Are you an avid adventurer looking for a cool airborne experience? Well, then paragliding would be right up your alley. To ensure you have the ultimate rush with epic views, here are some of the best paragliding sites and spots for your next travel adventure.
This list is compiled by top travel journalists from across the world and is based on personal experiences. You simply cannot go wrong with these amazing paragliding spots. Just relax and take the leap.
Travel Experts Reveal their Favorite Paragliding sites Across the Globe
Oludeniz, Turkey by Violeta Matei
Oludeniz, Turkey, with its Blue Lagoon, is one of the most fabulous places on this planet. Although the resort in itself is rather boring, its proximity to the Babadag mountain makes it perfect for adventure seekers. Almost 2000m high, Mount Babadag is only 5km away from the Oludeniz beach. Local travel agencies offer paragliding tours to anyone willing to spend about $100 – $150 US on this amazing half-day experience. Early in the morning, they would pick you up from your hotel and take you to the top of the mountain, in an exciting truck safari drive. Driving along the winding rubble roads will make your heart skip a beat. Once you get to the top, you’ll take a jump into the void, in a tandem paragliding flight over the spectacular coast of southwestern Turkey. You’ll have the chance to see the crystal clear waters and the white sand beaches of the Blue Lagoon. After 30-45 minutes of gliding, you’ll land right on the promenade along Oludeniz Beach. The stunningly beautiful dual mountain-sea views make this paragliding spot unique.
Pokhara, Nepal by Andra
Nepal is famous in the entire world for its magnificent mountains, the mighty Himalayas. You see mountains everywhere, there are tons of treks to choose from, and you could easily spend hours just admiring the peaks watching over this corner of the world.
However, the best way to see the mountains is from the top. And yes, Nepal does provide an incredible paragliding site in Pokhara. This is a famous touristic town, where a bunch of treks begins, including the Annapurna ones. But nothing compares to being able to view the entire Annapurna Range from the sky, free like a bird.
Paragliding in Pokhara is a must experience precisely for the panorama you will be spoiled with. You get to fly over the Phewa Lake and simply lose track of time because of all the giants you get to see. Don’t forget that you are in the Himalayas, so the currents are pretty strong, but when the wind is suitable, you will spot dozens of parachutes coloring the sky.
Pokhara is a very quaint place, and it is not at all difficult to find an agency organizing paragliding. You just have to follow your instinct, perhaps read a few reviews before booking and then just wait for the adrenaline to pump your body. And trust me, once you hit the ground you will want to get back in the sky.
Mazatlan, Mexico by Eileen Cotter
On the west coast of Mexico is a small city called Mazatlan. It’s found in the Sinaloa region and is flanked by beautiful sandy beaches. Wrapped up in beauty is a lore and legend, consisting of Day of the Dead celebrations and a lingering, dubious reputation.
But from above, Mazatlan is calm, cool and collected. Anywhere along the main stretches of sand, you can find local companies offering a ride into the sky. It’s a little daunting if it’s your first time to take on instructions in Spanish, but they offer both tethered and untethered options for the experience. Strap in and have a motorboat gently raise you into the air. You’ll be rewarded with views of sea and sky, along the coastline of Playa Norte and Playa las Gaviotas. See tiny surfers dot the waves and big resorts lined up along the paved boardwalk.
Bir Billing, India – My Top Pick
Bir-Billing is a small village in Himachal Pradesh, India. This lovely town offers a lot of adventure sports but is undoubtedly one of the top paragliding sites in the world. Bir-Billing was the base for 2015 paragliding world cup which adds to its popularity among global paragliding community.
The lush green valley views will surely mesmerize you as you take off from 8000 ft at Billing and sway your way to the landing site of Bir. Due to its rising popularity, the only downside is hoards of tourists waiting to leap off the mountain but its a small price to pay for this once in a lifetime experience. Somehow the sky dotted with paragliders also makes for awesome pictures and views.
