When visiting a new place in the world, you’re oftentimes looking for the best viewpoint of that location. Perhaps, it’s an iconic view or maybe you’re just searching for a way to get acquainted quickly with its layout. Whatever the case may be, you’re smart to take a helicopter tour!
We’ve come up with a carefully-curated list of the “best of” helicopter tours, to make sure you have an unforgettable experience!
At first glance, you may think that Iceland is just one big chunk of snow and ice. While it certainly has some frigid seasons, it’s actually one of the most incredible, diverse countries in the world. It’s not only home to some of the biggest glaciers on the planet; it also contains some of the most active volcanoes.
We’ve never seen anything like it: from its enormous quantity of waterfalls and steam vents, to its lava fields and black sand beaches, it looks like another planet, almost. No wonder it’s called “the land of fire and ice”! While there are multiple ways to discover the country, arguably the best is by helicopter.
You’ll be able to see the highest mountain peaks and the lowest valleys, along with all the treasures in-between with one of the best Iceland helicopter tours. Depending on which one you take, you’ll typically get to see and even land on Mount Esja, Park Hveragerdi, Reykjavik city, and some even coincide with volcanoes erupting!
New York City
New York City definitely isn’t lacking when it comes to good food, interesting metro rides, and incredible views. Despite being such a lively city packed full of fun activities, one of the most popular remains exploring Manhattan’s sprawling concrete jungle.
While you can obviously see the busy streets of Downtown and Midtown by foot, it’s a bit difficult to see some of the skyscrapers in all their glory from that perspective.
So, what’s the alternative?
A helicopter tour, of course! Taking a NYC helicopter tour let you see most of the city’s highlights from above – perfect for surprising a significant other or taking the whole family along for an unforgettable ride. As they last anywhere from 12 to 45 minutes, they’ll easily fit into any itinerary for the day. If you’re short on time and really want to see NYC, it can’t be beat.
Pretty much all of the tours depart from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport, conveniently located in a central spot. Fly up high in the air and out into the East River, where you’ll circle around the legendary Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
Soon after comes that iconic shot of the Lower Manhattan skyline with both rivers, passing by One World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, Times Square, Edge at Hudson Yards, Midtown, and Central Park.
You may even get to see the Yankee Stadium and George Washington Bridge! You’ll have a guide who gives you perspective and history on each location, making it a much richer experience than if you were to just stroll around to see each site.
If you’re in Vegas, there’s always going to be something to do, whether it’s Blackjack, the slot machines, a club, or a good show. But if you want to partake in an activity not many Las Vegas visitors know they can do from the city, try a helicopter tour from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon!
If there’s any way to see this natural wonder, it’s from an aerial perspective. Not to mention, it’s the only way to completely appreciate its immensity and grandeur. These aren’t just any old helicopter tours, either – they’ll pick you up and your hotel in a limo, take you to lunch, and offer you celebratory glasses of champagne! Some even come with additional pontoon boat rides, Native American cultural performances, and more!
One of our favorite excursions was a picnic deep in the canyon (over 3000 feet below the rim!).
For many who don’t want to trek out there in the hot sun, it’s a fantastic alternative to seeing the Grand Canyon by foot (and much faster). You’ll see plenty of the West Rim, along with Hoover Dam and Lake Mead!
Anyone who’s been to Maui knows that there’s a lot to take in – even just from the more “regular” points of view throughout town. However, there are tons of breathtaking natural wonders that you can’t see unless you have a bird’s-eye view.
For example, the West Maui Mountains have the island’s tallest waterfall along with 17 others in the Pu’u Kukui Watershed, colloquially known as the “Wall of Tears”. It’s one of the most beautiful things anyone will witness, yet as it’s completely remote, you can only see the area by air. That’s where a Maui helicopter tour come in.
Aside from that, you’ll get to view magnificent waterfalls, unique rock formations, thick rainforests, and even the summit of Haleakala! Molokai is filled with natural attractions, like the world’s tallest sea cliffs and the island’s enormous fishponds! All the while, your pilot will be giving you a fascinating commentary on the island’s history and geology.
