Looking at the world from above: Beautiful paragliding destinations around the globe

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Tandem paragliding at Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa (Photo: Derek Keats)

Tandem paragliding at Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa (Photo: Derek Keats)

There is something quite spectacular about taking in scenery from above. The world is full of wildly beautiful places and if you’re feeling courageous enough you can enjoy the view from above as you glide on air currents. Paragliding is not just for adventure-seeking travellers. Experienced paragliding tourists usually prefer the silence of a solitary jump, but the more inexperienced of us can always go tandem paragliding and leave our safety in the hands of a pro. If you want to experience the splendour of the world from above, here are some beautiful paragliding destinations from across the globe:

Chamonix Valley

France

Gliding on the currents in the Chamonix-Mont-Blanc region of France (Photo: Keith Laverack)

Gliding on the currents in the Chamonix-Mont-Blanc region of France (Photo: Keith Laverack)

With such spectacular views it’s no surprise that the French have the most paragliding sites of any country in the world.  Mont Blanc is located close to France’s border with Switzerland and Italy, and is a popular place for paragliding enthusiasts. Although reaching the summit at 4810m may be difficult, the outstanding views you’ll enjoy when you’re gliding back down make it worth the effort. The high altitude makes Mont Blanc suited to experienced paragliding devotees. If you’d prefer paragliding from a lower altitude you can always try out Plaine Joux.

When your feet are back on the ground: Put on your hiking boots and head to Lac Blanc or Lac Cornu and enjoy the peaceful views over a picnic lunch. If you’re traveling with small kids you can visit Parc de Loisirsnis de Chamonix (Chamonix Leisure Park) or take a ride on the Mont Blanc Tramway.

Queenstown

New Zealand

Enjoy beautiful views from above of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu (Photo: )

Enjoy beautiful views from above of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu (Photo: Fraser Reid)

Queenstown is located in the southwest of New Zealand’s South Island. The picturesque town is situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, and is surrounded by majestic mountain peaks, which has made it a popular skiing destination. Visitors to Queenstown can take off from Coronet Peak and soar through the air with a licenced paragliding instructor. It doesn’t have to be an adrenaline-pumping ride. In fact, it’s quite a relaxing way to take in the beautiful scenery of Queenstown.

When your feet are back on the ground: Take a tour of the regions wineries, let the kids loose on the Skyline Luge, or visit Queensland’s Kiwi Birdlife Park. You can also take a trip on Queenstown’s iconic steamship TSS Earnslaw, or enjoy a day out at Alpine Aqualand.

Babadag (Olüdeniz)

Turkey

The beautiful Turkish beach of Oludeniz from above (Photo: Dan Taylor)

The beautiful Turkish beach of Oludeniz from above (Photo: Dan Taylor)

Located in the southwest of Turkey, Babadag Mountain overlooks the beautiful Olüdeniz lagoon, and thanks to the great weather, is a popular spot for paragliding. The limestone mountain has a summit elevation of 1,969m. Each year the region hosts the Olüdeniz Air Games where you can watch paragliding, skydiving, base-jumping, microlights and acrobatic competitions. The exceptional views of the sea and the world-famous Olüdeniz beach make Babadag a hard destination to beat.

When your feet are back on the ground: Soak up some sun on gorgeous Olüdeniz beach (Blue Lagoon), take a Turkish island cruise, or treat yourself with some pampering at Sanctury Day Spa and Turkish Bath. If you’re traveling with kids you spend the day at The Grand Ucel Aqua Park.

Cape Town

South Africa

Paragliders get to enjoy the best views of Cape Town (Photo: Stefan Magdalinski)

Paragliders get to enjoy the best views of Cape Town (Photo: Stefan Magdalinski)

Cape Town is a beautiful city when your feet are on the ground, and even more beautiful when seen from above. You can enjoy beautiful views over the city and the Atlantic Ocean by paragliding from Table Mountain, Lions Head or Signal Hill. Table Mountain National Parks don’t allow tandem paragliding flights from Table Mountain, so if you are inexperienced and want to take a tandem flight with a  pro, you’ll have to take off from Lions Head or Signal Hill.

When your feet are back on the ground: Have a picnic lunch at Kirstenbosch gardens, take a tour of the Cape Winelands, paddle with penguins at Boulders Beach or have cocktails at Camps Bay. When you’re visiting South Africa you can’t miss the opportunity to go on a wildlife safari at one of the many game parks in the region.

Brauneck

Germany

Paragliding from beautiful Brauneck (Photo: Neil Hamilton)

Paragliding from beautiful Brauneck (Photo: Neil Hamilton)

If you want to see rolling green hills, quaint alpine villages and majestic snow-covered peaks, then Brauneck Mountain is the ideal spot. The mountain is located in the Bavaria region of Germany and is a popular ski area during winter. The mountain has great thermal lift which, along with the fantastic views, makes it an ideal paragliding destination. There is a cable car that takes visitors to the top of the mountain so even the most unfit can enjoy the once in a lifetime experience. If you’re staying in a Bavarian holiday rental don’t miss the opportunity to paraglide from Brauneck.

When your feet are back on the ground: There is plenty to see and do in Bavaria. Visit the fairytale-like Neuschwanstein Castle, hike through The Bavarian Forest, Germany’s oldest National Park, or have a drink at a pavement café in Munich.

Rio de Janeiro

Brazil

Enjoy views of Sugarloaf Mountain and Rio's beautiful beaches (Photo: Rodrigo Soldon)

Enjoy views of Sugarloaf Mountain and Rio’s beautiful beaches (Photo: Rodrigo Soldon)

The city of Rio de Janeiro is surrounded by hills and mountain peaks and there are often favourable wind conditions which make it a fabulous destination for paragliding. When you’re making your gentle descent you can enjoy views of the city as well as Sugarloaf Mountain, Corcovado and Christ the Redeemer statue, before landing on one of Rios beautiful beaches.

When your feet are back on the ground: Have cocktails on Copacobana Beach, take a stroll through the Botanical Gardens, or watch a show at Teatro Municipal. Of course, no trip to Rio de Janeiro would be complete without taking a railway trip up Corcovado and seeing the Christ the Redeemer statue. When the day is done, put on your dancing shoes and join the samba at one of Rio’s many clubs.

Solang Valley

India

You'll be forgiven for thinking you're in the Alps when you're paragliding in India's Solang Valley (Photo: Raman Virdi)

You’ll be forgiven for thinking you’re in the Alps when you’re paragliding in India’s Solang Valley (Photo: Raman Virdi)

When you’re flying between rugged snow-capped mountains, over the green slopes and forests of Solang Valley, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were somewhere in the Swiss Alps. Solang Valley is located in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, forming a part of Kullu Valley, which is known as “Valley of the Gods”. Solang Valley is popular with adventure travellers who come to enjoy sports like paragliding, parachuting and zorbing, and is the perfect place to enjoy views of India from above.

When your feet are back on the ground:  Visit nearby Rohtang Pass as well as the scenic Himalayan town of Chamba. For a unique cultural and religious experience, visit the ancient temples of Kangra and Shimla. You can also travel further afield to India’s capital city, New Delhi, where you can see attractions like the Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Humayun’s Tomb.

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KerrynLooking at the world from above: Beautiful paragliding destinations around the globe

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