Majorcan skies will be hovering these spectacular balloons next month. | Agency

The European Hot Air Balloons Championship has been in existence since 1976, when it was held in Skövde, Sweden. Now a biennial event, it is coming to Majorca for the first time. Next month in Manacor, between October 22 and 27, 600 participants from 23 countries with some one hundred balloons, will be vying to become European champions.

Manacor, it is said, is in a part of Majorca with the best meteorological conditions for the event, while Palma will be staging the opening and closing ceremonies; the latter will include the handing-out of trophies.

Balloon pilots and crews are set various tests of skills in terms of distance, speed and navigational precision. They have to find various targets. Indicators are dropped from the balloon and have to land in the centre of the targets. The pilot who demonstrates the greatest precision is the champion.