national park in the democratic republic of congo
Thierry Falise/LightRocket via Getty Images
Thierry Falise/LightRocket via Getty Images

There’s plenty to see at Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They have multiday helicopter tours available where travelers can view the jungle high above the treetops. It’s very common to see the mountain gorillas and elephants roaming about, which will seem like a scene out of Tarzan.

Some tours also stop at Mount Nyiragongo, which features an active volcano. Virunga National Park is Africa’s oldest wildlife park and has been a pristine habitat rich in biodiversity for several decades. Both the lowland and forest are overflowing with diverse species of trees, ferns, butterflies, birds, and more.