Tenerife, Spain by Stuart Forster
The arid, moon-like landscape of Teide National Park on Tenerife, Spain, is a glorious landscape to view while on the way to a memorable paragliding experience. You don’t need any previous experience of paragliding to book one of the tandem jumps that descend from Izaña, near the observatory on Mount Teide. The take-off point is at an altitude of 2,200 metres above the Atlantic Ocean, which you can look out over while gliding back to sea level, viewing neighbouring Canary Islands while doing so.
As a tall, muscular man I was concerned that I might be too heavy to go paragliding, but I learnt that the tandem jumps are accessible to anyone under the weight of 120 kilograms (265 pounds).
The route towards the landing point in the coastal city of Puerto de la Cruz takes you over the dense foliage of the Oratava Valley. An evening flight allows you to see the shadows lengthening over the countryside below. If you choose to stay in the city you’re well placed to enjoy a night out while still buzzing from the experience of paragliding into Puerto de la Cruz.
Gudauri, Georgia by Mary Charie
Georgia (the country) is probably not the first place you will go for paragliding, but what adrenaline seekers are missing is an amazing destination for this amazing activity. From Tbilisi, you must head to Gudauri which is about two hour away or less via bus or car. Paragliding in Gudauri will show you the beauty of the Caucasus region, the steep hills of Gudauri are the best for taking off while the flat area are the safest for the landing. There are plenty of tourists who come here to go paragliding and many professional para-gliders come and enjoy the scenic view of Caucasus region. There are great options for companies to go paragliding for, they are affordable and very much experienced. I highly suggest Fly Caucasus Paragliding. (you may remove this sentence if you are affiliated with another company).
Minakami, Japan by Jessica Korteman
Japan might not be the first place you think of when it comes to adventure sports, but with so much nature, it’s not surprising that there are an increasing number of outdoor activities on offer.
The town of Minakami, nestled in the mountains of Gunma Prefecture, north of Tokyo, has gained a reputation as an adventure sporting hotspot.
Minakami has grown into the biggest canyoning destination in the world and on top of that has picturesque trails for hiking, climbing and mountain biking, heart-pumping rapids for white-water rafting, an adrenalin-inducing bridge bungy jump and, of course, paragliding. Paragliding was actually my favorite activity there because it’s a chance to see all of that natural beauty from above.
We got driven up into the mountains along muddy tracks in a 4-wheel drive (which was part of the adventure itself!) and eventually emerged at a clearing on the mountainside. It was from here that we ran down the incline and stepped off into the scene before us, whimsically floating over the town. I was so relaxed that the instructor even let me steer for a bit.
One of the best parts of going paragliding and doing outdoor activities in Minakami is not just the exquisite scenery, but the fact that you can end your adventure-fuelled days by soaking your tired muscles at one of the many mountain hot springs!
Queenstown, New Zealand by Kirralee Baker
Adventure hot spot Queenstown on the South Island of New Zealand captured me in its spell. Normally one to stay well away from extreme sports, I had my first paragliding experience in this stunning location. I swear they must put adrenalin in the water!
Sitting on the edge of peaceful Lake Wakatipu with The Remarkables mountain range rising up from the shore, Queenstown has a young, vibrant energy. Adventurous souls are drawn here to the crisp, clean air and majestic scenery. And to amazing activities like jet boating on the Shotover River (Lord of the Rings was filmed nearby), to luging, mountain biking or bungee jumping at Bob’s Peak.
Paragliding is absolutely massive here and after a day or two you get used to the colourful parachutes being a constant presence in the sky. They even had a 2 hour paragliding display one evening while we were there. Sitting on the shores of the lake watching the experts float down to land safely just metres away from us is one of my favourite travel memories.
Merida, Venezuela by Miguel
I knew that a trip to Venezuela would be full of adventure. From the thick Amazon forest to the blue-water Caribbean beaches, this country offers a variety of landscapes and ecosystems for visitors to explore. However, because I was looking for an adrenaline rush, I went straight to Merida, the adventure capital of Venezuela.
