The 10 Best Places in the World to Go Paragliding
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Here Are 10 Of The Best Paragliding Destinations in The World!
If you love the experience of looking at the world from the window of an airplane, you can enjoy paragliding, which offers an adrenaline rush in addition to the incredible views you can see as you fly calmly over a landscape.
With just a glider and the wind and hot air thermals to carry it around, the sport can feel wonderfully lonely (even if you're inexperienced and need to fly alongside a guide).
Paragliding is generally a safe activity as long as you fly with an experienced and trained pilot.
But, as with any adventure sport, there are inherent risks. Your operator should provide complete safety instructions and be able to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
If they can't or won't, find another operator.
Paragliding can be practiced all over the world, but the most attractive spots offer wonderful views, along with good instructions and accessibility for beginners.
1. Queenstown, New Zealand
The city of Queenstown on the South Island is often called New Zealand's adventure capital because of all the adventure sports available here: rafting, hiking, bungee jumping, skiing, speed boating, and of course paragliding.
Surrounded by the Remarkables range of the Southern Alps, on one side of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown's geography allows for fabulous views from the air, and thermals and mountain winds mean that it is sometimes possible to fly for a long time.
Paragliding is possible in Queenstown year-round, but winters are cold.
2. Bir Billing, Himachal Pradesh, India
Located in the Kangra Valley in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, the twin villages of Bir and Billing are the best places to try paragliding in India, as the foothills of the Himalayas offer a lovely backdrop of mountains covered by forest.
Two-seater paragliding flights usually take off from Billing and land in Bir. Himachal Pradesh has cold winters and hot, but generally humid summers.
As such, paragliding in Bir Billing is best between the months of October and June, although December and January are very cold.
3. Pokhara, Nepal
Visitors to one of Nepal's most popular tourist destinations, Pokhara, will quickly notice the dozens of colorful paragliders floating behind the city.
Sarangkot Hill, north of Phewa Lake, is one of the best places in the world to go paragliding due to the stable hot springs and incredible views.
On one side is the mighty Annapurna Himalayas (one of the highest peaks in the world), and on the other is Lake Phewa and green lands and terraced villages.
Situated at a lower altitude, Pokhara is generally warmer than Nepal's capital Kathmandu, so even in the dead of winter, paragliding here is not too cold.
In fact, midwinter is one of the best times to go because the sky is clearer. Paragliding can be done in Pokhara all year round, but flights are often canceled between June and September when monsoon rains occur.
4. Gudauri, Georgia
The beautiful Caucasus Mountains and stable weather conditions in Gudauri, Georgia make it one of the best paragliding destinations in this part of the world.
When taking off from an altitude of approximately 9,800 feet, the paragliders will fly even higher before landing about 20 to 45 minutes later, depending on thermal conditions.
Gudauri is a ski resort, so you can also hit the slopes if you come at the right time. Here you can go paragliding all year round, but as in other mountainous and high-altitude regions, temperatures are very cold in winter.
5. Ölüdeniz, Turkey
Southern Turkey is perhaps best known as a beach destination in the Mediterranean, but paragliders can have a different view of the sea, the Blue Lagoon of Ölüdeniz, and the white sand coast above.
Flights take off from Mount Babadağ, at 6,500 feet, and the Taurus Mountains are visible from the flight.
The hot thermals coming out of the sea allow the gliders to stay in the air for a while, and the flights last about 45 minutes.
In addition to the sea and mountain views, Ölüdeniz is a popular destination for paragliding due to its warm climate.
As the flights land on the beach, you can even go straight from the sky to the sea.
6. First, Switzerland
Paragliding can be enjoyed in hundreds of locations around mountainous little Switzerland, but First is one of the best due to its spectacular 13,641-foot views of Mt. Jungfrau.
The first is a 2,109-foot summit in the Bernese Oberland, above the town of Grindelwald.
The training of Swiss paragliding pilots is very rigorous, so beginners should feel comfortable in a double flight with their instructor. If you like sports, you can train in Switzerland.
7. Umbria, Italy
The Umbrian town of Castelluccio is the highest altitude town in the Apennines, at 4,763 feet.
The updrafts created by the meeting of plains and mountains make this one of the best places in Italy to try paragliding.
In addition to the mountain views expected from paragliding almost anywhere in the world, Castelluccio offers something different.
The hills and valleys surrounding the city are covered in colorful wildflowers in spring and summer (especially May and June), which are especially beautiful to see from above.
Iceland is a small country with many spectacular waterfalls, glaciers, volcanoes, and lava fields, and seeing them from above adds another dimension to your tour of the country.
Reykjavik-based companies offer short trips within the area, as well as longer day trips to more remote destinations.
The latter operates in the warmer and lighter months, generally between April and October, but that depends on the operator and the destination.
While many tours depart from Reykjavik, some also depart from the small town of Vik on the south coast, should the need to paraglide arise while you are out of the capital.
9. Kerio Valley, Kenya
Although the views of the Elgeyo Escarpment are spectacular from anywhere, they will take your breath away, especially when flying over Kenya's Kerio Valley, part of the Great Rift Valley that runs through several East African countries.
The 62-mile unbroken summit line is ideal for experienced gliders who want to fly skyward for as long as possible.
Tandem flights with instructors are also possible. The best paragliding conditions in the Kerio Valley can be experienced between December and March.
10. Mendoza, Argentina
Western Argentina, near Mendoza, is a popular place for paragliding in South America.
The weather, winds, and thermals are stable throughout the year, so it is not restricted to certain seasons here.
Many guided paragliding tours use Cerro Arco as a launch point, which is reached via a rough dirt path.
In addition to the impressive mountains (in the Mendoza region is Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside of Asia), visitors can admire the vineyards of Argentina's main wine region from above.
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