If you’ve ever watched birds swirl and twirl through the air, effortlessly glide through the skies in perfect conjunction with the gentle breezes and gusts of wind, and you’ve wondered what it’s like to see the world from their perspective, then you should add paragliding lessons to your travel bucket list. Paragliding is as close as humans will come to the carefree and blissful experience of flying. Pull up a harness, buckle up (with a certified pilot of course), and take flight over untouched dunes, sharp mountains ranges, and plush valleys blooming with flowers. Let the pilot steer and loop the tandem-seated parachute for an adrenaline rush you won’t soon forget.
Paragliding lessons are possible in most parts of the world because the necessary conditions are not too specific or difficult to find. You can find paragliding schools and instructors almost anywhere, from beaches to mountains to forests; if there is a place to jump, you’ve got yourself a flight!
If the mountains are your first choice, the Alps, Europe’s biggest mountain range, is your mecca for paragliding courses abroad. These hills are ALIVE people. You’ll feel like Fraulein Maria frolicking through alpine meadows after gliding high above a couple jagged, snow-capped “four-thousanders.” You have a buffet of take-off points to choose from, since these mountain peaks span across several countries; however, the French Alps house the biggest hotspots. Ski resort towns like Annecy and Chamonix attract paragliders and outdoor enthusiasts all summer long. Chamonix is home to Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Europe, and they even have a lift system for easy access to several launching points. The French Alps have paragliding schools which are open to all age groups and skill levels.
Another top spot for paragliding courses abroad lies a little farther east along the Mediterranean coast in Turkey. On one of the most photographed beaches in the Mediterranean, located in Oludeniz, lies Mount Babadag. Take a drive up through national parks and mountains while you ogle the crystal blue waters of the Oludeniz bay. Once you reach your take-off point, you’ll dive off the 2,000 meter (6,561 feet) peak (there are higher peaks too, if you dare). You can soar above the pristine beach and view dozens of shades of green living in the forest during your paragliding trip. Not to mention, the price of paragliding lessons in Turkey, including a flight with a professional guide, tends to be easier on your wallet.
If you’re a Disney fan, a fan of castles, or a fan of flying past castles, check out Neuschwanstein Castle near in Germany. Walt Disney used this German castle as inspiration when creating his own fairy tale castle; you know, the one you see at the beginning to all of the Disney movies ever created? During your paragliding lessons you can launch off many points on the nearby mountain, and feel like Peter Pan or Tinkerbell as you fly like a bird over the dense German forest and twirl around the majestic castle.
Paragliding Courses Abroad
Whether you’re going behind the scenes of Disney’s ideas, soaring over breathtaking rocky peaks, or ogling over insanely gorgeous coasts, there are numerous ways for you to learn to paraglide abroad, no matter your age or experience level. Take your pick from thousands of different locations around the world, and know that the basic structure of paragliding lessons remain relatively similar.
Most locations host paragliding schools or instruction points. Upon arriving, you’ll go over safety and take-off procedures. Each individual will pair with a professional pilot who will steer the both of you safely through the skies and to the ground. Usually smaller groups drive or fly up to the launch point, but size varies slightly among companies. Once you’ve made it up above, you’ll be harnessed in with your guide behind you, run in tandem, and jump off into the skies.
You’ll feel your adrenaline pumping as you fly like an eagle, looping through the air. Since you’ll be rushing with the colors of the wind, spring or summer trips may be less chilly, but it’s possible to paraglide year round. The day of your paragliding trip, however, may depend on the wind. To have an enjoyable ride, and for safety reasons, you won’t want to have too much or too little wind; the breeze should be just right. Paragliding flight times will vary based on where you’re jumping from.
Tips & Advice for Paragliding Abroad
If you choose to learn to paraglide in the Alps, keep in mind that any ski resort town will be full of skiers in the winter. These mountain towns will only be open to paragliders once the snow has thawed in the spring and summer, which usually falls between March or April until December. No matter where you take paragliding lessons, when it comes to weather, just do a little research ahead of time. Ask yourself these questions: will I want to fly through the air in this climate? If you’re sensitive to cold, it’s best to wait for spring or summer months. Born to brave the brisk weather? Fall or even winter can be perfectly enjoyable times for paragliding holidays, in the right climates of course.
Paragliding lessons with a professional pilot can come as cheap as $100 but usually range between $175 to $250 for higher jumps. If you want to get your paragliding instruction certification or learn to paraglide on your own, prepare to shell out the big bucks for a series of several courses. Also, even though you’ll be able to complete your paragliding training with the school’s equipment, you may have to save to buy your own set in the future.
Benefits & Challenges
The gusts of wind will carry you up, down, and round and round in the air. Adrenaline junkies will love the rush. You don’t even need any previous experience because your pilot will make sure you know everything you should to have a safe and unforgettable paragliding trip.
First timers may get a little nervous to take the leap off of the take-off point, but don’t worry, your pilot is professionally trained and certified. You may have to save up a little money if you plan on doing several paragliding courses abroad, but the saving will be well worth the soaring.
Paragliding training is possible almost anywhere in the world. You can fly off of a mountain, soar along a cliff, glide over beaches, and twirl near castles. Now go out and climb, jump, and fly like an eagle!