After hiking to Pico Humboldt and rafting in Barinas, I was ready for the last challenge: paragliding over the Andes. This was my first time, and it was definitely something I’d do again. Merida offers some of the most spectacular paragliding in the world; the rush of soaring over the mountains like a condor is amazing.
We found a good agency and went to La Trampa, which is a 45-minute drive west of Merida. They say it’s the best paragliding site in the country thanks to its great thermals. You can fly year-round but the best months are from November to May.
I went there in June and the conditions were perfect. My pilot was young and crazy, so he was doing insane stuff like 360 turns and other moves that freaked me out.
I will never forget that day, free as a bird, high in the air … with all my troubles behind me.
Garden Route, South Africa by Campbell & Alya
The Garden Route is one of the most popular road trips in South Africa for both locals and foreigners. It’s a great place for an adventurous holiday, romantic getaway or a family vacation. There are many different outdoor activities on the Garden Route -diving, hiking, surfing, kayaking, ziplining etc. Many people do paragliding here, the best and most popular place for it is a little coastal town Wilderness with several paragliding schools and clubs. The town is located at the beach, between the sea and the mountains and offer some great paragliding spots for both experienced and beginners. The scenery around the town is amazing with lush green hills, white-sand beaches and blue sea to be admired from the sky. ‘Map of Africa’, a fantastic site takes you over the Indian Ocean and the town of Wilderness. Which site you can fly depend on the wind conditions for the day. There are different options from tandem paragliding for the first timers to gear rental for professionals. We did paragliding before but every time it’s very exciting to take off and glide in the air enjoying the beautiful scenery. Tandem paragliding US$55 per person, photo and video footage US$20.
Lombok, Indonesia by Kristin Addis
Kuta Lombok is quietly becoming the adventure hotspot in West Nusa Tenggara. In the Kuta area, there’s hill after hill and bay after bay with an almost limitless number of areas to paraglide, and the sport is really catching on. One of the best spots in order to get a view of the sunset is the Mandalika resort area, with tandem flights offered by Lombok Playground. If you’re staying in Kuta, you’re basically already right there, so it’s an easy jaunt over. It’s the perfect way to close out a day of surfing, kite surfing, or scuba diving. My favorite part about it all is almost nobody knows you can do all of these cool things there, so you almost always get the hill or the dive site to yourself!
Gangtok, India by Amrita Sen
Gangtok, in general, is endowed with absolute natural beauty and when you get to see the city from bird’s eye view, then the experience becomes all the more enriching. One of my favourite paragliding sites is Gangtok that has some excellent launching ridges.
Paragliding at Gangtok has two types – the medium fly and the high fly. With the medium fly, you can get a sweeping view of the Gangtok town and the valleys beyond. You will fly at an altitude of 1300-1400 m with the views of stunning green valleys, winding roads, pine forests and the bust town. As for the high fly one, you will fly at an altitude of 2200 m. The view here is totally rewarding with the breathtaking snow-capped peaks and the majestic ranges mountain ranges.
I had opted for the High Fly and was totally floored by the experience. Firstly, the take-off was from one of the most picturesque locations in Gangtok. And the flight itself was totally amazing. Who does not like to fly like a bird? And especially so when you get to see the snow-clad Himalayan peaks far away. We could see these majestic ranges in a different view as well as got a unique view of the Gangtok town. It was an experience of a lifetime.
During my flight, the wind was not that strong, but I was fortunate to have a clear weather. So my flight time was less, but I got a clear view of the mountain peaks – both the green ones and the faraway snow-clad ones. The quaint charm of Sikkim made my paragliding experience a memorable one.
I bet you have plenty of new destinations to add to your adventure bucket list now. So which of these paragliding sites would you like to visit? Please let me know in comments below.