Kauai is packed with adventure and beauty – there’s no doubt about it. But if you’ve just arrived to the island and really want to be mind-blown, go ahead and book a Kauai helicopter tour. The Garden Isle is best seen zooming over the jungle, past exhilarating waterfalls, and over other-worldly landscapes.
Tours last around an hour, with various start times both in the morning and afternoon to best accommodate your schedule. Most have a max group size of just 6 participants, making it a fun and exclusive trip for friends, family, and couples.
Your professional pilot will offer all necessary equipment, with a fully-guided commentary on culture, history, and much more! Usually the most memorable of all are the Manawaiopuna Falls, or the “Jurassic Falls”.
Standing a whopping 400 feet tall, many of the tours will even land so you can venture around where the Hollywood blockbuster movie was filmed! The Olokele Canyon, Waimea Canyon, Na Pali Coast, North Shore (hey, surfers!), and the Wai’ale’ale Crater are other fascinating sites that you’ll learn about and see from untouchable viewpoints!
Oahu is definitely a hustling and bustling place as the most populous Hawaiian island and the state capital of Honolulu. It also has a fascinating history, being as it’s the birthplace of surfing, the home of Hawaiian monarchy, the site of the WWII Pearl Harbor bombing attack, and much more.
If you want to step away from the busy tourist sites for a moment and experience the island’s rugged beauty like never before, try an Oahu helicopter tour. There’s a surprisingly wide variety of them, each offering something a bit different. For example, you could do a Magnum P.I. tour where you fly in a replica of the MD500 helicopter used in the show, exploring scene locations from the series!
Most of them even fly over the forbidden Sacred Falls State Park, which has been closed since 1999 due to safety concerns. Check out Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial while learning about their significance in WWII, and even see the battleship’s sunken remains clearly from up above.
See the enormous Hanauma Bay volcanic crater’s crescent shape, which looks even more impressive from the air! Soar over the Makapu’u Point known for being the biggest lighthouse in all of the United States! You’ll even learn about the Nu’uanu Pali cliffs – the location where 400 warriors fell from in 1795.
Taking a Big Island helicopter tour in the morning, when shadows are limited and colors are even more brilliant, is simply incredible. No matter what your background or interests are, you’re sure to love them as much as we did.
We found the pilot/guide to be not only entertaining and informative, but to really care about us. Heck, some of them even included playlists that worked perfectly with the incredible sights outside our windows. This one in a lifetime experience allows for insane views from over volcanoes to nearly touching the spray of the waterfalls!
We appreciated the low-vibration helicopters, making it easy to take clear photos and videos. The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park extends up almost 14,000 feet and seeing them from up high with 360 views is the best way possible to appreciate this massive place. You may even get to see lava flowing from Kilauea’s crater if you’re lucky!
The Waipi’o Valley is that more “traditional Hawaiian” vibe, with crystal-clear turquoise coastlines, cliffsides, tropical rainforests, misty mountain peaks, and more. You’ll see all of it, and many other gems!
You’ll definitely want to get up high if you’re in the city that the tallest building in the world calls home. Dubai helicopter tours are relatively common, considering it’s one of those places dripping in opulence. Some tours are brief and take you by the tallest skyscrapers, while others take you further outside the city so you have the chance to see important places like the archaeological site of Saruq Al Hadid.
However, with each one, you can count on viewing the Palm Jumeirah, Burj Al-Arab Hotel, Burj Khalifa, and the World Islands from the best perspective possible. The teams are incredibly knowledgeable, and will share interesting facts about each structure or landscape as you pass it.
We appreciated how they put safety and comfort above all, making it a pleasant experience for every passenger! If you’ve just arrived in Dubai, please do yourself a favor and book one of these tours!
Ah, Barcelona – known for its world-class gastronomy, art, architecture, and sports. There’s certainly a lot to do, which can be overwhelming if it’s your first time in the city. Why not hop on a Barcelona helicopter tour to get acquainted with this precisely-planned metropolis?
While walking tours are enjoyable, you simply won’t be able to enjoy the sea and architecture of places like the legendary Montserrat, the immense La Sagrada Familia (still in the process of being finished), La Plaza de España, the Christopher Columbus monument, the Gothic Quarter, and so much more.
Some of the tours also include walking tours, or even Ferrari driving excursions!